Let us discuss the important matter of the ebb & flow of friends while traveling, it’s unlike anything else. Every friend you’ve ever had started with a common greeting and extended past through similarities of character, circumstance or even an odd curiosity. In the only life most of us have ever known, friends come and go at a slow pace like a run off stream from a large reservoir winding through a friendly forest or a stagnant swamp with those capable of stabbing a back. When you’re on the road and traveling through foreign lands it’s a violent gushing gorge of emotional white water from a never ending spring.
You’ll meet someone somewhere and go to do something or see a sight you’ll remember forever and a bond is formed, days later one will pick up for a plane, bus or boat to the next stop and the bond is broken. It’s a peculiar thing watching someone you’ve recently become well acquainted with walking away with everything you know them to own, never to return again. Having traveled now for over 2.5 years I’ve literally tipped my hat to tens of thousands of people and become friends / shared adventures with thousands or more?
I’ve always seen friends as characters that contain a fraction of my personality, it’s that what draws you to each other and makes the whole thing work. You learn from friends because besides that often small fraction, the rest is different and you grow from the common ground starting point and it goes wherever fate will have it. All friendships are different and some last the length of a flight while others the length of a life.
The process of finding friends as a child was as simple as “who is in this room because their parents live near mine that I get along with”. When you’re on the road your main commonality above all else is that you decided to spend your time and money to go on an adventure and learn about a different culture, that’s a substantial commonality before you even say hello. Besides several friends scattered throughout my past, have met more like-minded individuals in the last 2.5 years than I had previously in my entire life, crazy?
Friendships form and grow like a pleasant plant that passes through its life-cycle. The seed is sown, it grows, blossoms and finally fades. Instead of friendships lasting a decade they last 10 days or even minutes but pass through all the phases. What makes a friendship last is mutual respect, mutual interest, understanding and an appreciation of the others time. Travel let’s you meet so many new faces containing a fraction of yourself and that is the main reason why people come back changed. What changes the traveler is not the sights you can see from the internet, it’s the friendly faces and personalities that they’ve met.
Set your ship’s sail and enjoy the ride through life, friends are but strangers in the wind…
P.S: Met this crew at Cape Point outside Cape Town, South Africa. All we needed in common was a love of travel, being in a genuinely great mood and look what happened with my brief friends from Beijing and World Wide Nate. Props to @Darodi for pausing the moment.