The Roadies

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, June 2, 2011

According to the Dee-ctionary the definition of a "roadie" (noun, slang, pronounced roh-dee) is: a friend made while traveling. Origin: from the idiom "on the road".

The Lees are fortunate to have a wide circle of friends, so wide that it spans the globe. Our friends enrich our life journey and we love them dearly. Having spent extended time in Cape Town and London we made really solid connections and although we don't often say it, we sorely miss them. But we survive the longing by knowing that we will remain friends no matter where in the world we might be. Our paths will cross again...someday... somewhere (don't worry, I won't break into song!).

But friendships made on the road are different. Roadie friendships come in all forms and frequencies, and vary greatly in duration and depth. Here follows a few broad categories:

Love You Long Time-rs
These are friends you have for life (as described above) but they have since moved to another part of the world. You let them know you'll be in town, meet for a catch-up after several years yet you just pick up where you left off. We have remained good friends, the communication is effortless and we reminisce (and cringe!) about the good old days. Sue and Rob, Dhanie and Jeril, that means you! ;)

Once Upon a Time
You (kinda) know each other from a long time ago and sometimes you just knew OF each other. They could be a friend of a friend, or perhaps a friend of the family. Carmen's parents are friends with mine, and when we were kids we played and watched TV together while our parents chatted. We hadn't seen each other since who knows when until I looked her up in Wellington. It was great to catch up on years gone by, but we couldn't really remember much. She recalled that the Sound of Music was on when we first visited, and I recall that her whole family were all very sociable even as kids (a skill I only learned later in life).

You meet randomly in a public place or hostel. The chatting starts very casually, both parties are warm and welcoming, then within minutes you're getting on like a house on fire. (Aside: adding alcohol to the situation often adds fuel to the flames ;). Chelsea and Matteas are classic examples. We met at Matahorn, a Wellington bar renowned for its cocktails (thanks, Pete, for the recommendation!). We met  while buying drinks and it wasn't long before they invited us to join their table of friends and to their dinner party two days later! It was great to be on the receiving end, because often we've made friends randomly in London in this way. Thanks, guys, for a memorable experience, definitely a highlight in our NZ holiday! :)

Almost Buddies
You meet and get along similar to Insta-buddies but sadly, one of the parties needs to leave in a hurry to catch a plane, train or automobile. In the case of Zoe and Matt, they had to leave a half hour after we met to catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton. They had recently arrived from Mexico (where we're soon headed) and we had recently arrived from the South Island (where they were now headed) so we exchanged tips and contact details in a hurry If only we had more time...

Best Friends For Now. They start off as Insta-buddies but they're the next stage in the evolution. These friendships are nurtured by a close environment such as living in the same backpackers for a few days. You find each other every morning, you have all your meals together, you party together, play games together, stay up until the early hours chatting about everything under the sun and getting up to all sorts of mischief. This is an exclusive club and thusfar they include Natalie in Franz Josef, Sarah and Dean in Queenstown and Sophie and Paul in Turangi. Ah, good times! We hope to cross paths again somewhere in the world to have more good times :)

Hi and Goodbye Buddies
At the other end of the continuum you have the HAG buddies. You recognise each other's face as you go about your business at the backpackers; each time showing some acknowledgement and exchanging
basic pleasantries but it seldom goes any further than that. You don't normally even remember each other's names.

Tip o' the Morning Friends (TOMs)
Sometimes HAG buddies evolve to the next stage, sharing tips on where they've been, what they've heard and seeking reciprocity from you. And that's the extent of it. The communication is friendly but superficial, simply measured by the quantity and quality of tips shared.

Banter Buddies
These friendships may or may not start life as HAGs or TOMs. The difference is that whenever you pass each other in the daily shuffle around the backpackers you pause to comment on something situational or topical, or to crack a joke, or to revisit the previous day's jokes. Many good laughs were shared with Banter Buddies at Rowena's Lodge in Wellington. There were quite a few Maoris who seemed to live there. They were cool, easygoing, lighthearted, in fact, very similar in look and character to what in Cape Town we refer to as "gam brasse". ;)

And finally...

Pop-up Pals

They just seem to keep popping up in different towns and hostels sometimes at opposite ends of the country. For example, we met a French working holidaymaker in Queenstown. She was working at the hostel so she knew most people and each night we played cards as part of a big group. She was more of a Banter Buddy than a BFFN with a very amusing and stereotypically short temper.

All these types of friends enrich our journey along "The Road Lees Travelled". Thanks to each and every one of you.

Disclaimer: People are way too complex and unique to neatly fit into categories such as these. This was however done to give our readers some insight into life on the road and of course, for your amusement.
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