Don’t you get lonely? That is the number one question I get asked when I meet new people during my travels. The answer is no because wherever I am I always feel connected to friends and family. As a solo traveller that is “on the road” more than 50% of the year, I have come up with a few hacks that help me enjoy life on the road while at the same time feeling like my friends are part of my everyday life and I am a part of theirs. It is this anchor to friends and family that allows me the freedom to travel and explore the world without ever feeling lonely or out of touch. These are my five hacks on how to stay connected when I travel.
1 Create a routine – One of the most important things I do to keep my travelling life in sync with my home life are the routines I have formed and follow. For example, the first thing I do in the morning after waking up and showering is to go to a coffee shop, order a coffee and begin to write. Cuba, Hawaii, Jamaica, Whitehorse, San Diego or Phoenix it doesn’t matter the city I am in I follow this routine fairly religiously. It creates an anchor for my day that establishes my “normal.”. What happens afterwards can vary but I always have the same start to my day no matter where I am in the world.
2 Schedule a weekly phone call – I travel for extended periods of time and every week pick a random friend to call and catch up with. It is great to see their news on Facebook and Instagram but hearing their voice and “shooting the shit” is irreplaceable in my opinion. I also phone home once a week to catch up with Mom and get all the family news.
With Rogers Share Everything Plan (Roam Like Home activated) calls from over 100 destinations back to Canada are free from long distance charges so I don’t have to worry if my friends or family talk my ear off.
3 Stay up to date on news/sports and events from home – It can be hard when travelling to catch your favourite shows and sports events especially with hotel entertainment systems. Generally, they suck and I waste a good 15 minutes trying to figure out the channels and what’s on. It’s a good thing I have Rogers Anyplace TV when I’m exploring the Great White North (aka Canada) so I can catch the latest episode of Game Of Thrones or watch the Leafs beat Montreal (hey, a guy can dream right?) after a day of exploring.
4 Host a weekly Facebook Live chat for friends to jump into – This is a new hack for me and I am loving it. Once a week I log into my Facebook account and host a Facebook Live. I usually give an hour advance notice to friends and that way anyone who is free can log in, see me and communicate via messages. It is a great way for me to give an update to a large group of friends, ask for advice and stay connected. Depending on the subject matter make sure you have the right privacy settings in place because people will be able to watch the video in their feed after the chat has ended.
One chat I had friends join in from Vancouver, Toronto, and a cousin from London. That was fun!
5 Limit internet surfing to 15 minutes at a time, 3 times a day (morning, afternoon and nighttime) – I am on my phone and laptop a lot when I travel. It is my job, after all. I have found it really useful to schedule personal Facebook and Instagram surfing to three 15-minute segments a day. I prefer these moments when I first get up, over lunch and after dinner. With a time limit of 15 minutes each, I can surf the networks and stay caught up with friends are doing without losing my day looking at the screen. It is tempting to reply to comments and updates in real time but the world won’t end if it takes me a few hours to respond.
I have found this works really well for me as I have given myself permission to “surf” but a limit keeps me focused and present with where I am and what I am doing.
I hope these simple and easy to follow tips will help you stay connected when your road trips keep you away from home for extended periods of time. I know we all say we want to escape our everyday life when we travel but keeping connected to friends and family back home is a great way to balance out the stress and potential loneliness of life on the road.