Travelling alone is always a little scary (see my post about the nightmare I had in Cambodia) but for the most part you’re never actually alone. Despite being surrounded by lots of other travellers and backpackers you can sometimes still feel a little isolated, especially if you don’t click with anyone. Here’s a rundown of how I made friends and had the best times while backpacking.
INVITE A FRIEND FROM HOME!
When I announced I was going travelling my old housemate Sinead decided to use her holiday time to join me for three weeks in Thailand. It was so nice to see a familiar face and it was so easy travelling with her since we’d lived together for over two years, I don’t think I could’ve spent 24 hours a day with many people for that stretch of time. We gave each other space when we needed it but also had some absolute screams!
Another good friend Lucy was also travelling at the same time so we met up in Pai, Koh Phangan and Bali – we didn’t travel together the whole time as we both wanted the solo experience but it was so fun to get together at various points.
There’s nothing worse than hanging around with people you have nothing in common with, I saw a lot of travellers latch on to literally anyone just for the sake of not being alone. I’d rather be alone forever than be with people I’m just not that into, and I truly believe that a lot of people travel to make themselves more interesting because they have literally no personality. Visiting Thailand is not a substitute for being dryer than a Jacob’s Cream Cracker.
So when you do meet people you click with – get clingy! I met two girls in Kuta, Bali who instantly liked (Candace and Amanda) and we ended up travelling together for over two weeks. I felt like I’d known them for years and my Spotify playlist is forever improved. I have such good memories with these amazing girls.
BRIDGE THE GENERATION GAP
It’s kinda a secret but I’m actually 278 yeas old, or 28, but yeah a little older than your average backpacker. But some of the coolest people I’ve met on my travels have been 18 or 19 – at home I would never hang out with someone so much younger than myself but kids these days are so cool. Be open to chilling with the youths, it’ll knock years off you.
GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS
My time travelling would not be the same without the kindness of the local people (not you Cambodia). I’ve experienced so much more of countries due to locals showing me an insiders view. In India I was blown away time and time again by the generosity of its people and made so many friends there. In Thailand meeting a group of, I think, Thai mafia proved to be a fun and unforgettable night and on the island of Gili T. I have so many brothers and happy, happy memories due to them taking me under their wing.
USE TINDER TO MEET PEOPLE
I’ve been on several Tinder dates while travelling and it has honestly saved my sanity at times. I’ve sometimes been in hostels where either I’m one of the few guests or I just don’t like anyone there. A Tinder date gets you out, you meet someone new, and probably see a side of place you wouldn’t ordinarily – especially if your date is a local. And if you find romance then that’s a bonus.
KNOW WHEN IT’S BEST TO MAKE FRIENDS
When travelling there are times when you’re… how do I put this eloquently? On your arse. Illness, extreme fatigue, travel rage – all real. At times like these it’s best to just have a nap or go for a walk rather than attempting to make friends. I’ve tried to pal up with people when I’ve been in the worst mood and you just end up turning them off you because you end up acting like a negative Nancy. Wit until you’re of sound mind, then apologise and say you were knackered and commence friend-making.
So there are my tips and experiences of making friends while travelling, what are yours?