Yes if my kids came to me and said they made a new friend on the Internet, I’d be freaked beyond belief.  But that’s exactly what I did a few years ago when I started chatting with a group of people on a cruise board regarding our upcoming Disney Cruise.  A “cruise meet” was arranged for the first day and I reluctantly went – mostly out of curiousity to put a face to a screen name.  And throughout the cruise, we were pleasant but probably a little distant.  Then we decided to do the same sailing the next year – as did many of these folks. A full year of chatting and a great cruise where we really got to know this folks has grown into six years with this group of people whom I now count as friends. Some of this group has come to our home for pool parties and we meet those close by for dinner when we can.  We also recently met a few of these friends at WDW and had a great day.  Our kids have become friends and we look forward to more get togethers in the years to come.

Now I will never be a supporter of kids making friends online nor am I really all that enamored of doing this all over again with another group of folks. We’ve gone to other cruise meets on later sailings but the dynamic of this group just can’t be duplicated – it was a once in a lifetime kind of coming together of folks.

But it also just goes to show you that you never know where your friends will come from and it doesn’t hurt to open up a bit in a situation like this where you have common interests like travel, our kids, Disney, even our businesses) – and just be pleasant.

And Facebook came along at just the right time to allow us to all stay connected even though we live in places as far flung as Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Iowa, North Carolina, Missouri, California, New York, Louisiana and at least two Canadian locations. Now I’m not going to say that I am BFFs with everyone I met on that first cruise.  But it’s pretty astounding how many of these people have become important parts of my life.  One even does freelance work for me on a regular basis.

So while I love my vacations more than anything because of the time I get to spend with my family, it’s also fun to connect with my Internet friends when I can to catch up in real-life.