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Travel Is About People, The Place Is Just An Excuse To Meet

Andy at Hobotraveler.com explains a rule for evaluating friends and continuing friendships: If I say to a friend, “Do you want to go eat tonight?” And, he or she says, “Where?” I will say, “We can figure it out, when we are in the car.” If they do not say yes, I say, “Can I [...]

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Andy at Hobotraveler.com explains a rule for evaluating friends and continuing friendships:

If I say to a friend, “Do you want to go eat tonight?” And, he or she says, “Where?” I will say, “We can figure it out, when we are in the car.”

If they do not say yes, I say, “Can I call you back later?” They reply, “No problem.” And I call them back in a few day, maybe a week, often never, because I cannot be bothered, where we eat is more important then sharing time together as friends. With my truly good friends, we just get in the car, yes, a few are anal, and ramble endlessly about the restaurant choices, but I just say, “I will drop by at 7:00?” They say. “Ok.” Stop their mental masturbation, and we arrange to be friends.

If I said, “I need to go to Pizza Hut, I need to talk to a worker there, and can we eat there?” And my friend said, “I do not want Pizza, go alone.” OUR FRIENDSHIP IS OVER, ERASED, finito, acabo, le finis.

Travel is about people, not places. The place is just an excuse to meet.


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Filed under: Other Travelers, Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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  • RootLeaf January 25, 2013, 2:18 am

    haha good point but oh so harsh

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    • Vagabond Journey January 25, 2013, 3:16 am

      @RootLeaf Haha, yes. There is this interesting phenomenon where people in Western (particularly) countries are becoming so literal minded that they miss many of the symbols and cues that holds their society and friendship network together. I like traveling in places where meeting someone somewhere is sort of an abstract concept because everyone seems to always just be hanging out.

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      • RootLeaf January 25, 2013, 3:26 am

        @Vagabond Journey Strongly agree! I lived in Northern and Southern California for periods of time, and once me and my hippie northern friends took a painted car down south near LA. And there was this moment where my not-so-hippie so-cal friends were discussing where to eat tonight: taco bell? in-n-out? no, we ate there a few days ago… and meanwhile me and my hippie friends are 1) puzzled 2) breaking giggles. Suddenly the absurdity of the situation became glaring (but not embarrassingly so). Beautifully, we ended up making ramen noodles and simply enjoying! 
        But I have so much to learn about hanging out. Over the last few years my venture into the corporate world has rather cruelly deprived me of the hanging out sensibility. I think in the future my plan is to just hang out more, or rather cease whatever is disrupting the eternal hanging (out) =)
        Cheers =)
        PS I will have all the time in the world starting Feb-10, so I will follow-up on that bio and maybe make a blog at least to put it out there =)

      • Vagabond Journey January 25, 2013, 3:48 am

        @RootLeaf Haha, for sure. I appreciate “hang out” cultures because they often mean that people are accessible to talk. As for me though, I just can’t do it. I’m a little too obsessively active and perpetually need to be accomplishing something. “Hanging out” for me usually consists of drilling some poor individual with endless questions, the results of which often end up published here. I suppose I’m glad to have a job where hanging out and working are often one and the same.

      • RootLeaf January 25, 2013, 7:41 am

        @Vagabond Journey I have the same problem. California, from age 11 to 22, all I did was hang out. Hang out at the plaza all day and maybe go to a party in the eve. Everyday. Later people changed, friends associated and we found better niches, but we still generally just hung out. And I always had this urge to do something. Then I got deported to Kazakhstan over some weed. I was ready for a change so I rode the wave, no problem. In Kazakhstan, with nobody to hang out with, I started at a small translation agency (still a fine unorthodox arrangement) and parallel started my own “agency” (the basic thing is being able to legally invoice big companies, that’s about it. Tax reporting is outsourced). So I guess I fulfilled that urge for a bit, but of course it’s almost completely uncreative and I’m looking for a more philosophical way. I really appreciate your blog. Even though I am not really into China, I find it fascinating. There is much method to your madness =) and what you do is very helpful. Thank you!

  • Tristanbul January 26, 2013, 9:47 am

    Andy’s always pretty spot-on in his observations.  I’ve been reading the incarnations of VJ and Hobo Traveler for years. Any suggestions on other pages from long-term travelers?

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    • RootLeaf January 26, 2013, 11:37 am

      @Tristanbul  I like this guy http://postmasculine.com/10-best-ways-to-make-money-onlineCheers!

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    • RootLeaf January 26, 2013, 11:38 am

      @Tristanbul  I like this guy http://postmasculine.com/10-best-ways-to-make-money-online Cheers!

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      • Vagabond Journey January 26, 2013, 8:29 pm

        @RootLeaf  @Tristanbul Yes, that’s one of the best “ways to make money online” lists ever. It’s completely realistic, and says throughout “this stuff is real work, are you sure you want to do it?” Good share.

    • Vagabond Journey January 26, 2013, 8:30 pm

      @Tristanbul Dave from thelongestwayhome.com has some good stuff. Of course, there’s thecandytrail.com too.

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