What Travel Has Taught Me About Friendship

I’m going to be completely honest and admit that the inspiration for this post came from a sulk I’ve been having over the upcoming nuptials of one of my best friends. The issue being that her wedding is in three weeks and I will not be able to attend. In fact, this is the fourth wedding of my dearest friends that I’ve had to miss since leaving the U.S.

Counting the misses I began to think about how much sacrifice is involved in making the decision to be a long-term traveler. Especially at the time and age when weddings and babies are the milestones our loved ones are reaching.

Wah wah wah, woe is me.

Self-pity is hardly my modus operandi (M.O.), but the Universe let me indulge for about 10 minutes before smacking me upside the head with a quote that helped change my perspective:

“Sacrifice is something that is often misunderstood. It sounds unpleasant but really is just an exchange in energy.” -John Kehoe

The way I’m choosing to see this is actually win-win for me. While I have had to miss out on these once in a lifetime moments in the lives of the people I love most, they love me enough to understand why I can’t physically be there.

The energy exchange here is that by not being home I’ve been able to make new and lasting friendships with some pretty incredible people. Call me a mystic but I believe we’re predestined to meet the people we cross paths with in life. Whether we understand it or not, there’s a specific reason I know you and you know me or maybe you don’t know me personally but you’re reading this post. It’s not a coincidence.

Each person I’ve formed a relationship with while traveling has taught me something unique and changed my life forever. Thank you for being exquisite human beings and sharing your time with me.

That being said, the new friendships made during travel have helped me to cherish the lifelong friends I have. There is something to be said about the people who have seen you through your darkest times (in my case ages 20-23, woof) and love you regardless. The people who you can reminisce with about almost everything not just the last hostel you stayed at; they know you at your core.

Blessed are the friendships that can take a physical hiatus and remain emotionally intact. While the prospect of going home is looming, nothing excites me more than the fact that I will be in close proximity to my dearest. That I will get to hug them and celebrate their milestone’s in God’s time, and from there I will cherish my new friends half a world away.

The life of a traveler is fraught with sacrifice and rewarded with possibility. In the words of Jack Kerouac, “Live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry.”

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