One of the downsides of traveling full-time and moving every 2 weeks are the friendships.
Typically, I would spend about one week with a friend in person. Whether it’s a new friend, or seeing a best friend again. Sometimes the time is shorter than one week, like getting one night to connect.
The rest of the time, I would text my friends constantly; wishing I could hang out with them again, or experience something with them, or to be there with them when they go through a hard time. But somehow it’s all worked out.
Here’s what I’ve learned about socializing on the road:
Be brave and spontaneous. The best thing I had to use in traveling was my braveness. Enough to approach a random person, smile, and start having a conversation like it wasn’t too out of the ordinary. Most of the time, I was the one starting up new friendships. I’d see a person my own age and think, I want to get to know that person. And so I did. Just toss yourself in! It works for older people as well. Sometimes, I loved talking with an older person because of their stories and experiences.
Talking online all the time can get confusing and frustrating. Trust me, I’ve had a few friendship break-ups over it. After a while, I wish I could see their body language and hear their voice and do things in person, rather than just talking about it online. But if there wasn’t Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my friends!
Somehow, the friendships just work. You know you have true friends when they keep in touch! And when you get meet up with them, it’s the briefest, but most amazing time. When people realize how rare it is to be visiting with them and knowing the time is short, everything is so much more intense and emotional, meaningful, in a good way.
Just toss yourself in!
But all in all, it was worth it. No one has ever said traveling does not get lonely. You can feel lonely on the road. Whenever I needed to talk with someone, a friend was always there to message me or call me, there to make me laugh. It was honestly almost perfect. Being a very independent girl, sometimes just having online conversations were the best thing for me.
The first friends who kept in touch with me that started about a year into traveling were some Boy Scouts I met in Death Valley. And then it was a few more full-time traveling friends I’d met at campgrounds. We all talk and text here and there.
In the picture above, we were capturing the day I tried my first energy drink at a trampoline park, so the energy went into jumping off the walls. Literally.
I met Devin at an RV park in Southern California. We bonded over doggies, Volkswagen vans, and traveling. Over the next week, we hung out and Avery even tried joining in the line dancing classes that I was in for the week!
It’s a case of hit and miss, see how well you get along, and seeing if both of you are willing to keep in touch. Sometimes it’s fun and easy, sometimes it’s awkward and not worth it. Or you just add each other on social media, but never really talk.
Picking up the friendship is something weird as well. As travelers, you just have to hop into conversations with people and things just escalate into friendship! So you could imagine me trying to hop into a game with other kids… I’d get looks like “Where the heck did she come from?” All the time. It was funny, actually.
Bunches of times, I’ve also had some elementary aged kids just stick to me like glue. They’d shadow me until I had to hide in my house to eat, lol. It happened. But they were cute and actually allowed me to bring out childish energy.
So it’s a matter of jumping into conversation with the young, same age, or older. Don’t be afraid to cut in!