This post came about mostly as a result of me realizing how many amazing “first meet” photos I’ve had friends/family take for me. That being said, I also think there’s something in the air that’s making me really nostalgic for the days I’ve spent with my friends who are far away from me. Maybe it’s because summer is wrapping up and fall is approaching. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen most of them in months (if not, years). Maybe it’s because they’re all part of my very own amazing support system.
These people are friends I can count on to take me in, listen to me cry at 5 AM, and tell me I deserve the better when they know I’m not receiving it. They cheer me on when I land a date or an interview. They send me fun packages for my birthday and holidays.
There’s one very specific thing they all have in common, besides location (far, far away): I met them all online. I find it funny that over time, “online” friends have become a staple to my generation. It’s something I’ve been proud of for years. This isn’t to say I trust everyone online. A girl’s gotta have some common sense. But when I know, I know. And while there are still so many friends I’ve met but have yet to meet, they’re all awesome as well (and I’m thinking of you all too).
Say the internet is ruining communication all you want, but these friends wouldn’t be in my life if it weren’t for the internet. They’re phenomenal people and we know how to communicate from far away.
Sophie was my first real online friend. We met in 2008, did the whole “vlog” thing back and forth for a while, then eventually managed to skype. I officially met her in 2011, when I studied abroad in Melbourne. Of course, I didn’t get to see her enough, but we reunited again in 2014 when I traveled back to Australia for a solo adventure. She took me in, gave me a bed to sleep in, took me on adventures, cooked for me, and even came into the city to hang out with me. She’s the friend who will stay up with you til 3 AM, not realizing how late it is, just to catch up on life things. She’s the friend who will watch Twilight with you and secretly love it while turning it into a drinking game. She’s the first person who let me in and she’s really the reason I fell in love with Australia to begin with.
Then there’s Mitch. I technically met him through Sophie, but through the magic of the internet, we met over skype in 2009. I fell for the Aussie charm pretty quickly and we became a couple before I met him (with Sophie) in 2011. First loves are an interesting thing. I could probably talk about first loves for days. Mitch was mine and although I accepted that it wasn’t meant to last, we did get a second chance when he came to visit me in Chicago over Christmas in 2012. Again, wasn’t meant to be. But I did see him again this past spring and I realized something about our relationship: I can’t call him my “ex” because before anything else, he is one of my best friends. He has my back all the way across the world. He drops what he’s doing to go on adventures with me. He pushes me to be better and stronger. He cooks me meals that remind me of home when I’m homesick. And in the future, when I manage to live in Australia for longer than a two months, he’ll watch out for me. That is a best friend.
Jessica. My first tumblr best friend and most likely my twin-separated-at-birth. I cannot fully understand how alike we are (looks, personality, humor, hopes, dreams, everything) and I don’t think I ever will. We are perfectly aligned. I met Jess in NYC fresh into 2013 and I think I owe a lot of my happy moments that year to her. It was almost as if starting my year off with her set the universe’s positive vibes into motion. She’s a bundle of enthusiasm, wanderlust, and dreams. She is passionate, funny, and thoughtful. Her friends are like family and like me, her family is number one. I tear up a little whenever I see our first-meet photo (thank you, Eric).
And then, there’s Blake. My mysterious (yet totally predictable), charming best friend from Sydney. Another tumblr best friend, but with Blake, the connection always comes back to music. It’s some deep-rooted thing for both of us. Music being the answer to everything, the invisible thing that links us to memories, the one thing we will both always have. We kept in touch via social media for a while, then turned to texting and the occasional phone call (I’m not going to lie, I nearly melted into a puddle when I heard his accent the first time). Neither of us can really remember when or how we became friends, but the most exciting moment of my 2014 trip to Australia– hands down– was meeting Blake for the first time. After years of waiting, I was finally able to hang out with him in person (and with drinks!) in Sydney. We’re the black sheep. And I love this kid.
I miss all of these friends (and their friends and their cities), but it’s pretty damn amazing to know that wherever I travel, I’ll have a piece of home with me. These friends are my homes away from home. And I wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for the crazy little internet.