One of the hardest parts of long term travel is being so far away from friends and family. Gone are the long lunches with girl-friends, and Sunday barbecues at the beach. No more long weekend ball tournaments, and no more late night dinners with good wine and good friends.
When you’re constantly moving around, making new friends can be hard. Sure, it’s easy to meet people… traveling has a way of breaking down normal social barriers, making it easy to approach new people and start up a conversation. The problem is, that conversation is often exactly the same:
THEM: “Where are you from?”
US: “Vancouver, Canada”
THEM: “How long are you traveling for?”
US: “We’ve been on the road for almost two years.”
THEM: “Wow, must be nice… how do you afford it?”
US: “We work online…..blah, blah, blah…”
From there, the conversation will progress to where we’ve been, where they’ve been, we’ll compare favorite places and add new ones to the list. We’ll swap travel stories, the good and the bad… and at the end of the day, or evening, or dive trip, we’ll say goodbye. Encounters like this are great, we’ve met so many interesting people. All of whom have helped to make the ferry ride, or the boarder crossing or the night out, all the more memorable. But, at the end of the day you know that most of these people you’ll never see again.
When traveling long term this can get tiring. You crave the comfort of close friends and try to get through the standard “Where are you from?/What do you do?” questions as quickly as possible. You miss conversations where you don’t spill your whole life story in the first five minutes and often wish you could talk about something other than traveling. When you’re on the road for a long time you realize the importance of familiar faces and effortless friendships… and cherish inventions like email, Skype, and yes… even Facebook.
Over the last couple of years we’ve missed out on important events back home, both good and bad. From babies being born, and people getting married… to unfortunate losses and sick family members. No matter the event, it’s always hard being away.
This time however, we got lucky. This time the wedding came to us… or close enough anyway. Our friends Randal & Rachelle, planned their wedding in Mexico, and being in Central America, we organized the last 10 months of our travels with this in mind.
We had an amazing week catching up with old friends and even making a few new ones. It was nice to fall back into old circles and conversations and feel like nothing had changed. It was a great reminder that even though we may not see each other for months or even years at a time and despite the different paths we choose to take, some friendships seem to last no matter what decisions we make.
It also made me appreciate the ease of meeting people on the road. The openness of other travelers and all the fascinating people we’ve met along the way. It got me excited about continuing our adventure and reminded me why we do this. It’s great to know those friends will always be there, but in the mean time I’m looking forward to making some new ones.
Thanks to everyone who made it such a memorable week… and we’ll see you all in six months!
Posted by: Kelly