Have you ever shown family and friends travel photos and theyâ€™ve asked who certain people are? I recently showed my father some photos from my trip to Morocco. He asked who these two guys were in some of my photos and I replied â€œjust some guys we met on the tourâ€. That was it. I summed these two people up in eight words and moved on. It was only a three day tour to the Sahara Desert, which in the grand scheme of things is a miniscule part of my life.
Eight words doesnâ€™t seem to do these guys justice though. We watched each others bags. We had fun wearing turbans and sand boarding in the desert. We stayed up one night discussing life, our ambitions and what to us would define a meaningful existence. At the end of our trip we got off our tour bus, shook hands and we went our separate ways (I went and had Tagine). This happens a lot and over the course of a year youâ€™ll meet hundreds of people. Youâ€™ll have great times, become best friends for a short space of time that seems like months and then move on.
I heard someone describe it as disposable friends. Is that an apt description or cynicism?
The two hardest things to say in life are hello for the first time and goodbye for the last.
At the start of my Gap Year this was quite true but it certainly gets easier. Youâ€™ll learn to make friends quickly and say goodbye just the same. You have to. Itâ€™s a part of travel thatâ€™s a necessity, especially for a solo traveller. It doesnâ€™t have to always be like this. For the most part people I really connect with I do the usual Facebook add and keep in touch. The world really isnâ€™t a big place these days and you never know when youâ€™ll be passing through each others backyards.
Quite early on in my Gap Year, before I was blogging professionally, I used business cards. I found that writing down e-mail addresses on scraps of paper wasnâ€™t ideal and I can barely read my own handwriting as it is. So I got some done at the start of my trip. You can get some business cards to hand out whilst your travelling with your blog details, facebook or e-mail address. People tend to keep hold of these and normally when you get off a bus itâ€™s a quick bye and then â€œoh I should get your detailsâ€. Dishing one of these out is much easier.
I remember walking down the street in Cairns once and I saw my business card sticking out of a book a girl was carrying. Turns out Iâ€™d met her in Thailand on a boat and given her my card then. Sheâ€™d been using it as a bookmark ever since!
Just the other day I got this message and picture whatsappâ€™d to me.
Yup, if you can get past the nail varnish thatâ€™s my business card sheâ€™s holding. I gave her that this time last year when we met in Croatia.
My advice is this: Get some made and dish them out. Stay in touch with as many people as you can. You have no idea where youâ€™ll be this time next year or when they might come past. Iâ€™ve caught up with some people on three different continents. Travel is this beautiful thing that enables you to meet the largest variety of people from all over the world. Seeing things around the world is amazing but itâ€™s the people that make it truly special.