When I was an angsty teenager, family road trips were the bane of my existence. My brothers are much younger than me and my parents are big on beach lounging, so I was always super bored and left to my own devices for entertainment (Literally. I had a digital camera that used floppy discs as memory cards and a MiniDisc player for music). As I got older I was allowed to skip out and started taking trips to do things that I was actually interested in, but abruptly realized that your travel buddy can make or break the experience.
My first year of college was filled with local, weekend getaways with whomever would say yes. If it got me off of campus I was GAME (In hindsight I should have taken a gap year), and I got to know who I was traveling with really well. Maybe not how most people make friends, but the appeal of new places clouded my logic and I ended up in less than pleasant partnering situations. It’s so dumb to think about now.
I now ask myself, “Could I drive across the country with this person and not want to strangle them? Does conversation between us flow naturally, and are silences comfortable?”. Travel can bring out lots of stress, and that buddy of yours that you get along with great in social settings might not be the person you want to exclusively be with on a long term trip. If you’re on the fence, spending a full day together can give you a good idea of how ya’ll will mesh and troubleshoot what rifts may arise. I think seeing things from their perspective is the best way to not only fix a problem, but also pick an excellent travel partner. With your combined interests you’re guaranteed to see something you might not have otherwise.
For the NC and VA leg of my Back in Time Zone Tour I asked my friend John to come along and be my “partner in time (travel)” (get it!?). He’s into photography and we get along great, so I was stoked when he was down to come along for some of my harebrained, history based road trip. I learned a thing or two about my camera and how to use it, and the photos he took blow mine out of the water. I can’t wait to write about the great things we saw and show you some of his snaps!
He took this photo of me in my natural habitat, and also the one you see above.