The content of each post is solely written by that contributor and only expresses the contributor's personal views. Each post does not represent the views of all the contributors or Women of Color Living Abroad as an organization. Each contributor is speaking from their own person experiences and/or perspective.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Scared Traveler: Finding the Right Travel Partner

Travelling the world alone is an experience in itself. Being able to navigate through the many obstacles that present themselves in your path is a test of endurance and patience. But when the road is taken with friends it’s a blessing in disguise. The company of close friends brings about a different atmosphere. Worries no longer exist, because things that are indelibly you, are put at ease in familiar company. Those that don’t enjoy the luxury of familiar company, travel alone. But when time permits itself for new introductions it’s the perfect opportunity to become acquainted with new friendships. When choosing new friendships it’s important to look for those qualities that will not clash with your own, because once you leap into an adventure with someone regrets can emerge. 

Take these helpful tips when choosing new acquaintance for your journey in the world, for they will save you a headache in the long run. 

Frugal vs. Carefree
There is nothing wrong with being thrifty with money. At some point in time many of us find ourselves being thrifty with our own money. Although, being frugal varies by degree there is one thing that should be kept in mind when travelling  People of inequality spending ideologies are not always the perfect travel partners. Someone who’s more or less a spendthrift should be mindful of those that aren't. One will find inequalities with room amenities (4 or 5 star hotels vs. cheap multi-room lodging), choice in food selection (pricey restaurants vs. convenience store fare) and transportation (hiring of private cars or taxis vs. buses and subways). No matter your spending preference, it’s best to keep in mind that you may be travelling alone if these differences are an issue. 

Church goers vs. Bars and Club goers
As in all things in life there are people who hold strong religious ideologies than many others. These views will affect how they see the outside world, and who they surround themselves with. Although, they hold no offense towards others, the way they behave may be conservative. These degrees of conservatism vary person by person. One’s idea of a good time may be dancing and drinking while another’s view would see these in a bad light. It would be best to avoid awkward conversation or not place yourself in a position where your morals will be under fire by someone that beliefs are more conservative than your own. In the end you will feel miserable having to spend your time in the company of another’s, whose company you wish to avoid. 

Argumentative vs. Freedom of Speech
For those that believe everyone has a right to voice opinions they hold dear to their hearts whether those beliefs conflict with others or reality, they still have that right to share their ideas without being verbally crucified by those that hold no such ideas. There are times people encounter those that look down on the opinions of others in such a fierce way it’s unfathomable to believe that such ideas would warrant such passionate responses. When such things occur one would find themselves in two positions. That is either as an even fiercer responder towards the instigator or using the freedom of speech card. By playing this card, you present the idea of everyone having the right to believe in anything, because at the end of the day opinions hurt no one. This card more likely would keep an argument from ensuing, but there is a small percentage of failure. Keep in mind when travelling with others; avoid those that are boastful of their own opinions. 

Decisive vs. Indecisive 
For those that find making a decision a long drawn out process, it’s best to avoid those that are quick deciders. Indecisiveness brings out the worst in others who hold quick decisions to heart. It’s best to travel with people of like minds in the decision making process. Be mindful of this trait when choosing that perfect partner. 

Young vs. Mature
For years I've pondered why my grandmother chooses to travel lengthy trips around the world with others close to her age. Although, she has invited me along on a trip with seventy year old women, which I pondered for a minute and kindly declined her offer. Knowing the fact full well that grandmothers are grandmothers, and will embarrass you no matter what. My grandmother graduated from the school of infallible jokes. Being the jest for her friends is not something I would want to remember in this lifetime. Since I was at the age of nearly easy embarrassment I could not hold my own in her endless supply of streaming jokes. I have noticed as I have gotten older I'm sort of like my grandmother besides the joking, but I'm more comfortable with people in my age group with shared experiences. I know travelling with someone far younger than myself would make for awkward conversations, and little to find common ground. With that being said, age can be a barrier when travelling and travelling with people older or younger may be difficult. 

I, myself know the importance of choosing the right person or group to engage certain activities with. Unfamiliar acquaintances or those you are barely familiar with can present challenges on your adventure if you are travelling together. Please keep these tips in mind from my experiences to avoid future upsets, and having a lonely trip when your intentions were to travel with someone counters acts what you originally intended to do in the first place. To avoid a lonely, awkward or downright horrid trip find your travel mate based on common ground. 

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