The non-travellers in my life will never quite understand why I gave up what seemed to be a perfectly good job, house packed with belongings and my faithful car SMU to travel the world. Just as I will never understand why they’d want to buy a house, fill it full of possessions and be content to take only a one week holiday each year. However, family and friends are still very important to me so finding new ways to keep in touch despite the distance is crucial.
The following will require an internet connection – some better than others. The majority are free too which is great for the budget traveller:
- Writing a blog. The initial rationale for keeping a blog was so that people back home could follow along with our adventures. I had always kept a written journal but this wasn’t easy to share in real time and didn’t allow for pictures or video to be added to it. The current blog means that our family and friends can keep up with our travel exploits no matter where they are and at a time that suits them.
- Video & voice calls. There are a number of providers including Apple’s FaceTime and Skype. Regardless of which you choose a video call is a great way to remove the distance barriers and make family/friends feel like you’re just down the road.
- Play turn-taking games. In my family we play Words with Friends which is free on the Apple store and although it may have lost popularity with the masses is a great resemblance of Scrabble: a family favourite. There are many free apps available allowing you to challenge others and some like Words with Friends have in-built message facilities. This allows you to share a common passion and for the non-traveller gives them a way in which they can still connect with you. If you’re into Eurogaming then Yucata.de has a great selection.
- Whatsapp group. We have several groups set up allowing for easy communication with family and friends. One group changes it’s name depending on our location and allows both families to see our photos and read updates on where we are to save having to send the same information out to both groups. Anthony & I both then have a group for our individual families to share family news and gossip. Finally we have a group containing friends from our previous place of work. Group messaging saves us a lot of time plus is great when wifi connections are poor and we can only get one message out.
- Start a book club. The idea came for this when my sister told me via video call that she wanted to read more but just couldn’t get into it. We decided to both download a free book for Amazon Kindle and read it using whatsapp to keep each other in the loop as to which chapter we were on. Knowing that she had to keep up with me and having someone to talk to about the book really helped her get back into reading and gave us another shared interest even though we were on different continents and working on differing time zones. We are now on our second book and hoping to get other family members to join in on the next choice.
- Moonpig it. This isn’t free but it’s a great way to show you haven’t forgotten the non-travellers in your life. For a few pounds you can make a personalised card for birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions. It’s also great fun looking through your photos and remembering the good times you had with family/friends.
- Personalised gifts. In a similar vein to no.6 this is a great way to send a birthday gift to show you still care. There are so many companies providing personalised gifts and I know our families really appreciate the thought. Some of our favourite sites are Getting Personal, Buy a Gift, and Anthony found a great one for budding chefs: The Spicery.
Have you found a great way to keep connected with the non-travellers in your life? If so we’d love to hear from you in the comments sections below. Happy travelling.