Why Travel Is the Perfect Way to Reconnect with Friends & Family
After a year of unprecedented isolation—with Zoom calls and social media shakily filling in for face-to-face connection—it’s no surprise that many are looking to 2021 as a time to re-build bonds. Many friends and family are desperate for ways to make up for lost time. And for travelers like Amir Tulchinsky of West Hartford, Connecticut, there’s no better way to do that than on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
“I traveled to Spain in 2019 with my two daughters, Gabriella and Abigail” says Tulchinsky. “We chose a self-guided walking tour because the girls had just finished college and we thought a slow walk at our own pace would be a nice way to bring us together again.” As they hiked the countryside of Andalusia, their conversations rambled like the trails they followed. What life lessons did college teach them and what paths would they follow next?
The growing trend of traveling to connect with loved ones couldn’t be arriving at a better time. As friends, family members, and even spouses separated by a year of travel bans seek to re-kindle relationships, there’s something appealing about a week with no distractions, no obligations—just a wide-open trail to explore together.
This simplicity has appealed to Claire Meyners of St. Louis, who for five years running has flown to meet her daughter Alexis at her home in Madrid. From there, they embark on a week-long adventure somewhere in Europe. Provence, Northern Italy and Catalonia are among the stunning places they’ve shared long walks. “When we’re traveling, we can talk about things in a deeper way,” Meyners says. “I hear more about her life during that week than throughout the year!”
That sentiment is echoed by Pat Caldwell and her travel companion. Both from New York City, they met four other travelers several years back on a guided tour and hit it off so well that they all decided to meet again the following year. The six have made a tradition of it, meeting at an agreed-upon destination annually. “We all see each other on video calls through the year, but it’s not as meaningful,” Caldwell says. “Walking all day for several days, we get into all sorts of conversations that add depth to our relationships.
But it’s not just about the lack of distractions. The very structure of a trip offers opportunities for joint experiences, and all the intimacy that implies—shared anticipation, coordinated planning, and little adventures on the trail. Indeed, Tulchinsky points out that his family’s self-guided trip enriched their relationships in surprising ways. “Very few people we encountered spoke English,” he says. “We had to figure things out together. We had to trust. It wasn’t always me leading the group. We made decisions together.”