Making An American Friend In Ecuador

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls – Friendship Uncensored

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls

Many people have asked me how I could just leave my job and seemingly travel perpetually. How can I afford it? How do you find places to stay for free all the time? How do you find places to volunteer? All questions I’ve received by email, and now I’m sharing the secrets in a series of posts about how The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls and what things are like behind the scenes.

Friendship On The Road

I don’t think people would be surprised to find out that I make friends on the road. But I think making friends on the road is a very different experience than making friends in normal life.

I’ll separate this into two categories: making local friends in the places I go and making other travelers on the road.

Making Local Friends

Making A Friend In Vietnam

Making A Friend In Vietnam

By staying with local people as I travel, they miraculously invite me into their lives and allow me to experience life from their perspective. It’s beautiful.

Everyone knows that friendships take on new dimensions when you live together. Many friendships come to an end as a result of living together.

In my case, I meet people for the first time and then stay with them. As they are comfortable living in their home environment, they seem to open up more and it’s easier to get to know them. You can communicate on a deeper level and really get to know each other.

Making A Friend In Mexico

Making A Friend In Mexico

Sometimes you don’t like what you find, other times, despite maybe only spending a couple days together, you know you’ve found a lifelong friend.

Meeting other travelers

Making A Canadian Friend In Honduras

Making A Canadian Friend In Honduras

I’d say this category is much the same, though for me it feels different. We often put up a wall or put up defenses and only let a few people in to know the core of who we are. I think we feel like it’s self-preservation, but in reality I think it’s more a fear of really being yourself. It’s often counterproductive and makes for a cold society.

On the road, it seems like these barriers disappear. People get outside their natural environment and lower their guard. In some cases, it’s for artificial reasons like the comfort of meeting a fellow Westerner in a non-Western environment. But quite often it seems like people are just naturally more open.

Making An American Friend In Ecuador

Making An American Friend In Ecuador

Maybe people on the road have a better sense of who they are and thus aren’t afraid of letting people in. One of the reasons to keep your guard up and not let people in might be fear of judgment. What happens when you let people in and they don’t like what they find? I guess it’s a scary thought for many, so it is to be avoided at all costs.

On the road, people don’t seem to care as much. They are freer to be who they are and not be ashamed of anything. No need to hold back. Maybe it’s because we’re all moving in different directions all the time, so at best you meet someone and form a deep connection before parting ways, at worst you meet someone, despise them, and similarly move on soon thereafter. In normal life, parting ways and moving on isn’t as easy.

Normal Life

When I was back at home last year, I think my frankness and honesty was a bit shocking to many people I met for the first time as well as for people who already know me. It wasn’t rude; it was just beyond the boundaries of what is considered normal for them.

I forgot that I was supposed to hide behind some invisible barrier and keep almost everyone away for my own protection. I guess I’ve changed and I don’t need to protect myself from anything anymore. I’m comfortable with who I am, toilet paper tail and all. I’m not afraid to let others in anymore.

As a result, my difficulty in making friends, long a struggle as a shy child, teenager, and 20-something adult has disappeared. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to have the friends I have. Yes, I’m traveling so meeting new people happens all the time. But I think with my new mindset and approach to life, I’d be just as lucky to meet amazing people if I was settled in one place. It’s all about your attitude.

10 replies
  1. Owen Lipsett
    Owen Lipsett says:

    Awesome post Adam!!! Your insights keep getting more and more compelling. I really like your three part breakdown and I completely agree it’s about the mindset.

    I went to a half day meditation sitting yesterday in Seoul that ended with doing some lovingkindness meditation. I can’t say with absolute certainty that’s what caused three very interesting people to strike up conversations with me yesterday, but I think it allowed those conversations to flow.

    I think that your Happiness Plunge is doing that in a much bigger way. What I mean is both that travel broadens people, but it’s your specific attitude that draws so many people.

    I think this may be my favorite blog post ever. Period! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Owen Lipsett
    Owen Lipsett says:

    I think this is the best post I’ve read, not just on your blog, but anywhere 🙂

    What you’re talking about I don’t think is limited to you or to travel, but it’s really true of all human interaction. Based on my own experience yesterday, when I spent half a day meditating and then randomly me three fascinating people here in Korea, I think it really is about the mindset you present.

    Please keep sharing your wonderful insights – you blog should be required reading for humanity! 🙂

    Reply
    • Adam Pervez
      Adam Pervez says:

      No problem 🙂

      Yes, it seems like when we strip away all our insecurities, it’s much easier to connect at a deeper level. Traveling helps in this regard. So does meditating and knowing (or being “mindful” of who you are 🙂 ) I started a post about this a while back. Time to dust it off and put some thoughts down about it. I wonder if lots of people go through life without really having many of these deeper connections to people?

      Reply
  3. Owen Lipsett
    Owen Lipsett says:

    Thank you Adam 🙂 I really look forward to reading that post you describe!

    That’s a really interesting question that you raise about going through life without deeper connections. I suppose part of the answer is how you define a deep connection. Some of the most meaningful connections I’ve had have been with people I’ve only met briefly (usually while traveling), but on the other hand, knowing people and see how they change over an extended period also creates a certain depth of connection too.

    Many people I know who don’t travel much (or travel in a luxurious fashion if they do), don’t see a deep connection of the first kind as possible. That is, they equate time spent with someone (which has great value) with depth of connection. I’ve noticed that here in Korea, many people are inclined to think time people have spent together directly correlates with their depth of connection.

    I suppose then that many people believe they have deeper connections than they do or alternatively perhaps see these connections as sufficiently deep for their purposes. I also think many people never do have these deeper connections, possibly because they don’t strip away these insecurities, which is a shame. As for me, I’ve found that I often connect with people I have little in common with besides the ability to be ourselves around one another, which is why I say this.

    Great question! What do you think?

    Reply
    • Adam Pervez
      Adam Pervez says:

      I think I need to think about it, but that’s a great insight about the correlation between time spent together and depth of connection. It’s true. But if you always keep your guard up, you can spend a lifetime not knowing the other person. What’s the point then? And maybe in more business-minded cultures you keep your guard up always by instinct, self-preservation or something.

      Anyway, it goes back to what you said earlier – attitude. I think the rest follows from there. And that attitude thing is a two-way street.

      Reply

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