While I often inform friends about my travels and invite them to join me if they can, most of the times I travelled alone. A few moments I felt like having a companion but most of the time, I figure I enjoy travelling alone – I go with my pace, I stop where, when and for as long as I want, I don’t get lost in conversations but truly experience new places.
I am always happy to plan travelling with good friends, especially those I haven’t seen for a while. In reality, unexpected things happened and I would like to share the lessons I learned from travelling with friends.
While we exchange a number of emails to plan our trips together, I was not informed if a friend has been ill in a way or other. This led to unexpected emotional breakouts from them that I didn’t prepare myself for – I might want to do more things than their health permits, I might talk about topics that are sensitive to them emotionally.
From now on, before deciding to travel together, I would check with my friends if they are in good health or should I know about any discomfort or difficulty they are having. Is it ok to sleep early and wake up early to make the most of our experiences? Does anyone snore and is that ok for everyone else?
I need to remember to not visit hot places during the summer as well – the heat takes a lot out of me and my friends and we tend to be more grumpy when we are tired.
I often travel with a restriction on visa (the UK is not in Schengen – borderless countries in Europe) and with a budget and I would like to make the most out of my experiences. I assume friends know about my travel style but some might not and I should let them know about this in advance.
I should ask them if it’s ok to buy food from the supermarkets and eat out only once in a while; if it’s ok walk to places to see the local scenes and people on the way, to take public transportations instead of taxies, if it’s ok to couchsurf or stay in shared dorms or affordable AirBnb etc.
We’re often friends because we share some interests but it’s not always the case with travelling. I prefer local experiences while some friends might prefer visiting touristic places, I prefer out-door nature while some might prefer indoor city visiting, I prefer tea houses while some might prefer nights-out etc. I would like to practise walking meditation, eating meditation when we can while some friends might want to walk or eat faster.
And of course it’s ok to spend time apart while travelling together, knowing this in advance prevents any disappointment though.
If hanging out with friends is like dating – it’s often fun, travelling together is like moving in – you should know the person well enough in advance and still, you will learn a lot more about each other to know whether or not you just want to hang out sometimes, or are suitable to travel together.
At the end of the day, we are there for each other and as long as we understand where ourselves and our friends come from, we can act with compassion and help each other during our travelling together – emotionally, physically, mentally, financially – when one forgets their bank card at the ATM in a crowded touristic area…ATMs in Thailand give you money before the card by the way!