There are lots of packing and travel checklists available. None of them seem to cover a very essential part of a perfect journey: the travel companion.
Strange food, frustration with canceled or delayed flights, and language barriers can bring out a person's true identity. The adventure lover in me doesn't mind any of that much at all. People watching being at its most interesting when things are falling apart. Travel can make us feel as if we are on unsure ground. Periodic exhaustion is a given. The old saying is that you don't know anyone until you live with them. Please. Living with them is nothing compared to flying, sailing, or taking a bus tour with them. Here are some qualities you are going to want in a travel partner.
- A sense of humor: It's first because you are going to need it. It can salvage the direst of situations and make a good day more hilariously fun than you can imagine. Laughter also translates well often erasing language barriers.
- Flexibility: If they can't roll with the punches and be happy with changes in plans...leave them at home where they can be in control.
- Promptness: A must. You not only don't want to be with the person who is holding up the tour, but you don't want to be the companion standing around making awkward apologies and assuring everyone your roommate will "be down any minute."
- A spirit of adventure: It is going to put a damper on your trip if your companion is always saying "Oh, I don't want to do that." You want someone who will do (most things ;)) at least once.
- Gracious manners and cultural sensitivity: Do I really have to explain how embarrassing it can be to travel with an example of "the ugly American?" You are looking for someone with graciousness and an appreciation of other lifestyles and cultures.
- Curiosity: Learning something with someone else and exploring are great fun if your companion if inquisitive.
- A love of knowledge: A person who is well read is practically widely traveled even if they've never been anywhere. Connections to books and information make travel a deeper experience.
- An interest in history: Knowing what happened in the places you are visiting is an essential step in understanding a culture.
- A love of food: Eating is a vital part of the travel experience. You aren't looking for a travel mate who is constantly trying to find the McDonald's.
- Low maintenance: People who need constant reassurance and attention should be left behind.
- A light packer: Last but not least you want someone who can travel without every piece of clothing in their wardrobe. It expedites every step along the way of a journey.
Happy travels, Y'all!