Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age

How Does Travel Fit with Friendship?


I’ve been meaning to write a post about friendships for at least six months now. If you love travel or if you’re an emigrant then your life can be bittersweet when it comes to friends and family, especially around Xmas time. Whilst my life is blessed with a variety of friends I never could have dreamed of when I was younger, from so many different countries and backgrounds, and I’ve learned so much from them; one of the biggest lessons being that everyone has a story, and there are many, different ways of telling the story, of living, or looking at life, the important thing is to listen to the stories, and to let go our preconceptions, even if only for a short time until we absorb other ways of being.

At the same time, there are, inevitably more goodbyes than the average person makes. It’s a good thing when they happen to remember the Buddist teaching that we must accept that nothing lasts forever. It’s one of life’s more difficult lessons, sometimes it seems impossible to accept, but it’s a fundamental truth. I’ve been especially blessed the last few years with a particular, lovely group of friends here in Tenerife, and I have a whole headful of memories of hikes, barbecues, birthdays, brunches, festivals and laughter to draw on when I’m alone.

The Group Cho Pancho April 2012

As I write one of them is already off traveling, and when she returns to the island I will hopefully be traveling myself, so I don’t know for sure when our paths may cross again – but I am totally sure that they will. I believe that we are, simply, destined to meet and keep meeting some people. Another friend has returned to live in her own country for a while, whilst she brings up her young son, and I’m quite sure our paths will cross again too. In the meantime, thank the gods for the internet, which keeps us all in touch, and which even extends our friendships – I also have friends I have yet to meet in the flesh!

And then there are the renewals of friendships when we return to places. I went back to the Fylde Coast of Lancashire, England this year for the first time in many a year, and caught up with old friends with whom I went through marriages, births, growing up, divorces, traumas and much joy over the early years of my life, and there is nothing quite like the warm glow that brings, nor that odd sensation of surroundings being familiar yet strange. And there was the sheer delight of getting to know my goddaughter’s young children…..the next generation of course.

Lytham and Cleveleys 010


It’s a given that everything said extends even more so to family. Mine isn’t large, and in the last 12 years we’ve only managed one Christmas together. That doesn’t mean that in our hearts we aren’t together. When you like to travel you carry family and friends with you, not just the photos in your wallet, but that warm glow or that lump in your throat when you think of them. The times you are together are that much sweeter and packed with goodness.

southbank 060

And so at Christmas time, friends – old, new and yet-to-meet – I wish you all the happiness and fun of the festive season, whatever your personal beliefs, because there seems to be something for everybody who is willing to listen at this time of year these days. I don’t resent the dwindling of the “Happy Christmas” greeting, because “Happy Holidays” embraces all.


Author: IslandMomma

Exploring island life and the freedoms of Third Age: Challenging myself every day: writing, traveling, snapping pix, running & teaching ESL

20 thoughts on “How Does Travel Fit with Friendship?

  1. Lovely sentiments Linda. Hope your holidays are happy! xx

  2. Lovely thoughts! I can relate to what you feel in many ways so… all the way from Barcelona, Merry Xmas! 😉 Feliz Navidad, LInda!

  3. Travel, family and friendships is a combination that is hard to master. I love my family, but my desire to travel overwhelms everything. At the moment I am trying to decide my next move, and I have to admit that Asia is prominent in my thoughts again. But as I get older it seems further and further away.

    As for friends, I have friends all over the world. Some that I haven’t seen in years, some whom I might never meet in person again, some that I will randomly bump into all across the globe, and some that I met so late that I didn’t get enough time with them (like yourself!). Saying goodbye is hard, but I try not to lose touch.

    You mentioned that you are planning to be travelling again before long, where are you headed?

    I hope you are having a lovely holiday period, Linda, and all the best for the New Year xx

    • Hi Elaine! Sometimes it’s hard to make people understand that loving someone doesn’t mean tying them to apron strings, isn’t it. Of course you already know part of Asia, but I keep thinking that I want to get to some places before tourism totally ruins them. I’ve seen what it’s done here, of course – as you know, and the contrast between the “developed” and undeveloped places is enormous.

      It was so good to meet you when you were here. I do have a theory that we we are meant to meet certain people in our lives. I’ve heard so many stories of folk who’ve bumped into friends and acquaintances on the other side of the world from where they expected them to be I can’t not believe that! Really, the internet is just so marvelous now, that we can keep in touch fairly easily.

      My plan for next year is to travel, well, certainly, the Canary Islands, and hopefully other islands in Macronesia and the Mediterranean. I had planned to begin in January, but a little work came my way which will last until June, so I couldn’t really refuse. It gives me chance to change over the blog too, with emphasis on islands and not just this one. I’m a complete novice & can’t afford help so it will be interesting!!

      Lots of good wishes to you for 2013 too! Hope it’s full of travel and new experiences! And do keep in touch – I’m sure our paths will cross again!

  4. and a Happy Birthday to you Linda, I will catch you up in a few days time, as always. Good luck in your future travels and new and renewed friendships.

    • Thank you ……. and of course the same to you!!!!! Let’s hope maybe next year we get to renew our friendship!! My son was in Blackpool for Christmas, and I am very curious about all the changes he told me about!! I didn’t go anywhere near the town center this year, in fact, I was only, actually, in Blackpool for about 24 hours I think!

  5. Such a timely piece, Linda. Christmas Eve was a tough day for me, as I grew up spending that with cousins, aunts & uncles, and grandparents. Yesterday I was invited to the house of a lovely family here in Ireland, which was sweet and wonderful. Today, while most Irish folks celebrate Stephen’s Day and the shops are all closed, I’m at a bit of a loss. Had to keep reminding myself that I’d made this expat bed and now have to lie in it. Still, I’m very glad, as you say, to have friends – including you – all over the world. Hugs and many blessings, my dear friend!

    • I’m sorry I didn’t see this yesterday to reply to you, my friend. Austin & I, although we had Christmas dinner together & exchanged wee gifts, missed family too. Ours isn’t so large, but still. Christmas in Spain remains much more about family than it is in the UK – not unlike Thanksgiving in the US. Christmas Eve is the big family get-together, and then January 6th is for the kids. I doubt that any lifestyle is perfect, though. They all have disadvantages. Having worked in awful offices I have to say I’d much rather have the freedom 99% of the time! Wishing you all you wish for yourself in the months ahead, and hoping our paths cross again before too long!

  6. Very nice post. I understand completely. I am missing Tenerife yet have grown to be a part of Okinawa. The world gets smaller. I left Tenerife at 16 1/2 then to the USA and arrived in Okinawa just after I turned 18. I moved back here in 1990 and have lived here ever since. I was back in Tenerife and Hierro in 2009. It is great to hear about your life in Tenerife. Thank you. Let me know if you and friends ever travel to the Asia-Pacific. Eduardo

    • I completely understand why you miss this island. It is amazing and often gets such an undeservedly bad press. Even though I’ve now been here a long time I constantly find new things. I’ve tried to leave before but so far I’ve always come back. I’m planning to go to El Hierro next year! It’s one of the two islands I haven’t yet visited (the other is La Palma), and I can’t wait to see both of them! Thanks very much for reading and for your kind comment. I will definitely let you know if I am ever near your new home. It would be great to meet up. In fact, my son is planning to visit Japan soon.

  7. Bravo! What an awesome post…I have to completely agree with your sentiments, making new friendships and maintaining old ones while on the road can be one of the biggest challenges for me. I still haven’t mastered the skill of doing so!

    • I left the UK over 20 years ago & still am not entirely used to it. I try to remember that if I’d stayed in my home town my life wouldn’t have been blessed with all the amazing friendships I’ve made over those years! It does take some getting used to though. Thanks for reading and commenting, and for your comments elsewhere, which are appreciated.

  8. Lovely thoughts. Brought a big lump in my throat because I also have so many memories of a big group of friends, not to mention a big family, with whom times like Christmases and birthdays are always celebrated in a big way. In a warm clime….

    And so nice to have you as a new friend too.

  9. Thank you. Really I just dashed it off as I thought the words, so I’m glad you liked it so much. I have half a mind to plan a family thing for next year, but then Austin is off sailing, so he doesn’t know where he will be, so “there we go again”! One of the very nice things about this year was meeting you guys, and I very much hope that wasn’t the last and only time :=)

  10. Such a lovely and thoughtful piece, Linda. I can relate to much of it, starting with the difficulty of goodbyes. And when it comes to how I spend the holidays — that has changed so much over the years. We always had a big houseful of family and friends for Christmas when I was growing up. Although the gatherings got much smaller as we all moved far away, I still had the pleasure for many years of spending either Christmas or Thanksgiving (sometimes both) with my parents. Ah, you’ve got me thinking of so many things right now. Thanks — I needed that!

    It really is wonderful to make new friends traveling and in cyberspace. I hope that you will be a friend I get to meet “in the flesh” very soon. All the best for a fabulous new year, Linda!

    • Thanks so much Cathy. I’ve been quite surprised at the response to this post, and it is so nice to know that it touched people. My son & I were musing on how Christmases have changed too, although I don’t think he’d read this!

      I hope we meet very soon too! The internet has changed our worlds so much, hasn’t it. I still have friends who are “scared” of it, and I feel they miss so much. I appreciate that sitting in front of a computer all day having solely cyber relationships is also no way to go, but accepting our wider communication as an evolution of our lives is so rewarding!

      Wishing you an adventurous and travel-filled and very happy NY!

  11. Nice post, Linda. It really resonated as I’ve just spent my second Christmas in a row away from family. Definitely thankful for the internet as well. It seems that proximity matters less and less.. but at the same time there is something to actually being in the presence of people important to you.

    On a side note, I have a feeling our paths will cross some day soon!

    • How odd. I answered you yesterday,but it seems to have disappeared, but my internet was very iffy yesterday, perhaps it dropped as I clicked ‘go’. Yeah, it doesn’t have to be this time of year, I know, to miss people, but I have done more than normally. In theory my younger son could have been here, but arrangements got messed up through no fault of his, but perhaps I should have been more alert (NY Resolution to be more forceful!), but, yes it was great to be able to SKYPE with him, compared to all the years he was in the US and me without a decent enough connection to do that.Actually lucky for me that my other son was here, he could well have been away too….since he also has the travel bug!

      I’m sure we will meet one day too! I’ve just realized that you’re the same generation as my sons, which is kind of nice. I know I need to see Africa. On the other hand the Canaries is not a million miles away – that said I just checked out ferries between here & Morocco for someone, and they no longer exist!

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