mum's rants

How does friendship happen on the Road

People who have not been nomads can easily assume that we cannot have deep friendships if we live on the road.

I always find it quite strange when I am confronted with this assumption because it is the depth of relationship that I miss most when we go OFF the road. When we are not in our truck we are putting aside the constant rub and lack of privacy and escapes and try to find contentment in the snail paced substitute of weekly rendevous or living with others in an environment that has doors and locks and coffee shops.

Think about it. If you live in a world of doors and locks you can choose when to see people. You can choose to see each other when you are at your best. When you are “lookin good”.  When you are feeling sad or angry or too vulnerable you can just go behind your door and lock it, giving some exaggeration or lie about why.  Not so with us.


Friendships build quickly with those that travel in the same vehicle as us.

Friendship happens when you literally weave around each other to prepare a sandwich for lunch while you are shoulder to shoulder with someone who is cooking porridge, another person is high in their sleeping loft watching for an opportunity to descend and begin their search for a toilet. Someone else is getting changed at the other end of the truck and you give them the gift of privacy by averting your eyes. You just can’t get away from each other!  Build friendship or be miserable.

Friendship happens when books are read out loud and heard throughout the truck with ease while others sew or draw.

Friendship happens when you want to watch a movie and you find your place at one end of the truck wedged between two bodies while another smaller body flops on top.

Friendship happens when someone falls off a hammock and on top of you.

Friendship happens when you hear that a dear friend has died and you have no place to cry alone.

Friendship happens when your “issues come up” and you loose control…..then you apologize.

The closer the rub with the least amount of escape and the greater the need for each other the deeper the friendship has the opportunity to grow. We need to choose transparency and vulnerability when we are stationary. It is no longer a choice when you travel together. It is mandatory.

Friendship also happen with other vehicles traveling together or those that you meet again and again and again along the way to spend shorter, concentrated time together.

Friendship happens when we cry and laugh together. It happens when we dress up like complete idiots and run down the street together to share in and celebrate life.

dress up

Friendships become deep quickly as the time together with “tribe” is seen as a gift instead of taken for granted. We have amazing people we call friend all around the world. These friends are so amazing and high quality that a am frequently feeling “cool by association” with them.  Each time we meet up we just carry on from where we have left off, continuing to be even more aware of the limited time causes a jump in the spirit and a quickening of the heart. It is a joy in something you know you cannot control.  Part of this limited time we jump in quick and deep.  The friendship is seen as a special gift as you probe deeply into each others hearts. In this modern day of email and text a relationship can be started or maintained. A thought or word of concern or need can be sent out when needed. We are connected over time and space. Our hearts are intertwined.

I guess it seems obvious to us but not to others as they say, “Don’t you miss having friends?”

Are they serious?

New Zealand

Friends on the road

One of the first questions we get asked frequently is “What about friends for your kids”.

I know the image that is in their minds. A lonely child traveling the globe with only their shadow to play with. That would be very sad indeed.

However this is the reality. Friends are EVERYWHERE!

Here are some of my observations.

In some ways it helps traveling with a big family. It is more expensive ,not as much as you would think, but you get to bring friends with you.

Our kids have developed an ability to make friends naturally. If they want friends they need to make them. If there is a language barrier they need to find a creative way to get past it. We have frequently heard parents say, “your kids fit in so well – as though they have always been here”.

They make friends with all ages – even adults, sometimes. They don’t have that age breakdown in their heads. They make a broad range of friends and I think they are richer for it.

We know that keeping friends is an important skill.

A great way to keep a friend is to know how to keep your sister as a friend.

Many times we go back to see friends.

We invite them to join us, with or without their families.

We facebook. A small security note here. They are not allowed to get a new facebook friends that are adults without mum and dad knowing them. Obviously, building and keeping trust is important here.

Our older kids have ipod touches. The younger kids share “the girlpod” with mum. This is for the main reason of keeping up with friends.

Abi shares a “traveling sweater” with some friends she made in Alabama. Each girl gets the sweater for 2 weeks. She sews on it or draws on it, writes notes in the book that comes with it and then send it on to the next girl.

Just some thoughts. I think my kids are quite good at making friends and delightfully creative with keeping them. There are lonely times. Times of missing those we love. The birthday party that can’t happen because your 8 year old just listed 10 friends for the party that are all from different countries.

Yes our life is a bit different. It is rich and rarely boring. We have friends around the globe and love it.

Time to go and have some breakfast. New friends to be made. Hey, who is that trying to steal my breakfast! A weka! Naughty bird, sounds like a pig.