Staying In Touch: 5 Tips for Maintaining Relationships at Home While Traveling
One of the ironies of being a perpetual world traveler is that we head out on the road in search of adventure and new friendships and largely neglect the relationships we left back at home. For this reason, it is extremely important to stay in touch with your family and friends back home, and due to the realities of the modern world, it is easier than ever.
Let’s look at some basic tips for staying in touch—here are five of them.
1. The Magic of Skype
If you haven’t caught on to the magic of Skype yet, you are in for a real treat, and even if you have, you may find you are not getting all the use out of it that you can. Skype is a software program you can download on your computer that allows you to chat with people anywhere on the planet.
What’s even better is that Skype has video and calling features, so you can call people around the world for cheap rates directly from your pc. If your friend sets up a Skype account as well and you both have a microphone headset, you can call each other and talk for unlimited amounts of time without paying a penny!
Not to mention that most laptops these days have a built-in video camera, so you can chat or talk on the headset while seeing each other live on camera. Not too bad, and since most internet shops around the world now have skype and a few sets of headphones, you can even use it if you left your computer behind.
But Skype even gets better if you use their paid subscriptions, and this is what most travelers do not realize.
Most people find that the downside to Skype is that less tech savvy friends and family typically don’t have an account and are too intimidated to try to figure it out. But for roughly $14 a month, you can call landlines and cell phones in nearly every country in the world—with unlimited minutes.
And things just get better. You can also get an “online number” with the same area code as your home town back (this costs a little), so people can call just as if it were local. The call goes directly to your Skype account, and because of the $14 per month paid subscription, you can have those calls than forwarded to your cell phone here in Asia at no extra cost.
Isn’t it incredible how easy it is to stay in touch these days?
2. Forget About Souvenirs
Don’t fall for the souvenir buying—in my opinion, this is one of the most wasteful ways to travel. Not only do you get overcharged for the souvenirs you buy when you go place to place, as most people buy products that were made just to be souvenirs, but the people you give them to will hardly ever use them if ever at all.
Save the money, save the time, and save the space in your pack. There are much better ways to show someone you are thinking of them.
3. Postcards Never Get Old
For instance, postcards never get old—people love getting a postcard. It shows them you are thinking of them and titillates their mind with ideas of what is out there in the world. Plus it makes for great conversation when you get them on the phone.
Postcards are pretty cheap, and you can just drop them in the mail and send them on their way. In fact, send one to yourself from every city you go to as well—this is a great way to document your travels so you can remember it all when you’re old and gray.
4. Try to Disconnect from Social Media
Social media lends a whole new dynamic to travel, and you’ll find internet cafes full of people scouring their Facebook accounts to see what everyone is doing. This can be a good way to get in touch, but avoid the impulse to check it every single day because burying your head in computers is an easy way to miss what is right before your eyes.
You’re not going to miss anything on there by staying logged out, posting pictures occasionally, and calling people instead…trust me.
5. Avoid Rubbing Salt in the Wounds
If you do choose to use Facebook, nothing can get more annoying then always popping in and reminding people how great you have it compared to them—especially if you are traveling and living in other countries for years. If you do this, you might find people begin to disassociate with you a little bit.
Let’s face it, envy is not a comfortable feeling.
So talk about more than yourself when you post on Facebook or call. Stay up on what’s going on in the world, discuss ideas, and show interest in what others are doing as well. Avoid the narcissism of the road.