While catching up on blogs, I came across an entry by Polly about traveling with her husband and not killing him. In the comments, people began to reminisce about the terrible travel partners they’ve had…
My most dramatic travel partner disaster was when I ditched a friend in the middle of the Louvre. Literally just walked away from her, in crowds that ensured she wouldn’t find me. We were a week into our Eurotrip and I just couldn’t do it any more. Her travel style had grated too much and my patience was finished. For example, she is an only child and insisted on always having the first shower or the window seat or the better bed. I’m easy going, but even when I made it clear that I actually had a strong preference for once, she would ignore it. She also had a boyfriend at the time, with whom she enjoyed long conversations whenever I was trying to fall asleep. And she had a habit of zipping along as fast as possible, without reading signs or paying any attention to my pacing. Which made it extremely easy to lose her…
It was a cruel move on my part to just disappear. She had no means of contacting me and is an extremely worrying person. I was perfectly fine wandering the streets of Paris without an aim for a few hours, but when I went back to the hostel, she was sitting there scared out of her mind, as I had cruelly expected. (It was extremely fortunate that we were meeting up with a buffer friend for the rest of the trip.)
My most significant travel partner disaster was my exboyfriend because it likely contributed to our breakup. (The first breakup. This was two years ago.) He hadn’t traveled much when we went off to Thailand for a vacation, while I’d seen plenty of tropical islands. So I let him hold the reigns in terms of what we did on the trip…. It was out of control. He wanted to do every single thing we saw. Island tours, snorkeling, canoeing, wind surfing, bike riding, shooting range, ping pong shows, strip shows, animal shows. And he wanted to talk to everyone and ask them their life stories. And he wanted to eat everything and drink everything and take everything. And he wanted to spend all the money and then some.
I was so tired, so soon. And he was so enthralled, by things that I found absolutely mundane. (If you’ve seen one elephant stand on its hind legs, you’ve seen all elephants stand on their hind legs.) I understood why he wanted to do all the things, but I definitely did not. And when I tried to tell him to go without me, he would be so clearly upset and offer to pay for it himself and all sorts of things that guilted me into changing my mind. Or he would just be so childish and pouty that I would grudgingly agree to yet another island tour. Every hour, of every day, every possible activity ever. It was extremely trying.
Which is not to say that I am an angel to travel with either. I’m very moody if I don’t eat often or if I’m without sleep, both of which are bound to happen when traveling. I also lack enthusiasm for most activities. I am extremely jaded to tourist attractions, for example (if you couldn’t tell.) I hate guided tours or anything that includes a gift shop. If you wake me up because you want to go on an exhausting tour that ends in a gift shop, I will want to kill you (i.e. every day of Thailand.) I also expect people to be considerate, so when they are not, I will want to kill them too (i.e. every day of Eurotrip.)
But I am also interested in pleasing people, so I won’t say anything the first five times, just drop a few hints. Then I will be direct, but gentle. And then, when whatever I mildly chided you for happens again, I will lash out in an overly dramatic way, like leaving you at the Louvre or breaking up with you in two months.
Really, I’m the worst.