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.