Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Are We Lost?

I have mentioned before how Mark and I love our current lifestyle of house and pet sitting… The variety it offers, the different areas we experience, the wonderful pets we get to adore and take care of, the low cost, the comfort and conveniences of living in a house, the adventurous aspect of packing up and moving every few weeks or months. Yet, there is one, big, not to be underestimated negative aspect when committing yourself to full-time house sitting. One we only slightly realized while in New England, but that has bubbled up since we have been in California. Every day, it appears to become stronger: we are feeling lost! Not so much in a literal way as in “we don’t have our own place to live in and don’t feel like we belong anywhere”, which is true as well, but we knew this ahead of time when choosing this lifestyle. No, I mean socially lost. Mark and I don’t know anyone wherever we temporarily live and that does not seem to change for the better. We are isolated.

When house sitting in New England, we still had a home base we would return to once in a while and we were never too far away from friends and family for a visit there, or for them to swing by our current place. Moving across the country has taken that little bit of social network away from us. Just like when we were living on our boat or in our camper for years, we are rarely in touch with those distant friends. There is an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude, as usual life with all its responsibilities, commitments and complications continues in a very hectic way for them. We understand. And, we will touch base again when we are back. Whether it is in Massachusetts or in Belgium. That’s the way it goes.

Roaming about as much as we do is not good for our social skills, and because of our transient nature, we don’t make new friends. So, we are lost on a mental level. Mark and I just have each other, 24/7, unable to add new people to that circle of two. We live in areas unfamiliar to us, where neighbors know each other, or not, and where there is little chance of becoming part of a community. Settled adults already have their own group of friends, habits and lives. They like their environment, their lifestyle, their comfort zone.

To be honest, we could probably do a little bit more effort to meet people – if there are occasions to do so – but we often think it is not worth it, for three reasons: we don’t want to look desperate and feel embarrassed trying to connect with people who don’t give a darn about us (this is a lame and lazy excuse, I know), we are never in the same place long enough to make friends so why bother, and, even if we meet people (and who knows, get along with them and like them – and they us), what will we talk about? We truly have nothing in common with the majority of Americans, who live their protected lives in the suburbs, with their stressful job, two car garage, big house, nice yard, and young or older children… They have different priorities and busy schedules. At least, when traveling by sailboat or camper, you meet and hang out with like-minded people. That is a start. Now, we don’t fit in anywhere and continue to feel utterly lost.

Over the last month, Mark and I have done our best to blend in. We greet people on the street, we met one neighbor, we frequented a couple of bars and I signed up for classes in a yoga studio nearby. Has anything changed? Nope. Some people throw us a funny look when we say “hi” out of nowhere, we haven’t seen our neighbor in weeks now, we did talk for all of two minutes with a bar tender one night and I am amazed by the intent of the yoga students. They arrive in the room, set up their mat, do a few stretches, attend class, roll their mat back up and leave as fast as they arrived. I end up staring at my sweaty old self in the mirrors, seconds after the class finishes.

Despite all the advantages of this amazing lifestyle, Mark and I have come to the conclusion that the lack of social interactions and emerging friendships might be the downfall of our lives as house and pet sitters. Human beings are social beings. We are not at the moment and that will feel a bit worse over the coming holidays. Things might change if we can secure long-term house sits in cities like Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin or Vancouver… The future will tell. For now, the dogs we sit are the beneficiaries of our extra time and need to share emotions: they are smothered with love and attention, and they don’t mind! 🙂

Do you have any ideas or tips about how to interact on a deeper level with locals, meet new people and connect with others in an unfamiliar area?

33 Comments

  1. I think this is a very interesting and heartfelt post, Liesbet. I don’t have any magic formula. However, I will make a few observations that may or may not help. Firstly, I sometimes wonder if social interaction is often over-emphasized. There’s nothing wrong with being solitary people, if that is what you have chosen. Secondly, I would not be surprised if many of the people you sit for, or the neighbors in the houses you are temporarily sitting in, feel just as isolated. We humans are very good at giving the impression that we are happy, socially involved, busy, connected … while recognizing deep down that we are often not. Thirdly, I do know a little of how you feel. I live in a country that is not my own, and work as a full-time freelancer from home, and on some days I can go all day without seeing a soul. Over the years I have tried various ways to connect, socially, via sports clubs, nature clubs, churches, walking groups, birdwatching groups etc. etc. But i eventually came to the conclusion that I actually quite like my own company. Accepting that has given me peace at those times when I think and feel that the whole world is “out there” in a buzz of hyper-friendship that I am missing out on. For me, acceptance, not comparing myself to others, enjoying the moment, are helpful. Maybe they might be for you too. Best wishes to you both.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your feelings and experiences about this topic, Denzil. I appreciate it and understand completely what you mean. And, you are living in a country with a language different than yours as well… I have to admit that sometimes we are doing better with the isolation part, but when I feel more emotional, I miss not having friends around. This might be a female thing. 🙂 There is acceptance of our situation and, often, we even feel good about being so strong and happy as a team, not needing anybody else. Then, there are the moments of desire to interact with other people, communicate and learn about their life and experiences. I have found myself to turn to the internet for that, in the way of communicating that way. It has its charms as well, but is sometimes as “fake” or “shallow” as real time interactions around us… Finding a balance is what would make us happy, I think. And finding a passionate hobby, like you! 🙂

  2. I wish I knew what the answer was! I felt very lonely after leaving my job….I didn’t realize how much I relied on my coworkers and my marina friends for daily interaction. We have met two other couples in the last six months, but after a day or so we each go our separate ways. Most of the other cruisers we meet are retirement age and or catamaran haters, so we don’t necessarily fit into the cruising community. It does seem that a lot of people aren’t looking for face to face interaction, but have their own lives and their internet lives. If you were staying in one place for a long time, I think volunteering at a pet shelter or library would be a good way to meet new people, but it’s really tough when you won’t be in a place for long enough to establish connections. So – no advice but commiseration!

    • The adventurous life does come with a couple of drawbacks, doesn’t it? The best friends we made while cruising happened, indeed, in places where a lot of us gathered for a certain amount of time, like hurricane season in the Dominican Republic, Grenada or the Marquesas, or during the cruising season in St. Martin. Having a VHF net helps with social gatherings. We also met a lot of people because of our Wirie products. My main friends now, the ones I actually receive emails from :-), are all still cruising friends! You just need to luck out and be in the same place as other youngish, like-minded folks. Hard to find, though, even on a boat, as some of our friends told us (after they separated ways with us :-)). I wish I had time to volunteer! And, I = very briefly – considered trying to find a “real” temporary job here in California, but we are never staying somewhere long enough for that. When you go to places with more catamarans, like the Bahamas, I’m sure you will make some great connections!

  3. My comments don’t seem to be sending so if you all the sudden get a bunch from me I am sorry! This post sure tugged at my heart! It can be so hard to feel connected sometimes in one spot, can’t imagine moving around so much and feeling that way! Sometimes social media can help, although it’s not the same! Great share and loved the honesty!

    • Thanks, Mel! There is something to be said for exploring the state from a home base, like you guys are doing! Of course, you have to live in an exciting state, like Utah. 🙂 Mark and I brushed the social thing off a lot in the past, but we all need friends and interactions. It is something that not a lot of people living an alternative lifestyle mention. Still, the positives of a roaming life beat the times of feeling lost or lonely. You are right, social media and Skype calls help, but they are not the same. They do make me smile, though, and that is a good thing! 🙂

    • I received just this one comment for now. I hope WordPress fixes itself. It does weird things, sometimes!

  4. as much as i believe humans are social beings, i believe that we are beings that need to serve others. i find volunteer work highly gratifying. especially giving to the community you are only briefly a apart makes you feel good and connects you to others who have the same good-hearted intentions. i believe it is this connection deep down–one bound by love–that we are seeking when we are lonely for human interactions. you many not find your best friend but i guarantee it will give you the connection that is so important to us as humans.

    • Thanks, Kim. I should try that. I have been interested in helping out in animal shelters, since I love animals, but at the same time, I will want to take some of them home and that is impossible right now. I ought to make time for initiatives like this and will surely consider them in the future. The days are just so short to fit everything in I need, and want, to do! 🙁

  5. What a thought provoking post! I imagine families in the military who move around a lot must feel the same way. You enter a community that already had social networks set up. It probably appears that they don’t NEED to include anyone else. Have you looked into Meet-Up? Just about every community has them and you can find a group with members who have similar interests (book clubs, cooking clubs, walkers, artists, photographers, etc.). I would think the family you are sitting for would be able to suggest people in the neighborhood who would be good to meet. Your experience with yoga is interesting (set-up, exercise, get out). Maybe a volunteer activity would allow you more time to interact with others. Or join a local Sierra Club group for hikes.

    You’ve probably thought of – and tried – much of this. I hope you write about this issue now and then. I bet many people can relate (some people experience loneliness even in their established community) and hopefully your readers will continue to help out with suggestions.

    • This is such a timely comment, Janis, since I just received an email from friends in the military saying the exact same thing after reading this post! I would hope that they do make friends there, though, since they are all in the same situation together. Of course, you have the issue with being on night shifts and stuff as well…

      This time, we did ask the owners of the house about friends and neighbors, since they are young people, but they just moved in a year ago and have been caught up with funky schedules at work. I will look into Meet-up and Sierra Club; those are good tips, thanks! You have been such a great help with all these California-related things!

      For this month, I signed up for the yoga classes with the hopes of maybe meeting some people. I think they just pop in and leave again immediately after, because everybody has busy schedules and they are just interested in the hour of exercise or meditation. I’m finding myself turning into “a person with intent” as well, but should step back and say hi to everyone again… 🙂 If only other people would take a shower or use the dressing room, I could strike up a conversation! I’m trying to go every weekday, so there is little time left for other activities besides a long walk with the dog and work.

      You are right about people relating to this post, Janis. I am pleasantly surprised with the reactions. We should all be more open and friendly with each other, even on the street and the grocery store. Maybe it would lead to new friendships or at least more social interactions…

  6. Liesbet, I think this is my favourite of all your posts. It’s so honest and truly resonates with me. Despite how warm and welcoming the cruising community is, the brief encounters left us wanting more and (sometimes) felt superficial. I think that’s why we gravitated toward regional cruising. It’s allowed us to grow a few roots, at least six months of the year. And while we’re not overly social people, we have a small group of friends that we’ve known for 8 years that we see regularly over the winter months. It’s hard though and I sometimes I envy people who have been best friends since childhood or are close to their families (sadly, we both come from an “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” lot — nobody visits and nobody calls, which is disappointing but we’re used to it). Like Lucy, I have no advice to offer, just commiseration. But if you ever do find yourself doing a dog sit in the Seattle area, we’d love to meet you and Mark. Hey, we could even go sailing (there’s always room for a four-legged friend aboard Cambria).

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    • You made me smile wide, Stephanie! Be sure, we will swing by if we are in the area, and most likely with a four-legged friend or even two. 🙂 I do think we prefer Seattle in the summer, though! You know, we have been feeling this way when cruising as well, to be honest. After many years in the Caribbean and lucking out meeting several awesome people we are still good friends with, being in the Pacific was a whole different ball game. We did not make new friends, but rekindled with some old ones already met in the Caribbean. In the more remote areas, certain cultural groups (mainly because of the common language, I assume) stick together and it is hard to become a part of those groups. Mark felt alienated in French Polynesia (me less because I speak some French) and it is one of the reasons we quit sailing as well. Of course, there are quick interactions, but it is shallow and not the same, like you said.

      I certainly know the “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” sentiment, but like you, we are used to it. Luckily, it is always great to be back for a visit. I’m glad you have some sense of a community over there during the winter. It is so much fun to socialize, especially over the holidays!!

  7. dconnollyislandgmailcom

    November 21, 2016 at 23:26

    Thank you for sharing such an honest, heartfelt post, Liesbet. Do you have any readers that are located where you are currently living? If you do any house-sitting on Vancouver Island (many, many seniors from here leave for the winter), I would love to meet up.
    PS – I am so sorry to hear about yoga. I think that was my previous suggestion.
    Donna

    • Vancouver Island is on the list for this summer, Donna! And, I would love to meet up with you. I have seen plenty show up over the winter, but… we don’t like the cold if we can have the warm. 🙂 (If you know of anyone leaving during the summer months, let us know.) I did post something on the House Sitting World Facebook group about meeting up with fellow house sitters in the area and got in touch with one couple we plan to meet the end of December. And, I have one reader/fellow blogger, who lives in Sacramento. We will be meeting after Thanksgiving sometime. And, there is an amazing blogger from Canada who we will meet in the beginning of December as well. My efforts are paying off. 🙂

      No worries about the yoga! When I saw a good deal here for a month, I knew I would sign up. Since it is “hot yoga”, I waited until it got cold enough here as an enticement. 🙂 I am enjoying the practices, so all is good!!

  8. This is such an interesting and reflective post ~ I can totally relate to the feelings you are writing about and grappling with. I absolutely “get it”! Been there… I still feel I am in that “space” and it is probably the one big “downside” to keading nomadic lives.

    After we left Nicaragua which had been our home for six years, we spent two years living out of our suitcases and moving from country to country in Asia and then in Europe. During that period of two years we really just had each other, an insular bubble much like you describe. Sometimes I got that feeling of “being lost” and without a home.. Mostly the people we “socialized with”… well, more like “chatted” with, were vendors or cafe/store owners, or other travelers ( as you mentioned) and always connecting with like minded people at yoga. And always, always connecting with animals along the way ~ kept us sane and happy.

    However, after that we were ( most recently ) in Chicago for 1.5 years, to have time with family. This was pure culture shock after Asia and Europe. Yoga in the U.S. in our experience, was much like you describe it….most people are in such a hurry that they rush in to class and rush out. Not interesred in others. Certainly not interested in making friends. People on the street looked at us like we were crazy for talking to them…we are “strangers”, after all. The only people that were responsive ( in our urban neighborhood) were dog owners whose dogs we stopped to pet and say hi to. I wrote a blog post addressing the culture shock. Nowhere else in the world we have been did we find this aspect as challenging as in America.

    The dogs you are taking care about of are super lucky to have you…. they are getting so much attention and affection. You might try going with them to dog parks, if there are any in the area. Other dog owners will be fairly easy to connect with given you have the dogs as something in common, and the dogs serve as an ice breaker for conversations.
    Especially the parks that are the large “nature reserve” type of places. Great for walks and for meeting local dog owners.

    Peta

    • It is amazing how animals and our connection with them can make us so happy and inspired! I truly love being with them, whether in the wild or domesticated. We do take Herk to the dog park a couple of times a week – he loves it. You are right, there are many dog owners there, but we still feel a bit like outsiders, when they all sit together and talk about their lives. I have been able to strike up a few conversations, but sometimes, I can’t be bothered and just revel in seeing Herk so happy.

      You hit the nail on the head with your description of “culture shock”, Peta. Having traveled to my fair share of underdeveloped and hectic countries in the past, the only time I ever had a culture shock was – not in India as expected – but when I flew into the US the first time of my life. The cleanliness, the order, the overwhelming amount of food in the stores, the priorities so different from me and the cultures I was a part of, the big cars, the multiple lane highways, the luxurious houses… I can go on. Of course, I get used to it and some parts I even enjoy now. We humans are a flexible race, being good at taking things for granted. 🙂

      I can totally understand how it was so different in Chicago than in Asia or Central America. While those countries can get too much for me at times, I have the same feeling here now… I guess the right balance – as with everything – would make perfect sense. After a year and a half in the US, we are craving the atmosphere of the tropics and the attitude of less “hung up” people again… What you are creating in Sri Lanka should offer you a pretty good balance! When can we come for a visit? 🙂

  9. I have been in a similar before on land and what I did was find Meet Up Groups with shared interests, joined hiking clubs, and signed up for a few courses, and volunteered. You certainly have a depth of interests to connect through but I am not sure to what extent the options I’ve stated are available to you in your current location. And I am only a Skype away if you need a virtual hug.

    • Oh, thanks, Lisa. Janis mentioned Meet-Up as well. I’ll have to look into that! Glad to see you are back in internet land. I had been thinking about “setting up” a Skype call with you whenever you were in a suitable location. Looking forward to your blogs about Singapore and more… Do you have any plans for Thanksgiving?? Any other Americans around where you are right now?

  10. Such a great post Liesbet and I love the comments people have left. So interesting to get everyone else’s take on the issue! I sure can relate to the points you raise. It can be so hard to meet people when you live a different kind of lifestyle and are transient by nature.

    • It appears that a lot of people seem to be able to relate to this feeling, especially people who have traveled long-term or who have chosen a more alternative lifestyle. Even when we run into like-minded people, it doesn’t necessarily mean you become good friends. And, while those contacts are often nice, leading to fun happy hours and activities, there is still a difference between “being social” and “being BFFs”. That being said, I love meeting new people and interacting with “interesting subjects”. 🙂 It makes me appreciate all my friends, acquaintances and fellow bloggers. And, all the commenters of this post. 🙂

  11. Interesting, and very honest and open. One point which I don’t think anyone else has made yet – don’t necessarily assume that just because you have a different lifestyle you have nothing in common with people. You love animals, you love walking and the outdoors. There must be others nearby who love the same things. I love reading about your life, but I don’t think I could ever live without the security I have now. I still think we’d have loads to talk about though, because we have a common interest in travel to start us off. Try inviting a neighbour for coffee and see what happens.

    • You are right, Anabel. We should focus on those common interests. It only takes a little bit of guts to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know and most people won’t bite! 🙂 A fellow house sitter suggested talking to neighbors about their garden. While we are not gardeners (nor drink coffee), I do get the point. With winter coming, there is not much movement in the suburbs, though. We wish there was a neighborhood potluck or a community gathering somewhere nearby. I think, we will try to go to a bar evening event one of these weeks! And, up our interactions with dog owners at the dog park. Thanks for the comment and suggestion!

  12. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts here Liesbet. I travelled a lot when I was younger and spent long periods of time in other countries or different parts of the same country and yet I always felt at home, because to me, home is something you carry on the inside and friends and family were carried with me inside my heart. This feeling of being at home wherever I went always led to meeting great new people and making new friends, many of whom I am still in contact with today. Making new connections is also something that starts on the inside and has to do with feeling at peace and at home with yourself. Go to those places where you are more likely to meet the kind of people you really want to meet and open your heart to new friendships.

  13. Absolutely!! DO come and visit in Sri Lanka.

    Here is the culture shock post we wrote upon re entering the U.S. after being gone for eight years…

    http://www.greenglobaltrek.com/2015/07/culture-shock-america-chicago.html

    Peta

  14. Hi Liesbet,

    You have certainly struck a chord with many travelers and house sitters, including me and Conrad. We talked for a good long while about your post.
    As long term travelers, we force ourselves out of our comfort zone to connect and mingle with locals. For instance, we saw a poster at the grocery store for a dinner event to celebrate the release of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau. It was being held in a small village near where we are house sitting in rural France. Despite a language barrier, ( no English is spoken in the rural areas, and my French is limited), I called to make the reservation — succeeding only after being hung up on several times until I could make myself understood. We drove to the tiny village, could not find where the event was taking place, and had to ask at a bar — hoping I could follow the directions delivered in French. We finally made it and were treated like a king and queen — given reserved seats for ” l’Americans on phone”! People were so gracious. Good communication happened all around with gestures and patience. We danced the night away until 1:30 a.m., leaving the rest of them still going strong!
    I tell this story because I have to continually remind myself to step outside my comfort zone. The fun and warmth we experienced that night keeps us pushing to do it again.
    I have also blogged about this and asked several other bloggers to weigh in on how they stay connected to others while traveling. My favorite response, and I made it the title of the blog, was, “Say ‘Hello,’ then start a story.”
    Liesbet, thank you for this topic. I hope all the comments have helped you. I know travelers all over are discussing it now, thanks to you. We all thank you for being so open.
    Regards,
    ~Josie

    • Hello Josie. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing this amazing story. What a wonderful evening you had! Stepping out of our own comfort zones does often lead to “a story to tell” and maybe we should do it more often. I am trying it out with heated yoga right now. 🙂 When we are traveling, I feel like we do more of an effort, to experience the new to us cultures. I can relate to your story in regards to indigenous people we have met and events we have witnessed that way. Here, in the US, things are familiar and the stepping out of the comfort zone might have to happen on a social level. I am glad you liked my post. I might link it to the “Sunday blog call out” on the House Sitting World Facebook page again, since I was a tad late this week.

      Have fun at the House Sitting Summit if you are participating! 🙂

  15. I’ve got nothing…Well, I have donuts and coffee. Also a nice stack of crackers.

    I used to have all sorts of friends, then I quit my job and realized the majority of the people I hung out with were library folk. As the years have slipped by, I see less and less of them, and beyond a select group, have few friends. I am rooted here in this house, which clouds my perspective, but I have to admit, I like the silence, the alone moments. I enjoy interacting with people and am good at it, but prefer solitude. It calms my heart.

    Maybe going into a friendship, knowing of it will be brief requires a change in perspective and altering the definition of friendship. Maybe I’m talking out of my rear end.

    • I’ll take the crackers, if they come with slices of brie! I never totally appreciated the fact that having a job means more social interaction and maybe even making friends, until recently. Before we came to CA, I contemplated looking for a short-term job while we are here, just to be sociable. I soon changed my mind about that, though. 🙂 While we crave some interaction on weekends or for a drink and a chat, we do like our solitary work environment. I totally share your sentiments about people… You express that in a fine way, Ryan.

      From being on the road and on the go so often and so long, we know the concept of short-term friendships and they are all right at those times. Just like you, I have few friends and with a lot of things in life, my motto remains “quality is better than quantity”!

  16. Great post, and definitely something Veren and I have thought and talked about a lot. We both like to meet new people but also have found that we prefer to create meaningful connections with people that share our interests, rather than just going out for the sake of going out. You’re right in that it can seem pointless to make plans and meet people that live in a certain area that you’ll be leaving after a couple months. While we have made friends with people in different cities we’ve housesat in (mostly the homeowners, haha), most of our friendships we’ve made housesitting have been others living a life like us.

    For example, our blog is focused on sustainable, plant-based travel. When another vegan travel blogger was in the same city, we made a point to meet up, and now we have another friend that doesn’t live nearby but that supports and understands what we’re doing. We’ve also made friends with another couple housesitting in the same U.S. city for 3 months last year. These kinds of people are the ones that we really connect with because we have similar worldviews, experiences, and thus we always have something to talk about. I think for me it has been a shift in the mentality of what constitutes friendships. I’d rather have some friends that I see every few months, or even every year, that I really and truly connect with, rather than a group of people that goes to the same bar every weekend because that’s what society sees as the normal form of “socializing.” Luckily in the Internet age it makes it easy to keep in touch with people, and it’s inspiring for me to check back in with people we’ve met traveling and see where they are every few months!

    We also visit our “home base” (NYC) every year or so to visit friends and family, and we have a couple of friends that visit us whenever we are at a very long-term housesit. We remind ourselves that even if we were living in an area with most of our family and friends, we wouldn’t see them that much anyway as everyone is so busy with work, family, other obligations.

    All in all, I second others’ comments above that I think housesitting by nature is quite solitary, and attracts people that are okay with their own company, or are immersed in creative projects that require a lot of time not being social. If you’re not already maybe focusing on creative projects can help channel that energy – I know I have so much stuff I’m excited about working on for myself that I rarely even want to go out and socialize! Haha. Anyway sorry for the long post, but it’s something I certainly think a lot about and could continue writing if I didn’t reign myself in! Best of luck to you!

    • Thank you so much for swinging by and commenting, Sam. I can relate to all the aspects that you bring up. I guess as house sitters and travelers these feelings are very common. Over the years, Mark and I have become more picky in regards to friends and other people to hang out with as well. There has to be a connection or shared interests for friendship or a fun evening together to work out.

      We have made friends with some of the home owners we sat for as well, but there is usually not much time spent together, as we leave the day after they get back usually. Hurray for the internet when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family, for sure. And, you are so right with your statement about friends at your home base. We have realized over the years that even if we were to live close by, we would still get to see everyone about once a year, just like now… People do lead busy lives!

      As for the creative projects… Ha! I have mental lists, written lists and about 100 projects, articles, ideas, … to work on and heaps of hobbies, goals, intentions and books to finish! Not enough time in the day and, keeping busy like that, does alleviate the need for social interactions. Still, only having your husband to talk to every day does not always suffice! 🙂

  17. I totally get how you’re feeling. I’m a solo housesitter and have had to make quite an effort to have any social interaction while I’m away on my own. Because I’m alone, it forces me to go to extra effort to meet people or just to talk to people who I bump into everyday. When I was in the south of France, I talked to others who were walking their dogs along the river path, striking up some good conversations and offers for tea, etc. I also was fortunate to be introduced to an expat community by the homeowners, another way of meeting neighbours. I’ve connected to likeminded people by becoming involved in the local healing arts volunteer program and attending a local spiritual service that I belong to at home. Attending language and conversation classes is another good way to meet up. My sister met and married a Mexican gentleman she met in conversation class while living solo in San Miguel Allende 8 years ago.

    I think the main thing is to put yourself out there, smile and talk to everyone and be welcoming yourself. I believe it is true that you attract where your at!!

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Laura. So much has to do with the attitude, indeed. I find that when I am in good spirits and a smiley mood, it radiates back. Those are the promising moments to strike up conversation. A positive attitude should attract positivity, right? 🙂 When I was traveling by myself, many years ago, it was easier to meet people as well. You kind of have to and it helps with our self-confidence. Now, I often take the easy way out, watching Netflix in the evening or chatting with my husband. Expat communities sound like the perfect place to find like-minded people. It is something to look forward to whenever we will house sit abroad.

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