Tips for Travel

How to survive being the traveling friend

You see the inside of airport terminals more than you’ve seen your friend’s (not-so) new apartment. You feel like an outsider at brunch because “you should’ve been there last Sunday to see blah do blah blah & blah”. You’ve had layovers that lasted longer than girls’ night.IMG_9646And while you love your friends, you love exploring new soils more. I’ve noticed that the more trips I go on, the more distance there is between my friends and I. This recent trip has brought more light to my eyes than any other. When I first came back from my move to Milan, they were excited to have me back but of course I was greeted with the famous question “So when do you leave again?”. That’s also my family’s number one topic! “What?! You’re in town? Must not be for long, when do you leave? When is your next trip?” While I would love to say that there is a loving tone when asked but more often than not its more a tone of resentment. Towards me, or the fact that I’m always on the go. At first, I was sad about it. I should be able to travel and have friends, right? I mean it makes no sense that I can make and keep in touch with friends from all over the world but I’m not even be able to connect with my friends from back home. I think its more of a travelers woe. After talking with a friend  (she gets me, she’s a traveler too) she let me know that it happens to the best of us, and I’m not alone.

Of course you can’t help but wonder though, is there a remedy? Even if there is, is the relationship worth fixing? I think with many test and trials, the strong will survive. I may lose friends to traveling, but its shown me friends that I should value a lot more. Muneek said it best “Not everyone signs up to be a long distance friend”.

While any departure is typically sad, these lost friendships haven’t been. People come and people go, myself included. But what makes this sorrow a little sweet, is that I am a traveler, I’m an expert at moving on. That’s how you’ll survive.

34 comments

  1. “Where you going next?” Is the line I always get…..makes me reluctant to even share where I am going smh. I gain more valuable relationships taking Dreamtrips with other like minded individuals than maintaining the ones that I’ve had since school. Great post! You definitely aren’t the only one!

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  2. This is something I think all travellers can ultimately relate to. I’m quite fortunate in that I work in a school and so have a job that lets me travel often, but also be at home quite a bit too, but almost all of my friends don’t really see travelling the same way I do and so, yes, it can feel like there’s a disconnect sometimes. Luckily, I do know people who have travel in their blood as well 🙂

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  3. I went to an international school. People were always coming and going. it was very difficult to make friendships that lasted. I have also travelled around quite a bit in my life. It does make things more difficult, relationship wise, but in the end, you end up with friendships all over the globe. And the true ones, will last, no matter the distance.

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  4. I can relate to this post. My best friend lives many miles away and we like to meet and do a girl’s trip every year. Love this quote paragraph you wrote “While any departure is typically sad, these lost friendships haven’t been. People come and people go, myself included. But what makes this sorrow a little sweet, is that I am a traveler, I’m an expert at moving on. That’s how you’ll survive.” You learn who your real friend are and who you can trust.

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  5. I can totally relate to this! I moved 2500 miles away, and most of my friends dropped one by one. But, at least I know which of my friends I can count on, because they come visit and still keep in contact! Distance weeded out the ones that weren’t true friends anyway.

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  6. I feel you! I’ve been a full-time traveler now for six years and went back to my home country equal amounts of time. Every time I’m back the first five minutes people ask how my latest adventures were and then daily routine takes over. They talk about their work, their babies, their daily problems and while I listen to their stories, there is no interest in mine. That really hurt in the beginning. To me traveling is my lifestyle and as important as for others their family and work. I often wondered if it is a certain jealousy that causes my ‘friends’ not to ask anything about my life. It’s like they don’t want to hear my stories or my little daily struggles. After all those years I now know who are my real friends and regardless the distance or the opposite lifestyle, they are still there, no matter what!

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  7. All of this! I experienced this much when I first began traveling … I missed important events, milestones, and even funerals because I was out in the world. I don’t think friends/family realize that while we are long-distance we still attempt to be attuned to what’s occurring in their lives… sometimes I feel we ‘try’ harder to be that good friend .. whilst they can barely recall what’s occurring in our lives. It’s a sucky situation … but now as I’m getting older, I think people are becoming more accepting.

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  8. I’ve been going through this for awhile now. I do everything I can to stay in touch like sending postcards, updating social media, trying to be around for birthdays and other big events – but it never matters. My consistent absence makes them
    Not happy

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    1. Yeah, it definitely sucks especially when you go out of your way to try to stay in touch. I started realizing that it’s not just me who has to make an effort, so for the people that weren’t willing to meet me half way I had to learn to say goodbye.

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  9. I often feel bad about the old friends I’ve lost, I’m only in touch with a couple of people from school now, for example. But I’ve met so many other amazing people! It’s hard to know at any given time which friends will grow in the same direction as you – I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen for 12 years a couple of weeks ago and we had the best time catching up 😄 We still have so much in common.

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  10. I hear you. Watch out, it gets worse the older you get. My friends are getting married, buying a home, having children and we often have a different set of priorities as travellers. I found the best way not to be lonely was to find a friend/husband to travel with. Otherwise, it’s like the change in your pocket. Some coins are quarters and worth a lot more than a few pennies. (One good friend is worth more than a handful of okay friends.)

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  11. I can relate. For me, I noticed I do have to make more of an intentional effort to reach out to my friends when I am home, but as long as I do that, they’ve always been receptive of me. Plus, you get to make new friends while traveling too!

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  12. True friends will always be there. I did have a couple of friends who were jealous that I traveled, but I only went once a year. The best solution is to travel with friends. That’s the best!

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  13. I can definitely relate to this post. However, I feel that my true friends will also be there. We may not get together as often but there is always a connection when we get the chance to see each other again.

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  14. This really touched a nerve and hit home! I can seriously relate. For me, I find myself forming stronger friendships on my travels with people I’ve known less than a week than those at home I’ve known for years. So well written!

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  15. Recently, my friend moved to the States for higher studies, I knew she will be moving from a year ago yet you know what happened? I actually cried in my sleep, subconsciously!! I took a week or two to gulp down the fact that I will probably meet her again after a year! Try to position yourself in your friend/family’s place, it actually hurts them!

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    1. I try to, thats why I keep communication open on my end whenever I do go somewhere and I try to be there for them even when I am away. The friend(s) that I speak on are ones who have grown tired of me leaving or have animosity towards me for leaving. But that also allows me to notice the friends that support me and vice versa, while it may not be easy for either party, your love towards one another shouldn’t wither away. But thank you for reminding me about the other perspective, I don’t want you to think that Im just saying “eff everyone” because thats not the case.

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      1. I know, when my friend moved and instead of feeling happy I was crying about the fact, I felt like I am a pathetic person. She is my friend and I should be happy for her success, but human mind is such an evil thing! Thankfully I got over my miserable self and I am okay now!

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      2. That’s so good to hear! I hope you’re still friends with her and your relationship grew stronger! With all the traveling on your blog I’m sure you two have something else to bond over. 🙂

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  16. This is so well-written! I definitely feel the same way – not only as a traveller but as someone who moved abroad. You realise which friends keep in touch with you and are meant to be in your life, and which ones were only there at one time because it was convenient. It’s hard to grasp at first, but travelling makes you stronger and more confident than having one extra friend ever will!

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    1. Thank you! And your last sentence is so very true. I’ve learned and grown more from traveling than I have at trying to win a popularity contest. And the friends that are still here, are more like family to me now.

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  17. Insightful; I found the same issues sprouting up whenever I go somewhere for long periods of time. When I come back, I find fewer people waiting.
    Those that I can still reconnect with when getting back are valuable friendships.

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    1. I’ve wanted to talk about this problem years ago, but I thought I may have been the only one. I definitely cherish the valuable friendships a lot more than I used to. Not everyone signs up to be a long distance friend, so I thank them for hanging in there.

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      1. It takes its toll sometimes when I think how unsteady relationships can be because I’m not in one set place. Its always possible to create a long-lasting connection though, regardless of distance.

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