Making friends can be hard. In true 21st-century fashion, technology can be used to ease the process. See how an app can help create meaningful friendships, and hear about one of its success stories.
Solo travel is not for everyone. Personally, I am more likely to enjoy a trip when I am not shouldering the burden of navigating and communicating in a foreign place. The pressure to avoid getting lost and staying safe stresses me out, and I find myself being much less adventurous and daring when I have no one else to rely on to keep things moving smoothly.
That being said, it doesn't keep me from booking. Case in point: I had a random week off this past spring, and found a super cheap round trip flight to Mexico City on the low-cost Mexican airline Volaris. I had to book it. I was settling into my uneasiness over the prospect of a week alone when it dawned on me to reach out to Alex.
I met Alex on an app called Hey! VINA. This past fall, after I graduated from college and spent the summer in Central Asia, it looked like I'd be home in NYC for the foreseeable future. I was feeling lonely and frustrated with my social situation. I literally Googled “how to make new friends in NYC” and realized that this is an issue many young people struggle with. How do we make meaningful interpersonal connections in a world increasingly full of impersonal interactions? I read about the app's mission to help women develop supportive, inspiring female friendships by geographic location. Kind of like Tinder for friends, there are profiles and swipes to advance friend dates.
I downloaded the app and felt a bit awkward and embarassed about it. But the constant stream of dynamic, interesting, and friendly women opening themselves up to the virtual community was compelling.
After texting for a few weeks, Alex and I got together for frozen margaritas and Mexican food one cold November night in NYC. We hung out for hours, both surprised at how well we clicked. We continued to get together, going out, trying new restaurants, and texting weekly. Little did we know we would be hanging out on the streets of Mexico City a few months later. Alex was totally game. She booked a ticket on my flight — and we started planning our adventure. Alex has since moved to Spain, but we keep in touch — are are planning a trip to Asia in the near future.
This app is great for the modern woman seeking to expand her social circle to like-minded peers. Use it to find friends to grab coffee with, or to grab a flight to a different continent. The possibilities are endless.
Download for free on iTunes, and check out the other content produced by the VINA team at vina.io. An Android version of the app is coming soon.