The challenge is real. Travel is not always conducive to the formation of meaningful relationships and friendships. In surveys of Digital Nomads seeking to uncover the downsides of a seemingly picture-perfect existence, loneliness and isolation - and the negative impact this has on mental well-being - is a common theme. Boundless Life, however, is facing this challenge head-on and proving that the bonds forged by our families and our Crew can stand the test of time.
Sunday 30th July is International Friendship Day. What better excuse to celebrate and share examples of some of the many very special friendships we have witnessed.
What is International Friendship Day?
‘The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
The resolution places emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.’
How is Boundless Living aligned with International Friendship Day?
It would be nearly impossible to find a description ⬆️ of a more aligned resolution! Boundless’ goals and outcomes (both intended and beautifully serendipitous) are a perfect example of this resolution in action:
✅ Multicultural: We have recently welcomed families to our cohorts from close to 30 different countries! The result is a melting pot of experience sharing, language and culture exchange, differing perspectives, and even tastes with traditional cooking and baking techniques being passed on.
✅ Community is key: Communities have been spawned by our families who do so much more than coexist with each other for a time. Bridges have also been built to the local community who are so generous with their time, expertise and knowledge. They are critical to the success of Boundless Life and are an extended part of the Crew. Anyone who has enjoyed an ice cream at Alba Gelato in Sintra will tell you of their love and respect for Maria and Fernando who run it and have welcomed countless Boundless families with open arms in both the literal and metaphorical sense.
✅ Enabling leaders: Helping our future leaders navigate a fast-changing world with compassion and kindness is at the heart of Boundless Education. We have had the absolute privilege of witnessing our young Explorers embrace each other’s differences and support one another without question.
Let me introduce you to just a handful of the friendships that have sprung up or been nurtured by some Boundless living.
Parent Pals - New and Old
Bex and Bonnie are the ultimate gal-pal team. They were amongst the first families to spend time in our inaugural location, Sintra. Theirs is a friendship that spans both time and the globe.
Having been friends since childhood, the decision to coordinate a Boundless meet-up couldn’t have come at a more perfect junction for them to reconnect in life. Having been separated by the chaos of the early baby days (and later spending 3 years apart because of Covid), the planets aligned to reunite them!
Bex was leaving Japan and relocating to the UK with her two children, and was looking for an education solution in the meantime. Meanwhile, Bonnie was leaving Hong Kong with her two children and needing some breathing space after the long Covid restrictions.
They decided to join up together in Sintra and live side by side as neighbours. The kids walked (and ran!) to school hand in hand, and Bex & Bonnie enjoyed plenty of date nights to catch up on life.
“Bonnie was always my best friend, but with motherhood and life and jobs and a pandemic between us, all we yearned for was quality time. Boundless gave us a 3 month playdate for ourselves, whilst we got to watch each others’ children become best friends too”
Then we have our solo-travelling moms who became friends as well as neighbours during their stay in Tuscany. You can read all about their special friendship here.
Our cohort Farewell Events rarely result in ‘goodbye’ and, more often than not, commitments to ‘see you soon’ instead are upheld! Lindsey and Austin met during our January-March cohort in Syros. They adored the island (and each other) so much that they decided to stay on for the April-June cohort. Their story doesn’t end there though. Like so many other families, they have planned to reconnect in another Boundless location!
Look out for Austin’s life-changing story that began in Syros coming up!
Other families have reconnected outside of Boundless with reunions in far-flung destinations. One family - now based in Thailand - has welcomed multiple Boundless alumni and I imagine they will see more as families venture on. The world can feel overwhelmingly big sometimes and these connections - and reconnections - help it feel a little smaller for a while.
Some of the most poignant moments captured and forever treasured are the interactions between our young guests. Whether these friendships play out over just one cohort or across multiple cohorts and locations, it is heartening to be reminded so often just how easy it is to be friends - and how rewarding it can be.
These friendships have no time for differences of age, religion, colour, language - you name it! There is far too much fun to be had and so much love to be shared. Our educators, in particular, get front-row seats to witness older children carefully guiding and mentoring their peers and taking younger children under their wings or finding innovative ways to smash through language barriers to help children with little or no English to feel included and to leave with more conversational language experience than any course can teach.
It is reassuring that these future leaders are, together, forging their own paths and spreading the seeds of connection and acceptance at their feet.
“In a world that appears increasingly polarised, it is our responsibility as parents to expose our children to the rich tapestry of human diversity. To enable them to see beyond flags, borders, and abstract cultural markers, to recognise and embrace shared humanity.”
Mauro Repacci, Boundless Life Co-Founder
Last but by no means least we have our Boundless Life Crew! The local teams are at our family’s disposal throughout their stay and do a damn fine job looking after everyone. They might start as ‘Crew’ but families leave (often with tearful hugs at the airport or port) considering them friends.
“John, Kostas & Myrto, you show us what loving your community looks like and we’re so moved by the pride you have for Syros and its history.
‘We love what we do and we wish to inspire.
We don’t tell people our dreams, we show them.
We believe that community and connection are at the heart of a good life.’
These words are part of the manifesto at Hermoupolis Heritage and I believe that they are also written in the hearts of these Islanders”
The Janssen family after their stay in Syros.
Intra-Crew friendships span the globe and defy time differences! Our Sintra Crew have taken their friendship to a whole new level by regularly working out together in the beautiful Sintra mountains led by our unstoppable Operations Manager, Leida.
Operating a globally distributed team consisting of on-location and remote team members would normally mean friendships are difficult to cultivate and maintain. However, we seem to have taken inspiration from our families and International Friendship Day by establishing our own meaningful connections - whether these happen in person or through the window of an online meeting or get-together.
Let’s be friends
In a world that can feel cold and chaotic, where divisions run deep and isolation seems to increasingly be the norm, friendship remains an invaluable beacon of hope. It is the balm that soothes our wounded souls, the lifeline that can pull us from the depths of despair, and the whispered reminder that we are never truly alone.
In a single heartfelt conversation, an ear lent, a shared joke, or a comforting shoulder to cry on, friendships have the power to mend broken hearts, bridge gaping divides, and ignite the embers of compassion within us all. So, let us cherish these bonds, for they are the fragile threads that weave a tapestry of unity in a fractured world. With each act of kindness, each outstretched hand, and each genuine smile, we can rewrite the narrative of our time, proving that even in the darkest corners, friendship is the boundless light that will guide us home.