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That Girl Away

My birthright group in the Golan Heights

Group travel is so romanticized.

Including by me. For starters, I said one of my favorite parts of my birthright trip earlier this year was the people I met. And they were all going to be my new family and we’d all be friends for forever and we’d never lose touch.

Our Whatsapp group chat is usually quiet, except for the congratulatory message here or there or seeing if we all heard about some Israel-related news, for example. But how many of my Birthright BFFs have I seen since the trip? Not counting my partner, I’ve seen exactly 3. We were a group of 17, give or take, so that’s not AS bad, but it’s not OMGYOUREMYFAMILYFOREVER status.

The same thing happened when I studied abroad. I saw exactly two of my friends again after we all landed Stateside again (although I did see one ten years later, so that was kind of amazing). It also happened again after my Contiki tour in 2008. I saw another whopping one or two of my travel mates again from that trip after it ended.

Traveling bonds you to strangers really quickly, and well, but I have to say, at least in my experience, it’s not a bond that really lasts.

Unless you’re one of those people who can keep in touch with 1,000 friends. (In which case you are, in my opinion, a weirdo. Just kidding. Sort of!) No, really, if you can do that, good for you.

I’m still friends with 99% of these people on Facebook, sure, but do we talk? Or see each other? Nah.

Maybe this is just me though. Maybe I’m just really bad at keeping in touch with people. (Though I’d have to call bullshit on that because I’ve been in touch and seen multiple times my friend Phil whom I sat next to a performance of Rent in 2007 whilst he was backpacking through the US on leave from his job in Australia. I love him and he’s amazing.)

Every time I see a blogger or vlogger talk about a group trip in a way that is romanticizing it, I just get sort of sad. First for them. Because it’s not going to turn out like that (most likely) and then for myself (because I wasn’t able to keep that family-bond intact from my group travel experiences).

Maybe this is why I’ve chosen solo travel over traveling with anyone else ever since 2008. I am an Aries so I’m fiercely independent and quite stubborn (any other Aries out there?). But maybe I’ve subconsciously deemed it not worth the effort to continuous build bonds with strangers that loosen so quickly once our flights take off and we re-enter “real life.” It’s easier just to go-it-alone, you know?

I’m rambling. There probably are people out there who come home from Contiki tours and, if any of their new BFFs live in their town, they immediately plan a recurring Sunday night potluck dinner. But that isn’t me.

And that’s OK.

Is it you? I’d love to hear how you make it happen. Let me know!

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