The speed in which you form friendships while traveling is unlike any other friendship-making we’ve experienced.

We shared a few afternoons with this motley crew and we were hooked.  These people are lifelong friends and we've been able to stay in contact and even catch up, in person, in various other countries!

We shared a few afternoons with this motley crew and we were hooked. These people are lifelong friends and we’ve been able to stay in contact and even catch up, in person, in various other countries!

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!

My name is Alisa, and I love traveling the world with my adventurous husband and rambunctious 4 small children. I am passionate about gorgeous scenery, meeting new people, and I’m obsessed with vegetables. Most of all, I love making memories with my family, and I enjoy sharing our travels with others!

8 Responses to “Have you made a new friend, lately?”

  1. I think it also has to do with the fact that there are no real schedules when you are traveling. If I am inviting someone over at home I have to think about when hubs is working, what I have to do that day, cleaning the house, etc etc. When we are traveling it can be as simple as meeting up over a bowl of noodles. Also there seems to be an instant trust with traveling families as there is such camaraderie in meeting people who are doing the same type of things as you. Whatever the reason, I have met many true friends on the road, including your family! Love the picture!!!!

    • Yes, life gets busy with the normal flow of everyday life’s responsibilities. And then you worry about what to cook that they will like, etc. But when traveling you can skip that stress and just eating out at a $1 place (that was an awesome place you took us to)!! I also adore so many families we’ve met on the road. In fact…I was thinking about it…of the 20+ traveling families we’ve met…I can’t think of a single one that I wouldn’t love to get together with, again!

  2. Oh Alisa I love this post. And it’s something I have thought about often. People on holidays are also so much more relaxed and in general more friendly and happy. And more adventurous too. Can’t wait to see you again, in another part of the world 😀

    • Yes, that surely has a lot to do with it. They’re willing to risk more (in many ways)—and are more relaxed and less worried about other obligations, etc. Where are we going to meet up next, Benders?!!

  3. Great article! Making friends on the road has been one of the main highlights of travel for us. My travel friends also seem more genuine than many I’ve made in “normal life”, where it’s not uncommon to encounter judgment if you’re not living your life the “normal” way, or where it sometimes feels like there’s an undercurrent of the need to reach some goal or gain some benefit other than friendship and connection itself.

    It’s also amazing to see people rearrange their schedules to travel around the world to see people they’ve never met (or met once), when getting together for a play date or a meal with a busy family in “normal life” can become a chore. So glad for the fun times we’ve spent together and I look forward to more!

    • I completely agree—connecting with others is definitely one of the best highlights of travel! It IS a chore to schedule time with friends in “normal life” (geesh–even I’m guilty at that!)–whereas we’ll go greatly out of our (flexible) way when traveling. We do it to ourselves, don’t we?!!

  4. So very very true!!! What a great post…We’re enjoying the company of one of those families right now, in our fourth country together although we happen to have just arrived home! And?made some great new friends today with a third travelling family! All so easy!
    I think it works so well for a mix of the things you mention…. Plus when you’re on the move, you perhaps become all the more aware of how valuable and amazing friendship is, whilst people take it much more for granted back home – making new friends is treated almost as if it’s too much effort by some. Travelling families tend to seize the opportunity with both hands:) both for our kids and for ourselves and all tend to be the types who love meeting different people. Hope we get to meet one of these days:)

    • That’s awesome you are having fun with our mutual traveling friends right now! We’ve met up with them in 3 countries, now! 🙂
      I love your comments and agree wholeheartedly! I hope we get to meet you, too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *