This is part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. Check out the prompt at the bottom of this post to find out how you can participate!
Once you reach the age of 30, making new friends becomes increasingly more difficult, particularly if you live in the same city you grew up in. Your group of friends by this time is pretty set. Luckily travel gives people the opportunity, no matter what age, to meet new people and establish friendships that can last a lifetime.
We have it pretty easy these days. With the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and any number of other social media sites, it’s extremely easy to keep in touch with people from all over the world, so even if you meet and connect with someone while traveling, that relationship doesn’t have to end once you part ways. Avid travelers meet other people on a daily basis, and friendships and relationships come and go. But there are those times when an encounter in a foreign land lasts forever, and we were lucky enough to have two such meetings during our year-long RTW trip.
There are certain times when you just connect with people, and you usually realize it quickly. Our first meeting with Nate and Sarah was in the middle of a hike in the Patagonian city of El Chalten, Argentina. We eventually hooked up for dinner and beers that night, and we hit it off almost immediately. The long, Argentine dinner turned into a hiking date the following day before parting ways. We were lucky enough to hook with them again in Santiago a month and a half later and had an absolute blast with them and some more people that they met on the road. Sipping terremotos and having a drunken, college-like night is always good for new friendships, and even though we only spent 3 days total with Nate and Sarah during our travels, we just knew that we made a valuable connection.
We were fortunate enough to keep in touch with them as we both continued our travels, and we have remained friends since. Even though they live half-way across the country from us and we’ve spent less than a week together total, we just knew that this was a friendship that would last forever. We have already visited them once in New York since we both returned to the States, and we met their families and beautiful daughter. Even though we will probably only see each other every few years, I have no doubt that we’ll keep that connection forever.
Then there’s Dave and Tina. We first met them on our HaLong Bay tour in Vietnam. The funny thing about meeting people on the road is how relationships develop. We barely spent any time with Nate and Sarah, but we feel as close to them as we do friends we’ve had for years. While we really got along well with Dave and Tina initially, it wasn’t until a fateful Vietnamese bus ride, complete with Gloria Estefan, followed by a subsequent all day drinking extravaganza that we really became great friends.
We ended up traveling off and on with Dave and Tina for about 6 weeks through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Traveling with another couple can often prove to be challenging, but for some reason, it was just never problematic with them. We were always on the same page – going our separate ways when we wanted to, hanging out and doing things together at other times. It was just an unspoken travel bond that we had together, and it always worked out. Though Dave and Tina live in London, we still remain close as ever, and we were fortunate enough to visit them just a little over a month ago, returning the favor for them coming to St. Louis while they were traveling around the States.
You simply never know when you will make a real connection with other travelers. I never expected to meet another couple on the trail in the middle of nowhere Patagonia and end up meeting people I will be friends with forever. And though we had been on many tours during our travels before going to HaLong Bay, we had never remained good friends with any of them. For some reason, there was just a bond between us that was too strong to ignore.
Travel has brought me many things. It has changed my life in many ways, and it remains my number one passion. Luckily it has also brought me four incredible friends that I will have for the rest of my life, and for that, I thank you travel!
30 Days of Indie Travel Project: How to Participate
We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.
We’ll share some of our favorites via Twitter and Facebook throughout November, as well as a round-up article at the end of the month, so if you’re playing along make sure to let us know – use the #indie30 hashtag on Twitter, and link to the 30 Days of Indie Travel page in your post so we’ll be able to find it.
Find out all of the 30 Days of Indie Travel blogging prompts so far – it’s never too late to join in the fun!
Prompt #12: MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
Travelers meet dozens, if not hundreds, of new people on every trip. They may become friends, enemies, lovers, and resources; they may stay in your life forever or be forgotten the next day. Tell about a time you felt a powerful connection – for however long – to another person while traveling.
Tools and inspiration: Learn how to meet people on the road without hosteling