As in life, when travelling it is not so much where you travel to, so much as who you travel with. Without a doubt my favorite traveling companion is my husband Pierre. Not merely because Pierre is so thorough in his research and planning that it’s like having my own personal travel agent ….. though I admit I do love this fact 🙂 Rather you want someone who will be able to fully embrace the adventure while accepting the less glamorous parts of travelling.
Travelling is both exhilarating and exhausting (unless perhaps one is Beyonce or one of the Kardashians with private jets and door to door limo service) Planes are not comfortable places to spend ten to twenty hours, trying to sleep in positions that are anything but relaxing, squashed by neighbors (I have yet to have an empty seat next to me) and serenaded by the occasional distressed infant. The food can be anything from absolutely ghastly to edible (a tip; by and large the vegetarian meals are better) and the aircon totally drys up ones nasal passages not to mention that ones stomach rebels at being fed this unfamiliar “food” at ten thousand miles above. Then you finally get off the tin can and lug heavy luggage through miles of airport, stand in custom queues… only to do it all again. Lug luggage onto another plane, or train and then onto your accommodation.
Of course these are “first world” problems which I embrace entirely as part of the experiences I am privileged to enjoy. I include them only to emphasise the complete lack of glamour in the actual travel part of the experience. Under these circumstances it is critical to have a compatible travel companion. From before we were even a couple Pierre and I have been able to chatter away, debate and disagree but, and this is rare for me, we are just as able to sit (or, trudge) along together in companionable silence. I love having someone I can have silly, lively, intelligent and ridiculous conversations with but even more so I appreciate being able to be quiet with. Especially when you’re tired, sweaty and hungry!
Furthermore, after approximately 6 years of marriage, 12 years as a couple and a total of 14 …or 15 years of knowing one another we are familiar with one another’s quirks and rhythm’s. I know that while Pierre begins to embrace holiday mode as soon as we head for the airport, it will take a few more days for his mind and body to catch up. That’s just how it is. He knows that it’s important to note where the loos are because his wife has a large thirst and a small bladder. He also knows I need to eat regularly. If not I either become totally brain dead or totally grumpy – so much so I would like to avoid me if I could.
On the other hand I am no prima donna and any loo will do, in the bush a bush is fine, if it smells unsanitary well ….I hold my breathe and hover. If I am fed regularly very little can rattle my mood, not train delays, dragging luggage for miles or ending up somewhere we didn’t mean to.
Fortunately we have a similar tolerance level for ahem “cultural” pursuits. We love art, and museums and beautiful places of worship and seek them out but at the same time we have a saturation level and so rather than going to museum after museum, church after church we pick those we really want to see and neither of us would choose to spend our entire holiday doing only arty highbrow stuff. Instead we intersperse it with lots of outdoor activities and chatting up the locals , its surprising how much can be understood even when they and we speak different languages. Finally we both like careful planning but, that said when things don’t go as planned we look at one another, shrug and say “ah well its an adventure ”
We’ve traveled abroad and locally extensively, sometimes treating ourselves to a luxury stay for a night, sometimes going cheap. I’ve never had a bad experience and together we’ve got wonderful memories and a store of funny stories.
And so it is…..in life and travel if you want to be able to fully enjoy the adventure choose your companion carefully, it makes all the difference.