Love and Community

Recovering Nomad – Welcoming Friends to My Town


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One of the unexpected benefits of living here is the number of friends who come through. One hundred million air passengers pass through New York City’s airports each year, and following the law of large numbers, I happen to know a few.

I was lucky to have made friends around the globe. My Facebook Degrees of Separation shows. 3.22 explaining the average number of connections between everyone and me. The fact that I’m stationary now compared to my recent nomadic past means friends passing through can schedule me into their travel itinerary, and more often than not we hook up for coffee or dinner.

One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center

I didn’t have a base for a long time and slept on many a kind friend’s couch or guest bed. Now that I have an uncomfortable futon, I can at least offer a place for a weary traveler to sleep for a night, fulfilling what feels like a karmic imperative.

My apartment can’t accommodate everyone who visits, nor is it to everyone’s taste. The key is short-term. After sleeping under more than 500 roofs over the last years, I know better than most that guests, like fish, lose their freshness after a couple days.

Some friends will kindly sidestep my offer of staying over, favoring a hotel.

Backpacker friends are appreciative of the fact there’s a hostel across the street – another perk of living in Chelsea and scoping out the community in advance.

It’s weird and wonderful to see old friends on my new home patch. It’s also an opportunity for me to share my newfound love of the city with them, whether it be their first time here or their fiftieth time. There’s always something new to be discovered in NYC that appeals to travelers and the spiritually promiscuous alike.

Two old college roommates. A high-school newspaper workmate. Three roommates from my days in Mexico City. Three buddies from India. A family returning to England from Miami whose plane caught on fire and were diverted to JFK.

Friendships formed years ago are strengthened again with visits. I’m grateful for living in a travel hub and the opportunities to reconnect once more after a long hiatus.

Do you keep in touch with old travel friends? Do you think social media has been a help or a hindrance in that respect?


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4 Comments

  • I love having social media like Facebook to re-connect and help stay connected with old friends and acquaintances. It makes keeping connections very easy.

  • Agree re social media. There is no substitute for face time, (and by that I mean, face to face in person contact, not on iPhone!) but social media helps to keep connections when grabbing a beer or coffee together is a luxury that is not possible for whatever reason. It also keeps you in contact so that know where your wandering mistral friends are now living and if you do happen to be passing through you can make that beer a reality. My dad is from SA and and when he first moved to Ireland he had to schedule a call with his mother through the international exchange, six weeks in advance. Imagine that?!!!!!!

  • When I was in college, we students typed up our computer programs (in the computer language FORTRAN) on punched cards, stacked them up, and submitted them to the operator at the mainframe terminal. The mainframe itself resided on a separate campus some 50 miles away. The operator lined up the stacks of cards in a queue, and we picked up the results the next day on yards of paper printout! After graduation, one stayed in touch with friends either by long distance phone call (which was expensive) or by putting pen to paper and going down to the post office, then waiting. I didn’t stay in touch too much, I must admit. When I finally began to try out the current social media, I was already seeing the first obits of people I knew long ago. Younger people these days, on the other hand, never seem to lose touch with each other!

  • Having lived outside of the country in Spain and the Dominican, and spent a lot of time in Guatemala… I’ve developed life long relationships with people from across the globe. Many have visited me, and I’ve visited them, but the relationship takes more than that to remain a close friendship. We will always have those friends that we see once in a five year span and are able to pick up right where you left off, but with others I have found that a quick hello every once in awhile makes all the difference. I primarily use Whatsapp as opposed to social media, and I enjoy FaceTime as well. These make it feel more like a personal conversation as opposed to the superficial post now and again. I also enjoy the voice note feature on whatsapp. I will be traveling to NYC to visit my best friend and former college roommate in a couple of weeks. I’m excited to connect with her, and I know that NYC holds much to be experienced. Thanks for the post.

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