Nainital Lake - looking at the blue lake surrounded by green hills - travel friendships
Reflections Travels

My Non-Existent Travel Friendships – An Introspection

I stay in hostels and go on group tours at times.

I’m not very introverted and am always down for games and conversations.

I have had deep conversations, intimate moments and shared memories with people I have met on my journeys. 

And yet, I do not have a single travel friendship. Nor am I in touch with anyone to say that I have a ‘contact.’  

Not. A. Single. One. 

Why is that?

I have wondered about this a lot. Felt terrible about it too.

Seeing many stories about travel friendships on Instagram and hearing similar experiences from those around me only added to this feeling. It felt like I was doing something wrong.

Of the many people I and Sundaram met on our four-and-a-half-month trip, Sundaram is still in touch with most of them. Me, on the other hand, nothing. No one.  

Travel friendships - Sunset at thar desert

I had an incredible time with a few people in Jaipur and they were so sweet that they tried their best to keep in touch with me. While I was polite enough to answer a few video calls, I never really returned that effort. 

But why? 

After a few attempts to fix it and a lot of theories later, the answer turned out to be very basic and boring…

It looks like it just doesn’t come to me naturally. 

I enjoy the deep and honest conversations, making shared memories and all the fun. Truly. When I’m there, I’m there. In the moment, real and enjoying the company.

But when I get back home, I don’t seem to carry it all back with me. This isn’t just with travel, it’s with all the social settings and communities I have been a part of (like the office and dance community). If I’m out of there, I’m out of there. Sadly, I don’t even keep in touch on an acquaintance level because that seems too shallow but friendship seems too deep. It’s nothing personal. 

Also read: Beyond the Instagram Filter: Lessons from 4.5 Months on the Road

Accepting my nature

For a long time, I did not like this about me. 

I was an extroverted kid who made a lot of friends. My parents tell me I have made friends on random train rides and can talk to absolutely anyone. A thriving social circle and social life is a cool thing to have, right? 

Travel friendships - Drizzling in Sonmarg, Kashmir

But that’s not me. 

Not at this point in my life. 

Maybe it will change in the future, but right now my bandwidth for long-term connection seems to be low. While I love my short-term interactions and have admired and been inspired by many who I have met on the road, I don’t have a natural inkling to keep in touch. And every time I have tried to do it despite that, it was tiring and felt insincere. 

I’ve watched stars in silence, sat across the dinner table late at night whispering life’s truths and even shared tears with people along the way. To me, these are ephemeral joys. Short and momentary yet meaningful and sweet!  

In the long term, my small circle of friends and my family feels like enough. Just right. 

And that’s okay. 

Author

  • Nivetha Kannan

    Nivetha Kannan is a joyous soul who loves to follow the flow of life with a open and curious heart. With 5 years of writing experience and a useless law degree under her belt, she hopes to inspire and encourage people to live a life of simple curiosity. As a passionate writer, dancer and traveller, she loves to tell stories through her words, moves and journeys.

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Nivetha Kannan

Nivetha Kannan is a joyous soul who loves to follow the flow of life with a open and curious heart. With 5 years of writing experience and a useless law degree under her belt, she hopes to inspire and encourage people to live a life of simple curiosity. As a passionate writer, dancer and traveller, she loves to tell stories through her words, moves and journeys.

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