It wasn’t until I stuffed a backpack full of comfy yoga pants and flip-flops and set off on a spontaneous solo adventure to Asia that I realised just how life changing traveling is.
I was wandering solo – just me and my 13kg backpack. I actually had no idea what I was doing. I only knew that it felt incredible. I felt free, alive and ready to take on the world.
But there was just one small problem…
I was a total introvert – comfortable, bubbly and outgoing around my close friends but making new friends was a long and awkward process.
That was until I stepped off the plane in Denpasar, Bali.
I was waiting outside the airport for a taxi when another solo traveller walked up to me with a giant backpack weighing her down, a suitcase and about two carry ons (she was literally moving her whole life).
“Where are you heading?” She asked me. “I’m off to Seminyak”, I said, “you?” She replied, “I haven’t booked any accommodation yet, perhaps I’ll ride with you to Seminyak. Is that cool?”
Normally I’d say yes but feel a little uncomfortable about the situation but this time I was actually excited and relieved to have met someone in the same position as me.
“Of course!” I said.
As we were both traveling alone and seemed to have similar interests, we connected instantly and chatted the whole way.
She was a traveler with a gypsy spirit who had just spent the past year in one of my favourite spots in Australia, Byron Bay.
Long story short, we ended up staying together for 3 days in Seminyak before she moved on to Ubud and invited me to come and visit.
We generally enjoyed the company of one another without any of the bulls**t that tends to go on in friendships…
We had no mutual friends, we came from opposite sides of the world and we both loved to travel.
So instead of spending our time bitching about someone we knew or complaining about our cellulite, we actually held conversations of substance.
We learned about each others’ cultures, places we’d been in the world and all sorts of incredible food we’d eaten…
She introduced me to an alternative way of looking at and living life. She got me hooked on Kombucha tea and I’m forever grateful.
And when it was eventually time to go our separate ways, we continued to write to each other about our adventures for quite some time after.
That very first friend I’d made whilst standing alone and vulnerable in a foreign country taught me how traveling can bring people together and force them to step out of their comfort zones in order to create meaningful relationships.
That very first friend showed me how traveling can change people for the better. How travelling can strip you of your barriers, preconceptions and judgement and guide you towards being more accepting of others.
That girl showed me just how easy it was going to be to make friends while I was travelling.
And about a week later I met the love of my life.
So why is it that people who travel are so effortlessly good at creating relationships and just being a friend?
Well I thought long and hard about it and this is what I came up with…
Why People Who Travel Make Amazing Friends
1. They actively search for ways to connect with you, instead of searching for reasons to dislike you
If they travel a lot it’s more than likely that they’ve spent countless hours meeting and getting to know others.
Even when they stop traveling, they still have that urge to connect with new and interesting people.
You may not see each other as regularly as you’re used to with others but during the time that you do spend together they’ll usually be highly inquisitive and curious in order to find ways to connect with you, rather than make you feel intimidated or uncomfortable.
It’s a gesture that they’ve had to pick up and learn along the way.
2. They are constantly surrounded by a cocktail of nationalities, races, religions, cultures and languages
This basically encourages them to become a lot more open minded and accepting of who you may be.
This meme going around at the moment says it all:
“A Muslim, a Jew, a Christian, a Pagan and an Atheist all walk into a coffee shop… And they talk, laugh, drink coffee and become good friends. It’s not a joke. It’s what happens when you’re not an asshole.”
3. They are often far more appreciative of what they have
If they’ve ventured outside of their accommodation within the 80% of countries around world labelled as poverty stricken, it’s likely that they’ve experienced or at least witnessed a much less privileged way of living.
In my honest opinion, the idea of being grateful for what you have can only truly be understood once you’ve recognised what’s really going on in the world…
And that’s why I think people who like to travel are so good at being in friendships and other relationships because they appreciate you and are thankful to have you in their lives.
Fun fact: Did you know that if you earn over $32,400 a year, you are within the wealthiest 1% in the world?
4. They converse with passion and substance and enjoy sharing views and ideas with you
No more small talk, complaining or conversations that don’t go anywhere.
People who travel have a lot of interesting, educational and inspiring words to share with a huge amount of passion to go along with them.
They want to teach you about the places they’ve been and the things they’ve done but they also want to learn about you and your background.
They often even have crazy or great ideas brought about by life changing events or people they’ve met.
Let go and allow yourself to connect, learn and have amazing conversations.
5. They don’t feel the need to fit in
Let’s face it… they do spend most of their time out of “the loop” so why would they feel the need to fit in anyway?
They’re too busy learning, experiencing and living to worry about whether their hair looks “on point” or their clothes are fashionable enough.
But why does this make them an awesome friend?
Because unlike certain people you may associate yourself with, they often don’t give a s**t about what you wear or what you do in your spare time either.
All they’re after is an authentic friendship.
So yeah, wear those socks and sandals all you like.
6. They give value to the present moment
Most people who like to travel have learned not to live in the past or future, only in the present…
This is how they make the most of their travel experiences.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that if you’re in their mind, they’ll call.
It means that when you spend time together, they’ll listen.
It means that when you want to do something, you’ll learn to just do it, instead of put it off for another day, week or year.
7. They’re high on life
Simply put, they’re living the dream…
Not everyone is able to get on a plane and travel to lands completely foreign to them.
Not everyone knows what the Eiffel Tower or Taj Mahal look like.
Not everyone understands the benefits of traveling or agrees with it for that matter.
But when someone is able to break through the barriers, one way or another, and truly experience what it’s like to live with full force, those feelings of curiosity, excitement and pure content become addictive and they look for ways to trigger them in their every day life.
This means that they often look at situations in a more positive light, they actively go in search for places to see and experiences to be had and they are generally quite happy, carefree people to be around.
And, honestly, who doesn’t want a friend like that?
Do you or any of your friends travel? Do you agree or disagree with why I think people who travel make amazing friends? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page!