When I decided to give up my London life and to start travelling at the beginning of last year, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought that just by being in wonderful locations I will have nothing to worry about and generally would be in a better mood.
Partly, this is true; it takes an effort to be miserable when sitting on the beach feeling the sun on your skin. (I have always had a special talent of spiralling down into the abyss thinking about existential questions at any moment, even in paradise.)
What I didn’t expect was how much I missed the company of other people. I did have small talks with locals and had the occasional catch up on WhatsApp or Zoom with my friends and family, but something was still missing.
For years, I had been craving the environment I had as a teenager, where my friends and I would just freely talk about anything for hours. Those deep, meaningful, and sometimes silly conversations that had nothing to do with work, achievements, plans, making money, etc. I am sure you know what I mean.
Frank Tallis explains this phenomenon beautifully in his book, The Act of Living:
“An interesting feature of teenage conversation is its lack of purpose and constraint…And yet it is by having aimless conversations of this kind that they consolidate a sense of personhood, establish emotionally meaningful connections with their peers, and discover their values.”
Even though direct face-to-face communication is a fundamental human need, I understand that we live in a world where this is becoming increasingly rare. There had been a huge rise in social anxiety disorder, even before the pandemic hit in 2020 and for many, direct communication takes a lot of effort.
What can we do about this? How can we return to conversations without purpose and time constraints? Do you remember how you felt last time when you had a conversation like that? Whenever I experience that connection with someone, I feel at ease, and in the flow, I get creative ideas, and the world just generally seems to be a better place.
One of my main reasons to team up with The Merit Club is to organise trips for women & solo travellers, to create experiences that can help them connect with each other without a purpose. These trips provide you with an opportunity to find your way back to those enriching moments in life when you get into a deep conversation with someone you have just met. The only thing required from all of us is curiosity, being interested in one another. (And of course, it doesn’t hurt that we are doing this while exploring beautiful parts of the world.)
Click here to find out more about The Merit Club Trips and how you can get involved.
PS. Join The Merit Club during March and your first month is free! Use code with MERITIWD2022 at check-out.