Sometimes you go on trips with old friends. Sometimes when you are on a trip, you make new friends.
Not always. But it’s fun when it happens. Pilgrimages and other kinds of group excursions (cruises or camps, for example) put you in close proximity with others for at least a few days, maybe a week or two. You become pals, then return to your “real life.” Some people have a “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!” attitude, and have no desire to keep up with a new relationship.
Certainly, I don’t need every dinner companion on a cruise to become my new best friend. But I love it when a relationship continues, even if it’s just as Facebook friends.
Of course, not everyone I meet close to home becomes a dear friend either. Life is filled with acquaintances, and we need all of them. A handshake with someone at church is a good thing. A kind word to or from someone in your social circle is part of the lubrication of life. Business buddies have a role to play in our everyday existence.
So I put no pressure on myself or on the random people who come into my life to become more important than others who are already my friends.
But I love it when it happens.
In the Amazon Rain Forest earlier this year, we met Allen Stratton, who is a children’s book author. Here is his website. Buy his books! Good guy!
On a cruise ship last year, we met Rabbi Mark Winer who has an impressive career in Jewish and Interfaith circles. Instant rapport. I’m looking forward to years of friendship with Mark.
On the secluded island of Iona, off the coast of Scotland, Randy Wright and I became friends with Steven Raw and his daughter Lydia. Not much to do in Iona, so we spent a lot of time together. Great people. Lydia came over to spend Thanksgiving with us one year. Even her brother Benjamin has made the trek to South Carolina and the Aldridge hostel.
Not everyone you meet when you travel becomes dear to you, but some do. I am grateful for these relationships.