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Gift and a Curse: Making Friends Abroad (A Couchsurfing Story)


A Couchsurfing story about making friends abroad and how the experience can be life-changing, though bittersweet.

Updated: 2018-03-02
I love traveling for every possible reason, but if the only positive outcome is that I make some new friends each time I leave my city, I would be completely happy with that. I have made some of my most wonderful friends while journeying abroad, and I believe that many of these fine folks I’ve had the pleasure of meeting will be comrades for life.

There is no need for me to go into detail as to the benefits of making buddies and acquaintances while traveling, but I feel compelled to do so anyway. I love the fact that I am able to legitimately say that I have friends in places as far apart as Colombia and Indonesia; not only are these people available to talk at some odd hours of night, but they help me see many different sides to the same story. It helps me feel less lonely wherever I travel in the world, because there is that “friend” nearby, even if they are only a few kilometers closer than home.

However, making friends in all these countries has its downfalls, too, as I’ve come to realize. I like to wander solo many times, yet I grow nostalgic and attached to each new friend I make, which takes a lot of time! I’ve already a busy schedule, but I desire to write these new friends, and talk on the phone or Skype, and this is a big drainer on time. Instead of going to new countries with my hard-earned money, I sometimes like to go back to a country that I’ve just been simply to keep some connections and friendships strong.

For example, I was recently in Warsaw, Poland, where I met the most wonderful people on earth. I was there but three days, and I have several people that I talk to almost each and every day still. Currently, I am in the middle of planning a trip to Hungary with my friend, Reni, for the end of July or beginning of August. Now, my friend Ania, who I just hosted as a couchsurfer last week has her birthday on August 1st, and I have mine several days later, on August 7th. She told me that she has a big party every year, and that this year she would like me to join her, and we could co-celebrate. So, how could I say no?

Now, I had planned to go to Italy as a second Euro destination along with Hungary, but how could I turn down an opportunity to see my Polish friends, the ones that made me feel so warm when I was there in February and it was -30°? Do you see how making new friends can suck the life out of someone?

All in all, I am ecstatic that I know some great people around the world. I can’t think of a greater honor than to be thrown a (half) birthday party in another country. Hopefully, I can meet some people that can help me manage these new relationships!

Written by
Christian Eilers
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