The more I write the more I’m starting to realize that there’s so much else to be found through travel besides just ourselves. Or, I suppose, so much else we find that culminates in finding ourselves! Every experience we have adds value to our journey, but one of the most valuable things I’ve found along the way is community. There’s something that connects people in a truly unique way when you travel. It might be something about being away from home, being on a constant adventure, or getting to be our authentic selves, I honestly don’t know if there’s one solid reason; but it’s a bond you only create with other travelers. It won’t be with everyone, in every place and in every experience, but you will connect with some people, be it individuals or a group, that will change your life forever.
My first experience with finding a community came in New Zealand during my first ever solo-hostel stay – which went from a few nights to a few weeks (a common occurrence in travel when you find
a place people you love). I formed so many friendships in that hostel that although I wanted to see more of New Zealand, I didn’t want to miss out on getting to know these incredible people more. I was getting my first real exposure to people from all over the world, some of whom I still visit today and some who simply passed through my journey while I passed through theirs. These friendships came from late nights learning about these other cultures, genuine conversations getting to really tell my story – without any box – for the first time ever, and coming to my first realization that although country may create identity, it does not define identity, and there’s infinite value in what people from other countries can teach you.
My mind was blown, my eyes were opened, my heart was falling in love hard, and my soul…well my soul was bared. Open to this new world, ready to listen, ready to learn and ready to find more. (I just didn’t know how much more that would actually be!)
I finally left that hostel to venture out across the islands, and, much to my surprise, I found community again. This time in the form of (mostly) travelers from the U.K. on my Kiwi Experience bus. It didn’t take long for a group of us to become fast friends, a friendship that led us to spending the next 5 weeks touring New Zealand together, most of us adjusting our original travel plans so we could all stay together! If you ask me, it’s something pretty spectacular for people from different places and with different plans to feel so connected to once absolute strangers that we couldn’t imagine continuing on this adventure without each other. But that’s the value of finding community.
Community is the sum of so many different parts and it truly can’t be explained in just one post, check out my blog Finding Home to see what else community can become!