I wasn't very excited for my birthday. Now if you know me well, you'd know that's pretty odd for me, I'm the sort of girl who likes to celebrate her birthday by going big with all the people I love, I'm the sort of girl who likes to stretch out her birthday for weeks and even months. So for me to not be excited for my birthday, that was a bit strange. My birthday fell a week after I was due to arrive back in the UK after 18 months of travelling the globe - a year ago I was celebrating in Melbourne with good friends and without knowing, in the place I would come to love the most in Australia. I had a birthday/leaving party in Melbourne the weekend before I flew which was amazing - everyone dressed up in shit shirts and celebrated with me in my flat in Melbourne - two incredible friends I met in Asia even flew over from Adelaide especially for the party. I couldn't have been more touched by the amazing turnout and the effort people went to, it really showed me what incredible friends I have found since travelling, and especially in Melbourne. So returning home and leaving that all behind has been hard, I'm not great with goodbyes and it kind of put a damper on my excitement for celebrating.For the first time in my life, I woke up feeling completely unexcited about my birthday. Not a feeling I'm used to, but I think the fact that it was supposed to be a day of celebration really highlighted that some people who really mean the most to me were on the other side of the globe and wouldn't be here to share the day with me. It's one of the hard parts of coming home from travelling, suddenly you feel a world away from the people who have been your entire world for the last few months. But I'm not a girl to sit around feeling sorry for myself, so instead I got up and made a delicious batch of fluffy pancakes. Then the messages started rolling in, and the phone calls and the texts... It was overwhelming to see how many amazing people both here in the UK and scattered cross the world, in Asia, Australia, Europe and even South America took the time to message me and wish me a happy birthday. People I hadn't spoken to in almost a year were messaging to find out how my travels were going, or to see how I was celebrating the day. Again, the effort people went to really touched my heart and made me realise how lucky I am to have made such incredible friends with such amazing humans since I've been travelling.Not just since I've been travelling, but far beyond that, the people I've known since I was a little girl, the people I've grown up with and the people I've studied alongside.It turned my day around, hearing from so many wonderful people on this day and made me realise how lucky I am to have made so many amazing connections in my life. How lucky I am to be so loved. So many float through life and miss out on so many opportunities for friendship and love, I feel so grateful that I have found so many throughout my life and to constantly be surrounded by so much love. I'm so astonished by some of the longest standing and greatest friendships I've found - many of them were ones I expected to fizzle out as our paths separated and headed in different directions. So many of these friendships have been the most unexpected and perhaps that's what makes them so precious to me, the fact that they could have so easily been missed along the way. I'm the kind of girl who falls hard for people, whether it's relationships or friendships - if I feel that spark with someone I'll very quickly make them a huge part of my life. It's meant that I've been hurt in the past by people who took advantage of that, but it doesn't mean I'll ever give it up. If you ask me, the only way you ever discover those real friendships - the ones you'd do anything for - and the relationships that really touch your soul, is to fall hard and hope they catch you.So now, as I sit here on the evening of my birthday with a belly full of Greek barbecue and prosecco, with the long weekend stretching ahead of me, I'm reenergised and ready to celebrate. A weekend filled with some of the most precious souls in my life and celebrating everything we have accomplished. My past 18 months of solo travel and everything I have experienced along the way, for my friends it's new studies, apartments, houses, relationships and even engagements. After so long apart, its more important than ever to take a long hard look at how far we have come. I know so many people are funny about getting older, about getting closer to 30. Well I'm officially 26, closer to 30 than I've ever been and yet instead of feeling like it's something to dread, I want to celebrate every single moment, every thrilling moment of the years that have led me to this point. The passion, the bravery, the fearlessness and the jokes that have kept me laughing and happy to my very core. Even the moments that made me lose my breath, the moments that scared me beyond belief, the moments I thought I wouldn't come back from, every single one brought me to this point of my life. And if that isn't worth celebrating, I don't know what is. So with that, let's raise a glass - to everything I've survived so far and to all you angels who have pushed me to keep on going. I can't thank you enough.
I had a pretty intense chat with a friend recently, he was going through a bit of a tough time and had lost his travelling way for a little while. It happens to us all when we get settled in one place for too long - we get antsy, frustrated, feel the need to escape but don't know where to turn next which can leave some people feeling pretty alone. I know because I went through the same thing at around the same time - it's the trouble with having a travelling soul, you're always looking for the next adventure. Most of the time that's amazing, but if that feeling hits you when you're stuck working somewhere and have to wait to leave, it can be a killer to your mood. After several people I was really close with left Darwin to start their next adventure, I was pretty down and sick of life there - don't get me wrong, the city had been an amazing home for me for three months and is full of memories for me. But it was the longest I had spent in one place since starting travelling - while that was just what I needed to start with, it soon became suffocating as more and more people left. I know my friend felt much the same, he was struggling to see why he was still there because he too had never planned to stay as long - he had just fallen in love with the place and the people, as had I.
At the time, I found our conversation hard to hear and talk about, but now - since moving on, it keeps coming flooding back to me and I can't help but remember one phrase in particular. "When you're travelling, you're never alone, but you're always lonely." The way my friend came out with that really surprised me, he's the life and soul of the party and everyone loves him so much, he always puts in every effort and will do anything for his friends. But it just shows you that even the ones who are the centre of so many people's worlds can be lonely and struggle sometimes. I could totally understand what he was talking about after speaking to another close friend who said: "You form these intense and beautiful bonds with people, but you never really have a lasting connection with those around you because people always leave." I couldn't put it anymore perfectly myself - I've felt this so many times when I've met people and fallen in love with their character, personality and soul. I've fallen head over heels for the moments we've shared and the things we've experienced together. Then just days or even hours later, we part ways and sometimes never see each other again.It's a hard thing to adapt to and I think that's why me and my friend were feeling down - we were both so used to being the people who leave and go on to something more exciting to distract us from the sadness of what we have left behind. This time, we were some of the last ones of our gang there and we felt the pain and the loss of every single bright spark who made our time in Darwin as special as it was. I totally understand where my friends were coming from but I can't help but disagree about the part after people leaving - it can feel like that at times when you're constantly moving from place to place and don't get a chance to spend more than a few days together. But there have also been so many times where I have seen it proven how amazingly travellers can come together to create a family that cares for each other no matter what. I saw it when I was in the crash in Cambodia and friends who were scattered across Asia and beyond went out of their way to check I was okay and to even come and look after me until they were happy I was safe enough for them to move on. I saw it in Darwin when something awful happened to a friend of mine and the whole gang rallied around, they did so much by just being there and it just showed how close we all were after just days of knowing each other. I know that I could call on so many of my travelling friends day or night, if every I were in trouble, or just needed a chat, they would be there.
It's been nearly four months but I still speak to friends I met on the East Coast on a regular basis and am even making plans to be reunited with some of them soon. It's been nine months since I met one of my most special gangs back in Thailand and I still speak to them every few weeks and even FaceTime despite us all being scattered around the globe now. It's an amazing feeling to know you have so many connections across the world and is easily one of my favourite things about travelling - these friendships are so special and I treasure them so much. This morning I woke up to around 30 messages from old and new friends and it really showed me that even when I'm working in the middle of nowhere, these friends don't just forget you. Yes, there are lonely times when travelling - but they're also the times that really shape you as a person and teach you the important life skill of being on your own and actually enjoying it. There is no light without dark, and as much as there are times when you will feel completely alone, there are times when you will be overrun with people and friendships that will last a lifetime. The important thing is to recognise in other travellers what point they are at in their own journey - be kind and be what others need you to be. When we're on the road it is more important than ever to look after each other and to support each other - don't leave anyone lonely, don't push anyone away. We all need a little family sometimes. The sights are important, but it's the people that make the real memories.
Have you struggled with feeling alone while travelling? Have you found that perfect travelling gang of friends? Do you manage to stay in contact with other travellers along the way?
Sometimes horrible things happen and we just don't know why. It's a common part of everyday life and one we deal with on a daily basis - whether it's someone we love getting sick or injured, someone getting screwed over by a job or partner or some kind of loss. But when backpacking, it's a lot stranger to have these sharp pinpricks of reality piercing through the travel bubble you find yourself in. When you're constantly on the move and everyone around you is living every day like it's their last, everyone is happy and content. There is no need to screw each other over, instead we work to build each other up and help each other to be the best we can be. Perhaps it's all that vitamin D, but we all manage to avoid drama and pain for the most part, and even when it finds some way of filtering into our lives it is that much easier to shake it off.
When I first came travelling, I was dealing with some dramas in my own life which had actually pushed me to leave and travel in the first place. It turned out that living among such amazing people and experiencing such incredible things was exactly what I needed. It gave me perspective and a fresh look at the situation so I could plan for my future. Travelling made it that much easier to deal with the situation and to brush it off, which had been nigh on impossible while still at home. Being away changed my attitude and made me realise how little it all mattered when it came to the story of my life, and how I just needed to live each moment like it was my last instead of worrying and stressing.
Anyone who's been reading Absolutely Lucy for a while will know I didn't have the best time in Cambodia and was pretty disappointed by the country. But what they might not know is that I still met some pretty awesome people while I was there, in particular two lads who were the very best of friends travelling together. The pair were quite frankly some of the funniest people I have met and they kept me laughing all night as we celebrated one of their birthdays. We all met, along with several of their friends, after all being invited on a nighttime fishing trip which ended up being hilarious. One of the boys had insisted on going on the trip for his mate's birthday, forgetting that he couldn't stand the smell of fish - to the point he spent most of the trip throwing up over the side of the boat. Despite this, he still managed to keep us laughing the whole time and did it all for his friend. These two lads had known each other for a hell of a long time and were a fantastic double act, I couldn't imagine one without the other.
But sadly now, I have no choice. A cruel twist of fate saw one of the lads killed recently in a car accident leaving behind a devastated family and his heartbroken best friend. After hearing the news via Facebook, I just couldn't believe what had happened. He was so young and had so much left to do in his life, he had barely been back from his backpacking trip a few months or weeks. I may have only known him for one night, but he made a huge impression on me - as everyone I meet when travelling does. Each person and each moment steals a little piece of your heart and leaves you with a little piece of theirs, whether you spend just a few hours with them or weeks on end. It just shows you how precious life is and how making every second the best it can be in case it is your last is so important. Nick did just that and lived every second like it was the last thing he would do and had just had the most amazing time travelling with his partner-in-crime, Will, and I'm so happy they have at least those precious memories.The point of this post is not to rave on about how amazing travelling is, it's just to say that life can change in a split second and it could all be over quicker than you can say 'hey'. But we can't live in fear of what could happen all the time, we need to just make the most of every opportunity and happiness in our lives so that if something does happen - we can be sure we lived every moment to the absolute fullest. So many sit around waiting for life to happen to them, but that's not the answer - go out and make stuff happen for yourself! If travel is the thing for you, book a ticket. If it's love, dive in head and heart first. You get the idea, now go do it - you won't regret it.
No matter where we go in life, no matter how far we travel or make it up the career ladder, it's impossible to escape the people who just drive us insane. I'm talking about the ones who are so annoying they make your teeth itch when they speak and the ones who you just can't seem to escape. When you're travelling, you're constantly meeting hundreds of new people each week and have to be open to making new friends at every turn. So what happens if you meet someone who just rubs you up the wrong way? Well I have to admit I've been pretty lucky so far and haven't really been annoyed by anyone I've met - bet all you travel friends were waiting to see if I'd pick on any of you haha - but I certainly know a few people who have been. It's definitely a lot easier out here to let things go and take a deep breath when you're surrounded by palm trees, sandy beaches and sunshine, but that doesn't eliminate the annoyance altogether.
Now you all know I'm not really one for negativity so this post isn't all about annoying people and how to deal with them. Instead, I thought I'd change it up by turning this into an advice post for all of us travellers to be a bit more mindful about our behaviours so that we aren't making life difficult for others. I always think it's so important to be aware of how we impact on the lives of others and that is especially true when you are behaving in certain ways around other cultures and personalities. It's very easy to forget that your friends at home have known you for years and have accepted your flaws, but new people along the road might be less forgiving if you're not respectful of their beliefs or choices. And let's face it, we all just want to make friends and meet people, so what should we avoid doing that could lose us this opportunity? So here are my top tips for avoiding being one of those travelling idiots nobody wants to hang out with:
Don't be... The one who does nothing but party
Did you come to see the world or have an extended lads-on-tour experience? You can do both in balance and have a great time partying with your newfound friends after a day sightseeing and soaking up the culture but people get bored of the person who never stops partying pretty quick. It's exhausting to be around someone who just wants to get on it all the time and you never get a real chance to experience the country around you - plus sharing a dorm with a roaring drunk is not fun when it's every single night. Don't use everything as an excuse to get wasted - from the Thai queen's birthday to managing to clip your own toenails. Some of the best travelling experiences I've had have been the more chilled out times spent with friends.
Don't be... The selfish one
This applies to all manner of traits and can appear in many different forms. All us backpackers have come across the traveller with a serious snoring problem who still insists on booking him or herself into the 18-bed dorm so they can keep everyone else awake all night. Those ones that even the most effective earplugs won't help with. Or there's the ones who rudely switch on all the lights when everyone else is asleep, the ones who come in rustling bags and packing up their stuff at 5am, and who could forget the ones who decide that is the perfect time to have a loud conversation about ragging some ladyboy or something equally polite? We all have to make allowances when sharing a room with up to 20 other people but there is a limit.
Don't be... The dirty one
There's always one person who just doesn't seem to wash and whose clothes smell far beyond the usual backpacker standard. The one who leaves the shared bathroom in a gag-worthy state. The one whose quick-drying traveller towel smells like something died on it. The one who only seems to ever wear that same pair of socks that must have once been white and are now a sickly grey colour with various stains you're scared to identify. The traveller who stopped at a place and loved it so much they stayed to work on the bars, party all day every day and steadily look more and more run down and unwashed.
Don't be... The naked one
This is something that has totally astonished me since arriving in Asia - the sheer number of travellers, backpackers and holiday makers who think it is acceptable to walk down the street in what are predominantly Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries in nothing more than a bikini/shorts. Usually accompanied by a hideous sunburn, these individuals are not only offending my eyes, but they are also hugely offending a whole other culture and way of life, and they are giving a bad name to the rest of us. I have to say that Brits are pretty bad with this, but it's not just us. I just think that if you are pulling up to a religious icon or temple on a scooter wearing just enough to cover your nether regions, you really need to reassess your priorities in life and learn some respect. Walking down the street is no different, think about what you are doing and do some research on the culture.
Don't be... The know-it-all
Sharing knowledge and tips acquired along your travels is a great part of travelling - I love meeting other travellers and having the chance to recommend hostels, activities and bars. Likewise, I love meeting travellers who have just come from my next destination - it's the best way to get up-to-date and accurate advice on where to stay and what to do. This is how I planned my whole journey through Laos and Vietnam. The problems start when you meet some individuals who love to talk about their experiences but don't seem to listen when you share yours - often they are the ones who are busy planning what they will say next. Not listening to people, or thinking you know best because you are older is really rude and definitely won't make people want to hang out with you.
Don't be... The worrier
Some of us are naturally more inclined to worry and overplan than others. I used to be like that, always organising. But then I realised that no matter how well you plan and worry about something, it can still go tits up at the last moment and you just have to accept it. Worrying causes you a whole lot of extra stress and affects those around you. Now while it is hard to eliminate this trait entirely, it is possible to cut back on allowing yourself to stress over every tiny thing, which will also allow you to enjoy yourself more. Things like worrying about getting sick are pointless - yes you can be careful with food and drink and you can be cautious about using the water, but you can get sick from so many things and it is a fact of life for backpackers - deal with it when it happens. Don't stress about getting robbed or taken advantage of - yes, take precautions but there is no point worrying all the time as you may end up making yourself more of a target.
The most important message of this post is be yourself, that's the person people will love. But just be aware of how you come across - don't make life harder or less fun for anyone else, or for yourself. It's amazing how easily certain things can become a part of our character, but travelling demands you be the best you can be - so why not take the opportunity to work on developing yourself as a person?
Have you struggled to get along with anyone while travelling? How did you deal with the situation? Can you offer any other advice for being a good and conscientious traveller?
Phuket Town really started to feel like home for me. Why? Why this place in particular? Out of all those beautiful tropical islands? Well it's because this is the first place, and the first time in nearly a month that I had good enough wifi to be able to actually catch up with friends and family from home. It's amazing how quick the time goes here, and with rubbish Internet, I've just kept busy and coped with the odd email to catch people up on what I've been doing. Even sending pictures of what I had been doing to my family had been impossible! Thankfully it had been a busy few weeks and I'm lucky, I'm not the sort of girl who gets homesick. I can honestly say I haven't once pined for home during my time here, but I have missed telling my friends and parents about all the exciting and cool things I've seen and done. I love sharing the experiences with them and it makes things all the more amazing by doing so, I enjoy reliving the experience and excitement through telling them about it.
So you can imagine my excitement, when with the seven hour time difference, I finally managed to get get hold of my best friends from home on FaceTime after attempting for several days in a row. It's so difficult when I am seven hours ahead, I means I either try to contact when they are at work, or I have to wait until after a night out, when it is the early hours of the morning for me and all I want is to go to bed and get away from the mosquitoes. Plus with my phone out of action, it's even harder to reach them quickly, thank god I brought my iPad along with me - it's been a saviour! So after spending a few hours FaceTiming my two best friends in the world, it was amazing to relive every step of my trip with them from the beginning. They've been reading, but it's not the same and I was excited to tell them about all the bits I haven't blogged about as well as all the temples, people and food.The following night, I finally managed to get hold of my parents after trying constantly for weeks with no success - it was so good to see them and to share my trip with them. It was also good to reassure them that I am okay, I am coping and having a great time, because you know how parents worry. Even better, it was good to hear about what they had been doing, just stuff like work and going to the cinema, hearings out the snow and what my grandad had been doing... To realise that normal life is still going on back at home, everyone is still living their lives - it's so easy to feel like life at home has just stopped because you're so far apart from it all. But it's so nice to know that everyone is well and happy, it becomes all the more important to you when you're around 10,000 miles away, those connections are all the more important for both sides, and you realise how precious some of those relationships really are.
It's like when you go away to university and it really makes or breaks friendships - suddenly having to put in the time and effort to nurture the relationship is something that you either want to put the time I to or you don't. If you don't, that relationship is fucked, pardon my French. Friendship and love is a two way thing, without both sides putting in their all, you can't expect it to be a success. When I went to university, I found this great, finally there was a filter on my friendships and the ones that were less good for my life ended up dropping away naturally, while the ones that were steadfast and true ended up blossoming into full blown friendships that I know will last for life. I'm talking about the girls who will stand beside me in bridesmaid dresses at my wedding, the guys who will laugh and hit festivals with me until we're in nursing homes, I'm talking about the ones who love you know matter what.
Distance is a great tool for telling which relationships are worth it, which people are as crazy about you as you are about them, and it can be the best thing for you to get space sometimes to realise quite how much you value those in your life. Every single day I have several moments where a new friend reminds me of someone from back home who means the world to me, every day I see and experience amazing things that I immediately want to share with you guys back at home and that is why I love this blog - because I can share with so many of you exactly what I'm thinking, feeling and experiencing. FaceTime means just as much, because it means maintaining all those friendships and loves on a more personal note, telling all those deepest darkest thoughts and knowing that even if things go wrong, I have an army of people back home rooting for me. Thanks guys.
What does it mean to you to have contact with home while away travelling? How do you keep in contact with your loved ones while away?
I hate goodbyes. I'm writing this just after saying goodbye to two people who have been a huge part of my travels, one in particular has become like a sister to me despite just spending a few weeks together. When travelling, especially solo, you quickly form these intensely close friendships after experiencing so many amazing things together, and before you know it, you've not actually been alone for weeks. So when the time comes to actually part ways, I won't lie, it feels really shit. Like a piece of your heart has gone with them and suddenly you have to get used to being alone on the road again. Now being alone is actually quite rare when you're travelling, it's so easy to meet people that it almost becomes difficult to get five minutes by yourself, and if, like me, you've spent several weeks travelling with groups - it is a bit of a shock to the system to head out on your own again.
Don't get me wrong, travelling solo is still the best way in my mind. I feel you get so much more out of the whole experience by challenging yourself, and it is definitely the best way to meet people because you are forced to if you ever want any kind of human contact! But that doesn't mean it gets any easier when the time comes, and it always does, to say goodbye to the friends you make. I think the hard part is knowing that it will be a long time until you are reunited, if you ever are at all. I've met people from all over the world and unfortunately I just know that for many of us, our paths will never cross again. In some ways that is good, it means we can keep the memory of our perfect meeting pristine in the time and place it happened, rather than trying to reignite the feelings and excitement we felt first time around. Who knows if some of these friendships would survive outside the initial rush of Thailand?For some, it is just the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship, and distance will never stand in the way. I know people who have later gone travelling again and used it as an opportunity to visit their travel friends at their homes across Europe, America, Australia or even Asia. What better excuse to catch up and visit than starting a whole new adventure travelling across the globe? It's quite amazing really, considering how short a time you spend with some people how big an impression they can make upon you - that they can leave such a hole when you part ways. If you're like me, the kind of person who throws themselves into everything with all their heart and soul, then you'll feel it even more when you have to say goodbye. The rule has always been the harder you go, the bigger the comedown afterwards. But if I wasn't the kind of person to throw myself off the highest diving board, I wouldn't make the friends I make and I would have had half the experiences I have had.
So yes the goodbyes are horrible. No they don't get any better. Yes there will be tears at some point. But that's okay, it's okay to feel a bit sad and rubbish sometimes, if you didn't you obviously didn't care that much in the first place. It doesn't mean you are ungrateful for travelling or anything like that, it just means you have a heart and everyone has down days. When you're travelling for as long as I am, it would be ridiculous to feel 100% ecstatic every single day, and no one would believe you anyway. So embrace the sadness for a little while, then get up and get on with it, get yourself out there and meet a whole load of awesome new people and do some awesome new things. They won't ever replace the people who are home, but they can sure as hell give it a good go!
How do you cope with goodbyes? Any top tips for solo travellers who are forced to part ways with new friends?
By now you guys will all know how much I love my girls, whether they're the ones that live on my doorstep, halfway across the country, or even thousands of miles across the world. They mean the world to me and I love the fact that I have managed to find so many amazing women who all share the same attitude as me to life. Even more so, I love that they have been with me through the very worst and the very best of times, have seen me in a complete state and at the top of my game, and love me no matter what. Men may mock girl friendships - and yes, some are a complete sham - but I reckon we girls have one up on you guys when we do things right.
You will, of course, get those friendship groups who chat shit about each other behind each other's backs, steal each other's boyfriends and generally make each other feel bad about themselves. Just like you do in some male friendship groups... But when we women club together, we have something you guys don't - and that is a closeness that can't compare to guy friendships I have seen. These girls are more than "just friends", they are my sisters and my family - the ones I have chosen to share my deepest, darkest secrets with and the ones who will pick me up in the middle of the night when it all comes crashing down. As they say, your friends are the family you choose - and my friends are firmly an extension of my family.A few particularly good girl dates recently have inspired this post because they really got me thinking about what makes my friendships special - then I realised, they aren't special at all to anyone other than me. Women up and down the country share equally incredible friendships with their girls - and while mine are completely unique and special to me, the general principals are exactly the same. For most of my life I have been more of a boy's girl, but amazingly I have found myself at this point of my life with more girlfriends than ever before, and I have to say, my tastes have definitely changed. I love being surrounded by girl power, loud voices, fierce personalities and loving support. It makes me feel stronger as an individual, and forever grateful that every single day I know I have a tribe of equally strong women fighting my corner and cheering me on.
What do I love about my girls?
Don't worry, I'm not shooting down guy friendships as I have plenty of my own. I'm just saying that girl friendships can sometimes get a bad rap thanks to those who don't understand the concept of true friendship. But the point is that actually we really have something going for us and girl friendships, in my experience, seem to reach a level that guys should be jealous of and that we should be proud of as women. If you ask me, some women need to realise that supporting each other and cheering each other on is far more admirable than tearing each other down and casting judgement.
What do you love about your girls?
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It's been a full three years now since I finished university. That's 36 months since we packed up our shot glasses, binned all those piles of notes and said a tearful goodbye. It was a hard goodbye for my group, most of us had been together from the very beginning of first year and we were very close. We shared everything, from drunken nights out, to stresses over exams, to boyfriend troubles and across two houses, we even lived together. There was no escape, and yes we annoyed the hell out of each other at times, but there was also a lot of love there and I knew these girls would always have my back.Three years on and I was right to think that, because they still have my back and still mean the world to me. I'm lucky to have such a brilliant, beautiful, fun and smart bunch of girls as my friends and I love that no matter how far life takes us away from each other, we always know where to turn when we are in trouble or need advice. These girls have helped me through some of the hardest times, and have celebrated with me through some of the best - but the fact that they have been there throughout is something that means a lot. When you leave university, particularly when you are scattered across the country, it is hard to keep in touch. You all get jobs, have partners, set up new homes and generally live very separate lives. It takes a certain amount of effort in order to maintain the friendship, and yet at the same time, you all have to be happy to often not speak for months and then catch up loads over a weekend. I love that with these girls, we are all so close that when we see each other after a long time has passed, that feels like we have never parted ways.So why is a friendship forged at university such a different one to those from back home? Well in many ways they are much the same, but the fact that you are thrown in with complete strangers and forced to live together from the start always forges a different kind of intimacy that you often won't have with those from back home. But what is it about these friendships that make them so long-lasting?
Of course it isn't all sunshine and roses for everyone, and I know a few people who have hated the "friends" they made in first year. I know of times when people have struggled to make friends because of circumstances or things have turned and they've found themselves alone. It is horrible when things like this happen, and knowing these stories makes me all the more grateful that I met such a fantastic bunch of like-minded girls. Yes we all have our similarities, and that is what brought us together, but we also have our differences and I think that is what has made this a lasting friendship. Last weekend, we had our most recent reunion and once again it was like no time had passed. A weekend spent in Camden, where one of the girls is now living, wandering around the market, sitting on a roof terrace and then dancing the night away with plenty of cocktails. Just what we all needed - plenty of chance to catch up on all the amazing things everyone is doing and enough time to plan another meet-up.
Why do you think you have such long-lasting friendships with those you meet at university? And do you still meet up with your pals from uni or have you guys drifted apart?