Friends I Had Never Met

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travelling_twoI just got back from dropping Andrew and Friedel Grant from the website back at the train station so that they could head back to San Francisco. If you are not aware of their story, Andrew and Friedel have been biking around the world for two and one half years. On Tuesday they should bike at least 90 more km which will bring their cumulative total to enough kms to circumnavigate the globe.

Since my day job for LiveWorld is creating online communities and social networks, I read a lot of articles about how social networking is causing people to interact less in real life and causing the downfall of western civilization. I was thinking of this as I was visiting with Andrew and Friedel because although we had invited them down to stay with us, and it felt like meeting up with old friends, we had never met.

I first stumbled upon the Grants when I was looking at new blog posts on travel through the Tecnorati site. They were heading into Gaziantep Turkey the next day. My family had hosted a Turkish exchange student from Gaziantep for a year and I have been to that city to visit him and his family. Gaziantep is not a popular tourist destination so I have not read about someone traveling there before or since. So I commented on their blog post and told them a few things to see in Gaziantep while they were there.

As it turns out they had already heard of the Amateur Traveler podcast and were listening to the show in their tent at night. We stayed in touch and Friedel has been on the show twice:

By the time they were coming to California we had spent a couple of hours talking about their adventures, travel blogging and travel in general. So of course we invited them to stay with us, that’s what you do when friends are in town. So my experience is that social networking builds real relationships. Some of those relationships turn into face to face friendships over time. And to put more punctuation on that thought, Andrew and Friedel are returning to San Francisco to stay with another friend and fellow biker who first met them through the Amateur Traveler episodes mentioned above.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

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