Everyone, I know who has travelled, told me that making friends whilst travelling wasn’t something to worry about as you meet new friends all the time. But; being the anxious traveller that I am I had my doubts.
A new country and a new impromptu way of meeting people to contend with had my flight socks in a twist
Small talk has never been something I excel at – it makes me super uncomfortable and usually leads to me attempting to be funny. A bit like Bridget Jones at the Law Council Dinner.
Team this ordinary anxiety with the anxiety of having a Scottish accent, and a stereotypical tendency to talk quickly, and I didn’t think I was off to a winning start.
It turns out everyone was right though and my worry had been grately exaggerated. Making new friends has been a wonderful experience. The best way to meet people is by staying at a hostel or staying at an Air B&B which is more like shared home (for those that don’t know). We opted for the second option after our hostel horror.
It can be a little daunting at first, depending on the size of the place, there can be a lot of people to introduce yourself to and names to remember. Accept that you won’t remember everyone’s name.
Helpful tip 1#: if you are too embarrassed to ask the person for their name again you can ask them to repeat how their name is pronounced. You will meet people from all over the world – so although this might be a weird question at home (e.g. how to pronounce Jim) asking how to pronounce a name like ‘Mahalia’ not so much. This feels slightly less cringey than admitting you have completely forgotten. Although you will also find people don’t expect you to remember their name first time.
Sharing accommodation is a great way to make friends, learn about different cultures and to share travel stories. So if like me you were worried about making friends add this to the top of your list of ways to do it.
Work is another great way to meet people. I had forgotten that Australia is full of travelers and therefore everyone is in the same boat (or on the same plane actually). It’s also a good opportunity to meet Australian’s who will be able give you a heads up on all the best places.
Helpful tip 2#: Look on Facebook for closed traveller groups like ‘Poms in Brisbane’ for example. These groups are full of people happy to meet up for drinks or coffee and are a great source for traveler information.
I have been working for an agency as a brand ambassador and because Australia has a huge number of expats it has been amazing sharing travel stories with some of my customers. I don’t work in the same store all the time so I thought this would make it difficult to make friends through work. But after a shift one day I bumped into some other agency girls, I recognised from the initial interview, and before I knew it we were having lunch together and swapping numbers.
Meeting friends on your travels has a completely different feel to it from being at home. If I had bumped into someone in Glasgow I had met once or twice I would have politely said ‘Hi’ and went on with my day. But at home you aren’t travelling and depending where you live you probably aren’t meeting many travelers.
One of the best parts of travelling is meeting new people. I already feel that my trip has been enriched by the people I have met in the last two months – those whose number’s I have in my phone and those who I have only chatted with in passing. Because these are all people I would never have met had I not travelled.