Sunday, 17 March 2013

On The Road

I've had a few different experiences with travelling with friends.

The fearless mate who convinced me to go on a working holiday in California at 19 when neither of us had travelled without adult supervision* and once responded to my concerns with 'What's the worst thing that can happen? You die and then you don't have to worry about it' which has stuck with me as a good point ever since then.

The meek mate who was happy to let me plan the travel, the accommodation, the itinerary and only chimed in if there was something in particular she did/didn't want to eat/see/miss.

The loud mates who were mostly concerned that we had a working music system, enough junk food to get us there, and - if I insisted - relevant maps n shit.

The contradictory-mix mate who is spontaneous a lot of the time but also doesn't like to stray too far from our agreed itinerary once we've nutted out a good one.

Travelling with friends can be both awesome and kind of awful.

Being out of your normal environment can let different parts of your personalities come to the surface so that you can get to know entirely different sides of each other -- kind of awesome.

But it also amplifies different habits or behaviours that you may not have been aware of or given much of a damn about before -- kind of awful.

I think when you're travelling with friends you need to sit down before you set off and make sure that you are both on the same page about what you want from the trip.

If they're expecting to party across Europe, fall in with random groups of people that seem to be having a good time, and wash up wherever the tide takes you and you're expecting to cram yourself with pastries and wander through galleries and castles then you are going to be a little bit stumped when you finally touch down at your destination.

Having different travel plans than your friends doesn't mean you can't travel with your friends, you just need to be able to communicate and not fuck up more than the amount of times you can both forgive.

If you have a friendship where you can fly over together, see the shit you're both interested in together, then visit or do the shit you alone are interested in separately, then meet up again for the next leg of the trip then that's excellent.

If you're the kind of person who doesn't like not knowing where your mate is, or alternatively the kind of person who doesn't like having to wait around for someone else to come back from what they've been doing without you, then that kind of jaunt probably isn't for you and you'll either have to make sure you pick a mate who is interested in all the same things you are or compromise and both go to a few things you couldn't give two tugs about so that neither of you misses out.

The most important thing to do is be honest with yourself and each other because otherwise you could end up in a situation where you explode at each other in a way that would be much more dramatic and entertaining that this vague

And before the trip talk to each other and establish the baseline acknowledgement that 'we're probably going to flip out at one point due to hunger/fatigue/irritation/nerves so some kind of get out of jail free card system wouldn't hurt'.

Without it I wouldn't be friends with my fearless mate because she would have put my head through a wall when I was worrying over details and how we were going to be shanked and/or shot because America.
I wouldn't be friends with my meek mate because of the time I went on a rant about her not wanting to walk with me to a particular bridge because she was tired/it was late and I was feeling a bit 'sleep when you're dead, don't waste this trip**!' and got a bit self-righteous about it**.
I wouldn't be friends with my loud mates because they are quite happy to ditch plans for what seems more fun at the time/now that we've seen where we are and what's available.

Summary: think about your expectations, talk to your mate about theirs, run your plans past each other, maybe come up with a 'bitch, you're working my last nerve' safeword for when you're out and about to head off actually having a screaming row.

*Real adults! Proper adults! We weren't actual adults at 19! I sometimes have trouble believing I'm officially an adult now.

**When you're flying between 10 and 22 hours to get to places you tend to try and cram as much into each trip as you can; this is one of the reasons why Australians can sometimes seem a bit over the top as we charge about the place. If we're already paying $$$ to get here and the trip took ### hours then we are going to make the most of it. Stay a month or two months or three rather than a two week trip, run all over the shop like a cat on nip!

***I apologised later and she gave me a bit of a mild telling off.

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