One of the biggest fears of newbie travellers is the prospect of not only being very far from home, but being very far from home and lonely. Thankfully, the reality is that unless you choose to spend your gap year cycling through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan or canoeing through Antarctica you will not only meet endless streams of likeminded people but also bond quicker than you ever thought possible.
Of course, while that’s very easy to say, it’s less easy to believe, so it’s perfectly understandable if you want to sort out some social insurance before you leave. (For advice on meeting people when you are actually on the road see the articles below).
The standard plan of action when looking for travel mates is to ask your best friend, then your close friends, then acquaintances, then anyone on Facebook who will listen, then finally random people in the street. Okay, perhaps not that last one, but you get the point. So many would-be backpackers put all their hopes into sharing their adventures with someone they know from home, and in turn so many would-be backpackers end up enormously disappointed when those friends either decline or pull out at the last minute.
If this happens to you, don’t despair – it could be a blessing in disguise. Going it alone is, frankly, terrifying… for about the first three minutes, after which point you’ll forget you even had friends back home, and indeed home itself, because you’ll be too busy falling in love with the people you’re now sharing the greatest experience of your life with.
A surer way of securing some company before you leave is to use the travel mates message board on this website. Most days at least one person will post asking if anyone is going to be in a certain place during a certain time frame, and if so would they like to buddy up. You can do this too – before you know it you’ll have loads of people to hit the road with. So sign up and get chatting!
Just to sledgehammer the point home, the best way to meet people is to just get out there and begin the experience. These articles tell you everything you need to know.