Travelling and adventuring is a great experience, and often the people you meet on your journeys can become close and treasured friends. However, it matters who you take those journeys with. The person you travel with has to be someone you can bear to be around 24/7 for weeks on end, in every possible circumstance that could come up during your journey. I can’t think of a better choice that to travel with your best friend. Here are some reasons why…
1. Because they understand your highs and lows and will share them with you: Your best friend knows you better than anyone and who else is going to recognise when you’re having a rough day and mother nature is kicking you in the uterus, or recognise that you’re uncomfortable with the attentions of the gentleman at the bar and swiftly come to your rescue, or congratulate you on the significance of your achievement of climbing to the top of that hill when only a month ago you were struggling for breath when running for a bus….? Travelling gives experiences that are unique, exhilarating, life-changing and, at times, scary! With your best friend by your side, you know you can face every one of them.
2. Because sometimes emergencies happen and all you want is a familiar face: While on our most recent travels, my best friend and I both had medical concerns. On a difficult 10k trek in the cloud forest of Ecuador, I started having a strong allergic reaction to the horses that were accompanying us on our journey. As I felt myself begin to panic due to the difficulty I was having breathing, the guides that were with us on the trek were trying to talk to me and find out what was wrong. Anyone who has ever had this kind of reaction knows that first priority is not talking – my only priority was to regulate my breathing (pretty difficult while climbing up a steep hill!). My best friend explained to them that I was fine, recognising immediately what was going on, and quickly handed me her own inhaler to help ease my breathing. Having her there made the world of difference!
Later in the holiday, my best friend contracted a stomach virus. She became very dehydrated to the point where a doctor had to be called out to our hotel. The doctor ended up fitting a drip and instructing me (now, I am in no way a nurse!) on how to change it during the night and then how to remove it in the morning…..the word ‘surreal’ doesn’t even begin to come close. My best friend said that she was so glad to have me there – I can’t imagine how scary it would have been to have endured that on your own! A familiar face and someone who knows you so well is reassuring, calming and exactly what you need to get through travelling’s more difficult moments!
3. Because who else is going to appreciate (and participate in) your attempts at dancing to the music of the country you are visiting: A fun part of travelling comes from getting involved in the local customs, and trying out some of the more intriguing parts of the culture that you are part of. Who else is going to encourage you to try salsa dancing, and get up and join in? Who else is going to encourage you to try oysters in a famous oyster bar, and even have a try of them herself (even if that attempt is somewhat unsuccessful…)? Who will get alongside you as you help to cook the local delicacy – even if that delicacy makes her feel ill? It’s always your best friend!
4. Because she will back you up when you need it (particularly when haggling for that precious memento in a flea market): There is no better flea market bartering partner than your best friend! Your best friend knows your tastes, knows your budget, and knows exactly how much you need and want that vintage gold candelabra in your life. She will back you up, play the ‘just walk away card’ at exactly the right time, and even buy the most hideous thing on the stall in order for you to cut a good deal! When it comes to back up at these most essential moments – your best friend is the person to have at your side!
5. Because you can dine out on your shared memories and shared experiences for years without the other one getting jealous or feeling left out: When you return from travelling, you are full of stories. You are desperate to share all these stories with people and tell them all about what incredible experiences you had. But, over time, people will become less likely to want to listen to your reminiscing and nostalgia about that time you stayed out till 5am dancing with handsome Bavarian boys in Salzburg. Or that time you battled altitude sickness and climbed to 5000m on the largest volcano in the Andes. Or the time you lost each other in the Jewish Museum in Berlin and circled the place for hours before eventually finding each other. Or the time you skipped up Times Square, getting completely drenched in a spectacular New York thunderstorm while singing ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ at the top of your lungs.
After time, the only person who will want to hear those stories will be the person you shared those very experiences with.
Edit: An addition from my best friend – She will also be extremely caring and patient with you when you have had what you consider to be a near death experience, and will not laugh in your face when you say to her “I just need you to tell me that everything is going to be OK!” Now, that’s a whole other story!