Whether you are travelling on your own or with friends, it never hurts to make some new friends.
Some benefits include but are not exclusive to:
– Deep meaningful conversation
– Inebriation partner
– Tales of Adventure and Treasure
– Feelings of Cultural Superiority/Inferiority
Here are 7 ways to make friends when travelling:
1. Respect the Local Culture and Customs
Locals will appreciate the effort to learn their culture and customs. They are much more likely to befriend you. Plus, others that don’t know much about the local culture will respect you and your efforts. It’s a great conversation starter.
2. Have Something to Talk About
You’ve made it this far, you’ve left home. You’ve got a story to tell. Tell it. Where have you come from? Why have you come travelling? Where are you going? Regale tales of lands left behind, even if that is a place in middle England called Coventry.
Smile, Smile, Smile! It’s the secret to most friendship building opportunities.
4. Sing or Dance
This was hard for me. I have a terrible voice and 2 left feet. But when it comes to going out on the town (or centre shack), it always helps to get involved in the sing along and some dancing.
Unusually when staying in hostels, groups of people will go out together even though they aren’t really acquainted. After some singing to The Killers’ Mr Brightside and attempting to Dance to LMFAO, everyone is pretty acquainted and having fun. I made some great friends doing just this, though I still can’t do the Melbourne Shuffle.
I’ve done this more times than is polite. Sit near other people, listen to what they are talking about and then if you have something interesting to say about the topic, share it with them or ask a question relating to it. Bingo, you’re in. Most of the time anyway.
6. Share Food
A sure fire way to someone’s friendship is the offer of tasty food. Very few people will take offence at an honest offer. We don’t eat beef on a account of being Hindu and liking cows but if someone offered me a bit of steak I would decline and be completely cool with it. Same the other way, if I offered a chicken nugget to a veggie, I’d apologise and 9/10 times we’d strike up a conversation. At the end of the day everyone loves food.
7. Oh My God! You Know My Name!
As simple as it sounds, remembering someones name goes along way in the short life of a relationship on the road.
It can be hard to do sometimes as I’m a pretty forgetful person.
I’m pretty good at at remembering names. It never gets old seeing people’s faces surprised and happy that I thought they were important enough to remember their name. To me everyone is important and I always do my best. It turns out well.
Go forth and socialise (with food)
Keep an open mind and open heart. The people you meet on the road can change your life.
The people in the photos will always be important to me but I don’t speak to many of them any more. The first one are the people I first met on my travels. I keep in touch with one of them once a year or so and the bottom photo are the people I went to Fraser Island with and speak to couple of them every now and then.