Deciding to venture out solo, go with your best bud or team up with a friend of a friend? Recall the Chinese philosophical concept of the yin and yang? The two balancing, yet complementary forces that make for a perfect deadly combination, where one can in no way exist without the other, like man and woman. Well, that is exactly what a travel buddy needs to be! If you are the ‘yin’ as such, then you must find the perfect travel ‘yang’, whether it be a friend, partner, family member or stranger, to form an unbreakable and flawless package. Otherwise how will the two of you momentarily decide who has the bottom bunk without an argument, when it comes to things such as decision-making?
Your travel buddy should essentially be someone that brings out the best in you, that is, day or night, on a plane or ferry, whether you are lost, frustrated, on the verge of crying or be lining up in the 40 degree midday sun, in anticipation to see the Colosseum for the very first time. Believe me, you will at times question whether you have chosen the right ‘travel yang’ and consequently there will be redefining moments that confirm for you your choice, that you are in fact one hundred percent utterly content with the ‘yang’ you chose, or not.
What if you are the neat freak, organised, on-time share of this relationship that likes to know exactly where you are going, what you will be seeing and where you will be staying, whilst your travel buddy is the complete freelancer opposite? It’s all about balance. Take turns in organising parts of your trip. Always share your ideas with each other and run things by your partner before making any arrangements. This will ultimately save any conflicts and hard feelings.
It is wise for your ‘travel yang’ to share some similar qualities and interests that you do, like the quest for adventure and someone who shares your sense of fun. Alternatively, it’s also necessary for a travel ‘yang’ to counteract the qualities that you may attain, as both of you will contribute to this unique interdependent pair, in your own ways. If both of you are dominant personalities and have differing strong ideals of places you want to visit or activities that you wish to do, such as skydiving the Swiss Alps, one may soon find themselves becoming frustrated with the other.
When you find yourselves lost in a foreign place, looking for any signs of a street sign or subway station, it certainly pays off when one of your flawless pair is cool calm and collected. Yet, if is always up to the one person to be the calming force, this too can become tiring. Remember it is impossible to have the ‘yin’ without the ‘yang’, and this too needs to be the same for your perfect travel buddy combo.
It’s All About Budget
Be clear with your budget constraints right from the start. This means staying at four star hotels might suit your budget but may in fact be a deal breaker for your ‘yang’ who seeks to stay in budget hostels and travel for longer. Eating out can also be another travel tester to your deadly combination. Having these honest conversations before you set sail are paramount.
Be the Beat to Your Own Drum
Spending 24/7 around each other is in fact a challenge within itself, in which even the best and most experienced ‘travel yins and yangs’ will encounter turmoil. This is exactly why it’s incredibly important to recognise when to take time out for yourself in your adventures together. And the emphasis is on when. Don’t leave it until a conflict is arising or you can feel yourself becoming frustrated with your travel buddy. Instead, consciously make time every few days to go for a massage, a swim in a pool, a stroll through the old town, read a few pages of your book, something, anything, on your own, that you are happy to do independently. Finding moments to have ‘you time’ is healthy for your ‘yin/yang’ relationship. It allows you to return refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to continue your adventure happily together. Plus, it gives you new conversations to chat about.
In regards to making vital decisions, such as deciding on sleeping arrangements, it’s always handy using non-negotiable methods, such as the good old scissor paper rock off for deciding who has dibs over scoring the bottom bunk. Or turn taking. A decisive system is vital. Decision-making is an important part of your travels and both parties must make decisions that leave them feeling ultimately happy. One person bagsing the bottom bunk constantly becomes old just as quickly as your older brother stealing the front seat in your mum’s car and you having to squish between the dog, surfboards and wet wetsuits. It’s about sharing the decision making and sacrificing what you want to do some of the time, in order to make deposits into you ‘yin/yang’ relationship, so as both yourself and your travel buddy can wander happily.