So it is that time again, when you meet people that don’t judge you by how well your make up is done or what type of job you have, how many hours a week you work and what type of car you drive. The people I get to meet will judge me instead by how friendly I am, my character as a person, how many places I have been in the world and my interests. The people I meet will be what I call 5 hour friends.
A 5 hour friend is that person you me meet at the hostel and go exploring for the day with. The person that you meet on the plane, train or bus ride where you talk like you have known each other forever and you get to talk about travels and places of the world. A 5 hour friend is that person that at the end of the day or when you get off the bus you have a very good chance of never seeing again in your life. This person however was a great companion and interesting person that you knew, for give or take 5 hours. Tomorrow you will wake up and not see them; they will be going on their way and you on yours. From time to time you might wander what part of the world they are in and when you think back to a city they will be there but they probably will never be seated next to you again. So, is it worth it? Why talk to someone and tell them of your life and of far off lands if it’s just for a blink of your life? Because I think we are all looking for connection with people, for 2 min or years of our life. New people bring new ideas and new perspective to looking at things. They share knowledge and tips that you might not know. These 5 hour friends if you listen can be great teachers. Not to say you shouldn’t take it with a grain of salt or that you should take everything they say as truths. But just be friendly and open to the possibilities of what new people can bring into your life.
As a female traveler when I travel solo it seems people are more open to letting me join their group they are more open to letting you explore the city with them. When I traveled for 3 years on my own I meet lots of 5 hour friends some who I still speak with and if I am ever near where they live I have a couch to crash on, but most fade out with the day. Hostels as well as couchsurfing I feel are great ways to talk to the locals and others who have been in the city where you are a few days ahead of you and can tell you what is worth spending you money on. They can tell you perhaps a better cheaper place than the place on your list of what you want to see. They can tell you of the hidden gems that are off the tourist track, they can recommend places to eat where the locals go and not the high dollar tourist places. When you travel the best advice, I can give is to be open. Make it a yes trip where if someone offers you an experience go for it, don’t let you “normal” limitations hold you back. Later on, when you look back it will be the things you said no to that you wish you tried that will stand out in your mind because some things you will never have a chance to do again. Some things will be spur of the moment with a local host going somewhere with just one seat open will you stand there and let them leave without you? Or will you say yes and find out what is on the horizon?