Solo Traveling and Making Friends (Or Not)

I’m generally a loner who enjoys my own company. That said, making friends comes relatively easy for me. Easy in the sense that I’m modestly adept at interacting with strangers. A bit more difficult in that I’m choosy about who I spend time with. Traveling solo hasn’t changed this. Ha.

Who I’ve Got to Work With

In South East Asia, I’ve met a ton of English teachers who assume I’m an English teacher too. I haven’t found much depth of conversation from these folks. Just the typical travel chat including where are you from, how long have you been in x, and where’ve you travelled to? I have gotten to spend some time with different musicians. And there’s not much happening there conversation wise either. A couple of funny guys. But not much depth.

I wasn’t able to connect with the mythical digital nomad/location independent crowd of Sai Gon, Viet Nam. While apart of the Facebook group(s), they never met nor seemed to want to in the three months I was there. So now I’m in Da Nang, Viet Nam. I find the digital nomad/location independent group here and attend the first event I can. It was dope. People like me, working to live intentionally. It could have just been the one presenter who talked about how he and his partner travel and make decisions about their lives that caught my attention. I’ll have to go to the next one to see.

What I’ve Done in the Past
I chose my friends in the States because they were a reflection of the parts of myself I love the most. And I miss that outward recreation of and synergy with myself. My friends were all heart, creative, expressive, random, talented, bright in different ways, and were able to turn up when the vibes were right. I found them through different things we had in common.
With that said, I don’t feel out of place while traveling, but miss being my different selves with my curated bunch of sugar blossoms. These are the kinds of friends who, through presence, can encourage you to be more of yourself. Interactions with them spark the unused parts of you, and you’re able to inspire yourself.
What I Do While Traveling
I have to manufacture this stimulation since the people I have access to don’t often (ever lol) fit the bill. So I’m making friends. But they’re pretty much in my head. I do this through books, specifically fiction. Series that I find stimulating like Rupaul’s Drag Race or through travel movies. I also listen to music and get caught up in how prolific it is. How another human can write music and words that pull at my core so definitively. I used to be a heavy podcast listener, and I’m sure that will circle back around eventually. Storytelling is something I want to do well and so I study podcasts to enjoy and observe how a story can pull you in.
If You Actually Want Real, Human Friends
As far as making friends on the road, it depends on how you’re traveling, and it’s up to you to bring the extra effort. If you’re visiting, try out a hostel; there’s a built-in potential friend group. If you’re traveling long-term, you can try linking with the local couchsurfing group, and go to their, often weekly, meetups. Or whatever you’re into, look for a group. Yoga, salsa, hiking, wine. Use Facebook to find your tribe.

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