Friends and Family Back Home: Around the World in 80 Years

Hey guys, I hope all is well… and I hope you’re making good progress towards your goals! Be that fluency in English, a trip around the world, or anything else you would like to achieve. And the reason why I’m bringing this up today is that somebody recently accused me – jokingly, of course – of killing his productivity; he said after reading my articles, he started to daydream of this lifestyle and stopped getting anything done!

At the same time, however, one of our readers made the exact opposite comment… she asked me about getting homesick, and about being far from the people we love most: close friends and family. And that’s a very good question… because while some people are at home, dreaming about far-away lands, others are already abroad, and they’re dreaming about the day of their return!

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Some might simply say that the grass is always greener, and that it’s simply human nature to want what we can’t have. However, this topic is really a little bit more complex than that… in fact, this is one of THE most difficult topics for travelers. I always call this “the one great disadvantage of traveling” – and it can be more difficult to deal with than culture shock or visa issues: I spend 99% of my time far away from my family and from my friends in my home country.

The good news is, however, that I now have probably 100 times more friends than I had when I first struck out on my own… and my new friends are scattered all around the world. In fact, after a few years on the road, you will have many friends in almost every country you might ever want to visit! And at that point, something really bizarre happens: going home would ALSO mean being far from many of the people you love the most!

In Brazil, for example, I have a second family… several years ago, I met a Paulista in Barcelona, and we came to be very good friends. One day he invited me to go to Brazil together… completely out of the blue. I still remember his exact words as if it were yesterday: “Hey Frank, I’m going to Brazil next week… for Carnival, and to travel around for a few months. Do you want to come?” That’s one heck of a crazy proposition, but I slept on it for one night and then said yes. And his family was so hospitable that I now consider them my own “second family”… in effect, I have a “second mum” in Brazil, and we still talk on Skype regularly.

And that is just one example among hundreds… in fact, some of my best friends in the world are right here in Thailand, while others are in Australia, Spain, Canada, Panama, and dozens of other countries. And that also means that no matter how I slice it, and no matter where I go in the world… I will always be far from many of the people I love most.

The other side of this coin is that I will also always have many people I love around me… no matter where I am. And that is a true blessing… something that nobody can ever take away from you once you’ve been on the road for a while!

Don’t get me wrong… I always try to visit my family at least once a year, and I make sure we have at least a week or two to spend together. But you know what? The old saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is absolutely true, and I’m now closer to my family than I have ever been before.

In fact, it’s kind of nice to come home and have a good dozen people fight over who gets to pick you up from the airport, and who gets to take you out for dinner first. :-) Nevertheless, one of the biggest blessings in today’s world is the internet, and Skype of course… so whenever I want to speak to my family, a webcam can really help to “matar a saudade”, as you say in Portuguese.

So yeah… this IS one of the hardest parts of traveling, and especially if you want to get into a relationship, you better pick a fellow traveler! Long distance relationships are NOT fun… trust me on this one, I speak from experience. But when you leave your friends in Brazil behind for a while, you will also make 50 TIMES more new friends in other places… many of whom will end up being the closest ones. And if you never hit the road, you miss out on all those friendships that you haven’t made yet.

In that spirit, I’ll leave you with a quote by Will Rogers today: “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.” You see, after so many years, it is very hard for me to think of people as anything other than future friends.

I hope that helps if you’re hesitant about cutting your ties with your folks for a little while, and thanks for reading… as always, leave me a comment below and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from ya.

Cheers,

~ Frank Florida~

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Frank Florida

Frank Florida é professor de idiomas desde 1994 e fala oito línguas. Viajando o mundo por 11 anos, ele visitou umas 300 cidades em mais de 50 países. Ele se graduou da High School nos EUA, se formou em didática na Austrália e é criador do site Fórmula Fluente.

31 comentários

  • 03/09/12  
    sandrom diz: 1

    I completely agree with Frank. I don´t travel as much as he, but if you are open-minded and travel by yourself you must meet a lot of new friends. My “foreign” friends are real brothers and sisters for me.
    But, what I´d like to add is that in everywhere (not only travelling), in your job, in your school, on the bus, you can make new and valuable friends.

    cheers and, one more time, thanks Frank for your inspiring post.

    Sandro

    • 03/09/12  
      Breno diz:

      Hi guys. I liked a lot your text, Frank. I’m 19 and I’m begining to leave home. I thought this article especially interesting because that talks about some thing so important, the distance between we and the people what we love, and the possibility of making a new and great friend anywhere.

      Congratulations, and bye for now,
      Breno.

    • 04/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Sandro – very true, that. Most people are worried about traveling on their own… many even go abroad with friends. I usually advise against that because if you bring your friends to a foreign country, the most likely outcome is that you won’t be meeting as many new people as you would if you were alone. You will most likely spend more time talking to the friends you brought with you. But if you show up in some faraway land at the other end of the globe all by your lonesome, you really have no other choice but to make new friends. And in the words of Tony Robbins – if you must, then you can!

      The greatest place to meet new people are hostels by the way. A lot of travelers there are in the exact same position as you are and looking to make new friends as well. In a hostel, it’s as easy to meet people as it was in kindergarten – just go up and talk to them.

      By the way Sandro, good point about staying open everywhere, not only on the road. I totally agree… why not strike up a conversation on the bus home? You never know who you might meet! :)

      Cheers man,
      ~ Frank Florida ~

    • 04/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Breno, thanks for your comment! 19 is a great age to start traveling. I was a bit younger, I first went overseas when I was 16, but after a year I went back home to finish my education before I finally left for good. Where are you going? Let me know on the forum!
      http://www.englishexperts.com.br/forum/around-the-world-in-80-years-travel-journal-t25866.html

      Cheers!
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 03/09/12  
    Denis D'Urbano diz: 2

    I just want to say: “please don’t stop to write”. I want to read Around the World part M, hehe.
    Congratulations, all the best for you!

    • 04/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Haha… hey Denis, 1000 articles? Well, let’s see how we go, eh! I still have a lot of ideas up my sleeve so I’ll keep them coming, don’t worry. ;)

      Thanks mate!
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 03/09/12  
    Lady diz: 3

    “completely out of the blue’ o que significa isso?

    • 04/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Lady… “out of the blue” significa “do nada”, ou “inesperadamente”.
      Abraços!

  • 03/09/12  
    Gustavo diz: 4

    I totally agree with you Frank, I’ve lived in New Zealand for 2 years and I’m going to Australia in some weeks from now and I can say that these experiences are very memorable. I guess
    that everyone should travel abroad just for one time to see what I mean….So, pick your backpack up and put your foot on the road, and you won’t be sorry!!!!!

    Gus

    • 04/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Gus, that’s awesome… I’ve visited New Zealand and actually lived in Australia twice, what a great place! Many Brazilians there too, I remember that I heard more Portuguese spoken at Bondi Beach than I did English! :)

      Keep us posted on your travels if you ever swing by the forum…
      Cheers,
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 03/09/12  
    PmP diz: 5

    Another excellent article frank!! i’ve followed them and i never answer as you ask us, but i’m doing it at this time. Last year i was on abroad and a part of me was a little bit sad to get back. Of course, i missed my family, friends and really would see them, but i missed my life experience i had in there…

    When i read your articles i often try to show them to some friends to make them feel like me: to see a travel around the world as the best treasure whose you can make friends, to live the best experiences ever knowing different places and etc…

    Sometimes i feel like i should give up everything that i’ve conquered (more because i’m just starting a professional career) and to live that kind of life! lol

    best regards

    • 04/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey PmP, that’s cool – thanks for saying hi finally! :) Yeah you know… one thing travelers often talk about is culture shock. It can be quite a psychological strain to live in an environment where everything is different from what you’re used to. But guess what… there is also reverse-culture shock! Some people miss the experiences they had abroad so much that they actually get depressed when they come back home. It’s quite fascinating but very real.

      As for me, I wouldn’t trade this life style for anything in the world… not even for a million dollars. Because what good are a million dollars if I can’t spend them on travel? Hehe…

      Cheers my friend, stay in touch and always the best!
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 03/09/12  
    Liv diz: 6

    OMG! That’s my dream. Being traveler as Frank! Make news friends in every corner of the world and also know every corner of the world! Who knows, someday I might pick my pack up and say goodbay to Brazil!
    You inspire me Frank. God bless you!

    • 04/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Liv, thanks for your comment… that’s good to hear! :) Make a post on the forum if you ever take up a life on the road!

      Cheers,
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 04/09/12  
    Fernando Evangelista diz: 7

    hello everyone!!
    I lived in Europe for 8 years, 6 in London… And i had an amazing time! Made so many friends from everywhere around The world.
    Begining is bit hard as you Miss family, friends, food and so on… But from The moment that you Go with The flow, It’s so much fun, getting to know new places, new people, new experiences!!

    Well good luck to whoever is thinking to live abroad!

    Frank, well done, you make an very good Job and Best regards!! ;)

    Fernando Evangelista

    • 08/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Fernando, thanks for sharing your experiences here as well! :) And I couldn’t agree more… many people who spend a year abroad later say that it was the best year of their lives – even if they miss their family some of the time while they’re traveling. :)

      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 04/09/12  
    João B. L. Ghizoni diz: 8

    Hi, Frank! Needless to say your text is superbly inspiring. It’s soooo good to read your posts! From your writings I can say you’re a wonderful person. No bad person would write in such a friendly way. I’m sure you make friends easily because you must be really nice to everyone you meet! What great company you must be! Congratulations ever!!!

    But I have a question: could you explain this bit: “come home and have a good dozen people fight over”? It’s at the beginnng of the ninth paragraph. Thanks in advance!

    Man, please keep writing. Your posts are a great balm for all of us! God bless you!

    • 08/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey João! Wow, that’s quite a compliment, you guys are making me blush. :) What can I say – really happy to hear that! You know, it’s actually really easy to make friends on the road… other travelers are always open to new friendships, and most locals are curious to meet foreigners… I promise social life on the road is 99% positive! :)

      That sentence you asked about means that a lot of people dispute about who gets to pick me up from the airport when I come home and spend the first evening catching up. :) My cousin is pretty persistent, but usually my grand-father makes the grade. His house is the first place I visit… and then my parents and my sister. All other friends and relatives have to wait til after that… haha.

      Anyway man, comments like yours make my day. I really appreciate it… and yeah, I’ll keep writing, don’t worry. ;)

      Cheers!
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 04/09/12  
    Luís Paulo diz: 9

    Hi, Frank! Thanks very much for sharing once more your experiences and for writting in such a amazing style. I´m learning a lot with you. I also share your experience of knowing others friends in everywhere I´ve been to. It´s quite ambiguous feelings! However, there´s another aspect that I´d ask you in a good pub conversation with a pint of beer (Maybe one day, why not?). Here It sounds quite invasive but the question is about relationship. I know you told something but quickly. Of course you can love someone in many parts of the world despite the duration of it. However if you find a special love, the hit the road project could be aborted. Do you have any experience possible to be shared? Thanks very much again for all your contributions!!! Abração!! (sorry, only in portuguese I can express that)

    • 08/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Luís… that’s a good question. Yeah, well I’ve fallen in love on the road, what can you do? I’m a nomad but I’m not a monk! Haha… and if you keep moving, that’s just asking for trouble.

      But there are solutions for that problem too… my last girl-friend, for example, was a traveler, just like me. She’s from Australia and likes to live out of a backpack, roaming all across the entire planet and working from her laptop as well… so that worked out really well. We’re no longer together but we’re both still traveling! Maybe I’ll write a blog post about this topic some day. :)

      Hope that helps!
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 04/09/12  
    Nathália diz: 10

    how fantastic! I’ve been thinking about travel abroad… But I’m don’t have much money, less than 600 dollars probably… But I was wondering, may you know a why, i don’t know, to work in a NGO in Canada,UK our USA?

    Tks, Nathália

    • 08/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Nathália, that is a GREAT idea. I actually applied for that kind of work back when I first started traveling, but I missed a deadline and so I never got the job. But it’s definitely an option, for sure! Many of my friends have participated in that kind of project. I’m sure if you Google for NGOs in English speaking countries, you’ll find something that’s a fit. If you seek you shall find… that’s very true in my experience.

      Best,
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 04/09/12  
    Alexandra Lima diz: 11

    Hi, I´d like to thank you for being so nice and share your amazing experiences travelling abroad! Ever time I read your post, it seemed to me that we are talking and enjoying a cup of coffee ! by the way, I love coffee… And, I´m 07 days from my first trip abroad… I´m so happy… I´ll study during a month in Vancouver, in an English course… I´m not so young, I´m 39, married, but I always dreamed about live a bit in an English environment…so, two years ago, I took courage and booked my course… and finally, I´m coming there… so, keep writing… please… Lots of kisses, all the best for you and thanks again !!!!
    Alexandra LIma
    Praia Grande SP
    Brazil

    • 08/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Alexandra, wow that is amazing! Few people have the courage to take a big trip once they’re already in a career and in a marriage. Good for you! I’m sure it will be one of the best months of your life. I like that you’re already counting down the days… I always do that too! :) It’s an exciting feeling, isn’t it?

      Hey, stop by on the forum some time and tell us about your trip! :)
      Cheers,

      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 04/09/12  
    Kely Simioni diz: 12

    Hi! I’m from Brazil. I’m 23. I liked a lot your post!
    I intend to spend 1 year on New Zealand, i will probably travel on May 2013, i’ve never been far from my family and friends and I know it will be very hard but on the other hand it will be a great experience!
    I admire a lot your lifestyle!!

    • 08/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Kely, thanks for stopping by and for your nice comment! I think you will have a great time in New Zealand… I spent a couple of days there as well, it’s a beautiful country – quiet, but amazingly beautiful. Stay in touch!

      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 05/09/12  
    Stan diz: 13

    I appreciated your experience…tks a lot!

    Success in your different lifestyle…forever and ever….

    hugs!!!

    • 08/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Stan, you’re welcome, it’s my pleasure… and thanks for stopping by! :)
      Abraços!

  • 06/09/12  
    Nívio Bernardo diz: 14

    Hi,

    It is always good to know about news yours. I think you´re a luky guy. As you said ithere are two sides of the coins , but it is worthwhile.

    • 08/09/12  
      Frank Florida diz:

      Hey Nívio… thank you my friend. Yup, that’s life… yin and yang, night and day… but in the end it’s all worth it.

      Cheers!
      ~ Frank Florida ~

  • 10/09/12  
    lucas diz: 15

    Hi Frank sorry my english…
    Very inspiring your text, especially for someone like me who may very soon go through a situation like this. But have a question for me that is still unanswered and that makes me have chills. As I live there, monetarily speaking? I would ask this question to you? how do you make money?
    Thank you and please never stop writing your beautiful story!