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Making friends as a 24 year old traveller

For me, there was never any doubt in my mind that one day I would travel; to see the world and just to get out of my small Yorkshire market town. To experience other places, other things, other people and their beautiful unknown cultures. 'No' was never an option!

I spent many days researching places to go, looking at pictures of foreign lands and dreaming of the people I would meet.  So when, in 2016, after what can only be described as a quarter life crisis (something along the lines of "I'm not alive to just pay bills, put the washing in and die!"), my boyfriend approached me and said "OK, we'll do it. Let's go and see the world", there was no stopping us!

We spent the following year saving every penny, and in August 2017 we set off on our big adventure. We had planned 6 months of travel; starting with a camping road trip through Europe then moving on to travel across India, Nepal and Thailand.

As we were travelling together I think we kind of presumed we would stick together and if we made friends along the way, great, but if we didn't we would be fine - as we had each other, right? Wrong! If any person reading this has managed to spend 6 months in the company of just one other person and one of you isn't now 6ft under, I would very much like to hear from you! As much as we mostly got on very well, the people we came across were at times a lifeline! I quickly came to realise that even if you are in the most beautiful place on earth, if you've got nobody to share those experiences with, to laugh with and to cry with, it means nothing.

There's something incredibly special about meeting friends in a foreign country.  Maybe it's a mixture of allowing yourself to be vulnerable in an unknown place, of finding yourself somewhere nobody knows you, who you are at home or what you have or haven't done.  All you know is the person sitting in front of you and your opinion of them at that moment. 

Of course, there will always be people you come across who you don't click with; but there's something about sitting around an open campfire in the jungle in Thailand, with unknown sounds all around you, unknown smells and a group of people you've only met that day, that allows you to form exceptionally deep connections. You don't need to know how many brothers and sisters they have, because they have shared their  deepest, darkest hopes and dreams with you. You started talking half an hour ago and now you know their opinions on the politics of the world, on their views of life and death and reincarnation...  It's a fine line between spending your travel time on small talk (there's only so much "so where are you from? How long are you travelling for" that a person can take!), or you allow yourself to be really, truly open, and I think that's when you create the deepest connections with people.

 I will never ever forget rafting on a rickety old raft that looked (and felt!) like it was going to fall apart at any minute, down rapids in the heart of India with a group of friends we had only met a couple of days before. Oh, how we laughed as we plunged to near death! Those memories are the things that bond people forever. We now have friends all over the world, from Alaska, to Dublin, to Japan, to the Philippines - people who live lives so incredibly different to the one we do, people who give us another point of view and who I hope we will stay friends with and visit - and I for one can't wait to learn more about their lives and I wouldn't change meeting them for the world!

If you are planning a trip around the world, whatever your age, go for it, and if you would like to share your experiences with us at togetherfriends, we could love to hear from you. You might also like our travel shoutout, where you can connect with others who want to travel like you! Meantime we can help you be open to new friendships closer to home register here if you haven't already or message someone new on the site today.