Bonfire on the beach with friends in Queensland Australia. (Photo: me Quote by Tim Cahill)

Bonfire on the beach with friends in Queensland Australia. (Quote by Tim Cahill)

As I am bouncing around the globe, being the nomad that I am, I’m lucky enough to experience some of the most incredible and beautiful places in the world. I have seen and done things that many people back home only dream of doing.

Such as…

  • Fishing with locals in the Adriatic Sea
  • Cuddling and feeding kangaroos and koalas in Australia
  • Drinking Guinness straight from the brewery in Dublin
  • Living in an old roman palace in Croatia
  • Watching fireworks over a castle in Prague

(Jealous yet? Okay, okay, I’ll stop.)

The thing is, as amazing as all of these adventures have been, none of it would mean nearly as much if it wasn’t for the phenomenal friends that I experienced them with. They are the fellow backpackers I worked with, the people sharing my 10-bed hostel dorm room, the travelers in my tour group around a new destination.

As the number of months I have been exploring continues to grow, I have come to realize that there are many different types of friendships you create with your fellow travelers. Whether you know them for a few hours, a few days, or a few months, each bond formed with someone on the road is significant to you and your memories.

Here are some of the stand-outs that come to mind:

1. One Day Friends — “Wait, whats your name again?” 

Georgie and I spent a random night together in Croatia, and I actually ended up staying with her in Melbourne!

Georgie and I spent a random night together in Croatia, and I actually ended up staying with her in Melbourne!

These are the friends you make most often, and, although they are harder to remember as time passes, their friendship comes to mind when you are telling a story of ‘that one time you hiked that one mountain with that one girl who was staying in your dorm’. Remember her? You chatted for hours, sharing your life story’s over a few sandwiches, enjoying the view, and soaking up the sunshine in a far away place. Either you or them are leaving tomorrow, which proves it difficult to really form a deep bond that will extend beyond a single day, however, this doesn’t make it any less significant. It was you and her, taking on something new, and being a witness to each others wonderful experience.

Myself and a couple of the girls from my hostel hiking through Noosa National Park.

Myself and a couple of the girls from my hostel hiking through Noosa National Park.

2. One Week Friends — “If I’m ever in – insert country here – I’ll definitely come visit!” 

Crepe party!

Crepe party!

About a quarter of the million times I have said those words to people, I have actually followed through. I would say half of the people you meet when backpacking for a significant time can fall into this category. They are the ones that are usually staying at the same hostel as you and your time there overlaps for more than a couple of days. You spend most of your time with them exploring the new and unknown city you find yourself in and getting lost with each other. You plan meals together, because it is cheaper to cook for a few and split the cost then buying way too much food for yourself. You go out drinking together and reminisce the next day about who may have “pulled” who, all the while nursing matching hangovers.

Seeing as you spend more than a day or so together, the bond formed is a bit deeper and you exchange Facebook information, promising to keep in touch. And, if you’re lucky, they are traveling a similar route as you, and you get to meet up later and get lost together in a new city. It’s always nice to see a familiar face when you get to a new hostel!

Although I no longer really speak to most of these people on a day-to-day basis, having friends like this around the world has provided me a few couches to crash on or a free local tour guide when I actually do find myself in their country. Score!

With old friends and new friends enjoying the Adriatic Sea.

With old friends and new friends enjoying the Adriatic Sea.

3. Small World Friends – “What?! You know such-n-such too? Crazy!”

Road-tripping the Great Ocean Road

Road-tripping the Great Ocean Road

I love these friends! The world is a very big place, and when you find yourself all alone on the other side of the world and you strike up a conversation with someone new, asking where they are from and where they have been, etc. etc., it is always exciting to discover you have friends or places in common.

A few examples for you:

  • I met a couple of guys at my hostel in Melbourne that turned out to be from a small town in England where I spend a lot of Christmases with my step-dads family. We ended up becoming good friends, since we all stayed there long-term, and now have plans to meet up for drinks if we both find ourselves there over the holidays.
  • An English guy checked into a room at my hostel here in Noosa and he thought I looked familiar. Turns out he became good friends with the guys in the previous story while backpacking Australia, and recognized me from Facebook photos. Even smaller world: He is spending the holidays with his brother in an a different tiny English town, which is where my parents just happened to move to! We exchanged details and might meet up when I am there in December.
  • I met a California girl a couple of weeks ago who went to a university that a lot of my good friends went to. Curious to see if we had mutual friends, we looked each other up on Facebook. Strangely enough, no mutual friends from California, HOWEVER, we did have one girl in common – someone I worked with over a summer in Croatia and she worked with in Brooklyn. Mind blown.

I think you get the point now.

Friends like this are rare, but when little discoveries like the ones above are made, there is some sort of instant connection that forms. A bond that is different than the ones you have with other people you meet, because they actually know or understand something that has to do with your other, before-this-trip, life.

4. Surprise friends — “You know, you are actually pretty cool.” 

With new Finnish & English friends.

With new Finnish & English friends.

Obviously, the above quote is probably something you would say to yourself, in hopes to not offend this new, kind stranger. Although stereotyping is something that none of us set out to do, it does happen. You find yourself not striking up a conversation very often with people you wouldn’t normally associate with back home. Maybe they are quite a bit older than you, or dress differently, or have a multi-colored mohawk. Try not to let little factors like this come into play when you are determining who to hang with.

I have had some of the best and most-interesting conversations with people that just happen to be unlike the people I am used to meeting back home. The beauty of traveling is that all of the people you come across, no matter their age or their looks, all have something very much in common with you: a strong passion to travel and explore the world. They are likely to be adventurous and outgoing and interested in stretching beyond their comfort zone. They are happy to swap stories of past trips, and can also be full of useful tips and tricks of the travel-kind.

And you never know, you may have WAY more in common than you think, get along fabulously, and want to spend more than just a couple hours chatting with them. All because of one snap judgement, you could miss out on making a really great friend, and, well, that would suck.

5. Meant-To-Be Friends — “I friggin’ love you!”

I worked with these guys on a pub crawl in Croatia and we were inseparable.

I worked with these guys on a pub crawl in Croatia and we were inseparable.

You know the type I am referring to. These are the best kinds of friends you make when backpacking! They are very like-minded to you, interested in seeing and doing the same things, and almost always have the same wicked-sense of humor. (Well, at least mine do.) You tend to make an instant connection with them at the hostel, or work the same casual job. You party and hang out and pretty much do everything together. For me, these are the ones that will always last a life time. I will meet up with them in different places around the world and if I ever get married, they will certainly get an invite. No matter how many countries separate us, or how much time passes between visits, nothing changes. When I think about my best friends, very few people I grew up with actually fall into this category. My best friends are in Canada, England, Australia, Prague, etc. and every time I get to Skype or FaceTime with them is filled with catching-up, reminiscing, and a whole lot of laughter!

There are quite a few others not shown, whom I love very dearly, but just didn’t want to bombard you with too many pictures. (Don’t worry guys – you mean just as much!)

And last, but certainly not least…

6. More Than Friends — “So, you’re dorm or mine?”

(Sorry guys, but I’m not sharing photos for this one!)

If you have traveled, then you know that unplanned relationships, however short or long, with foreign strangers DO happen. Whether it is the beautiful Scottish guy you made out with on the dance floor (and maybe went home with), or the Australian you had surprisingly strong chemistry with that became more than just fun and feelings developed, to the English guy that eventually became your boyfriend when you moved to London.

When you are traveling around new place, you tend to act like more like your true self than ever. If someone doesn’t like you, who cares!? You probably won’t see them again the next day anyways. Because you leave your guard down and you just want to have a good time, you put off a fun-loving and happy vibe to those around you. It is crazy how many more people I find attracted to me when I am traveling, compared to at home, because I am not trying. I am just enjoying myself and don’t really give a sh*t.

These sort of friendships can be the most fun (for obvious reasons) however they can be the most difficult as well. Everyone is from a different place, or traveling different directions, so you try your hardest to keep things light until the clock runs out. However, that isn’t always the case. You find yourself extending your trip in one city, or changing your next stop to coincide with theirs, just to grab a little bit more time together. Eventually, as much as you try to fight it off, the time comes for you to part ways. You think you might actually have something special, so you promise that you will keep in touch and have faith that, if it’s meant to be, it will, but more often than not, that isn’t quite the case. People move on, meet other strangers, and move different directions in life.

It can be difficult to let go of situations like this, but you just have to appreciate them for what they are, and look back with a smile, happy for the time you spent together, and move on.

As for the little one night flings, they make for great stories to share with friends when you return.

_____

That’s about it! That is the 6 different types of friendships you can expect to make when you go backpacking around the world. These are the people that will determine how incredible your trip will be, as well as provide you will excuses to travel even more when you want to go for visits (free accommodation!).

Teaching my Aussie friend Phil how a straight-arm is done in Croatia.

Teaching my Aussie friend Phil how a straight-arm is done in Croatia.

Can you think of a person you met traveling that fits into each category? Do you think there is another type of friendship I haven’t mentioned? Please share them with me in your comments below. 

“What’s your name again?”: The 6 Friends You Make When You Travel The World As I am bouncing around the globe, being the nomad that I am, I’m lucky enough to experience some of the most incredible and beautiful places in the world.

Stay - Eat - Do | Split, Croatia!

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Yesterday, I spent a large chunk of time (larger than I would have liked) going through backed up emails I have from my blog. Because I haven’t been incredibly active, and I feel like pretty much most of my readers are people I actually know in real life, I don’t really expect to come across anything exciting in my inbox.

I was mostly right, since 99% of the things in there were alerting me of spam comments on past posts or monthly newsletters from other travel blogs that I can never quite catch up with. 

But then I saw it. 

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Keeping My Passion For Travel Strong While Back Home

It is AMAZING how just spending one evening having dinner and drinks with someone from another country, swapping travel stories and life experiences can really effect a person. 

Yesterday, I reached out to someone on Couchsurfing who was passing through San Luis Obispo, and asked if they wanted to meet up. We ended up going out to dinner, walking around town, and talking for hours. 

It made me realize just how much I was starved for interaction with other travelers, and I am slowly starting to forget just how passionate I am about saving up as much as I can and embarking on my next adventure.

When you are back home, it is easy to justify spending your money on cute clothes in shop windows, going out with your friends every weekend, eating out at your favorite restaurants. I mean, I haven’t had the opportunity to go to these places or see these people in years, right?! I now realize that I am starting to do these things more in excess than moderation, and that I am missing out on saving more money and taking a longer time to reach my savings goal. 

We will most likely never see each other again (like most travel relationships), but it is incredible how just spending this one evening with someone can effect me so much. I am very thankful to my new German friend for helping me re-focus on the things that are important to me and get me back on track, saving again. 

If you are a traveler that is back home saving for an upcoming trip, I strongly (super strongly!) urge you to get on CouchSurfing. You don’t even have to host people (although I have before, and it is tons of fun). You can just offer to take them out and show them around the area. The conversation and good company, even if just for a day or two, will help keep that fire in you that is burning for travel, ignited. 

I know I’ll certainly be doing it more often.

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Have you been on CouchSurfing before? What has been your experience of it? What else keeps you focused on saving for your travel adventures? 

Here is a great article just posted on Thought Catalog (my addiction!) by an inspiring young woman who didn’t feel happy in her life and decided to do something about it. 

Instead of settling, she took her 6 years of savings and hopped on a plane to India. 

Sound a bit familiar? Sound fun? Sound scary? 

Sounds pretty damn awesome to me!

Check out the story through the link above and be sure to come back and tell me what you think.

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Travel Video Awesomeness: Postcard From Bali

What an incredibly beautiful place. 

The colors…

The people…

The lifestyle. 

This beautiful country has a very prominent place on my list of places to visit and I hope to make it happen in the next few years. 

Can’t wait to be walking barefoot on a beach there…

Where is your dream destination? 

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My Friend, The Traveler: “Swiggy” from the States

It’s baaaaaaack!

Man, I absolutely LOVE these interviews I have been doing with friends that I have made from around the world. They always remind me of my own stories and experiences I have had, and get me so pumped up for all the traveling I still intend on doing. 

It is my hope that by reading these, you also have a similar desire to embark on your own journey and have your own crazy stories to share with the world. 

Maybe skip that next Starbucks, or buy generic instead of name brand, and instead, put that extra money in savings towards a trip for yourself…that money starts adding up.

Even if you only want to go to a city that is only a 2 hour drive away, GO. It’s still traveling. It’s still adventuring somewhere new. 

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This week on My Friend, The Traveler, we meet Mike “Swiggy” Swigunski. We met about a year ago through mutual friends when I was in Prague, and he was teaching at a university there. 

Swiggy has done quite a bit of traveling and living in different places, so he, of course, has a lot of insight to share with those who have never done much travel, or are just starting out. 

Enjoy!  

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When I see travel’s influence on my life, I can’t afford to have a life that is absent of it. I am my best version of myself when I’m traveling and upon immediately returning. One day I may meet a girl on my travels who challenges my love affair with travel by having such an impact on my own life, prompting me to make room for both, but until then, and long after, I’ll keep a packed bag by the door with no regrets.

Travel Video Awesomeness: Make It Count

This is one of my favorite travel videos that I have ever come across. 

Life is short.

And unpredictable.

Why spend our lives working in a job that we don’t enjoy, in a city we don’t love, buying things we don’t need?

Your life should be something to be proud of. To enjoy every single day. 

What is it that makes you happy?

What can you do to make your life better? 

What do you enjoy? 

DO THOSE THINGS.

We are only given one life. Make it a life that you love. A life that makes you wake up every day with a smile on your face. 

Why not start now?

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So you want to work for a pub crawl?

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For some reason, one thing that I haven’t really talked about much on this blog AT ALL is my experience working for pub crawls. I am not really sure why I haven’t either, because it has been such a massive part of my time that I spent in Europe. (Maybe a little too much…)

Well the time has come that I let you in on the behind the scenes look of what it was like working for a pub crawl in Europe, and how you can score a job doing it as well.  

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