Why Travel Friends are Like One Night Stands

travel friends

…I didn’t even ask her name. She was a bright, bubbly Aussie (some of my favorite people to party with) with a face that lit up with more freckles than I could count. Her boisterous laugh is what caught me. She was going to be fun. We shared an evening and beers together and when Shaun and I woke up, we left with a quick and awkward goodbye.

What used to be a clingy, OMG-we-have-to-be-Facebook-friends-forever backpacker, turned into a serial meet them/drop them on the road friend maker. But to be honest, I don’t feel that bad. It is just the name of the game for long term travelers (or those who like to party in a group no matter where you are). I came to the realization that travel friends are like one night stands. Here are a few things that came to mind:

  1. It is best to go in with no expectations.
  2. You can be who you want to be.
  3. There is no emotional involvement.
  4. They can push you out of your comfort zone and throw your inhibitions to the wind.
  5. You don’t even ask their name, nor do you even think to ask it.
  6. They expect the same amount of anonymity from you.
  7. It can be a huge confidence booster.
  8. You just kinda shrug when you find pictures of random people on your phone.
  9. The night is made better with alcohol.
  10. You can get some juicy stories out of it.
  11. You can still end up naked.
  12. Phone number? I don’t have a phone right now, I’m traveling.
  13. You sneak out of the [hostel dorm] bedroom while everyone is asleep and don’t bother saying goodbye.
  14. It’s not for everyone.
  15. Sometimes they even turn into life-long relationships.

travel friends

Like adding a notch to your bedpost, we’ve managed to collect some of the most random and awesome experiences while traveling. From hot tubs in your skivvies with strangers to skinny dipping to stealing a canoe to go to a hidden island…. WAIT, I don’t think I’ve told you guys any of those closely held stories…

…and like many one night stands, I’ll never kiss and tell.


42 Responses to “Why Travel Friends are Like One Night Stands”

  1. Ali December 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Love it, and so true! I used to be so excited to make new friends on the road, exchange email addresses or connect on Facebook, but now…ugh. I’d rather let the fun live in that moment. 99% will never turn into long meaningful friendships, so why try to pretend? (Also, those sound like awesome stories you haven’t shared with us….)

    • Erica December 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      They are awesome stories. One has incriminating XXX evidence against another blogger.

  2. Leigh Shulman December 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    *Sob* is that how you see ME? I thought we had something special.

    • Erica December 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      Obviously. I mean, how could it mean something after staying with you for weeks and being weepy as we left? 😛

  3. Henry | @fotoeins December 30, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    At this stage, I haven’t decided whether I’m missing out completely on instant travel friends, one night stands, or both. I think the answer may well lie in the word “yes.” 😉 Thanks for your post, Erica!

    • Erica January 3, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

      Any time Henry! It really is amazing experiences like these that make me reconsider moving past hostels.

  4. Maria December 31, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Living in the moment – what it’s all about as we don’t know how many more we get. Live it, love it and be in it.

    • Erica January 3, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

      YES! YES! YES!

  5. Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures December 31, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Yes, yes, and yes! Though, to be fair, in this era of What’sApp, the phone thing doesn’t quite apply anymore. An actress I used to tour with would call the friends she’d make in all the cities we went to, “superficial friendships.” I don’t know if I’d go that far as to call it that, but I can’t even begin to list the number of awesome, temporary friends I’ve made along the way. And yes, some even have turned into lifelong friends, for little did I know that a fellow traveler I’d meet on a bus in Israel would end up having such an enormous effect on my life!

    • Erica January 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      No, it doesn’t but still. I do love some of the friends I’ve made. Not all of them fall into the love them and leave them category. I couldn’t imagine my trip without some of the amazing people I’ve met! <3

  6. Steve January 1, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    One of the joys of travel is meeting new people. However, there are a lot of goodbyes. As long as the memories remain positive. Have a Happy New a Year.

    • Erica January 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      The goodbyes are what was so difficult for me for such a long time. <3 Yay positivity! Happy new year Steve. I'm glad we have you around. 😀

  7. Hogga January 2, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    happy new year!

    • Erica January 3, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      Happy new year Hogga! WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO VISIT ME?

  8. Kenin Bassart January 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    It’s amazing just how true this is. I’ve met some great people that I’ve kept in contact with, but so many others that I can hardly remember….

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      I remember faces but even then I struggle to remember WHERE we had fun. I have lots of friends I’ve kept in touch with but overall I think I’m done with the long term friend thing (since we don’t travel at length anymore).

  9. SnarkyNomad January 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    Very true. And even if you do exchange contact info, it might be years before you see them again. I think it’s worth it sometimes, though. Some of those buddies I’d be happy to see again. But of course that just feeds into your hypothesis anyway.

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      All good. There are some friends I’m definitely holding onto in hopes that we can see each other one day. I’ve been trying to convince everyone to come visit me in Austin. 😀

  10. Mary @ Green Global Travel January 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    This is pretty funny. It’s a different outlook. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Ele January 5, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Haha, I love this! So true. I have had more best friends for a night then I care to remember. I just recently did an awkward sneek out of my hostel room wanting to avoid long goodbyes. Classic, love you blog 🙂

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      HAHA. I know. I suck really badly at goodbyes so it is much easier for my soul to just walk out. Ug, I feel like such a jackass saying that lol.

  12. Alex January 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    I have made some amazing, life long friends traveling (in fact, I’ve been in two of their weddings!) but I’ve also DEFINITELY had the travel-friend-one-night-stands. I always laugh when I realize I’ve been chatting to someone for hours and spilled my guts to them… and I don’t know their name. Whoops!

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      Been there for sure. Hell, I also do it with bloggers because we’ve “known” each other so long. 😛

  13. Federico January 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    I had noticed that too, but some do last for a long time 🙂

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      And I’m eternally grateful for those lasting relationships.

  14. Adelina @ PackMeTo January 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Love this and makes so much sense! And yet these fleeting friendships generally are just pure moments of fun and enjoyment. Great memories for all involved.

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      YES. They are about living in the moment and being thankful for the opportunities in front of you. So awesome.

  15. Diana Edelman January 7, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    AND OH MY GOD! The photo hadn’t loaded until just now. LOVE that we have one of those with each other!!

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      I thought you would love it.

  16. Ruann @ Solo Travel Uncut January 7, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    Laughs. So true! It’s sad how some of us get a bit numb on good-byes. Kind of a protective mechanism I guess.

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      BAM. On the kisser. Absolutely.

  17. Ashley @ Kick Ash Mom.com January 8, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    I just found your blog and I love it already. You two are adorable in an awesome kind of way.

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      Thanks Ashley! Don’t be a stranger around these parts!

  18. Ross January 8, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    That is brilliant. I never thought of it that way before but that is exactly the way it is. You meet them, share some sort of a connection, get drunk and have a brilliant night, never see them again. Just like a one night stand!

    • Erica January 8, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      I was hungover and on a bus home when it came to mind. It had never entered my mind as well. 😀 At least they can always live in a perfect memory!

  19. GiselleandCody January 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Very cool. We never thought of travel friends that way, but you are absolutely right. We particularly like O on your list 😉 We look forward to making more travel friends in the near future!

  20. Abby January 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    The best part of this just may be all the comments from “travel friends” haha. I used to secretly (against the grain) enjoy being FB friends with people I would never see again, because it was sort of fun to see all of these strange lives unfold and think that at one special time they intersected yours. But now that FB is weird with only showing you your Very Best Friends, all that fun is gone!

    • Erica January 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

      Somehow I don’t consider blogger friends to quite fit the bill. 😛 I have to run into them everywhere.

  21. Wesley January 13, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    Love the blog post it’s so true

    • Erica January 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

      Thanks Wesley. I had to mention something. Shaun and I joke about it all the time.


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