Reconnecting With Ghosts from the Past After Travelling

Reconnecting With Ghosts from the Past After Travelling

Everybody will agree that travelling is a fantastic and eye-opening experience. Nobody who has been on a long-term trip returns the same person. There is a long list of the benefits of travelling, and many of them link to the social experiences that you have. You make lots of like-minded friends, who you have a whirlwind friendmance with, before having to say goodbye. Through these experiences, your perception of ‘friendship’ often changes. You learn to appreciate those close relationships you’ve had in your lifetime, however fleeting they may be, and you also begin to understand that not all friendships need constant upkeep to remain real.

This is something that I strongly believe in, and it has led me to try and reconnect with people from my past after travelling. It might be a simple Facebook message to test the waters (particularly if the friendship was not left in an amicable state) or it might be a bid to meet up for a real catch up. In many cases, this has been really successful and my messages have been met with a warm and eager reception. However, there have been a few that have not.

Charming

Charming

The problem is, by making these moves I am assuming that the person on the other end of the line feels the same way. I assume that while I have been travelling, they have ‘grown up’ and gotten over the issues of our past in their own, stationary way. I also give them the benefit of the doubt by supposing that they have got over their own teenage issues with themselves. Many of those who live a travelling lifestyle are fuelled by personal issues and self-discovery, so a return to the motherland indicates that we have ‘got over’ these issues, or at least have started to. Am I mad to think that people do grow up? I was under the impression that many of us are in our mid-twenties, so we have changed somewhat from when we were wearing thick black eyeliner and side partings that lay dangerously close to our ears, so concerned about being cool; but it seems that I am wrong. In the worst-case scenario, my reach out was greeted with a ‘what do you want’, I wasn’t even granted a question mark.

The first time seeing each other in six years!

The first time seeing each other in six years!

The successful scenarios include meeting up with an ex-boyfriend, going on a great night out with a girl who I was friends with for only a very short while, and seeing a childhood friend who now has a baby. These experiences gave me a great perspective of how the paths of life can vary and that travelling might not be necessary to grow up, but all had the common denominators of friendliness, openness, and the desire to compare the present to the past. These were awesome experiences, but it is important to remember that some people may seem as though they have changed, but underneath their disguise, they haven’t – with that in mind, I don’t necessarily recommend meeting up with an ex, it might not end as you planned! On reflection, I realised that a huge proportion of those who were grateful of my reconnection had travelled.

The first time since I left university!

The first time since I left university!

This has led me to wonder why this happens. Why is it that the people who have seen more of the world are more receptive of friendship, wherever it may come from? Are we travellers genuinely friendlier, or is it a deep-set pathological loneliness that drives us from the safety of our homes out into the world? Is the issue with the ghost from our past, has their social development been stunted by staying in the same place, or are they jealous that we left them behind? Why is it that some people are happy to reconnect, but the others aren’t?

Generally speaking I don’t really like people, and I am not always easy to get along with, so I value those who have managed to elicit a friendship from me, whether it was ten years ago or one year ago. Therefore, it makes me quite sad when people don’t react in the way that I hoped – they fade from being an important feature of my past to a part of the old and greying wallpaper of my life.

So tell me, have you have any experience reconnecting with ghosts from your past? How did you find it, were they receptive or not? Do you think that people change, and how does travel affect how we change as people?

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21 Comments

  1. I don’t think it has so much to do with traveling, but with the fact that we travelers tend to break routines more often. Or, better yet, are “forced” to learn to let go of a few things here and there. I look back at my last year and a half and it always looks like it’s been ages!! I’ve done so much, learned so much, changed so much and, most importantly, I learned what is important. Most people around us will never get around to it, whether they travel or not… In those times, when we realized they haven’t changed and probably never will, you just let go and move forward. OR maybe it’s a ginger thing, what do we know? (I’m a ginger too; I always thought we were kind of “off” from the rest of the world lol)

    Reply
    • I totally agree with you. We all got to point where we had to choose a path, and we chose an alternative path to the one that is drummed into us by society. Those in the conventional routines probably struggle to understand our lifestyle and what we have seen, or maybe even WHY we broke away? I LOVE that you think we’re different, I think that there’s definitely something ethereal about us! They did used to think that red hair was a sign of a witch… 😉

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  2. Hmm interesting. To be honest I lost connection with most of my friends as I started travelling. We exchange messages from time to time, but I think in order to keep a good relationship we need to have experiences together as well. Me being on the road prevents that. I don’t mind it, as I love travelling, but I don’t really have any close friends anymore.

    Reply
    • How about making friends on the road? I agree with you to an extent about having to experience things together, but I think with modern technology we can actually try and include them in our adventures, and keep a running narrative with them. But if they are real friends then you can pick up the friendship from where you left off.

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  3. My husband and I recently reconnected with someone who used to be our best friend and roommate. Things had gone sour after living with each other and ended in court. After a few years of not talking to each other, we recently got together to apologize and be friends again. The guy had gotten married in the meantime, had steady work, his own place, etc. We had gotten married, been traveling for years, got our own place, etc. Making up with our friend was one of the best things that has happened to us as of late. We’ve said sorry, moved on, and now we’re all really great friends again!

    Reply
    • That is so great! I’m happy that you had such an excellent experience, and I hope that any other efforts I make will end that way. So much can be said in the heat of the moment, and we are proud people so things can easily snowball out of our control, so I think it’s super important to give each other second chances after time has let situations cool off, to discover how much we change.

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  4. Sometimes its good to reconnect with people, but it’s also good to know when leave the past in the past. Traveling opens you up to so many different things in the world that can be hard for others to experience if they don’t travel. Good luck with your continuing friendships.

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    • I completely agree with you on that one, and some of my attempted reconnections have turned into regrets. I’m always one for giving people second chances though, we change so much in our early twenties and I would like old friends to give me a second chance, so I try to return it! I suppose that sadly, it doesn’t always work that way…

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  5. Aw. I love your posts on travelling and the impacts of friendship actually – it is so true, unfortunately, and it is sad when you realize that someone doesn’t place the same value on a relationship as you do.
    When I returned to the UK after travelling and living overseas, I thought I could just pick back up where I left off – there were a few that picked up again fine, other friends that flaked and weren’t really fussed, and others where we just didn’t feel on the same page anymore, and I remember feeling so saddened by it at first. Now most of my ‘best’ friends are spread all over the World – even though we don’t see each other that often, when we do, it feels as though nothing’s changed 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you! It does suck when that happens, but I guess we all change in different ways. When I think of the kid of girl I was at 18 I cringe, but I suppose that’s how these ghosts will remember us, so maybe it’s just them trying to get their heads around how much we have changed. I’m in a situation now where I have come home to the UK and moved back with my parents, and have nearly no friends down here – those that I do have all work, so now I’m haunted by my own ghosts in my old room desperately trying to find a job!

      Reply
  6. All of my best friends have moved to the far corners of the Earth. I try to use my vacations to visit them, and sometimes it seems like we’ve really lost touched, but things always pick back up when I see them again.

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    • Oooh so you’re lucky! All of you are travellers, so you don’t have the clash of having nothing to talk about! I agree with you though, I think that the true friends are the ones who don’t care where you are or what you’re doing: you will always be able to continue your friendship when you next see each other, regardless of how long it is in between visits.

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  7. Travel does change us…and for all the reasons you noted. However, friendships don’t have to change, with the internet and social media, I still feel connected to friend when on the road. I think the question is about growth. That can come from travel, or just being open to life and opportunities around.

    Reply
    • It’s funny that you should say that, as I actually wrote a post about how social media has changed what it means for us to be friends! I think we find it all too easy to just add somebody as a friend on Facebook, but then not actually make an effort to keep in touch as in our minds we are ‘friends’. I guess when we chose to travel and others chose to stay at home, that the two paths were so different we just end up seeing the world in a different way…

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  8. I *always* struggle to go back home. It’s so hard to explain to people how much I’ve changed and grown, when it’s obviously they haven’t. The worst part is when they want to talk about that thing that happened that one time….like a high school memory. I hate that. I feel like I am so different that who I was back then, so even if I do remember the scene (which is often not the case), I rarely relate. It’s a hard balance…..

    Reply
  9. This is such an honest post, and I can relate to nearly all of it. They say, you’ll learn who your true friends are when you leave home to travel/ move abroad and that has definitely happened to me but I’ve no regrets. Travelling has definitely made me a better person!

    Reply
    • I agree! I’ve got loads of friends, but really I only have two close friends, and it doesn’t matter how long I am gone for: we’ll always pick up where we left off!

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  10. This is so very true, great post!! I recently did a post on how travel changes you (http://adjustyourfocus.net/travel/changes-you/) and I do think it opens your eyes and you see what a big beautiful world we live in. You become more flexible, more engaged, more in tune with yourself and other cultures. I think it can be easy to reconnect coming back but at the same time if people have never experienced the changes that happen when traveling it can be hard too. I lost a lot of my closest friends the last few years when I started traveling often because we didn’t have as much in common and they said I changed. Now, within the last couple months, I’ve met a bunch of amazing new friends (all of which have traveled to an extent) and we connect on a deeper level. Definitely interesting…

    Reply
    • It’s such a different lifestyle than what we are taught, isn’t it?! So I guess people who haven’t travelled and our successful in the more conventional way probably don’t really understand the way that we see the world. I guess we all come to a point where we have to choose our path, and we chose ‘the road less travelled’ 😉

      Reply
  11. I’ve made many friends while traveling, but it is hard to keep up a friendship when you both get home sadly.

    Reply
    • It can be yes, I actually wrote another post on that idea.

      Reply

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