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How Travel Helped Me Find a Friend for Life

Here’s a story about how the people you meet on vacation can become everlasting friends.

You can make friends in all kinds of places… work, college, and sometimes, on vacations!

For Shais, making friends in a new city takes only an open mind. We talked to him about how a solo trip to Seattle a few years ago led him to Daniel–a local who not only made his trip much more fun, but who’s now one of the closest friends to this day! 

Seattle, Washington downtown skyline.
Locals and tourists alike say Seattle’s the perfect blend of technology and nature!

What inspired you to choose Seattle?

I’m an immigrant to this country and I wanted to see more of America. Since I’m also a big mountaineer and nature-lover, Mt. Rainier was a huge draw for me. Plus! It was the start of summer and I wanted to escape the heat and humidity into fresher, crisper weather.

How’d you and Dan meet and decide to tour Seattle together?

I love rock climbing, so I wanted to check out Seattle’s rock-climbing scene. I checked out Edgeworks Climbing, which I highly recommend by the way. 

That’s where I met Dan! He actually helped me out when I was struggling with a more advanced climb. 

We started talking and since we shared a bunch of similar interests, he offered to show me around from a local’s POV. I was pretty open to the idea–a mindset that I think is pretty essential when you’re traveling. 

Coffee shop sign near the famous neon Pike Place Market sign.
Seattle’s nickname is the Coffee Capital of the World.

What did you do together?

There’s so much to do there–our weekend was packed! Seattle’s known for being a Mecca for coffee, so we sampled places like Herkimer Coffee and Cafe Allegro. I’m a New Yorker and therefore pretty picky about my coffee. Gotta say, every cup was excellent.

We went to Pike Place Market, which has tons of local shops to support that I really appreciated. After that, we took the short ferry out to Bainbridge Island and went on a very casual hike. Seattle’s perfect in that way. It’s a city that mixes natural and industrial beauty. 

What about the iconic Space Needle? 

We met up there the next day. I just thought of taking some pictures from the outside–didn’t want to look “touristy” at the time–but Dan said it’s worth a trip inside. You get an incredible view of Mt. Rainier… it took my breath away and was my favorite part of the trip.

Glowing sunrise over Mount Rainier.
Mt. Rainier is so close to Seattle that you can include it in a day trip!

I talked to Dan about wanting to go on an expedition there some day. He said he has some mountaineering friends and connected me to a few that I’m still talking to today!

So your new friendship helped you get out of your comfort zone?

Traveling with someone new really opened me up to new opportunities and ideas. And sharing my thoughts and impressions aloud added much more energy to my day.

Landscape view of the Chihuly Garden glass structures.
Chihuly Garden and Glass spans a whole 1.5 acres!

Our weekend was mutually beneficial too–I convinced Dan to visit the Chihuly Gardens, which he’d never gone to before but I’d heard of. So he also got to step out of his comfort zone! 

We met up for dinner with his girlfriend that night. Dan’s Vietnamese, his girlfriend’s Korean, and I’m Pakistani; I liked seeing how Seattle’s home to all kinds of people and takes everyone in. We all had our differences, but you realize they’re pretty superficial once you get to share experiences with them.

And you remained friends after?

Yes! Him and his girlfriend recently visited me in New York! Having bonds around the world makes recurrent traveling so much easier and more exciting to look forward to. 

Any plans to meet up again?

Dan and his girlfriend are getting married soon! So yeah, I’m planning to go back to Seattle in 2023 and I’m really looking forward to it.

Oh, and his mountain-climbing friends and I want to rope him along on a trip to Iceland. Or maybe catch a cruise to Alaska, since it’s so close by! He’s about as in-love with nature as I am, so I know he’ll love it.