I don’t know about you, but for me, travel companions can make or break a trip. I’ve been pretty lucky in the past to take some trips with some really good friends, and that’s made the trip all the better. Being able to experience some amazing sights with some great people seems to just enhance the whole experience.
When friends and I traveled to New Zealand almost seven (seven – has it really been that long???) years ago, I discovered all too quickly how important it is to understand your travel companions’ needs and your own in order to avoid some potentially annoying moments. We were driving from one end of the south island to the other, and a few days in, after numerous hours driving through scary, windy roads, all three of us were ready to take each others’ heads off. We pulled into a gas station and realized that we were all stressed, tired, and hungry. After a quick break and some food, we were all much nicer to each other. After that, as soon as one of us would start to get cranky, we stopped for food immediately, and avoided any more meltdowns.
That trip was with friends that I’d known for nearly 20 years. Friends who I knew would ignore me if I got cranky and whiny, and that no matter how cranky we all got, we’d all still be great friends after the trip was over. This upcoming trip to Asia, I am going with strangers. I must admit that this is kind of scary and exciting! It did make me wonder about what my travel companions would be like and how we would all get along.
I met the rest of the group over the weekend as we had our first orientation/planning session. After meeting them, I am even more excited to go. We’ve only spent about 12 hours together so far, but I am really excited to spend more time with them and get to know them better.
Our group leader had us all do a Myers Briggs test, and we were able to all discuss our results and how those differences would come out on the trip. As the only introvert in the group, I appreciated the conversations to be able to express that sometimes I will just need a little time off on my own to recharge. In the past, I’ve been afraid people might take offence to this, wondering if I was just being antisocial, and I really appreciated the opportunity to address these types of things before we go. Luckily, we’ve also all traveled quite a bit, and are fairly familiar with what we need and how to express it to the group.
I do feel that my travel companions have made the trip for me in the past, and I am sure that in this case, they will again.