The speed in which you form friendships while traveling is unlike any other friendship-making we’ve experienced.
In contrast, we’ve found that friendships made in “normal life” develop painfully slow. It seems they follow these unwritten rules of mandatory stages. First, you meet under the pretenses of casual conversation which must take place repeatedly for quite some time. After it was been solidified that there is potential to like each other, a play date between your children may be scheduled and performed. If both spouses meet and your children seem compatible, the friendship may progress to a shared meal. Only then do you begin to learn a little more about each other’s backgrounds, and if you’re lucky you may share a meal or an activity with them a few more times during the year. Slowly, very slowly, inside jokes develop and inner feelings and backgrounds are revealed—resulting in a hearty friendship that will last for years to come.
Now, that’s nice and all—because truly, I love to make friends!
However, do you want to know how friendship develops between traveling families? Here’s a typical scenario:
“Hi, I’m Alisa.”
“I’m Katie. Nice to meet you! Where are guys you from?”
“We’re from the America (because only Americans refer to the “US” as such). How about you?“
“We’re from Perth. Wow! Look at those kids…they’re all playing so well together!” (of course our kids are already playing…) “How old are yours?”
“9, 6, 4, and 1. Yours look pretty similar in age.”
“Pretty close. 8, 6 and 3. How long are you going to be here?”
“We’ve been here for 3 weeks, and we have one week left.”
“Oh, fantastic! We are going to be here for 3 months. We should get together for dinner. Would you like to come to our place tomorrow night?”
“Yeah, that’d be great!”
The night following you have dinner and touch on nearly every major topic including your family backgrounds and how they all handle your crazy traveling bug, your feelings on education, the ins and outs of your business/work and what you love/hate about it, your concerns about the overabundance of media and consumerism, your family size plans, your fears and concerns, your hopes and dreams, and your joys and frustrations of being a parent.
In less than 24 hours you walk away knowing more about them than your “good friend” that you live within 10 minutes of in your hometown and have known for a year or maybe much more.
WHY?! Why are friendships so easy to form when on the road?
-Is it because know your time is limited, and you have to touch on everything quickly?
-Is it because you already know that you have something in common (after all, you’re both nuts enough to drag your families away from the comforts of “home” and explore the world—which also means you’re a pretty open minded people)?
-Is it because you have less distractions of daily commitments and therefore a more flexible and schedule in time to form friendships?
-Is it because you’ve realized that the spice of life is found in making friendships?
-Is it because you’ve learned to take your guard down—accept yourselves (and others) as they are—and focus on what you do have in common, instead of what you don’t?
-Is it because you know that although you may only see each other a few times, there’s always Facebook and emailing?
I don’t know. All I know is I absolutely love the speed of traveling friendships, and I miss it greatly when not traveling. The “real world” seems to be sooooo sloooooooow and resistant to share of themselves, and resistant to change—whereas nomadic people love to embrace new things and new people in their lives.
Hi, my name is Alisa, and I’d love to be your friend. Why? Because relationships are what matter!