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distance

quantumize

TRIBE Member
do you have good or best friends that are far away for long periods of time... Ex. teaching overseas, or living in asia for months at a time etc....

My question is simple, when does a person who is always travelling cease to be a best friend and transition to just being a friend ?

Does the wanderlust alientate you from the people close to you in your life here ?

FOR THE TRAVELLERS : Why do people choose to live in a distant land for long periods of time? dont you miss the life you left here? do you find people have moved on while you have been away ?
 

Sleepy Giant

TRIBE Member
My best friend plays pro hockey in Germany. We only talk a couple times when he's over there, but we pick up where we left off when he gets back.

The only tough thing is now it seems like i have 'summer friends' and 'winter friends'.
 

Jeffsus

TRIBE Member
Pff oh man. Let me have another beer and I will try to answer this.

Also, please define what you mean "long periods of time"? 4 months? 1 year? Many years?

-jM
A&D
 

IgStar

TRIBE Member
I didn't even see half the peeps I wanted to when I came home.

3 weeks was not long enough....not even close.

of course I miss everyone...some waaay more than others but that's just the way it is.
there are a few people who will never transition to being "friend" from "awesome, amazing friend" regardless of the distance between us.
ever.
 
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kmac

TRIBE Member
IgStar said:
there are a few people who will never transition to being "friend" from "awesome, amazing friend" regardless of the distance between us.
ever.
Exactly.

Anyway, I have a good friend who lives in Toronto and I've seen Swissy Iggy more in the past six months than her. So sometimes it's not just physical distance.
 

Booty Bits

TRIBE Member
my best friend from childhood has been living in the UK for 3 years but i still consider her one of my best friends.
my bf lives in NYC but hes still one of my best friends too!

i dunno...distance does suck and definitely makes it hard to keep up with the intimate details of a person's life, but if the bond is there, it doesn't really matter.
 

quantumize

TRIBE Member
My father and his brothers live in different countries, and he was talking to me about feeling a gap between them. He feels closer to his in-laws because they live here and they share more time together.

I was surprised to hear this at first because he and his brothers are very close, but I am beginning to understand why he feels like that. How close can you really be with somebody thousands of kilometres away ?
 

Jeffsus

TRIBE Member
As for myself, I've been out of the country a lot since 1997. Ok, maybe not "a lot", but, it certainly feels that way.

Co-op helped in the beginning, I did terms in California and Vancouver, which are both pretty far. The distance from Toronto to Vancouver is nearly the same as Berlin to Baghdad, so...

At the same time, or thereabouts, a good friend of mine went on exchange to Europe for a year. This marked the beginning of an era where we each seemed to be taking turns fucking off to God knows where on the planet. He'd come back, I'd leave, I'd come back, He'd leave, rinse lather repeat.

But we always have, and likely always will, been keeping in good touch. Maybe this only worked because we were both fucking off all the time?

My other buddy was the same. He did an exchange to Australia in the time when I had returned to Canada. Then shortly after he came back I fucked off again to Tanzania, by the time I got back, he came into some money and fucked off to a round-the-world trip that took nearly a year. So it goes. Again, we've remained the best of friends but perhaps only because the fucked-off-ed-ness was bilateral.

And all my friends, many from early gradeschool, I still keep in great contact with generally (all things considered) and certainly consider as close as ever. Thankfully, in this day of internet, in a lot of ways it doesn't matter exactly where you are in the world. If you want/are able to make the effort, you can keep in touch. There really are no excuses anymore. Well, almost no excuses.

Truth be told, I don't think my or my friends' absenses have adversely affected our friendships. In some cases even, it's been good for us.

In many cases, as has been mentioned, you can come back and just fit back into the groove where you left off. Usually this is easier if you're dealing with a buddy whose situation hasn't changed much -- which is often the case for people who haven't unrooted their entire life and moved abroad in the last year or so. If someone is at the same job in the same place with the same social contacts for example, the likelihood is that not so much has changed in the time of my absense that would prevent us from just carrying on where stuff left off. Usually, this phase is harder for me cause I would end up with a lot of milage under my belt since the last time and have to readjust to being back; kind of like the kid from "flight of the navigator". Usually people don't understand that or care; but that's by-the-by.

Where it does get tricky is when the home-turf really has changed a lot in your absense... And you come back to a landing pad that is significantly different. For example, in my case, I come back to a place where lots of friends have bought new homes, moved, got married, had kids, died, or otherwise experienced significant lifestyle changes -- that can be.... not necessarily rough but... definitely requires adjustment. It certainly is worlds away from "picking up where we left off".

In that sense, yeah, maintaining ties to home and friends is rough. I feel really bad about missing weddings especially, but realistically, there is no way i can afford it timewise or moneywise to return for each such occasion. Funerals are the same, probably even worse; at 'our' age, you don't expect to say goodbye permanently at those booze&pretzel-fuelled going away parties.

FOR THE TRAVELLERS : Why do people choose to live in a distant land for long periods of time? dont you miss the life you left here? do you find people have moved on while you have been away ?
There are all kinds of reasons why people will choose to live abroad. I can't speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. In my case, it's because I have a deep craving for adventure! And there is very little that compares to the feeling of the complete unknown; that quitting of your job, cancelling your everything, getting on a plane and knowing only that when you get off you will be in a very foreign place. No known friends, mystery residence, weird new job, incomprehensible language, bizarre culture, a challenge about everything from the moment you wake up; it's like being born again, in the sense that everything can be profoundly new. Like doubling or tripling your share out of coming into this wacked world in the first place. And you can go and explore everything anew, take it in for the better and worse, for as long as it takes or as long as you are able.

Maybe the closest thing I've had to a near-death or real-death experience is those moments shortly after saying bye to friends and family near the security gate at pearson, passing through that oh-too-Freudian gate security gate and into the sterile world of international transport. Whereafter you pass into a long cylinder that erects itself high into the sky and you spend the next 10 (or 40) hours looking down at the early, utterly alone and disconnected (except for the weirdo beside you), staring down at an endless expanse of blue-white haze below.. (oddly, the sky is a blackish purple at those heights, if you get the chance to gaze when the plane makes course corrections, like the kind you have to do when you fly over Saudia Arabia cause your plane has booze on it) Anyways....

And once you arrive, you're generally honeymoon-phased for a while and for some people that'll make them report home more often to share all the good news, for other people, that means they won't say peep because they are too busy taking it all in. What happens after that can really have a big impact on what used to be your life back in Canada (or wherever).

At the end of the day you learn alot about other people, which is noble and all even if accidental or inevitable; but more selfishly, I enjoy it because, through contrast, I learn a hell of a lot about not only myself but also my home culture; how we, collectively, as Canadians fit into the world and what makes us, like all countries, distinct from it.

Do I miss Canada or home or friends? Mmmm... Canada, not so much -- if only because I know I will be going back someday. Miss home? In ways, mostly superficial. For example, owning a wash machine again would be cool.

Have people moved on? Oh definitely. Like I mentioned: moving, marriage, kids, deaths; all these things change the old social landscape in ways I have yet to determine.

But anyhoo... SCHLAGEL ON!!!!

And one thing that DIDN"T change is my TAB on WHO owes me WHAT beers. And sorry Mr. Labrat but you still owe me enough beers to pay for my stupid airplane home!

WOOT WOOT WOOT!!

-jM
A&D
*ps: i must admit though that being abroad destroys my sense of birthdays. I appologize to everyone reading whose birthday I have probably forgotten more than once. It's not my fault!!
 
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litespeed

Well-Known TRIBEr
my former best freind moved out to vancouver several years ago... kept in touch regularily for a long time... but eventually we started going longer and longer periods without speaking. now we rarely speak at all... i haven't spoken to her in maybe 5 or 6 months.. and even then it was only for a couple of minutes.
 

Prickly Pete

TRIBE Member
quantumize said:
My question is simple, when does a person who is always travelling cease to be a best friend and transition to just being a friend ?
I don't really classify "friends" but if you can't count on them anymore or turn to them when you need something, then they are probably not that good of a friend.

I have a good friend who lives in Reno. If I need to talk about something, I don't have any problems asking him. I see him like once a year if that.
 

[- FuNKtiOn -]

TRIBE Member
my buddy Dave is one who is all about the travelling, but when he's back it's just like it always has been. pick up right where we left off and are always still on the same train of thought.
now that hes actually moved out to Vancouver its a bit of a weirder situation because as far as I know he isnt coming back.
it's been a few months since, and it's not like I'm replacing him, but Im certainly making a more conscious effort of bonding more with the other friends I do have. but when it comes down to it, he's still the one guy I can sit down with and actually talk to about stuff I'm wouldnt be comfortable speaking about otherwise, so thank god for MSN Messenger.
 

Persephone

TRIBE Member
One of my best friends from university went to teach english in Japan for two years. We kept in touch over that time through email and MSN, but when she came back things were different. I mean, she still understands me and I still understand her, but I feel that something is missing. We have both grown so much during that time that there is a lot of re-learning to do.

I have to admit that when I first saw her again it was akward. I felt like we should have instantly synched and act like time hadn't passed, but we both were struggling a wee bit to find things to talk about. I was actually surprised about that.

Then again, I have a great friend who to Vancouver when I was 13, and I didn't get to spend time with her again until 13 years later. And in all honesty it was like that time hadn't passed. God I cried so much when I left her at the airport. *sniff*

What I don't understand is why the reactions to these two distances were totally different.

I can say, however, that it really saddens me when a good friend moves away. It seems to happen to me a lot too. I have another awesome friend who will be moving to the southern US next year. Permanently too, as she's marrying an american. I am so sad about this, but fortunately I have a year before she leaves and I plan to make good use of that time. I guess having friends who travel/move a lot makes you really learn to appreciate the time that you do have with them/other friends. When this happens you begin to understand that they will not be around forever, and because of these experiences I am hesitant to turn down a request to hang out just because I'm feeling lazy/tired at the time.
 

quantumize

TRIBE Member
Jeffsus

thanks for that man. I read your entire post, and i while i have never had this urge for adventure you make it seem real.
 
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Jeffsus

TRIBE Member
quantumize said:
Jeffsus

thanks for that man. I read your entire post, and i while i have never had this urge for adventure you make it seem real.
To make like maple syrup, and boil it down to the sweet stuff that matters:

Just cause your buddy has chosen an adventure/lifestyle abroad, certainly does not mean that s/he thinks less of, nor deprioritizes you. S/He is probably only recognizing, and acting on, the differences in your/his/her social/personal reality. Give it time and understanding, and everything will come back together in place just the way you'd both like it. It's just as hard for him/her as it is for you, keep that in mind. Just be mutually supportive, like friends should.

-jM
A&D
 

IgStar

TRIBE Member
the time difference is my biggest issue.

when it's 6 here and I feel like getting into a real catch up convo...it's only noon there. so, that ain't working out.
 

grumblegirl

TRIBE Member
my oldest friend in the world (one of my best friends too) has been living in the states for about 12 years. i haven't seen her in person in almost 8 years now, due to a lack of funds sometimes, or just bad planning at others. :( but we talk regularly on the phone, and email, and send lots of pics of the goings-on in our lives, back and forth, and that keeps us relatively close.

i also think that if we'd lived in teh same town for the last 12 years, we'd probably not be friends any more. there are some people that stay good friends simply BECAUSE you don't see them often.
 

rejenerate

TRIBE Member
One of my best childhood friends moved to Victoria in grade 6. We kept in touch (this was was before the internet) through long letters and periodic visits. She moved back to T.O., then England, then T.O. again (with her British now-husband) and now they're living in Vancouver. Although we always pick up where we left off and have no problems talking to each other about our lives (past and present), I get the sense that friendships aren't that important to her. I visited with her in Vancouver recently and she said something to her husband like "we don't need friends, we have each other" and I swear, she was only half-joking...which is sad. When you become an adult (to me, 30+), I find it's hard to meet people/make friends outside of the people you work with...you don't have the same social habits (clubbing, school) where you might make those connections.

E-mail, MSN etc. have definitely made it easier to stay in touch but the quality, IMO, is not the same as someone you can hang out with IRL. My brother has lived in Tokyo for almost 10 years and I definitely feel there's a disconnect between me and him, and him and my family in general, as a result. He says he'll come back by the time he's 40 (seven years) but he's missed so much.
 
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swilly

TRIBE Member
Persephone said:
One of my best friends from university went to teach english in Japan for two years. We kept in touch over that time through email and MSN, but when she came back things were different. I mean, she still understands me and I still understand her, but I feel that something is missing. We have both grown so much during that time that there is a lot of re-learning to do.

I have to admit that when I first saw her again it was akward. I felt like we should have instantly synched and act like time hadn't passed, but we both were struggling a wee bit to find things to talk about. I was actually surprised about that.

Then again, I have a great friend who to Vancouver when I was 13, and I didn't get to spend time with her again until 13 years later. And in all honesty it was like that time hadn't passed. God I cried so much when I left her at the airport. *sniff*

What I don't understand is why the reactions to these two distances were totally different.

I can say, however, that it really saddens me when a good friend moves away. It seems to happen to me a lot too. I have another awesome friend who will be moving to the southern US next year. Permanently too, as she's marrying an american. I am so sad about this, but fortunately I have a year before she leaves and I plan to make good use of that time. I guess having friends who travel/move a lot makes you really learn to appreciate the time that you do have with them/other friends. When this happens you begin to understand that they will not be around forever, and because of these experiences I am hesitant to turn down a request to hang out just because I'm feeling lazy/tired at the time.
ok moving to vancover and moving to japan are not even close to being the same. If you live in canada you are still in the same contry. If your friend moved to japan she is living in a different country, culture, language and society and about 10 other different things. If you move to vancover you move to a different time zone and you get more weed, better snowboarding and worse night clubbing. that is probably the only difference other than perhaps better seafood.

I am suprised that you would even ask such a thing
swilly san
 
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TheRunningBoard

TRIBE Member
Booty Bits said:
my best friend from childhood has been living in the UK for 3 years but i still consider her one of my best friends.
my bf lives in NYC but hes still one of my best friends too!

i dunno...distance does suck and definitely makes it hard to keep up with the intimate details of a person's life, but if the bond is there, it doesn't really matter.
I demoted you to "barely know her" after one week in Ottawa.

Edit: I couldn't follow up on the joke post..I felt bad, come back Bliz, the cStar patio is not even worth going to with no possibilty you will show up.
 

swilly

TRIBE Member
I am not sure why i live abroad. I think in a lot of ways i am trying to discover being an aboriginal by experiecning other cultures. Hence my interest in mongolians and other nomadic and primative societies. Sometimes i think i should just move to james bay for a year but......... i hear they trance scene in moose factory sucks.

In reality i know i want to go and experience a lot of geography before i settle down and go to grad school and work on my career in geography. My one professor said that there are many ways about learning abotu geography you can read about it and you can experience it( he had travelled through central asia for awhile). He seemed to be doing well and was easily one of the most interesting proffs i had met.

Ideally i want to be someone like that so...i am working on my porttfolio of countries is how i see it.

swilly san

Who knows i guess.
PS i am mental that is the real reason why i live abroad.

swilly san
 
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