Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

R is for Relationships

Day 17 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge – Thoughts on Being a Nomad

While it is healthy to be by yourself once in a while – a little me time boosts confidence, brings inner peace, focuses on what it is that you want and allows you to reflect and prioritize as you see fit – humans are social creatures. Experiencing life with someone else to share the good, the bad and the ugly is much more rewarding, meaningful and satisfying than going at it alone. Of course, there are exceptions, but when I look around me, whether it is here in small town USA, on a boat surrounded by tropical islands or from a camper in lush Central America, people prefer to do things with a mate or as a family.

All of our parents visited (and first met each other) in St. Martin in 2009

All of our parents visited (and first met each other) in St. Martin in 2009

The most important relationship as an adult is probably the one you have with your partner. But, since I brushed that topic in a previous post about love, I shall focus on the next best thing when it comes to relationships: friends and family. And that brings us to one of the negative aspects of being a nomad… not having good friends and family around. Communication happens via emails, reducing in frequency and length over the years and eventually the friendships fade as well. When possible, a phone call brings your parents (or grown children/grandchildren) closer for a moment, but the written (typed) word is, here also, the preferred way of keeping in touch. Infrequent visits from family or old friends are made harder by the lack of a plan, confirmed destination or expected period of stay in whatever region you find yourself in. Visits to your home country are always fantastic: you are received with open arms and smiling faces and relationships are happily rekindled. Until you return to your temporary living quarters, the visit quickly reduced to memory, as if it were a short-lived dream.

The good thing about being a nomad is that you are not the only one! Everywhere we go, whether by backpack, camper or sailboat, we meet new people roaming about. People with whom we have at least one thing in common: the travel bug. Social gatherings are fun and brighten the spirits, especially when it is with couples we click with, which happens less often than you think. Some of these encounters turn into long-lasting friendships, morphed from “in the flesh” to virtual contact once you each go your own way again. And so it goes: exciting introductions, sad goodbyes, and sometimes, happy reunions.

Keeping good relationships in check is hard work when you can’t just pick up the phone or ring the doorbell, but the ones Mark and I manage to maintain are worth the patience, effort and time commitment, for the joy they bring and the value they hold of staying connected and feeling loved, cared about and thought of.

Reunion with our best cruising friends Sim and Rosie (SV Wandering Star) in Grenada

Reunion with our best cruising friends Sim and Rosie (SV Wandering Star) in Grenada

What relationships do you find important in your life? Some people cannot travel extensively, because they would miss their family and friends too much. How about you?

Thank you for reading our blog, leaving a comment and liking Roaming About on Facebook (right column). Tomorrow, I will be back with “S is for Sailboat” in my A-Z Blogging Challenge. That’s right, to the bottom of that experience! 🙂


  1. I like the wedding photos – very sweet! It’s hard to balance travel and living overseas with family. We ended up changing all or our travel/cruising plans a couple of years ago to tend to family matters. It’s hard being away when stuff happens, but at least if you’re not tied down to a job and home, it can be easier to flex what’s happening in your life to be with family.

    • True. And, the thing we may not forget, even when sailing in remote areas, is that there are airports pretty much everywhere. It will be expensive to fly back, but the cost is worth the freedom to go cruising and to live the lifestyle we are happy with, I think. We had to return to the States twice, for family reasons and the only time we really felt unreachable and unable to leave was during our three week Pacific crossing.

  2. Outside of “us”, our families are the most important relationships in our lives. We do our best to maintain them through phone calls, email, Facebook and yearly visits. Friendships are a little more difficult but, because we’re regional cruisers, we’ve been able to form relationships that have spanned several years before moving on. It’s a nice balance.

    • Yes it is. Initially, I was disappointed in my “old” friends from Belgium, but I soon realized that they are all very busy in their lives, especially when kids arrived, so I forgive them for not staying in touch. 🙂 As long as it feels like I never left each time we reunite in Belgium, I am OK with it. And, we have met so many great people along the way that the friends I am most in touch with now, are still cruising friends. We will never be alone on the road/water… 🙂

  3. Family is most important, and where I put most of my effort. Truth- I am a horrible friend, letting years pass sometimes between contact. I do best with people who see friendship the same way I do, always welcome, but not necessarily always connected. I never get angry at friends who fail to keep in contact, understanding exactly how that happens. The best friendships have no agenda.

  4. I have no family other than immediate, but if money were no problem I’d be out traveling and making new friends – the chosen family!

    • Great idea, Yolanda. And, just FYI, you don’t need to have a lot of money to travel extensively. 🙂 (Check out my M is for Money post)

  5. It’s hard to think about leaving family. However, we are often all so busy working it’s really hard to find time to visit even with a regular address and car – it might actually be easier to keep in touch when we have more flexibility and time on our hands!

    • Time is definitely key (it’s my T blog as well)! When Mark and I return to our home countries for a visit, we are amazed to discover that the rest of the group of friends never meet during the year as well and, having us around, is a good excuse to all get together. So, to be honest, we don’t feel like we miss out on too much only seeing everybody once a year, but I do miss the connection (by phone or internet) the rest of the year. And, seeing “everybody” once a year is still important.

  6. blkbtslonglegs

    April 21, 2016 at 21:17

    I remember once reading a quote along the lines of “A true friendship is one where, even if you haven’t seen each other in years, when you get together it feels like it’s only been hours.” I have one friend who is very much like that – if our lives keep us apart for months (or years, as it did when she moved away for university) we can pick up right where we left off.

    I think that I would have trouble leaving behind my family and friends. But, I guess I’d never really know until i was in the situation!

    Tracy (Black Boots, Long Legs)

    • I totally agree with this quote and I call myself fortunate to have a few friends – in Belgium and internationally – with whom that feeling is present when we see each other once a year. 🙂

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