As I prepare to move to a different city I can’t help getting a bit nostalgic. When you travel and move around a lot it’s hard to keep in contact with the friends you grew up with or shared times with. It’s not to say the friendships have vanished, but the commonality, the shared location has gone. I know as I pack my stuff that I’m going to be going through this process again and will be leaving many of the people who I’ve grown close to over the last few years.
The problem with trying to keep up with friends is an age old one; it is also one of the major pitfalls of travelling or living abroad for any extended period of time. Still in most cases when you do catch up nothing has ever really changed. Seeing a friend after a year, two years or more, I quickly get back into the same old patter. There’s not much talk of times missed and years passed, but rather the here and now. What they got up to on the weekend and anything else that comes to mind.
Despite living in a tropical island paradise, the number of friends who have visited me in almost four years hovered on the zero mark until a few months ago. If we were going to catch up it has always been a case of me returning home, not that I mind this at all. Time and money are the two most common excuses for not coming over to visit. Both are valid and easily understandable, which made the arrival of one of my best friends all the more amazing.
Sharing adventures and exploring new places together is a great way to strengthen a friendship, as well as learn more about each other. Even if you see each other every day in your normal nine to five environment, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot more about that person when you travel together. The stress, strains and joys of an adventure do put a lot of pressure on a friendship, but they also strengthen it no end.
Regardless of the fact that I ended up visiting a place that I’d already gone to a hundred times before, going there with my friend gave me the impetus to do that little bit more; to explore ‘my own backyard‘ as it were. Sites that I knew I should have visited a long time ago I got around to finally seeing. Climbing Mount Merapi volcano was just one example of the crazy kind of adventures I was up for trying (although it did remind me that I am getting older and a lifestyle that involves almost zero exercise means that anything more than a gentle slope is going to make me wonder if those chest pains might be the first sign of a heart attack).