When you travel for a long period of time what happens to your relationships?
This is the question I was considering the other day as a few buddies and I were enjoying a round of rum and coke at a local bar in Medellin.
I didn’t consider the question aloud, as we were discussing some other topic, and truth be told, these buddies of mine are not long term travelers in any sense of the term. They were foreigners in Colombia, but were headed back to their homelands after a while in the city.
As I sat back in my chair, I looked at my buddy to my left.
He’s a cool guy… just out of college, affable, generally friendly, fluent in English and Spanish. We’ve had some good nights hanging out.
Yet I could not help but think to myself that a few months from now our lives will totally diverge. He is from another country and is leaving Medellin indefinitely. And my future plans are uncertain at this point.
So I had a reflective moment…
Is he the kind of friend who I’ll keep in touch with?
It was a sobering moment, because it was like the finality of it all set in.
No. Probably not.
I mean, we still have a few months left of hanging out in Medellin. But suddenly it began to feel like some glorified hostel setup… you know, the friends you make in a hostel for a weekend, where you have a great time for a few days, you add them on facebook, you go out at night… but then a few months later you realize you didn’t have too much in common and it’s unlikely you will ever see them again so you consider dropping them off your facebook.
This began to feel like that.
But, wait a minute, if I am living a life of long term travel– of moving from place to place– is this not what I am subjecting myself to?
Even if you stay in a place like I have for several months, the fact remains:
You might come back a year, 2 years, 3 years later, but everyone knows a lot happens in 3 years…. People change. You change. Things change.
Even in your hometown things change. You go back and your old friends are not the same. The streets are not the same. Your parents aren’t the same.
And all the while you begin to think yourself that you missed the change.
And now, things are different.
I really don’t like this aspect of long term travel.
To me, it seems like you are left with a string of short-term relationships wherever you go. Unless you are privileged to have a partner who travels with you, you are leaving off the possibility of long-term relationships with people in your proximity.
Is this the way to live?