‘Travel isn’t always pretty! It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully you leave something good behind. ‘ – Anthony Bourdain
The people that you meet whilst travelling are your gateway to learning about a whole different way of life and the lesser known details of different cultures. It’s well known that you can meet some of the most incredible people and form bonds that last a lifetime but no-one ever talks about the downsides. I’m talking about the long distance, the time difference, the heartache and the oddly timed skype calls.
Okay so I will start with the positives because they do definitely outweigh the negatives:
You will always have somewhere to stay in many different places around the world -the beauty of travelling is that by making friends and keeping in touch there is always that warm welcome that is extended both ways for a place to stay. I have stayed with friends that I have met over the years and I have opened my own home to my travelling friends as well. When a home is opened to you there is the opportunity to experience the home set up of a different country and to learn things about the people that you wouldn’t normally learn. This is also one of the reasons that connections are so intense so quickly with the people that you meet. I have opened my home to exchange students and leaders over the past few summers and the connections there have been amazing, we have had the chance to bring in new ways of life into our home and learn new things. One of the leaders I met from Norway was allowed to take me coasteering and caving with her group, a summer experience that I wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for meeting her.
Constantly learning – By keeping in touch with the people you meet it means that you still have the opportunities to learn more about different cultures whilst in your home country. If you think of things that you want to know then they can be your first point of contact and they can provide the inside opinion that you may need. One of my best friends in America is hands down one of the smartest people I have ever met and I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I have messaged her asking for advice or help with university work and she will always wow me with what she can teach me.
New best friends – I was lucky enough to meet one of my best friends at the summer camp I worked at in California. She won my heart by her attempts to copy my accent and how she thought we brits all had afternoon tea everyday haha! We keep in touch regularly and I was able to open up my home to her over Christmas and new year when she came over to England. One of the best bits is the no judgement and nothing held back honesty that comes from having someone who is removed from the situation and can give you none biased advice when you need it the most. She knows who she is and I love you boo!
The chance to fall for someone – You know when you meet someone and you feel that instant connection? Well what if I told you that it’s even more intense when you meet them in a different country? When away you are more free and more yourself. This shows when you meet people because you are more open with people which leads to you making more of a connection with someone. From laying on a beach in the early hours of the morning talking about things you have never shared with anyone before, to meeting by the pool and spending your whole holiday together. These moments and connections come out of nowhere but leave an imprint on your heart forever. Some call it love, some call it lust and some call it the freedom to just be with someone that makes you feel so incredibly special even if it is just for a few days.
This all being said no one ever talks about how hard it can be. Keeping in contact takes so much more effort (I learnt that lesson quick), you have to schedule when you skype and take into consideration the time difference. This is more just inconvenient than anything. The worst part is the longing and how much you miss the people. If you miss someone at home you are able to just pop round and see them, if its your partner then you will see each other whenever you want, When you miss someone that is in a different time zone to you then comes the heart ache. When you need a hug from your best friend or want to just see the smile of the person you care about. Things become hard and sometimes it’s easier to let go because it saves you both the ache in the long run. But be stubborn and keep at it because keeping in touch with those people is the most rewarding.
Overall, all the late night skypes and a few tears here and there are totally worth the amazing and long lasting friendships that you make. The people that I have met over the years mean the world to me and I cherish that I have had the opportunity to meet them.
Until next time