I find traveling alone fun. More than fun, it is enriching as a self discovery.
But traveling with people is a whole different type of fun. Like minded people. Complimentary opposites, and all those who do not clash with what you are looking for. And there is plenty of space for self discovery as well. Such as, which personality type can you take for more than 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks. Which type can you kill before 5 hours and so on. What is your gagging or breaking point. And more lessons in that league.
I have been fortunate enough to travel with a wide array of personalities. Friends, colleagues, loved ones, family, strangers, sometimes even a large herd. And over the years, I have started spotting a few distinctive types. Am sure there are more, and many different ways of expressing them. These are just a few. And one way of looking at the many interesting travel buddies that one could come across, or make.
You might be short on cash or time, but you will never be short of laughs. One of the most important ingredients you need to make a trip memorable. The joker comes in various designs- the one with the pjs and little tricks, the mimic, the perfect timer, the one-liner, the witty wicked one. Whichever the type, they are thoroughly enjoyable and every group needs one.
This one is usually a people, art, music, culture junkie. They mostly effortlessly seem to land up talking to strangers, making friends at the restaurants, stumbling upon freebies, spending hours at shops not buying anything. And they are lovely to slow down with.
This person is loaded with research and is not afraid to use it. Knows about the place before landing up. Feels familiar with the street names before walking on it. Has google-earthed the place out of his mind. And most probably has a list of must-dos, must-eat, must-shop, must-watch and another bagful of musts. Very useful. Warning- can get a little obsessive.
It is easy to spot the ‘so what are we doing next’ person. Any spare time makes this one a little bit uncomfortable. At any given time he has to be eating, or walking, or shopping, or partying, or figuring out how to fill any visible space in the itinerary. They are high on energy which tends to rub off on the others.
Mostly agenda-less, and will just hitch a ride along. Usually does not have a plan, and does not mind if he misses out on a lot of must-dos. Just being around a place, being on the road, being with the people he likes, or a place he has been wanting to visit, is trip enough. And most interestingly, he finds his own space even in a herd, runs on his own tune, and finds his own things away from the must-do list.
Or father. Will happily manage the money. Will order for everyone. Will have extra medicines. Might also carry an extra pepper spray. Will chide a few people a few times on the trip, and might be a tad bit sentimental.
The loud one. The desi one. The robust appetite one and not just for food. He is the party starter, the campfire fuel, the one who usually carries a mini music system and a loaded ipod, instead of a book and a notepad.
Literally, the pet. Laterally, anyone who enjoys that cuddly squishy position in your life. I have one. And every time I travel with her, I come back high on soft hormones. They can be exhausting but delightful. This kind of bonding has less words and more goosebumps.
Of course, this is not a personality type. It is actually a state of mind. When you are on a rising high with a person, do a trip. It can be trippy. Music, food, weather- somehow all seem to be on their best behavior. There is no guarantee how long will that state of mind last, but in that moment, the world is a waltz.
Again, not a personality type. Neither a state-of-mind. But an invisible designation that you have given to a certain someone, after many successful travels and travails together. This one is the safest bet. You never get bored with this person, understand spaces, moods, likes, dislikes, and quite naturally fall into an enjoyable rhythm. If not ecstatic, the trip is definitely fulfilling.
It is difficult to choose just one type to label a travel buddy and the truth is that we are all combinations of at least a few of the above. Even then, there would be one distinctive type that is more dominant that the rest, and more clearly visible to others. So try it, if just for fun. Which type or combo are you? And who are you traveling with next?
I also have a list of the 5 types that should be dropped from the list 😉 Coming soon.