Worldly Meetings

Today is a very exciting day. Why? Because tonight I leave for my honeymoon. One year later.

I have no specific plans to make friends on my trip—it’s a romantic getaway after all. But just because I’m not planning for it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I’ve heard plenty of tales of people—especially couples—making vacation friends. In fact, someone I know came up with a really clever name for these connections that I now can’t remember. Vacachums? Tripanions? I got nothing. If you are that brilliant mind, please show yourself.

I can see why couples might pair up during weeklong getaways. Vacation bubbles are just a microcosm of the real world. Girls need an US Weekly buddy, guys need someone with whom to make fun of US Weekly. (Generalizations, yes.) But there really is something magical when you’ve found the perfect foursome—and what brings a couple together better than a shared couple crush! Remember PJ and Bobby’s giddiness when they met their perfect match? (No? Then start watching My Boys. Season 4 premieres Sunday.)

I never studied abroad, but I hear that travel friends are the most fascinating kind. One of my closest pals told me to “just get lost and find a local to take pity on you. That’s how I met a nun in Napoli who’s my favorite stranger in the world and I think of fondly and often.” She also tells me that the first essay in Sloane Crosley’s latest book deals with this very issue: “Sloane goes to Portugal on her own before her 30th birthday and is so lonely. On the last night she meets these Portugese clowns in a bar, and the only way they can communicate is drawing stick figures on cocktail napkins, but they end up telling each other all sorts of deep personal truths that way.” Sounds amazing.

A friend who I swear is a professional people-meeter once traveled alone in South America for a month. The emails she’d send to us back home were the likes of: “I met some rock climbers at a bar yesterday and went hiking with them today. Once we got to the top of the mountain we drank whiskey to keep warm and played the guitar. It was freezing and I didn’t have a sleeping bag, but otherwise it was awesome.”

I don’t anticipate any rounds of Top of the World around the campfire, but there’s something poetic about meeting friends as you travel the world. And who knows? Maybe my BFF is awaiting me in Croatia.

Have you ever made travel companions? Share the tale!

(Two quick things: 1) There will be posts all week next week! You’re in for a treat, I promise. 2) It has come to my attention that some Google ads have been appearing at the bottom of some of my posts. I have no idea why—I don’t accept advertisements. So please ignore them and accept my apologies. If anyone knows how I can get rid of them…)

19 Comments

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19 responses to “Worldly Meetings

  1. I just watched that episode of My Boys last week!

    I’m glad there will still be posts next week in your absence – it’s how I start my mornings everyday. But more importantly, have a fun time on your honeymoon! :)

  2. A nun in Napoli? Portuguese clowns? How cool is that? Sigh. Obviously, I do not travel enough or get out by myself.

    Have a great honeymoon!

  3. My husband and I honeymooned in Costa Rica. Our first stop was in the volcano region where our daily routine was similar. Activity in the morning, return to the hotel for lunch, hanging out by the swim-up bar in the pool until it started raining, afternoon naps and then dinner out. During those hours at the pool bar, we became friendly with a bunch of other American couples also staying at the resort. We became particularly friendly with one couple – and even went out to dinner with them for a few nights. That couple lives in Indianapolis and we’ve stayed in touch and gotten together with them a few times each year. Travel is a great way to meet friends – just don’t expect them to be local!

  4. megan

    Last year I went to Europe for a summer and met friends at festivals, volunteer projects and just wandering around the various cities; I still felt pretty lonely though. I think making friends while traveling…or in general is not my strong suit.

  5. Shari

    I was amused by your post because I still remember my husband thinking we might find new friends while on our honeymoon (almost 20 years ago) just as his parents did (probably 40 years ago)!! As it turned out, we did not find long-lasting friends- I’d like to think it’s because we were just too caught up with each other!
    However, my college and current BFF did meet friends on her honeymoon, who live in Canada, but they do stay in touch and get together!

    So, have a wonderful trip –enjoy each other and you never know who you might meet!

  6. My husband and I have only been on two big trips together: a Caribbean cruise (as an also-belated honeymoon) and a week in Jamaica for my sister’s weddingmoon seven months later.

    On the cruise, we did befriend another couple (from Ireland!). We met them at one of the bars and just kept running into them all week, even planning a dinner together at one of the fancier restaurants. (There was another couple too, but they kind of annoyed us.) We exchanged info at the end of our trip but didn’t keep in touch.

    In Jamaica, my family was there so we savored our alone time after spending so much of our time with them. We did chat with some couples on our flight down and the (long!) bus ride to the resort, and we spoke to them when we ran into them during our stay, but we didn’t plan things together or exchange info.

    So there were two (or more) opportunities that we didn’t really take full advantage of, but I guess husband and I weren’t actively pursuing long-distance friendships. I’m in the same boat as you and would just love some local friends!

  7. Emily

    My husband and I met another couple in Jamaica on our honeymoon. They were there getting married and were keeping it a secret from their family before a big wedding in their town later that month (a little like Pam and Jim in Niagara Falls–just saw that Office episode yesterday). By the end of the week we were most honored when they asked us to be there as they exchanged vows. We were the only guests!! Sadly, we have moved around so much and lost touch. I should see if they are on Facebook!!
    I also have a friend who traveled to South America (Peru to be exact) by herself for a month and let life lead her to all sorts of new friends and experiences. Wouldn’t that be funny if it was the same person? She always has tripanions coming to visit her from one of her excursions.

  8. katieleigh

    I met my friend Jeff while traveling in Scotland – he’s an Aussie, and we’ve kept in touch ever since then (six years ago).

    My hubs and I haven’t really met friends on trips together, though we’ve talked to people for sure. Hope you have a fabulous time! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  9. Patti

    Vacachum? Then, how about a vacabud??

    Happy homenymooning!! I’ve never had a honeymoon, although I have been married 32 years to the same wonderful man, my best friend! So…

    Good luck with “accidently” finding that BFF in your travels abroad!

  10. Amanda

    I studied abroad in Greece one summer in college, and made a few awesome and lasting friendships with the girls in my program. Some of them were people I probably wouldn’t have been friends with under other circumstances, but we all had that bond of being clueless and lost yet determined to make the most out of our time in a foreign country, and those girls helped make that summer truly one of the greatest experiences of my life so far. Unfortunately, we’re scattered all over the states, but I have gotten a chance to meet up with 2 of them (in San Francisco and South Carolina…and I live in Texas!) and I worried that we would have lost that bond now that we were back in our comfort zones, but it amazed me how easy it was to pick up right where we left off.

  11. If anyone has ever entertained the idea of traveling alone, yet was ultimately afraid do so, I would recommend a tour with a major company, like Gibraltar or Insight. My husband and I did a ten day tour of Italy last summer, and since we were with the same group of people for the entire trip, it was easy to make friends. The dining is also communal, so couples, families, and singles all sit together at meals- no one is ever alone. In fact, there were two ‘solo’ women on our trip and they got along just fine.

  12. Natalie

    Enjoy your honeymoon!

    I am looking forward to finding out if you meet interesting and fun peeps who become annual escapals.

  13. For people interested in making a local guide friend, esp. solo travelers, many countries have organizations where you can get paired up with a local for a day doing things you want, but with a local companion who can offer the stories, flavor, and companionship you’re looking for. They keep you from getting lost and from spending your meals writing post cards and journaling to keep busy while you awkwardly eat alone.
    One I used was tokyofreeguide.com when I was in, well, Tokyo :)

  14. Ana

    I could’ve sworn there was a Friends’ episode about this…but I can’t remember the specifics. Something about Monica and Chandler…

    Anyway, enjoy your honeymoon! We did meet some people during our honeymoon, but didn’t really make “friends” and kind of wanted it that way…we were exhausted and overwhelmed from the craziness that is a huge family wedding, and just needed the time for each other and ourselves.

    I think it’d be great to make friends on a trip…even if you never see them again it can make the experience so much more fun!!

  15. Erin

    First of all, I love My boys and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t get canceled. I had my 16th birthday will I was on a 3 week excursion through Europe. It was with a group of students that I came to be friends with over the course of a 6 month orientation course, but those 3 weeks I made some of the best travel buddies ever! Also every time I go on a cruise (which I’ve talked about before) I meet so many wonderful people! I know that you will have a such a great time on your honeymoon!!!

  16. Michele

    While camping on Antartica some years ago, my now ex-husband met 2 South African men who were climbing the 7 peaks around the world. He befriended them and kept in touch with them. When we went to South Africa for vacation the following year, we met up with them for dinner in Johannesburg. Subsequently, we have seen them and stayed in contact with them, albeit separately these days.

    And on a return trip from France, I spent most of the flight talking with the guy seated next to me. At the end of the flight we exchanged business cards. Upon our return to NY, we emailed and met for dinner. We got along fabulously well, so well that we now get together for lunch or dinner about every two months, and we have introduced our significant others to each other, and we all get along really nicely. At first my significant other was a bit concerned about this new friendship but I quickly explained to him that I thought my new friend was gay and also young enough to be my son. It turns out I was right on both counts.

  17. Too funny! My husband was born and raised in Croatia before moving to the states. It’s a wonderful country and I highly recommend you check it out sometime. I’ve been there 3 times now and we plan to retire there. Friendly people, great food, beautiful sea and so much more!

    Have a nice honeymoon!

    Jamie

  18. Happy Honeymooning Rachel!

    My husband and I did a group tour of Europe for our honeymoon almost nine years ago. Not a romantic trip, but really fun (my husband and I wanted to do something different). We made friends with 30 other people on our tour bus. It was a great time.

    Wishing you a wonderful time. How awesome is your husband – letting you post on your blog during your honeymoon.

  19. Studying abroad in Tokyo I made friends with classmates who were both from Japan and USA, and have had the chance to stay in touch and visit with some who are here in the States. However, I think that seeing the same people in a controlled environment like school is a “friend incubator” compared to a short honeymoon vacation. Like other posters, I have also traded contact information with people I have met on planes and on trips overseas, and a few of these people I still talk to in emails. The only one that I actually see in person, however, is someone I met in Amsterdam who was a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, and she specifically told me that the only reason she felt comfortable meeting up with me later is because the friend and friend-of-friend cleared me as a good guy. Which brings up an important point — it is really hard to find new friends of the opposite sex!

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