No matter how much you’ve travelled, communication while travelling is tough. Have you ever found the time difference to be the crux of fights with people from home? Or maybe your relationships are struggling from a lack of communication in general. I’ve been through it all, so here’s my take on communication and ways you can either improve it or move on!
The phone works both ways
After a few years of solo travel I’ve found that I’ve mastered the art of staying in touch with people from home. It’s something that’s important to me so I’ve always prioritized making time to talk to those I care about when I have some down time.
I find it gets tough when you start realizing you’re putting in a lot more effort than others. Eventually I learned that the phone works both ways. If someone isn’t going to pick it up to text or call to see how I’m doing, why should I waste my time talking to them anymore?
This becomes a lot harder to deal with if it’s a significant other or family member. My relationship with my brother has suffered greatly since I started travelling after noticing his texts or calls only came when he needed something from me. He didn’t really care about how I was doing/if he did, he was doing a horrible job at showing it. I’ve had to step back from our relationship at the moment because it’s not healthy but that’s okay.
The same has happened time and time again with guys I’ve been seeing. Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do in those situations except realize that you’ll be much happier once they’re not in the picture. It’s easy to get caught up in any sort of relationship but if it’s making you unhappy and taking away from your experience travelling, they aren’t the right person.
Tighten your circle
Travelling has really shown me who will really be there for me when I need it. It may come as a shock initially if you only have a few people who are checking in regularly. It can be especially hard if you had previously set an expectation that someone would show up for you and don’t – trust me I’ve been there more times than I can count.
Although it’s a tough pill to swallow, you won’t have many friends that want to stay in touch while you’re travelling but that’s fine. Actually it’s better than fine because it will allow you to tighten your circle and see who really cares and wants the best for you. Those people will still be there and that’s what you need to focus on.
Backpackers are kind
Solo travel can present many difficulties and will quickly reveal where people’s intentions lie. Almost a year ago I was in a bad scooter accident in the Philippines. I only had maybe 2-3 close friends that were there for me during that time. While it was one of the toughest moments I’ve encountered while travelling solo, it taught me a lot.
There were many kind backpackers I met throughout the coming weeks. It was touching to see how many people showed genuine compassion. If you find your communication while travelling isn’t great with people from home, you can always count on new friends you meet along the way!
Deciding when it’s fine to cut ties
Deciding when it’s the right time to cut someone of your life is crucial. You don’t want to waste your travels being unhappy with a certain relationship and spending all your time focusing on that.
While this applies to everyday life as well, it’s especially important to note when an individual or group is no longer serving you. If you feel like someone is bringing your energy down and notice a pattern occurring, why continue? End it and continue on with your travels!
The time change is never that hard
Sure, a difference in time zones can present a few difficulties but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse for not staying in touch. We all have busy schedules so it’s understandable that sometimes it’s not possible to communicate. With that being said, when the time change starts being used as an excuse for not putting enough effort into a relationship, that’s not okay.
It’s not really that hard to work out a few minutes every week or so to make time to talk to a loved one. Many people deal with different time zones on a regular basis and make it work. If someone keeps using the time difference as a reason as to why they aren’t texting/calling you back I’d call bullshit and reevaluate things with them.
Let them know you’re thinking of them
As hard as it can be to travel and be away from those at home at times, you’re the one on an adventure while they’re stuck at work. That means you may need to step things up every now and again. Nothing too fancy, just a note, postcard or meaningful text will go a long way!
I spent today at the Note Coffee Cafe in Hanoi and wrote a few notes to the people closest to me. I sent them pictures of the notes that covered the entire building with a quick message that lets them know I’m thinking of them!
If you’ve faced challenges with communication while travelling, I’d love to hear more. Leave a comment below, or head to my contact page to get in touch!
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