If there is one thing that I love about traveling, and even more so with travel blogging, is the friends I’ve made.
While I travel, I actively seek out the opportunity to connect with people. Most often it revolves around my accommodation, which is the main reason that I never stay in resorts or five-star hotels. I like staying in family run places, whether it is a homestay, a hostel, a Bed & Breakfast, or a small inn. It’s easy to talk to these folks who are in the travel business and enjoy their guests. Often they will find out your plans for the day and offer suggestions for things to do, where to eat, or local things to do. One particularly fine example of this was when we visited Gruyères, Switzerland and the hotelier’s husband invited us to the morning milking on his farm. We showed them photos, visited them a second time, and I count them in my list of traveler friends.
I think homestays and cultural exchanges are the best way to learn about a culture and the place that you are visiting. I’ve done exchanges with Lithuanians, Japanese, British, Chileans, Norwegians, and Turkish people and I think they are the most rewarding travels in my life. In an exchange, the time you spend with your hosts are insights into the real food, customs, thoughts of the people. To me, it is such a valuable commodity to be able to make friends like this.
Then again, in the last few years, I’ve made so many friends because of travel blogging. To connect with people who share my passion has been such a pleasant surprise. I love emailing people from all over the world from Saudi Arabia to New Zealand, from New York to Chile, and everywhere in between. In this world of Internet, global business, and easy travel, it feels great to call these people my friends. You can meet some of my friends by visiting our Rendezvous with Rovers page and reading some interviews, but honestly there are many, many more.
Do you try to make friends when you travel or blog?