An Illustrated List of the Different People to See the World with.
The next time you travel, consider a buddy. Or better yet, consider a travel party.
There are merits to a shared walk on a spot halfway across the world from where you came. The laughter is louder and the songs are merrier.You will appreciate that one time a companion helped you when you could not read the sign in Mandarin or the many times you couldn’t figure out the street map of a foreign country. When the waiter at a restaurant asks, in his charming accent, table for one sir? You will reply, gladly, “Why, no! In fact, a table for many!”
It’s true that finding a good fit among companions can be challenging but you can start with the ones you know. Maybe a small group of four. Travel near, maybe to the beach. Spend a day - and if it is not a complete disaster - then perhaps you can share a trip again. Add another member, maybe two more, even three. Go a bit farther. My travel group is about an average of 7 friends.
The first few trips are about adjusting. Soon you’ll know who takes a shower the longest, who wakes up the earliest, who’s the best at haggling. You can adjust travel itineraries - someone can take the lead (that’s usually my wife, haha). As a group we get perks like group discounts on accommodations, we can taste a few more new dishes and we get to split the bill.
The places we visit vary and depends mostly on the group’s interests. There are trips for adventurous physical activities - swimming, cycling, surfing- and there are trips to experience culture and meet even more new friends.
When we are back home and we look back at our past travels, we’ll retell stories and laugh again. We’ll wonder how the places we’ve been to have changed. We’ll make plans for places we have yet to see.
Travelers come in many form; they are all different and have characteristics that make them excellent companions. I have come to meet a few. Allow me to share my list with you:
The Navigator is never lost, at least not forever. Adept at pathfinding, with a keen sense of direction, he or she has an uncanny knack for plotting the best way to get to the final destination (although sometimes the best is not necessarily the fastest). He is perfectly at home with using maps, the compass or high-tech GPS devices. The navigator is also not afraid to ask, well knowing that it is the locals of an area that are his best resource.
Often the first person to be invited to a trip is the one with a good sense of humor because we all know that journeys are always better with comic relief. The Jester is a master at finding just the right time to crack a joke - to lighten the mood or even to lift spirits. The best of them are superior empaths , knowing exactly how a group or a member of the group feels. A few of the more talented Jesters also pick up skills like playing the guitar or consuming liquor in strange, comical ways.
If you have ever wanted to travel through time, travel with the Historian. His knowledge of people and culture is unmatched. With the Historian you will experience new places richly. Visit familiar sites and you will see them with new eyes. When you roam the world with him, suddenly that fifty foot high mundane rock wall that you gave little attention to becomes the place of an epic battle. What was once seen as an ordinary, worn-out house turns into a place of romance and revelry - all from a period long, long ago. They are natural sponges of information and they are among the finest storytellers.
You will notice the Journalist. She’s often the one with the camera - the big one and the one built with her phone. She might have a few notebooks in her pockets (and more in her backpack). At night, while everyone is asleep, she’s still busy writing the day’s blog entry. The folks at home eagerly wait for her photos, often wonderful, to be uploaded onto Facebook or more quickly on Instagram. Do not mistake the Journalist for someone who is not enjoying the moment - she is, in more ways than you can imagine. The Journalist is a multi-tasker and is the type of traveler that is the most keen observer. If you travel with one and you are back from a vacation you will appreciate her greatly because as your life returns to normal, your mind will be taken back by the awesome stories on a blog and the photos that come with them.
When the Charmer speaks, people listen. It isn’t just the words, it’s the way she gestures that calms everyone around her. Do not be surprised when even the most guarded strangers suddenly share their life stories to her. Her mind and actions are like poetry, they ebb and flow like an invisible aura. Many great favors have been done for travelers because the Charmer worked her magic - free food, better rooms, unexpected gifts. With the Charmer you will be able to visit spots ordinary tourists would not have the chance to see - often in modes of transportation reserved only for the most important people.
“Wine and dine in style / wine and dine for a dime”. Michelin stars you say? He knows where they are. Fine dining too snobby? Not a problem. He can find all the little holes-in-the-wall. The Gastronomist is a connoisseur and food hunter who will make sure that in all the days that you travel, your meals will be delightful.
Say hello to the Party Animal. He knows how to have a good time. He’ll often be seen with a drink on one hand and a dance partner on the other. With the Party Animal, you’ll get access to all the exclusive clubs and the bouncers will offer you fist-bumps along the way. Prepare to collect stories of epic nights and many, many new acquaintances. The Party Animal is a creature of the night and a man of the moment.
If you find yourself hanging on for dear life on some cliff as the wind howls into your ears then you are probably traveling with the Adventurer. The Adventurer never tires and her energy is boundless. You’ll be tiptoeing through narrow mountainside paths or biking downhill at breakneck speed. Your hotel accommodation is in her bag and be prepared to be awed by majestic sunrises and the great and magnificent outdoors.
If it is your first time to shop around the world with the Haggler, you should remember one rule: let her do the talking. She is a master negotiator and can sniff a good buy anywhere. The Haggler knows her way around the labyrinth-like marketplaces of the world. When you travel with the Haggler, you will come home hauling bags filled to the brim with new treasures.