How to make friends when you travel

 

Some people believe that you have to speak to a person every day to consider them a friend.  Over the years I have realized that that’s not the case at all.   Many of my good friends don’t live in my city, province or country; they are people I’ve met during our travels. Somewhere in the world we met,  formed a connection  and shared a moment.

TANZANIA LAUGH

One of many crack-ups with my pal Fimo in Tanzania

 

I have a bit of a reputation for making friends on trips.

Yangshou pals

Making friends in Yangshuo, China

It’s true that it comes easily to me but  I truly believe that any person with a positive attitude won’t have any  problems making friends on the road.

NZ laundry motel

He let me use the commercial washer when he saw me fiddling with coins and a mountain of dirty laudry. Friend for life. :)

 

Have a great outlook on life and seek out people who have the same and you’ll never be lonely. Here are a few tips on ways to make friends while traveling:

1. Find common ground

People get along when they have things in common. We tend to relate with individuals that share a common interest.  When travelling, visit places that  you have a passion  about and do things that you enjoy.  The people who you will meet in those places likely share your interest and people who share the same interests will always have things to talk about.

Cambodia

Tuk Tuk drivers who I now count as friends in Cambodia

 

2. Avoid the hot button issues

Religion and politics. Stay away.  The chances that individuals will share the same opinion on these matters is slim. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re uncomfortable change the topic to something less heated. When I find myself being drawn into a conversations about one of these subjects I will change the topic to sports. The trick is to comment on a player from the national team of the country that the person you’re speaking to is from. People like reminders of home when they’re traveling. They appreciate that you know a little bit about where they are from. It always bring a huge smile to the person’s face.  

Mumbai market

Had to take a picture with this market merchant in Mumbai

3. Try something new

Don’t be afraid to try a new activity. There is an old cliché that “a friend is a stranger you have not met yet.”

 For example: I do not consider myself a great swimmer. I’d say I’m average at best. But when we were in Mombasa, Kenya I saw that  water polo was  the most popular sport among the travelers at the resort we were visiting.  There were no rules that you had to learn; it  was all about having fun and trying to make friends. Numerous times in the game I was seriously considering calling it quits because of my swimming ability but with my teammates cheering me on I stuck it out. I had a blast and the bonds forged in the pool made  it easier to relate to the individuals when I passed them on land later. We had  shared an experience together and it provided enough of an ice breaker to allow us to relate to each other. We spoke about those games for hours and days to come.

Water Polo pals

Friends made in the pool turned into friends on land.

Be yourself, do the things you enjoy, stay away from confrontational issues and have fun.

Dubai Crew

You meet the best people when you travel.

 

 

 

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Roni Faida November 18, 2013, 8:57 AM

    Good points, although I don’t agree with #2. I have had some wonderful discussions about race and religion with complete strangers. I love hearing other people’s POV and try to see things from their perspective. And you are so right, you do meet some of the best people when you travel!

  • Adwoa November 28, 2013, 3:38 PM

    Excellent advice. You have the right approach and I bet your energy and that of your wife is warm, accepting and approachable. It shines through every photo.
    Yes, sage advice indeed, you are right!

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