I am very, very hesitant to travel with others. So many of my travels have been alone, which I’ve loved. When something goes wrong (because things always go wrong when I travel), I don’t have to worry about anyone else. I can go out and meet new people when I need a friend, but I can always get away when I need to be alone. Traveling with someone else can be terrifying.
And yet I’ve broken this rule several times. There’s the memorable two-week trip my mom and I took together to the UK in 2009. I’ve already established that my mom and I are friends; I know most young women in their mid-20s would not have dreamed of traveling that long with their mom. But we did well, each having the energy to carry on when the other crashed, and both sharing laughs (so many laughs) together the entire time.
And the summer of 2014, my BFF and I went to Scotland together for two weeks, one week of which was a bike ride in the Lowlands. At one point I had flies attacking me, at others we were near tears because of the sheer steepness of the roads and the rain, and yet by the time she noticed we hadn’t actually been apart from each other the entire time (except, of course, for showers and the like), neither of us had felt smothered.
Despite these great examples of traveling with friends, I still balk when friends say, “I want to go to <place name here> with you!” And I’m not sure why. Is it because, deep down, I don’t want to travel with them? These people are my friends; I like them. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid they think travel with me is always an adventure. It’s really not. There’s a lot of downtime, a lot of getting lost (it’s my specialty), and a lot of mediocre food. If my friends want to travel with me for the trip of a lifetime, I’m not going to be the one making it that. Those kinds of trips only come from inside yourself.
I think that’s my fear: I know this is my blog, with my name in the title, so it’s sort of the Me-Show, but when I’m traveling, I want it to be the There-Show. I don’t want people who want to travel with me. I want people who want to travel to there.
When I travel, I want to become part of the place where I am. It’s too hard to do that with a companion; it turns into a different kind of travel. And maybe that’s the main thing. Traveling with someone becomes more about the companion; traveling alone is always about the place.
Do any of my solo-traveling readers experience this same inexplicable panic when friends suggest traveling together? Have you traveled with them anyway? How did it go?