I would like to start this article by giving credit where credit is due. I have an incredible network of people behind me. I could never put into words what the amazing humans in my life mean to me. From my parents and family to my girlfriends who are my soulmates, I have an unbelievable pool of people who inspire me, push me, challenge me, call me out on my shiznit, and encourage me in the direction of my dreams. For them, I am immensely grateful.
While I am beyond thankful for this core group of people, when life starts to pick up speed and I am on-the-go a lot, it is hard to stay connected with everyone. It becomes easy to miss birthdays or big announcements or important moments happening in my friend’s lives. With spotty wifi, no cell reception, and traveling to countries with internet or social media bans, it can be quite a challenge to stay in touch!
I was asked recently in an interview: "What is one of the biggest struggles with a life on-the-go?" My answer was: "maintaining relationships."
I am extremely lucky to have gracious people around me who understand my lifestyle choice and offer me support and understanding when I do forget a birthday, but it is important to me to not let those relationships loose their connection every time I am abroad. When I am stateside, I take for granted that I can simply walk to a friend's house or make a quick phone call to stay connected and in touch. Overseas, those forms of communication are not options and my friends and I have to alter how we communicate with each other and send messages of support when I am traveling! Aside from social media, I compiled my top 5 ways to connect and celebrate with others while on-the-go!
Tips for Staying Connected with Others while On-The-Go:
1. Snail mail is always the right decision.
"I like to keep LITTLE TRINKETS AND notes people have written me."
Snail mail is a love language for me. I'm obsessed with little notes and post cards. I love snail mail because it is tangible. It isn’t coming through a digital screen. You can touch it and feel it. How do you keep a Facebook message? You don’t! Social media just isn't my default form of communicating the important stuff in life. Personally, those digital forms of communication lose a bit of intimacy for me.
Tip 01: Send something special that your friends and family can hold on to and store in a box to reference years later when they need it. Go the extra mile and send a card. It makes everything more special. In general, it can be pricey to mail internationally. Do research ahead of time. Certain wonders of the world do special mailing that is worth the dollars. For example, in Machu Pichu (Aguas Clients) they personally ink stamp the mail for you. The stamp is personalized and made on the spot and inked onto your postcard. Another fact that surprised me is that the Eiffel Tower has a post office simple mail drop on the ground level. You can send mail stamped from the Eiffel Tower.
Tip 02: If you want a cute souvenir idea, mail yourself a postcard every time you visit somewhere. It is a neat collection to keep!
2. Ship a gift online from anywhere.
"I have used Amazon to ship to the States while I am in the middle of nowhere wishing Amazon could ship me some clean clothes."
Tip 01: Not all websites work in every country, but Amazon is pretty universal other than in China. It is the best way to stay on top of your correspondence and make sure to send a little birthday surprise or a congrats gift. You can mail anything from anywhere.
Tip 02: Aside from Amazon, there are so many great companies online these days that offer unique gifts like Birchbox or Book of the Month. If your friend is having a bad day, ship them a little something to brighten their mood. If you have to miss a big event like a wedding rehearsal, 30th birthday, or business launching announcement make sure to send creative snail mail. Think outside of the box.
3. Put reminders in your phone.
"Not looking to send something physical, just wanting to send a birthday message?"
Set reminders in your phone's calendar. Wifi is a very tricky situation in most countries. With spotty wifi, you can’t rely on reminders like Facebook because you will not always have access to those notifications and you will be sending more "belated birthday" wishes than you would like. Set reminders on your phone! No matter your service or wifi connection, your phone will light up with the calendar reminder and you will be right on time with sending your well wishes!
4. Write emails and schedule them out.
Aside from snail mail, email is my preferred method of communication.
Email isn't instant. It requires time and effort and affords you the space to really write a good response. If you can't send a card or a gift, write a nice email message and schedule it out in advance to make sure it lands in your friend's inbox on that special day! Now, you can also email to phone numbers which means you can schedule out a text message! What!!! Scheduling email is awesome because no matter where you are in the world, that email will still go out right on time. It is all dependent on your email providers servers and not your geographical location or internet access.
5. Missing a birthday, make a video.
Send digital mail in the form of videos!
Any time anyone takes time to make you something, even as simple as a video, it goes a long way. If your wifi connection is good, then send a short video clip. It will make up for your absence from the festivities. There are lots of funny apps like snapchat with filters now that can add a bit of humor to the video to brighten someone's day. Or, of course, you can live video chat with someone using Whats App of FaceTime! If you do choose to send a video, make it ahead of time and you can schedule it out with email to be sent on the special day without dependency on internet access!