Friends Along the Way

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” Tim Cahill

Adventure travel writer, Tim Cahill, summed up our kind of travel in a nutshell. He said “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” Over the 16 years and 86,000 miles that we've traveled the globe, what stands out in our memories most vividly are the people we've met and the friends we've made along the way.

tim cahill

I've written about meeting people in different ports. I've written about the 90-Day Rule. These are the adventures that make our journey most enjoyable. Finding people who are willing to share just a small piece of their lives with us is what makes it all so meaningful.

Reading about a culture or a tradition or a ritual may be exciting. It builds up the anticipation. Experiencing the culture firsthand with people who live it daily, however, is the real thing. It's not a contrived setting fit only for tourists, it's how life is lived whether on a small island or in a big city, in the mountains or the jungle, or in a marina. Perhaps it's sharing a meal or a glass of wine ... or kava or coconut water ... and chatting. Or maybe it's visiting a school and watching a teacher with his/her students … or asking the fishermen about the catch of the day.

Sailors are an interesting lot when it comes to friend-making. We realize we are transients. We meet people and quickly make a decision. Do we like these people? If yes, we get to know them quickly. Who knows how long we'll be in port or they'll be around? Friendships are made on the fly, but are no less strong.

Finding commonalities among people is as satisfying as celebrating the differences. We all have to launder our clothes … in a river or at the laundromat. We all eat and sleep and dream. We all love our children. Perhaps we show it in different ways, but the love is evident everywhere we go. We all complain about our spouses from time to time or the universal foibles of the opposite sex. It's inherent in our human natures.

But, of course, it's not just the miles we've traveled and the friends we've made since we've lived aboard Nine of Cups, it's the hosts of friends that we've made throughout life who pop up every once in awhile … maybe at the holidays … and say hi and renew the friendship with a few words and a “how are you doing?” and fill us in on their lives.

We've met lots of people along the way and we're proud to call many of them friends. We stay in touch whenever we can, but these friends are the kind you can pick up where you left off … even after years apart. Friends who would be welcome in our home. Friends with whom we share a special bond.

Sailors and landlubbers alike ... how do you feel about friendships along the way?