How does a snowbird maintain friendships while away for the winter?
This is my third winter as a snowbird, someone who spends part or all of the winter away from home, escaping from the cold and snow to a warmer climate. A new online acquaintance of mine recently asked how I nurture friendships through the winter when I am far away from my friends. The question intrigued me and I have been thinking about it since.
This is an area where I am exceedingly grateful for the Internet and social media. My husband and I connect and interact with family and friends back home in ways that weren’t possible for snowbirds twenty years ago. Facebook allows us to keep up with the latest happenings. We also banter and tease almost as if we were in the same room. Email allows us to have more direct, one-on-one conversations.
I have free calling to Canada on the cell phone plan I am using while in the U.S. Periodic phone conversations help make the distance seem shorter. We use Skype to talk with our daughter (so she can avoid long distance charges on her cell phone plan). I’ve used Facetime with one of my friends.
During our first snowbird winter, we “attended” one of our dinner club’s parties via Skype. It was the first time the hosts had used Skype. We had some technical difficulties getting connected initially and we didn’t always catch the bits of conversation happening farther away from the computer. But people took turns moving closer to the computer. We caught up on each others’ news and shared a lot of laughs. After almost two hours, we felt as if we’d been part of the party.
We’ve been fortunate to see some family and friends in person, those who have come south for part of the winter themselves. And we’ve had the chance to spend more time with family living in the area we’re wintering in. We’ve made some new friends. But we still miss friends and family back home.
It’s great to see everybody and catch up when we go home in spring. As thankful as I am for the many ways we can stay in touch, nothing meets visiting in person. I am most grateful to have the kind of relationships where we can meet after being apart for a length of time and pick up where we left off as if we’d just seen each other yesterday, the time apart no longer relevant.
If you spend significant periods of time away from home or are a full-time traveller, how do you maintain your friendships?