Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Travel Friendships: Today, They Can Last.


When I dreamed of traveling the world alone, I always assumed I’d make friends on the road — but I never dreamed of just how good friends they would become.

I’m a solo female traveler — that’s who I am, and that’s how I define my travels.  But despite how much I love traveling solo, some of the best times on the road have been when traveling with the friends I made.

Times like these…

And these.

I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with a number of these friends even after our travels ended.  And it was as easy as tagging those friends in a Facebook status.

Which led me to a realization:

Thanks to Facebook, today, travel friendships can last.

Back in the day, if you made a good friend while traveling, you’d exchange addresses and write letters.  Most of the time, you’d fall out of touch, change addresses, or lose information.  That’s what happened with my mom and her travel friend Sandra.

These days, I talk to my travel friends on Facebook all the time.  Daily, even.  It’s funny — two of the travel friends I talk to the most are people I just hung out with for a day or so in Cambodia or Indonesia.  Before Facebook, so many of these friendships never would have lasted.

Thanks to Facebook, we get to see what our friends are up to, find out where they’re traveling next, see their life milestones like weddings and babies — oh, and most importantly, relive your inside jokes again and again.

Two weeks ago, we had a reunion here in Chester — and yes, it was all organized on Facebook.  You’ve heard me talk quite a bit about my Vietnam group, how traveling from Hanoi to Saigon with these guys was some of the most fun I’ve had…well, ever!

Through the falls off the motorbikes…the illnesses…the purple sunburns…the collarbone dislocations (blame Vang Vieng)…we were there for each other.  (And yes, our antics kept some gap year travel insurance companies in business.)

It was Mike’s birthday, and Ste came over from Manchester to visit Mike, Dave, and me.

Here we are in Hoi An, Vietnam, eight months ago:

And here we are in Chester, two weeks ago:

Darren and Sander couldn’t make it, but they were there in spirit.

And it was a really great day.  It was Ste’s first time in Chester, so we showed him around the city and sampled some delicious Cheshire Cat ale (one of my local favorites!).  We couldn’t stop retelling our funniest stories from Asia.  We joked how the travel insurance companies in Europe would make a fortune if we actually rented a canal boat and tried to make our way through Lancashire via the locks.

I don’t consider myself lucky to be living the lifestyle I work hard to maintain.  I do consider myself lucky when it comes to having so many wonderful friends in my life.

Like all other relationships, you must nurture your travel friendships.  Check in now and then.  Drop them a note.  Comment on a photo or status, and ask them what they’re up to these days.  Be all caught up when your travel paths cross once again.

So next time you find a great traveling buddy, be sure to friend each other on Facebook before you leave.

You could be building a friendship that could last a lifetime.

Treasure your travel friendships — and remember that they don’t they have to end.

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27 Responses to “Travel Friendships: Today, They Can Last.”
  1. Miranda says:

    It’s so grew that you have so many good friends. I also love meeting up with the same cool people in different places all over the world.

    I TOTALLY understand that you get frustrated with people telling you you’re so ‘lucky’, like you don’t have to do any work (I know you do), and like you’ve somehow been more privileged than they have. And when you’re talking to your peers, no, you’re not luckier than them maybe.

    But the fact of the matter is that you are fabulously lucky to be part of a culture that affords you this freedom, a citizen of a country where its not hard to make enough money to travel internationally, that you’re born at this time in history where cheap world travel is possible, and, maybe most of all, that you are healthy enough to do all of this!!!

    So, you are really lucky. Not a spoiled brat, not in any sense. You work hard with the opportunities you have, but just the fact that you have those opportunities is incredibly lucky, I think.

    • Miranda says:

      Really, don’t misunderstand me. I’m in a very similar situation to you, and I have the same talks with my peers about priorities and the fact that they could do it too. Simultaneously I feel incredibly lucky for my health, my birth into the middle class of a rich country, etc etc.

      • No problem, Miranda — I completely agree. We are lucky that we’re able to get up each morning, and I always remind myself of that!

        I meant lucky in terms of everyone being able to travel like I do if they make it a priority. 🙂

  2. Candice says:

    Totally! We can bitch about FB all we want, but it’s seriously one of the best ways for travellers to keep in touch. I love being in close contact with all the people I just met on my Contiki trip.

  3. Yup. FB has helped me keep in touch w/ many from a GAP adventures tour that I took over 2 years ago! That trip was only 10 days, but I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime.

  4. Social networking sites really contributed a lot towards communications. And yes, friendships don’t need to end!

  5. Alouise says:

    My mom thinks Facebook is a waste of time (which it can be) but it’s also a great way to keep in touch with people you’ve met while travelling. If I had to rely on writing letters to stay in touch with people I’d never keep in contact with anyone.

  6. Love this post and I totally agree! Met so many great people in the world and I’ve gotten to reunited with them because I knew from Facebook that our paths would cross again!

  7. Alex says:

    Whenever people start talking about the negatives of Facebook I roll my eyes. Nothing can outweigh the fact that it keeps me in contact with my friends around the world! Glad you had your reunion!

  8. Excellent post Kate and so true! We know of many, many people that have made some of the best friends along their travels!

    We Love reading your stuff and continue to tweet it, along with other excellent travel bloggers from our Essetial Travel twitter account.

    Please keep the stories coming and letting us know about them each and every time!

  9. Roy-Roy says:

    What a fantastic post!

    I went travelling by myself on a very similar trip to what you have done around South East Asia. Every one back home in Cape Town, South Africa thought i was crazy to embark on a journey like that alone. And trust me I was scared. The daunting feeling that you are completely alone in a foreign place, with nobody to watch your back. But looking back i wouldn’t have done it any other way. The people I have met are friends for life now and yes, Facebook is the perfect medium to keep in contact.

    I wish you many more adventures with plenty of new friends!

  10. Excellent advice at the end Kate. I’m always glad for FB and twitter making it easier to keep in touch with friends I make on the travel path. They have also been great tools for meeting new people in new places. We live in a lucky age.

  11. Heather says:

    Great post! I’ve regretted letting certain travel friendships die and facebook has been worth its weight in gold! Its hard to imagine life without it now.

  12. Nicole M says:

    Facebook and skype are officially my most favorite creations ever. Not only because I can keep in touch with people I meet along the road, but also to keep in touch with home while away for a long time. This way I can share my photos and stories as they happen rather than overload someone with information when I get back. Love the post!

  13. Scott says:

    I have to say that of all the travel blogs I read, you tend to take the words right out of my mouth more than anyone else, Kate. I was just having this conversation this weekend as two buddies from York, England I met backpacking in Europe in 2007 visited me for the weekend here in St. Louis. I was saying that with Facebook, even if you aren’t talking to a friend all the time, they seem to always be in the background of your life. That makes it so much easier to re-connect, cause there isn’t that awkwardness a phone call after four years would have. And yes, after they left yesterday the inside jokes have already started being posted.

  14. Jessica Hill says:

    You’re so right! Social media has made a massive difference on the way we travel today. I think meeting people on the road has always been one of the many perks of traveling, but now that we can make lasting friendships, it’s even more so.

    Looks like you had fun in Chester!

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  16. I would add here that FB is a great way to stay connected with people met in the pre-computer age. I traveled solo for 4 years in the 80’s and we made lasting friendships even back then despite no digital perks, and letters weren’t hard to write because that’s what people did. In fact, GPOs were fun places to hang out because we were all there to gather letters mailed to “post restante.” But FB does make it easy to stay in touch because mail addresses change.

  17. Hira says:

    I have just moved to Australia for my studies and this is my first time out of home. Initially, I was very shy when it would come to talking to strangers but I realized that while travelling alone a simple questions such as ‘Do you know how long the ferry will take?’ breaks the ice. But I have always had one problem. Even if I add them on fb and exchange numbers I really haven’t figured out how to keep the conversation flowing after going our ways. Do I just randomly message them on FB? I come from a very reserved culture so at times I feel what if I message and the other person doesn’t like it etc etc. I have met two great travellers from Europe and have added them on FB but how do I keep it going. I really want to because I am in a new city and I really need to make friends!

    Any advise on that?


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