As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Sibling Day, the list goes on. Promoted by the ‘greeting card’ industry back then the commercialization is far from over. Every month there is a day that is celebrated to boost sales of cards, flowers, chocolates and what not.
Today, the first Sunday of August every year is celebrated as ‘Friendship Day’ in many Asian countries. People tie friendship bands to their friends to strengthen the bond between them.
As travellers, we are constantly moving from one place to other. On our journey we make numerous friends whom we might or might not see again. But the bond between us stays strong. Over the years there have been so many people who have been on a journey with me, we’ve shared rooms, food and cracked countless jokes. We were there for each other when we needed the most. I am not in touch with most of them but those memories stayed with me forever.
I asked my fellow travellers on the friends they made during their travels and whether the friendship has lasted beyond the commercialisation, beyond their journey.
Priya Chaphekar of Wild Girl Diaries is an avid trekker who does not miss an opportunity to be amidst nature. “Instead of spending money on a luxury spa resort, I’d rather take the road less travelled and explore the unexplored. I’ve made many friends during such travels , and I must say, it is the strongest. We’ve coped with natural disasters together, eaten soup at 15000ft and huddled in sleeping bags during excruciatingly cold nights. I think these are the stories that stay with you for life. In school and college, you don’t have much choice. We are all walking down the same road. But when you travel to different places, you meet people with different backgrounds.
I met my husband on a trek too. We spend our time and money on trekking rather than expensive dates. When you travel with a person, you know the true nature of the individual. Almost a decade ago, I had been to Bhrigu with a group of strangers. Our mules lost their way and we were stuck in snow for the entire night. We hardly knew each other but huddled together before the camp-fire for survival. That incident instilled a strong bond of friendship amongst us. Thanks to social media we all are still in touch today.”
Jay Nair who runs Winks and Smiles is passionate traveller and photographer. “Sometimes when I see a map of the world, I look at it and think of all the friends I have met. The friendships you make when travelling are irreplaceable: intense, often lifelong, and usually rooted in common lifestyle and passion. My lifestyle doesn’t make maintaining friendships easier, but it doesn’t make it impossible either. I have friends around the globe I see every few years and we make the effort to stay in touch. When we are together, our bond is still strong.
In the past one year, I have met almost 84 new people, solely through my trips. That’s a part of travelling, meeting so many new people, creating new friendships, and to me, it’s the greatest part of this lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this is also a part of the travelling lifestyle, this coming and going, this saying hello and then soon after, saying goodbye (the worst part). Even with my love of meeting new people, it is most certainly difficult, even after so many years of travel, to fully get used to saying goodbye so many times as I move on and leave new friends behind. Nobody likes parting ways with someone they have enjoyed spending time with.
The bonds of friendship that originate in a different land, amidst unique and special situations have an exclusivity that renders such friendships timeless. I want to send out a big bundle of love to my travel friends, and more specifically, my friends here in India. They always (mostly) take care of me, make me laugh, and always, always respond to my messages and calls. It wouldn’t be the same without them. “
Abdul Waheed is a traveller and a photographer. For him, his first love is trekking. “Most of the time I go solo and with that I have made many friends. I am in touch with most of my friends whom I have made during my travels. The best part is that once we meet we have so much to share, our adventure, our journey as we have the same area of interest. This I can’t discuss with my college or school friends. They somehow do not understand with the same passion and interest. I think Travel Friends are Forever Friends.
Have you made any friends while travelling with whom you are still in touch?
Let us know!