Back flash to the day I said jokingly I should start a blog. Said day was 11. September 2013, the day I tried to make my first coffee or caffè, how I started to call it from that day on, with a Moka coffee maker with the girl I met two days ago in my Italian class. I just arrived in Rome, Italy where I would live for 7 months doing an internship in tourism, learning Italian and eating way too much pizza if that is even possible.
Arriving in Rome I only had an A1 Italian level so really basic language skills, I did check out some Italian classes for foreigners and was lucky enough to end up with likeminded people. If you are into languages I think this is always a good idea as 1) it gives you the possibility to meet people and 2) you learn a new language.
After moving to Berlin with my dad, starting an internship in Rome without knowing anyone, flying to Australia where I ended up living one year, solo backpacking in Asia and now moving to Lisbon, Portugal all on my own. I should be used to start over in a new city and country but no, I am still not and am actually scared or let’s say, worried I won’t meet people and build friendships. There are still a few things I learned over the last (nearly) 5 years:
- Be open; try to speak to all kind off people e.g. you see someone travelling alone and trying to take a picture, offer help! In return, you get a picture as well and maybe a nice chat.
- Talk to people in your hostel; some join the bigger group but I rather talk to single persons maybe they are in the same situation than I am?! 😉
- Take language classes with people your age
- Go to the gym or join any type of activity; if you don’t end up meeting anyone at least you do something for your health
- If only travelling, look for hostels which are good for single travellers and where they may even have activities at night
- Asia or at least Indonesia was perfect for a single traveller as most people there were
- Tandem Partner; perfect if you want to improve your language skills and meet people. I am on tandempartners.org you should log in, add your native languages and the ones you are learning and you can start searching for people. Voilà!
- Try Meet Up or Facebook groups like Girls Love Travel or New In *enter city*
- Through mutual friends e.g. a really good friend had a friend who was in the same town as me, we ended up having beers once in a while.
- Get out and have a few drinks; alcohol turns strangers into friends
- Just be yourself! Don’t try to be someone else or behave differently. Being just you, you will end up meeting friends that will stay for (hopefully) ever 🙂
A smile and a simple “Hello, how are you?” can make miracles. Can you even imagine how many friendships started with these simple words? 😉 or if you are a weirdo like me just tell complete strangers the weirdest shit about yourself. If they don’t get scared by that they might be even weirder than you and these are the kind off people you should keep.
Obviously, I know that everybody is different, some just meet people easier while others might be socially awkward. It doesn’t hurt to get out of your comfort zone once in a while though. And with some people, you just have an instant connection and with others, you just don’t.
Updates about my first steps in Lisbon will follow later; like planing Portuguese classes and first surf class booked.
** Update ** Me being me and me making plans, I should know that they never work out! Hey, it is not like I didn’t try! I actually went to a Portuguese school to find out which level I am, the test started with audio where I did not understand a lot. The struggle of Brasileiro and Portuguese from Portugal. As I really like the Brazilian accent and I don’t really want to learn the pronunciation from Portugal, I decided against lessons. To the surf classes, well I had like two classes but I miss the atmosphere of surfing in Brazil ..beautiful landscape, amazing beaches, hot weather, surrounded by my friends, the colour of the water. One thing for sure, I will take classes again because I really miss the salt water and surfing.
Yet, I finally managed to meet some people! In the 3rd week I got a really bad mood and said ok whatever just be happy and talk. And this is when it happened! In front of the coffee machine a group talked to me and I run into them on a party a few days later and just ended up hanging out with them. Advantage of working in a big international company with loads of young people, once you meet one person you can have drinks after work with, you just end up meeting more and more people. Also getting an absolutely amazing flatmate helps as well. I didn’t found my coup de foudre (a sudden unforeseen event, in particular, an instance of love at first sight) kinda friendship which I (lucky me) experienced quite often while travelling but I am still more than happy.