Couldn’t we all use some fun, uplifting stories to read? Here’s four gals sharing how they made fast friends with strangers while traveling the world, one even found her Prince Charming.
Safia from Nomad Junkies
Solo traveling is how I normally roll. I find it easier to meet people, as well as I’m more approachable when I’m flying solo. It comes out of a need, a defense mechanism where if you don’t step out of your comfort zone to talk to strangers you will be forever alone.
I’ve done it all: stayed in dorms, joined the free walking tour or the pub crawl, pitched in for a communal dinner at a hostel, even gone on Tinder dates. Over the years, I’ve made countless friends, some of which I still keep in touch with regularly and others that fall into the once-a-year-birthday-wishes-on-Facebook kind of friendship.
Little did I know that on my last solo trip I would actually meet THE one, the man that would swoop me away from my single gal antics. It’s a story that spans over one year, three continents, and 11 countries. It covers everything from joining the circus, to being denied entry into a country, quitting my job in a quest for love, living with the village chief on a tiny Indonesian island, meeting each other’s parents and driving over 4,000 km to witness Aurora Borealis at the most northern point accessible by road in Quebec and finally setting up a business in Cambodia.
How it all started? I decided on a whim to jump on the next ferry to Koh Rong, an island just off the coast of Cambodia. I hadn’t really met anyone or made any friends during that trip so I was ready for a little more action (it gets quite tiring to spend so much time with your own brain and thoughts!). There he was… as if he had been waiting for me and I had been pushed onto this island to meet him. We were inseparable for the next few days until I had to go back to work in China for a circus that was touring Asia.
During the next month, there was not a single day where we didn’t exchange messages, late night Skype calls, and selfies. After constant pestering and convincing, I finally got him to forget his initial plan in order to come meet me in the middle of nowhere in China. After two years on the road and six years on the road for him, our nomadic lifestyles led us to one another! And the rest is history…
Moral of the story: I always joked about meeting my Prince Charming whenever I was traveling on my own and somehow it happened! I found a best friend, a travel buddy, and the most amazing and caring boyfriend a girl can dream of.
Naomi from Probe around the Globe
I had just arrived in Lhasa, Tibet with my travel companion and already was looking to join a tour that would bring us to Nepal overland. In our hostel, we found a note from a Kiwi couple who wanted to do the same thing. This was when I first met Simon, the male half of the couple.
The four of us took a tour from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal via Mount Everest Basecamp. We chatted for days. About life in Europe versus life in New Zealand, about our outlook on the world as travellers and what we thought about Tibet. We travelled together, ate together, and explored together. The only time we shut up was when we first laid eyes on the Everest Mountain Range. That view really leaves you speechless.
This epic road trip through Tibet was something I’ll never forget thanks to my new travel friends. After a final goodbye dinner in Kathmandu, we each went our separate ways but I was sure to meet Simon again one day. It took five years, but thanks to Facebook I learned he was in Europe, and I asked if he would be traveling to the Netherlands.
We met again at the train station close to my hometown. It was surreal to see my friend with whom I travelled across Tibet with at an ordinary Dutch train station. We went to the local cafeteria to sample some famous Dutch snacks. While we shared a plastic container of fries, we talked about the stir fried rice in Tibet and the noodles we had at Everest Basecamp.
The contrast was hilarious, but we couldn’t stop talking, about our lives, his travels, and the Netherlands. I was able to let him couch surf at my place and the next morning we said our good byes.
I’m not sure when we will see each other again or where that will be, but I am certain one day we will meet again and we will have plenty to talk about for sure!
Lisa from Anywhere’s perfect
Meeting people on the road is almost essential when traveling solo. Sure, when you plan to travel alone you know you will actually be alone every once in a while, but meeting people makes the experience even better.
I was lucky enough to meet very inspiring, beautiful souls along my travels. When I was in Bali in 2014 as part of a five-month trip around the world, I met a girl from England. She walked into our surf camp one day when all of us where hanging around being very hungover, and you could see that she felt a little bit awkward at first. But for some reason – and I can’t even really explain why but I guess that’s the beauty of it – we clicked right away.
I wasn’t even staying at the surf camp anymore but at a hostel close by, but I still came by every day to chill. We only spent a week there and then one more night in Bangkok before she had to go home. I kept on traveling around Asia, but we just got along so well that we kept in touch. Ever since we’ve been trying to visit each other (she’s in London, and I lived in Hamburg at the time.) and it’s been working out very well! Last time I saw her was last year in January, maybe I should plan another trip to London soon?!
In October, I was traveling around Vietnam for three weeks, and I also met a girl that changed my life. She’s a 30 year-old Australian girl and she’s been through a lot in her life. But still, it didn’t stop her from going after her dream: quitting her job and going onto a solo travel adventure around Asia. We met in a hostel in Hue and even though we only spent around a week together as well, we clicked. I feel like I could contact her whenever I am down or need someone to talk to and she’d be there to pick me up.
Sometimes traveling connects you with the most wonderful souls that help you find your way or see things clearer. This just shows two of the stories from my trips, but there are definitely more people that changed my life or my way of thinking in one way or the other throughout my travels.
A little tip for how to meet people? Just sit down in your hostel’s common area – no matter if it’s for breakfast, reading, or a beer – and you’ll find yourself talking to people around you in no time. And maybe you’ll even find your soulmate!
Julianna from The Discoveries Of
I’d been in Salta for a few days and had generally exhausted myself by hiking, kayaking, and horse riding in the surrounding areas since I’d arrived. One of the other girls in my dorm had told me that the hostel we were staying in had a nice rooftop area that was perfect for catching a few rays and a few zzz’s, so I decided to head up there for a few hours before going to my Spanish class.
When I got to the roof, it turned out that quite a few people had had the same idea. There was one sun-lounger free, and I headed for it and sat down with the huge tome of a book that I was working my way through. I never did get to read that book that morning. Instead I got chatting to Leo, and we’ve never looked back since!
We got on straight away. It turned out that Leo was travelling alone as well (after her boyfriend had decided it wasn’t quite working out halfway through their trip), so we spent the next few days hanging out in Salta and eating an unmentionable number of empanadas.
She was in South America for a few months and was planning to move to London after her return. I was about to return to London after having been abroad for a few years, so we swapped email addresses and stayed in touch for the rest of our trips.
That was six years ago and we’re still great friends. Leo’s come over for many boozy dinners at my place (and some epic Boxing Day meals), and she hosted some fairly brilliant ones herself.
A few years ago, we went to Thailand for a month along with a few other friends and had a wonderful time (albeit a few that were a bit messy). One particular night on the dance floor deserved to go down in Railay history.
Over the years, we’ve drank endless amounts of wine, griped about bad dates, enthused about fabulous restaurants and shall continue to do so for the years to come. It’s strange to think that if we hadn’t got chatting that day, we probably would never have met, but that’s the beauty of travelling. There’s always someone great to talk to if you make the effort.
Have you made friends while traveling? What are some of your tips to help make friends on the road?