Making Friends While Traveling: Nomadic Friendship Fulfillment | EP58

Friendship IRL Podcast - Episode 58 - You’re Not Doing It Wrong: Why Friendship Looks Different for Everyone - With Jeni Holla

What does friendship look like when you’re constantly on the move? Guest Jeni Holla joins the Friendship IRL podcast on Episode 58 to share her unique perspective on cultivating connections and community while living a nomadic lifestyle over the past few years.

Traveling the world offers immense rewards, but also challenges when it comes to nurturing friendships. Guest Jeni Holla joins the Friendship IRL podcast to share wisdom on fostering community while continuously on the move.

Understanding the Complexity of Friendship Dynamics

Quite often, there is a societal emphasis on close friendships or true friends, but little attention is given to our connection to the community. In a recent conversation between Alex and Jeni, it became clear that Jeni’s focus was not on cultivating deep friendships but rather on fostering a sense of belonging in every place she visits. This shift in perspective highlighted the complexity of friendship dynamics and the various ways individuals seek connection and belonging.

Jeni shared her strategies for connecting with neighbors, joining volleyball leagues, and becoming a regular at a local hangout, like the small town bar. During a crucial conversation, Alex explained to Jeni that not everyone seeks close friendships but rather a strong community and network of acquaintances. To delve deeper into the types of friendships in one’s life, consider exploring the Wheel of Connection framework to gain insight into why individuals may prioritize building a diverse social circle beyond just close friends.

Jeni has dedicated her energy to consistently showing up and finding common interests to build relationships in each new city her nomadic lifestyle takes her. She also highlights the additional effort required to connect with social circles in small towns compared to big cities.

Some other ways that Jeni navigates the Friendship Dynamics in new cities:

  • Steps Jeni takes to understand the pulse of a new area she travels to (researching online, exploring local sites, finding hidden gems between tourist and local spots)
  • Her process for connecting easier in small towns (asking questions, striking up conversations organically, allowing introductions to happen fluidly)

Assessing the Quality of Your Friendships

Jeni’s recent experiences have led her to question the depth of her friendships. However, upon closer examination, she realized that there was mutual support, especially during life changes, opportunities for personal growth, and even simple connections that remained strong after her move to a new town.

I often remind myself that it’s important to focus on the value in our relationships rather than what may be lacking. This lesson really hit home for Jeni as she discovered the strength of her overall support system across the United States.

Host Alex Alexander emphasizes the significance of all our social connections, from casual acquaintances to close friends. Recognizing and appreciating the value that each relationship brings to our lives is essential for fostering a healthy and fulfilling social landscape.

Navigating Changes in Friendships

Living a nomadic lifestyle naturally brings about changes in friendships. Jeni has noticed shifts not only in herself as a friend but also in her long-term friendships and how she approaches new connections. Through reflection, she has realized that her friendships thrive on mutual growth, support during life changes, and finding common ground to keep the bond strong through transitions. She has set a standard for friends who uplift and enhance her life, choosing positive influences that make her feel valued.

As she navigates these changes, Jeni has come to terms with the fact that some past friendships have drifted apart due to her nomadic lifestyle. However, she now focuses on cultivating more transient yet meaningful bonds. While she still cherishes old friends, she has learned to appreciate even the simplest connections she can tap into when needed.

Instead of dwelling on friendship changes, Jeni has embraced the inevitability of these shifts. The good news is that as she has become better at building new friendships, she trusts that she will always find the necessary connections.

Differentiating Between Being Friendly and Being Friends

When you’re traveling and trying to make new friends, it’s natural to feel unsure about the nature of your connections. Building friendships takes time and starts with simple interactions. Even though it may be challenging to determine if someone is truly a friend, every conversation holds value. Research shows that even brief chats with strangers can have a positive impact on our mental well-being. So, don’t stress about defining your relationships right away – focus on enjoying the interactions and see where they lead. If you’re not a fan of small talk, check out my guide on Navigating Small Talk for some tips. Remember, the journey to friendship begins with a simple conversation in a neutral setting.

Exploring the Nature of Long-Term Friendships

A common question on the Friendship IRL Podcast is “What is a friend?” This episode delves into the idea that friendships do not necessarily have to be long-term to be meaningful. While society often emphasizes the importance of long-lasting friendships, the concept of being able to pick up where you left off can create unrealistic expectations of seamless connections in long-term friendships.

Instead of focusing solely on the duration of a friendship, it is more valuable to consider how our connections fit into different aspects of the Wheel of Connection and the unique ways in which they enrich our lives. By embracing the idea that the success of a friendship lies in its impact rather than its length, we open ourselves up to new experiences and opportunities for meaningful connections.

For those who may feel hesitant to let go of long-standing friendships out of a sense of obligation, it’s important to consider the “sunk cost fallacy.” This cognitive bias can lead us to invest energy into maintaining friendships that no longer align with who we are becoming. While shared experiences can allow childhood friends to reconnect effortlessly, it’s essential to recognize that all relationships evolve over time, and it’s okay to let go of connections that no longer serve us on our personal journeys. Embracing change and allowing space for new friendships to blossom can lead to more fulfilling connections, especially when navigating life’s twists and turns.

About the Guest: Jeni Holla

Jeni Holla underwent a dramatic career shift from being a high-earning sales leader and softball Hall of Famer to embracing her calling as a transformative Energy Healer, Akashic Records Guide and Soul Activator. Two years ago, she and her husband traded their conventional lifestyle for nomadic existence, healing past conditioning and tuning into her spiritual gifts.

Jeni now helps conscious leaders activate self-trust, strengthen intuition, and align to their highest destiny through a focus on energetics, soul frequencies and finding flow. She spreads her wisdom through her website, The Life Adventurist Podcast, online programs and more.

Key Takeaways from the Episode

  • Throughout constant moves across the U.S., Jeni has learned to nurture community connections and find belonging through consistency, common interests, and an openness to all friendship “plugs.”
  • Jeni shares about the nuances of forging bonds in small towns versus big cities, how emotional intimacy can form quickly in the right container retreat, yet friendships inevitably evolve, and why many perceived “problems” stem from a limited concept of what constitutes success in relationships.
  • Ultimately, the episode inspires examining friendship needs beyond societal assumptions and embracing your unique approaches. Learn more by checking out the full conversation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I maintain the quality of the friendships I make during travels?

Maintaining the quality of friendships made during travels can be a challenge, but it’s important to embrace the changes that come with it. Friendship roots will naturally grow and evolve, so it’s crucial to understand this process. To ensure the longevity of these connections, focus on consistency in your efforts, redefine what low-maintenance friendships mean to you, and adapt to the shifting dynamics. It’s also essential to nurture the aspects of the friendship that are working well and be open to establishing new connections. By being proactive and mindful, you can strengthen and grow your friendships while traveling.

Can my work relationships turn into lasting friendships while traveling?

Certainly – take some time to reflect on what is holding those friendships together – Use my friendship roots framework for that. Then, either maintain that friendship or do the work to develop it into a deeper friendship.

What should I do if I encounter emotional unavailability from potential travel friends?

Not everyone wants to make friends right now, and that is ok. Remember that there are plenty of other people out there looking for new connections. Continue seeking fulfilling connections elsewhere rather than taking it personally.

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Hi! I'm Alex.

I am just a person who has spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to understand some of the relationships that I hold most dear. I invite you to join in on the conversation below in the comments section below.

Ask questions, leave comments, share critiques or give advice. All are welcome.

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Hi. I'm Alex.

I'm just a gal who cares deeply about community + friendship. Why? Well, I didn't have a healthy support system growing up.

So I built one... out of friends. I believe a healthy support system is the ultimate self-care.

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