Friendships and an Adventure Lifestyle
I love my sister. She and I have always been close and, except for the time when I was 14 and she was 9 and she had a crush on my “boyfriend”, we’ve never had a fight and as it is we still laugh about THAT one! We live across the country from each other and get together once or twice a year. I wish it were more. I wish we lived next door. But I have an adventure lifestyle that takes me out of the country about 330 days a year. And yes, that was my choice.
Because I have a job where I meet people every single day I am used to saying good bye. I understand that people come and go in my life and I am honored for the time I had with them and then wish them well in their life journey. Of course it’s not the same with family. My sister still gets teary-eyed when we say good bye. However, I have learned to be able to say, “see ya later” and take off for six months without the tears. I guess I have steeled myself in this, though I take every possible opportunity to see my family. (More on families in a future post).
Regarding Relationships? Are you Prepared For the Adventure Lifestyle?
In Monday’s post, I talked about how relationship with friends and family change when you live a traveling adventure job. If you need to call your mother or sister or brother every day, this is not the lifestyle for you. If you have to gossip with your girlfriends or have girl’s night out every Thursday, think again before you leap into this world.
I have very few friends at home. It’s practically impossible to maintain and grow friendships when you are home only a few days a year. Your “home” friends continue to grow and change and they do this with those who are in proximity. They have experiences with others and make connections. If you travel extensively your experiences will be extremely different and you will find you can’t connect as well or if at all.
Will Your Friends Understand Your Adventure Lifestyle?
Imagine the conversation at home when your best friend says, “Last week we went to the mall on Saturday and I got this cool dress”. Well, let’s say that last week you were diving in remote Papua New Guinea and if you say that to your friend it sounds more like you are boasting then reporting what you did last Saturday while she was at the mall. So after multiple years of coming home to find your friend still shopping at the same mall and you have now been to four new continents (and probably never at a mall) you’ll find you simply don’t understand each other. This may sound harsh but it’s been my experience for the past twenty years.
The Joy of New Friends who Share the Adventure Lifestyle
Now the flip side of this is really cool. I have friends all over the world. I have made fantastic friends who also live the same lifestyle as I do. When I tell them I just returned from diving in remote Papua New Guinea, they truly want to hear about it. It’s also highly possible they’ve been there. And then they may tell me that they spent the last three months on a climbing expedition in Chile. We can sit for hours talking about our experiences, perhaps with envy but without jealousy. We can learn about these places from each other and add them to our life lists. We connect through lifestyle. Then, because we both understand, “see you later” we know we may or may not meet up again down the road but we have both benefitted from our time together.
I recently spent a long weekend in Tucson at a convention for “overlanders”, people who travel months or years at a time, taking time to enjoy the journey of life. I asked many of them about the topic of relationships (I’m talking about friendships not romantic interludes) when they travel. And I found that they all had the same reaction, that they had difficulty connecting with many of the friends they had before they started traveling. They indicated that people who live this lifestyle tend to get to the heart of a relationship much faster because time may be limited. You spend quality time together for a few days or weeks and then move on. I began to watch how I developed my relationships after that and they were right. I noticed that I jumped in with both feet to get to know people because they weren’t going to be my “neighbors” for the next ten years. There simply wasn’t time.
If you are thinking about jumping into the adventure life, I couldn’t encourage you more. This week and maybe part of next, I am covering a few topics that you should address before taking the leap. Friendships are precious in life but they change. And if you are not afraid to let that change happen in your life, then climb aboard the adventure bus.
To Your Adventures!