How to Make Friends while Traveling

January 29, 2016

Solo traveling is my thing. Not because I am snob, but because I have no time to spend on moody, self-centered and spoiled brat friends, hahaha! But it is true. And it is also what it is. I like to take my time and spend less time on worries. The last thing I want to see is a person whining at the end of each day of sightseeing. I have zero tolerance for this behavior.

I first started traveling solo in Beijing and although my reason for traveling there was because I was infatuated with a man I met in Manila, when I look back, I have no regrets. Not even a thing. And soon after that, I dabbled into a being tourist in some Asian cities, got totally drunk in Beijing and Seoul and also had my heart broken.

The thing about solo traveling is that it shall test your limits, allow you to exercise more caution, watch your judgment skills and learn the art of deciphering people's intentions. You will not be compensated for breaking your wallet as you travel but you will always come home rich in experiences that no money can't buy. Between a new car and a new place to explore, I would choose the latter any time of the day.

I am also lucky to have met good people as I travel. In Singapore, I met a nice Brazilian- Sri Lankan guy whom I would occasionally glance at  his perfect abs when I got the chance, lol. He was  so fit (sorry, I am only human!) I thought, he was photoshopped, lol.

I also met a well-dressed Egyptian guy in Beijing who was intellectually stimulating I started counting how many smart babies we can have after that conversation, haha.

Once I met this lovely girl in Siem Reap quietly having bread for breakfast while me and my friend were looking for some paintings to buy. She  is beautiful and innocent I had to ask if I can take a photo of her.

Recently, in Fukouka in Japan, I met two (2) happy Filipino girls (hello Lot and Helen) at the airport and we started having conversations and found out we were heading the same time to Tokyo. These girls are beating me to travel all the good places, I am so jealous they can get more days off while I struggle with time off, lol.  We had a good laugh everytime.

While in Japan too, I also met a guy from New Zealand (hi Sri!) while at the Imperial Palace where my two new Filipina friends happen to be exploring on that day as well. We all had a good laugh and we couldn't resist not to take a photo. 

So how easy is it to make friends while traveling? You'll be surprised that it's actually so easy. I would suggest to stay in hostels or guesthouses if you are solo and want to meet new friends as these places are packed with people and quite easy to exchange witty banters with.

Now I'm going to list the things I would normally do if I want to strike a conversation when I am alone:

It is free. It makes everyone feel good. When you smile, you are sending the message: "Hey, I am open. Talk to me."

Be respectful
Never be rude when you are traveling. Be courteous and respect their traditions. Never judge. Never.

Say hello and start a conversation

Oftentimes, saying "Hello" opens a whole new world for us. Filipinos are not the type to initiate conversations especially to strangers, but don't be shy to say hello first when you are out traveling. It works, believe me.

Be genuine
No one likes a fake friend and don't think no one can detect if you are just faking it. Most people are not naive as you think they are so only be true to your feelings. Don't agree when you really want to say no (do it respectfully).

Offer to take their photos
Always works for me. When you see a group and they are struggling with their group photos, offer to take their photos. And now you'll have a reason to talk to them. Another good reason too to ask one of them to take your photo.

Always say thank you
Be grateful and say thank you when they offer you something to eat or drink. Thank them for their time as you converse. Thank God for a good day for exploring!

So that's it! I hope next time you hop on that plane, remember my tips. For a start, just learn how to smile more often. People will come to you. Believe me.


PS: Actually, the coolest friends I met in Tokyo were Yuki and Sora! They are the good looking babies of my good friend, Khim. They are just so adorable:)

I met Yuki 3 years ago in Manila so it was a nice reunion:)
My new friend, Sora:)

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