All ‘finding yourself’ and ‘vibes’ jokes aside, it’s a little tricky when your favourite people jet off to have the most amazing times of their lives whilst you’re sat at home.It feels like they’re friend-cheating on you, what do you do when your friends are making new friends, new memories with other people?
Be patient. Most travellers set off for around 3-6 months, it’s a long time. But you must be patient and remind yourself that they’re not leaving your friendship at the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan – along with their tenth pair of flip-flops.
Take Notice. Praying to the hostel and phone signal Gods, your friends are likely to have the opportunity to post all their wonderful thought and photos on social media. Take notice of what they have to say, where they are and what they’re doing. It’s often forgotten that these people travelling actually miss you back (aww) and it’ll be nice for them to know you’re thinking of them and paying attention to their travels. And if you don’t then maybe they’ll start rating the companionship of elephants and koalas more than your good-self.
Keep in contact. Every now and again message your friends via text/skype/social media. It’s important to keep them up to date with your life too or you’ll be on a completely different page when they get back. It’s also important to ask what they’re doing and how they are, a little thought goes a long way. Even if it does feel like they’d be impossible to reach and have become the captain of a far-away boat or something.
Understand. Surprisingly, although it’s vital to keep in contact, it’s not that easy when your friends are exploring caves and going on wild adventures – whilst trying not to lose their phones amongst all this fun. You have to be empathetic and know that it is difficult to make contact sometimes and you shouldn’t hold that against them. Wi-Fi to someone travelling is just like discovering the internet all over again, you have to respect that.
Be happy. It’s completely understandable you’re going to be jealous of your friends, if it’s not of their tan and naturally highlighted hair then it’ll definitely be the experiences. But bitterness never made anything sweet and it definitely won’t aid a distanced relationship. Be happy for your friends or you can’t really call yourself a friend at all. You’re just as pleasant as a dodgy stomach from a new foreign delicacy, don’t give them another pain.
Listen. It’s a given your friends will talk LOADS about their travels, maybe repeat their stories once or twice. But it’s important you listen and take interest. This was an incredible part in their life and if you’re their true friend you should want to feel connected to their adventures. And besides if you decide to travel yourself, you can look beyond Trip Advisor.
Make a fuss. This applies to before they leave and when they come back. Wish them good luck and safety, try to say goodbye before they leave. You must also make an effort to see them upon their return, things may have completely changed around you but they’re returning to the same place they left several months ago, don’t make them feel any different. I mean, how would you feel returning to the UK to find out we now have a female Prime Minister and everyone is playing Pokémon and actually going outside again. It’s like waking up from an unscheduled nap, it’s very confusing, so don’t add to that confusion.
And for all those adventurers, don’t forget it’s a two-way street. Accept the fact they may be busy doing their own thing; take notice of what they’re up to as well; and don’t forget to keep in contact and make the effort when you get back. It’s the thought that makes the difference.
Even if you’re not as cute as a baby elephant, as mesmerising as a deep blue ocean or as beautiful as a swing in the sunset, you’re still their friend no matter where they are.
Written for The Adventure Gang