Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Making New Friends

jonny blair in swaziland

Making New Friends in Swaziland – an essential part of your journey.

“oooh Jonny come lately, the new kid in town, will they still love you when you’re not around?” and “Even your old friends treat you like you’re someone new”. You probably didn’t need that Eagles lyric to tell you that today’s Tuesday’s Travel Essentials is about making new friends…”I get by with a little help from my friends…”

Jonny Blair of Dont Stop Living the lock in bournemouth

“Your loneliness like a heart beat drives you mad…” get out there and make new friends!

If you stay in the same place all your life, then normally your friends stay the same. That’s usually the way it works – you see the same people every day and you associate yourself with them. In the only two places where I haven’t really been nomadic (Bangor, Northern Ireland and Bournemouth, England) I kept the same friends for years. The thing is – I’m now a global nomad. I’m a traveller, but I need other people around me – I love talking to others and meeting new people and most of all making new friends. So here’s today’s Tuesday’s Travel Essentials…an overdue post in fact…

Jonny Blair in Belfast Northern Ireland

Back in 2011 I went back to Belfast for 2 days to attend a wedding – here’s me with Gavin – one of my best mates as a child, now we see each other about 2 times every 4 years…

OK so you’ve left your best mate from childhood behind and you’re on your own. You land in a new city where you don’t know anyone, so how on earth do you make new friends? Well, it’s easy. All you need to do is be yourself! That friendly, adventurous traveller that you already are for having got this far. My top tips on making new friends:

1. Talk to people – There’s no point being so shy about it – just get talking to anyone and everyone. Hostel workers, people at the bus stop, fellow tourists, train ticket officers, the guy beside you on the bus, the girl behind you in the donut queue. The key is just be friendly and you never know who you will meet.

partying in O Malleys Sydney Australia

Making new friends in Sydney, Australia by….talking to people!

2. Respond to people who talk to you – You don’t live in a bubble. If someone talks to you on your travels, talk back to them. They’re probably in the same boat as you – they want to make new friends and travel buddies. Obviously be aware of strangers, pick pockets and potential muggers. But it’s a friendly old world out there – most people just want to talk to you.

jonny blair partying in chili blue hostel in sydney

So I got talking to people and WHAM! I had made over 30 new friends and got an invite to a Halloween Party!!

3. Book into Dorm Rooms – The best way to meet people in hostels is actually in the dorms as you already share something in common – a room. Get chatting. Invite them out for a beer.

jonny hiro and daeuk vietnam hanoi backpacking

With my hostel roomates and new drinking buddies Hiro and Daeuk in Hanoi, Vietnam.

4. Join Guided Tours – Although people often think that guided tours means expensive tours, then you’re wrong. Sometimes it’s cheaper to go as part of a group, and you’ll make new friends.

hangi food in rotorua new zealand

Making new friends in Rotorua, New Zealand in 2007 as part of a tour.

5. NEVER judge on First Impressions – When I studied Public Relations at Bournemouth University, I remember some of the bullshit lecturers used to come off with (and I’ll destroy some of them in future posts) but one such ridiculous statement and myth is that you can judge someone by their first impressions.

spiked green hair in pisa italy jonny blair

Who is that eejit with the green hair?? Don’t judge on first impressions remember…

Having travelled the world, I can honestly say that the people I wasn’t particularly instantly fond of on first impressions, have become my best friends. First impressions don’t mean anything to me anymore. There was also the time in Argentina where I was angry with a hotel receptionist and went nuts at her, turns out the guy behind watching initially thought I was a moaning freak. He later became my best mate on the trip and I had a reason why I went nuts on the hotel girl – long story and covered in part here. Thanks, Russell…

Russell and Jonny in Argentina

Having a beer with my new travel buddy Russell from Antarctica, Argentina and Australia! Cheers!

6. Bars – I love my bars and pubs around the world – great place to rock into and meet new people.

dan darch lee adams jonny blair manchester

Down the pub with my mates, but when you travel you have to find new mates in every town or city…

Strike up a conversation and suddenly you’ve a new travel and drinking buddy. The limits are endless.

travelodge manchester with austin

Me and my mate Austin lounging in Manchester, England.

So get out there and see the world and make new friends. There are new people to meet everywhere you go. I’m now connected to over 1,300 friends on my personal Facebook and my Don’t Stop Living Facebook page as well. All from travelling the world for 10 years. While they might not all be close friends, I like having a wide ranging network of friends from different countries and in different industries. Head to my Facebook page and “like” it to stay up to date with me and my journeys.

If you’re a travel related company reading this and want to feature on Tuesday’s Travel Essentials or any part of DSL, Head to my advertising page and get in touch if you want your brand on here too!!

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2 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Making New Friends

  • I’m so glad you wrote about first impressions being wrong! This has happened to me on multiple occasions, as well. Couchsurfing is also a really great tool to meet up with people for coffee, language exchanges, or other activities. I’m also a huge fan of homestays and meeting locals (often possible through Couchsurfing). I like the way you think! 😀
    Beth recently posted…lisbon gems pt.2My Profile

  • Thanks for the comment Beth – Couchsurfing too. I made about 10 new friends this week while backpacking in China!! Safe travels, Jonny

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