Travelling with people often tests relationships. Exhaustion, delays, mistakes, lost luggage, scary situations and worst of all, very early mornings where you can’t find good coffee.
But, when you find friends and loved ones that you can travel with, hold them close. Or just steal their passports so that their diaries are all yours. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to trial a few different levels of closeness; from travelling to America and sharing an apartment with a Kiwi lady we really didn’t know all that well, to turning up on the doorsteps of friends who have moved countries and abandoned me. You know who you are.
Over the years I’ve travelled solo a few times, but my most frequent travel companion is, of course, one of my favourites: Mr Kiwi. (You saw that coming, right? A lot of friends laugh that I don’t travel that often with my husband, but honestly, I swear I do, well, at least every second trip!) Over the years we have honed a travelling system that works for us – I research and book stuff, and he asks for things in restaurants and generally navigates once we get there.
We have also worked out a Church to Pint ratio of 3:1 which seems to work – he now genuinely admires the architectural features of steeples, and I research local pubs, not to mention book hotels close to at least one branch of Olive Garden when we’re in the States. (Stop grimacing my American friends, we know it’s not haute cuisine, but it makes him happy – and me giggle at his beautific expression when the first spoonful of Pasta e Fagoli hits his palate.)
The hardest thing is then when I travel without him, is remembering to step up and help with some of those duties – our well-worn system doesn’t automatically translate to other people. You have to find your own balance.
(Sidenote: writing this post has really made me appreciate how lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing people on- and offline. I know I bang on about it, but it’s so important to appreciate them every so often.)
Then there’s also the lovely fellow travellers who I’ve met along the way whilst travelling solo – there’s a particularly nice feeling to meet fellow transient travel addicts – you might meet on a day tour, share a single meal or end up spending 3 days with them. I remember one guy when I first moved to the UK who kept popping up on my travels – what were the odds that 4 times unplanned we would end up on the same street in the same city of the same country? After the 3rd time I said we would have to add each other on Facebook, and years later we catch up when we happen to be in the same city.
Now, after 550+ words, I’m still not sure what my actual point is about travel companions, but there you go. Oh, actually, I know what it is – treasure them. And be aware that I might just turn up on your doorstep next…