The last week has been an interesting one for me, a lot has happened and while it started as a bad thing, I quickly realized it wasn’t. It was Wednesday afternoon my now-ex boyfriend decided that we weren’t going to work, while details aren’t important, I found myself with my bags at a local gaming center. At this point, I had nowhere to go, and very limited funds (not enough to pay for a hotel for two weeks) as I had recently booked the airfares back to New Zealand.
At first, this was quite terrifying as I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for the next two weeks in the US. Within 10 minutes of this, I had spoken to some of my friends in the game center and I had found a place to stay, and that I was welcome to spend time there with them. What I didn’t realize initially was that by the relationship ending, I had opened the door to spending more time with some awesome people; I had known they were pretty cool and considered them to be friends before this happened, but I was once again free to do what I wanted, see things I wanted to see, with who I wanted. I no longer needed to worry about making plans around a significant other in a life that was far too settled into a ‘normal’9-5 work routine.
While I was able to make some friends with similar interests because of the places I frequented, it is also not too difficult to make friends in other situations too; in backpackers everyone is interested in traveling, and this is often the best place to get genuinely good travel advise; cafes and bars are another great place to meet people. All it takes is saying hello.
Don’t get me wrong, it can be scary at first, especially if you are like me – the most introverted person I know – but it was worth every moment of the initial anxiety of getting out of my comfort zone to talk to people. Especially as I now will have memories that I would never have expected to get in a city that has limited activities. Even something silly such as board games can be memorable. I mean, how often can you say that you had so much fun playing monopoly – especially when it ends after three rounds because everyone is having too much fun laughing, and the normally friendship-destroying game is quickly forgotten.
By stepping out of the comfort zone and meeting new people, I now have a very busy few weeks planned here. There will be a few day trips to see some of the best parts of Georgia before I go home. They all agree that just because something that could be seen as bad happened, I don’t need to leave here on a negative note. This was an amazing reminder of how important friendship is while traveling. Not because I expect people to open their doors for me when things get tough; but because without these people in my life, the next two weeks here would be utterly miserable. Being able to spend time with friends can make the difference between an average trip and an adventure of a lifetime.
What started as something that could have easily ended in being homeless in a foreign country, has resulted in turning the adventure into something that I will never forget – for all the right reasons. The people I met on this trip, and the Level Up game center that I now spend most of my time at will always have a place in my heart. I have never met such amazing people, and I don’t think I will ever forget them. The only problem is, I don’t think I can ever thank them enough for what they have done.