As wonderful as long-term traveling is, it doesn’t come without sacrifice. I’m often asked, “don’t you miss your family”? Not typically. Thanks to FaceTime, and social medias; it’s never been easier to stay in contact with those furthest away.

However, a few times out of the year there are certain events that come around and bring about a strong case of FOMO. One such family tradition is Labor Day weekend at my aunt’s lake house in North Carolina. It’s been three years since I was last there and it got me reminiscing about all the travel families that have eased any homesickness over the years.

There are beautiful locations and delightful people everywhere, but every now and then the perfect storm of location, people, and timing blends together and the end result is special. It starts innocently enough with two or three travelers who share great excitement and passion where their energies easily attract others. After a couple days of exploring and nights easy with laughter, the adventure soon turns into lazy days on a hostel balcony overlooking something picturesque and before you know it, strangers become family.

It’s this special group that you’ll learn, argue, and laugh with the most. You
split expenses and long journeys go by faster. There is a sense of protection and
stability as well as an easygoing nature that radiates from the group. Some days the
family splits to do different things, but dinner together is always a priority. You’ll
have inside jokes, secrets, and if you’re lucky, maybe a romance. Eventually, the
inevitable parting of ways happens and you’ll feel lost, alone, and unsure of yourself
just like when your family first dropped you off at the airport.

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a handful of travel families. We’ve celebrated
holidays and birthdays laughed and loved, philosophized and debated, and during
tough times, these families are also strong support systems. Some of my best friends
and greatest stories told and never to tell, come from these families and like any
family, we’re not perfect, but we embrace each other’s imperfections with the same openness that the road gives us.