Living away from your close-knit friendship group can be really hard (next level FOMO). In my opinion, it’s one of the hardest parts about living abroad – seeing your group continue to have fun and become closer without you. You’re now the one they have to explain inside jokes to and they’re growing and living new life experiences together, like marriage and having kids. Not that you’re in to that kind of stuff…but still, you’d like to be around for it.
While traveling and taking on the world, you often find yourself on your own, looking to play a part amongst your next potential clique. Because of this, you tend to do and accept situations that you would not normally accept back home. And it’s not just you taking part in these new norms – it’s an unspoken acceptance amongst the travelling community. Traditional relationship formalities are thrown out the window because ain’t nobody got time to develop relationships in the standard way. You and your soon-to-be friend already know you have a predetermined/set/finite/brief amount of time together before you head separate ways. So why waste time worrying about playing it cool or not wanting to seem desperate? Just cut to the chase and be friends already!
I have taken part in a few things myself while experiencing these accelerated relationships that I know I would never do back home. A big part of travelling is trying out new experiences, right?
Buy a car with someone you’ve only known a week? Sure!
Go on a month long road trip with complete strangers? Okay!
Move in with a guy you’ve been seeing for less than a month? Totally normal!
Things develop at a much faster rate in these nomadic, accelerated friendships, which truly allows for an open and fun relationship to form. There is no pre-judgement or expectations in these new connections, allowing you to open up about your fears, your desires, and your opinions to complete strangers. There is also the potential for you to become the person you’ve always wanted to be and/or be more confident with the person you already are.
Forming close ties to new, exciting friends and then losing them just as quickly is one of the drawbacks of accelerated friendships. People I have met abroad seem to be used to connecting with people very closely and are then able move on without getting too emotionally attached. I am not that type of person and I don’t think I ever will be. Sure, sometimes you meet people that you have a great time with, but you’re okay saying goodbye because your relationship has yet to developed into a full friendship. However, the thought of potentially never seeing a close friend again is too much of an emotional burden for me. I am still quite naïve(or maybe just optimistic) when it comes to goodbyes. When I say, “I’ll see you somewhere soon”, I genuinely mean it – it might take a few years (or 10), but I truly believe it.
Developing new friendships and relationships while outside my comfort zone, has brought to light a few characteristic traits about myself. The thing I have noticed the most is it that I am more of an empath than I ever thought. How I am feeling and where my head space is at, is really dependent on the energy of the people I surround myself with. I know that sounds very simple, but it is a complex idea that has taken me until now to realize about myself.
I am still figuring out how to cope with being away from my crew back home (less social media is probably a good start), but I am also learning more about myself as an individual and getting to meet some pretty outstanding people along the way, which in my opinion, is one of the best parts about living away from “home”.