“You’re from England? Me too!” In that split second a bond is created, instant friendship. This is a curious tale of making friends whilst travelling.
I arrived in India with two brilliant travelling companions, my cousin and my best friend. With such fantastic company I had very little need for other friendships outside of our trio. We lived, breathed, ate and slept together and as they began to leave, a vast whole appeared and loneliness crept swiftly in. I sat alone drinking my coffee craving connection with England, and as luck would have it the hotel next door had a peeping owner so an escaping (and violated) traveller ended up in my hotel café. Her name was Vicki, her English accent echoed through the café and my ears pricked up, realising that I wouldn’t be alone. Her friendship began a domino affect and a plethora of friends began to pour into that void, Amisha a dreadlocked diva from America, Rishi a law graduate from Hong Kong who dreamed of biking India, Casper a bonkers butcher from Denmark, Lea and Josh and their beautiful baby Oliver, the honeymooners Adena and Yedidiah, Jenna and Justin who I celebrated the end of Yom Kippur with (Read about this here) to name but a few.
A family was formed, an incredibly bonkers band of people, all of us from different corners of the world, varying ages and views on this world. However, all of this faded into incoherence because we all crave one thing when away from the place we call home, friendships. We had some incredible times from bowling under a bus stand, dressing up for Halloween to the war like celebration of Diwali but the everyday things are what cemented our friendships. Memories like having breakfast everyday at this incredible coffee shop together, looking after each other when we were inevitably ill or just lying on the roof and watching the stars for hours.
When you travel by yourself you lose a part of you, empty spaces left by faraway friends and loved ones, you travel with pictures and talk to them on skype but nothing can bridge the gap of a few thousand miles. I think this is why people say “wow you are just like my friend,” when your travelling, even if that friend is blonde, short and female because we all miss our friends at home so we look to find parts of them in the people around us. You also find yourself creating a trusting and open friendship within hours of meeting someone, divulging your darkest secrets to relative strangers, which can backfire when you realise that this person is silently judging you and is looking for the nearest exit to make a run for it. This never happened and I can honestly say that the friends I made in McLeod aren’t just for India there for good, so don’t be afraid of sitting in a café by yourself it might just be the best decision you ever make…