A Friend in Every Port?

Published: June 2, 2008 | Last Updated: June 2, 2008 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading

One of the nice things about traveling is that every trip
offers opportunities to make new friendships or nurture old ones–if you make
it a priority and take the time. You could ask an old friend to travel with you
or simply engage in conversation with a potential new friend you meet across
the aisle on a plane.

You can rekindle an old friendship by making plans to meet
someone from your past who lives en route or at your destination (perhaps
someone you knew from childhood or college).Or you can take a chance and catch
up with someone you only knew virtually.

Every connection starts with one person being brave enough
to make a move—to take the initiative and hope the other person will respond
in kind. As scary as it might feel at the moment you do it, it usually works.

Last weekend, I was visiting family in Westlake
, California and took advantage
of a serendipitous opportunity to meet Victoria Clayton-Alexander,
another writer whom I knew lived just a few blocks away. I invited her to visit
me at their home and a few hours later, she arrived with a smile on her face
and a box of yummy Italian pastries. We all sat around the kitchen island drinking
coffee and the conversation flowed effortlessly. I soon realized that she and I
had many more connections than our writing.

High on that experience, a few days later when I got to a meeting in Phoenix, I emailed another writer I had only
known virtually before. Jackie Dishner, a fellow member of the American Society of
Journalists and Authors, responded enthusiastically and was willing to meet at
my hotel. We were soon sitting on lawn chairs drinking iced tea in the warm Arizona sun while we
exchanged stories about our work and our lives.

Yes, instead of making these connections, I could have
visited another museum, spent more time with my husband, gone shopping, or
fallen into the trap of staying on top of my email in my hotel room, but these
brief interludes turned out to be amongst the most memorable of my trip—and I
have every hope that the friendships will be lasting ones.

Do you have any stories of travel and friendship to share?
Have friends enhanced your travel or has travel enhanced your friendships?

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  1. Sarah says:

    I have never replied to a blog before…or even subscribed to one before.

    I thrive on friendship and always have. Apparently since I was a little girl, I have had several “best friends,” which has always been a source of amusement for my father who constantly reminds me that best means one. My husband and other friends also mock me for my vast circle of close friends. (Of course, invariably, with so many friends there have been a few fractured friendships, one of which was devastating, and continues to hurt despite the six years that have passed.) It certainly takes work, but I think that friends, especially female ones are just so fascinating that Irene, I wish I had your job.

    Anyway, none of this is the point of my response. The point was that several weeks ago, I was visiting my oldest friend, from when we were 2. I was on the plane ride home, which had been delayed and delayed, and I was sitting next to a super friendly woman about my age (late 20s; early 30s). Anyway, we chatted for a while, and it was quite nice. Turns out she went to college with one my best friends. =) So, I just figured we shared a nice plane ride, when the next day, I had an email from her. I am a teacher, which I had told her. She went onto my school’s website, found my email address and sent me a fascinating article. For some rason, it really struck me that she would do this. So often, I want to do things like this, but I worry about freaking people out. I thought it was lovely. We have been regularly corresponding now. So, I guess the morale for me is: do something that may be out of your comfort zone…you never know…you might make a friend!

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