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Making Friends on the Open Road...

Check with your country's consulate in the city you are visiting. Are they hosting any activities or exhibits that you can attend? If you were a Canadian visiting China this year you could have attended a piano recital or an art exhibit in Beijing that was sponsored by the Canadian government.

 

Don't be afraid to participate in the banner events of the city. For example: I was in Sydney during Gay Pride Festivities. I'm neither Australian nor gay but that certainly didn't stop me from joining the celebration and marching in Sydney's Gay Pride Parade. It was a real hoot and I met some very charming folks in the process.

 

Don't have time to volunteer at home? You can 'do good' at your destination and I promise it will 'do good' for you in return. A perfect example is this travel story about a middle-aged guy who volunteers to take care of babies in Thailand. Click here to be inspired.

 

Take an educational course in the country you are exploring. When I've gone on the road for longer than a month I enroll in at least one week-long class along the way. This insures that, at least, I will have people to interact with for that length of time. Add to it the bonus of learning about my classmates' culture through their eyes. And, if I'm really lucky I might be invited home to meet their family.

Ed. note: If you are invited to someone's home and would like to offer a small gift make sure that your offering is culturally correct.

 

Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're at an onsen (hot spring bath) in Japan or hamamm (bath) in Morocco ask the other women in the changing room about proper decorum. Females are generally wonderful communicators. I've started more great conversations by asking for help than one can possibly imagine.

 

Visit the local university. Academic bulletin boards are a tremendous source of cultural happenings. Program content is eclectic and the participants generally very welcoming.

 

Find a female-friendly restaurant you like and keep going back. Once the staff gets to know you, they'll look forward to chatting with you, time and time again. Some of my best shopping tips came from a waitress in Munich and for three days in San Francisco my waiter became a dedicated jogging partner.

 

Check the local newspapers for singles' activities in the city. Here's a website with access to major newspapers in the world or simply pick up a 'What's On' community newspaper in the cafes you visit.

 

Join a walking tour of the city. It's a lively introduction to your new surroundings and you're bound to meet other solo travelers that way. Take the initiative, introduce yourself. Chances are you'll end up doing some sightseeing together.

 

Finally, when language is a difficulty, invite a local student out to dinner. She picks the restaurant. You both enjoy the local cuisine. She gets the chance to practice her English. You pay the bill. And both of you benefit from the exchange.

 

Bonus -- Create friendship cards...

Those women travelling for business always have cards with them to hand out to colleagues they meet along the way. This is considered correct procedure and good business technique. But what about JourneyWomen taking part in leisure travel? Surely they will find opportunities when they would like to exchange contact information with new acquaintances (really strangers) they meet while exploring the world. In this case we recommend a more careful approach. Have 'friendship' cards printed listing only your first name, your city and email address. This information is ample for a potential friend and not enough for someone who might use it in anti-social ways.

 

Eat with locals at your destination

i heart pitaAround the world passionate home cooks create unique and authentic dining experiences served around their communal table. Originated in Tel Aviv, this website platform lists alternative dining experiences with incredibly creative cooks. Eat gourmet and creative meals in the homes of cities you travel to around the world. Expect to be super full, so make sure you wear stretch pants...and expect the alcohol to be flowing. But note: you will need to register for these meals in advance. It is not for the spontaneously inclined. Website: EatWith.com

 

Bonus -- Women's words on friendship...

You can keep your friends by not giving them away.
(Mary Poole, 1938)

Friendship with oneself is very important; without it
one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
(Eleanor Roosevelt, 1944)

Female relationships that work are relationships in which
women help each other belong to themselves.
(Louise Bernikow, 1980)

Constant use has not worn ragged the fabric of
their friendship.
(Dorothy Parker, 1944)

Friendship is an art, and very few persons are born
with a natural gift for it.
(Kathleen Norris, 1931)

Friendships are easy to get out of compared to love affairs,
but they are not easy to get out of compared to, say, jail.
(Fran Lebowitz, 1992)

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