Traveling to new places can be scary. The hardest step is convincing yourself that you can do it. The second hardest step is convincing your friends and family that it will be OK. The truth is that when you travel, you are never alone. Friends are everywhere waiting to be made: the person sitting beside you on your flight, the person trying to catch a taxi into the city, or the person you ask directions from in the market. It can be intimidating to try and make friends, but here are five steps that will put you quickly on your way.
All the time. To everyone you meet.
2. Stay in a home stay.
Connecting with a family will give you a rich experience of the culture that would be difficult to achieve any other way. If you are lucky, you will find a family who really takes you under its wing – in this way you can quickly learn about the language, food, traditions and culture.
Or find a way to give back to the community you are staying in, instead of just traveling through a country and only stopping along the tourist route without making real contact with the local people. Find some time to contribute in a positive way, and you will be surprised. By watching you spend energy in their community, people will give back to you and you will find many more amazing opportunities become available.
4. Always travel with snacks
And share them with people. Stuck on a long bus ride? Everyone’s hungry, and if you bring snacks and share with the people around you, you will make many friends.
5. Learn how to say hello.
I know the title of this article is how to make friends when you cannot speak the same language, but if you learn one word of their language, their greeting, it will immediately gain you friends wherever you go. It will show you to be a person who is excited to be there and that you care enough to learn a bit of their language. I have seen women in remote villages burst into tears and start giggling wildly after one hello from me in their language. It means a lot to people, and the value of this small gesture cannot be put into words. Even if you say it wrong or struggle with the pronunciation, even if they are laughing at you instead of with you, I have never had it work against me. Just trust me on this one and reap the benefits.