As my apartment has started feeling empty without my boyfriend Damien, I’m surprised to learn I don’t feel as lonely as I might have.
I’ve spent much of the last days with new and old friends.
Which got me thinking…
Before I decided to start travelling, I didn’t make many new friends.
A handful since high school, and that’s being generous.
And one of the biggest reasons I loved being in Bali was how easy it was to be social.
Every nomad traveller is mostly without their families and friends.
So everyone’s invested in making connections and creating rent-a-families – people to care about and have a great time with.
This whole thing is so amazing to me.
And feels so healthy. To have friends around that you see regularly. Daily if not weekly.
Sure these people are transient – they come and go.
And sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye.
And after enough goodbyes, nomads learn to attach to people who are staying longer – months at least.
That’s why you’ll find that people ask how long someone is staying first and foremost.
But even if plans change and people go away, I realise that the nomad community is small.
There’s only a few of places that people go.
And in the past 3 years, I’ve caught up with friends in one side of the world that I met in another.
When I was in South America, I caught up with a friend I met in Chiang Mai the year before. I also met two friends I met in Bali.
On literally the other side of the world.
This made me realise the world is super small.
- I partied with my friend Sessali in Melbourne, Australia who I met in Chiang Mai. She also visited me in Sydney and stayed with us for a few days.
- I’m here in Chiang Mai with my friend Derek, who was my housemate in Bali. We play Werewolf regularly. He was also in New York last year when we were there.
- Last night I saw my friend Louisa, who I met over a year ago in the island of Koh Lanta.
- I’m also super excited to see one of my favourite people in the world, Fady when he comes to visit next week. We spend 7 months having a great time in Bali.
And since I’ve been here in only a month, I’ve met some great people like Megan and Gerardo – who I’m sure we’ll be friends forever.
I’m sure there are other examples of meeting people in random places that I’m missing.
Had this lifestyle not existed for me, how would I have been able to make friends?
My boyfriend, Damien wants to live in Surfers Paradise, Queensland in Australia this year.
It’s his happy place where he’s visited every year since he was a child on holidays.
I’m completely up for trying if this works for us.
And in my brain, I think the warm weather and the laid back lifestyle could work.
But how the hell would we make friends?
We don’t know anyone.
People in Queensland are known to be friendly, that’s not the problem.
But everyone who lives there has their own circle of friends.
Not to mention they have jobs and their own families.
I can’t expect to see them as often as I see my friends here.
And why would I? There aren’t a lot of events happening that might ensure we see each other regularly.
Not like it is prevalent here – between the house parties, farewells and other events happening, I could go somewhere every night if I wanted to.
And I’d see the same people.
This just doesn’t exist outside of the digital nomad bubble.
But I still want to make it work – for him.
- So I figure we’ll join a coworking space. At least there’s one good one around.
- So I won’t really get to know people outside of how cool their startup is or how they’re going to be successful.
- So I’ll have to work hard to get to know someone on a deeper level and see who they are.
- So we’ll pay for events on a regular basis and work desperately to find our people.
- So It’ll be expensive. We’ll be paying for things to do in the hopes we can find some people we like.
- So I might even settle for people who’ll show up, even if we have nothing in common.
And when my parents or my friends from home ask me why I don’t want to stay, I hope this post gives them an idea of one of the reasons why.
I see my best friends at home once every few months.
Everyone lives far away from one another.
I get it…
Some people are making their own families and don’t need friendships like they used to.
I’m sure I’ll feel the same once we have children.
Or maybe people have families so they don’t have to work hard to make friends.
Regardless, I just want to appreciate the good friends I’ve made since I started this journey.
They’ve made me feel alive in ways I could never have imagined.
The laughter, the ridiculous stories, the rum sessions, the gossip – it’s like high school without the bitchiness (most of the time).
I wish everyone to have this experience.
It’s so lonely otherwise.
At least for me.
Friends, new and old. Gerardo and Megan I met recently and Cassie on the end I met last year. This was taken in New Years Eve during a great night.
Chiang Mai, Thailand