When I was still living in the States and life as an ex-pat was just an idea, I assumed that the fact that I had done so much international traveling would help prepare me for moving to Europe.
I could not have been more wrong.
But, while it may not have prepared me much for life as an ex-pat, my travels have done great things for me. Not the least of which are the friends they have brought into my life. People who started out as random strangers who happened to be in the same place at the same time as myself and for whatever reason we hit it off and became friends. This is one of the great perks of traveling, especially traveling alone. Sure, some remain closer than others, but still, whether for a reason, a season or a lifetime, I’m lucky to have meet these people. And I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t gotten myself out there to see the world.
Case in point – last weekend, I met up with some friends from Sonoma County who were in Dublin for the weekend. We had a lovely dinner and a really nice time catching up on each others’ lives. I met this couple two years ago when I was traveling from Luxembourg to Amsterdam.
Another friend I’ve had a total of about two hours face time with and that was when we met on a walking tour of the Marais in Paris four years ago. But we hit it off and have emailed and facebooked ever since. When we met she was an ex-pat living in Madagascar, so her words of encouragement and advice as I started my own ex-pat life have been a godsend.
And I’ve another friend that I met in a dive bar in Santa Monica more than a decade ago. She is from Australia and was traveling around the world. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other in person but our weekly emails where we just “catch up” with each other are something I always look forward to.
I’ve met and become friends with so many different people with different interests, different careers and completely different lives from mine – except for one thing, we travel. It’s the great uniter amongst all of us.
Now that I live in Europe, travel to new and interesting countries is even easier, and I’m hoping that means there are more friends out there, just waiting to be met.