In the last few years, Facebook and other social networking tools have become an integral part of society. it’s hard to believe that none of these existed more than 10 years ago. I personally started using Facebook less than four years ago. Now checking Facebook for the latest happenings from my friends is part of a daily routine, and it is becoming a norm to announce major life events or share important news in one’s life through Facebook postings, and for others to reciprocate with replies there.
Facebook also enables connection (or re-connection) among friends who otherwise live world’s apart. In my case, my list of Facebook friends include those who I interact with frequently in real life, as well as some old friends whom I knew from as far back as elementary school in Indonesia and who live half around the world away from where I live.
In relation to traveling, having this network of friends can be nice in planning a trip. Sometimes you find out that someone you know had been to the place you wanted to go, and you can ask them for thoughts or advice in planning your trip. Or better yet, someone you know may actually live in the area that you’re visiting, and not only you can ask them for advice on their area to visit, but you may also include a visit with them as part of your trip.
When my brother and I were planning our coast to coast road trip, we noticed that we would be passing several places where we knew of friends whom we can meet along the way. So we checked with these friends to see if we could meet up even only for a meal during a stopover that would give us a chance to catch up and see them in person.
The first of these meetings was with an old friend of mine who lives in Southern California area. We went to junior high and high school together back in Indonesia, and reconnected via Facebook as we re-established the network of old friends from school years ago. Now she lives in California with her husband and young daughter. When I told her that I would be coming to Southern California to start my road trip with my brother, she suggested that we meet up for lunch if we could make time for that. And fortunately it worked out pretty well and we were able to meet up.
The photo below was taken at a small Indonesian restaurant where my brother and I met up with my friend and her family. During the two years that my brother lived in the area, he had become a regular visitor to this restaurant and its adjacent grocery store, so he knew the store keeper and restaurant staff. This lunch also served as his last visit to the place to say goodbye before he moved on to the next chapter of his life back in the East Coast. So in one lunch, we were able to meet old friends, say goodbye to others, and also enjoy delicious foods. Not a bad start for the trip.