People generally get crazy if left for enough time isolated in confined groups.
One of the things I do over and over again is traveling with people. I did a lot of variations starting from a half-a-day in suburbs to half a year long hopping across the globe. Both friend and girlfriends. And we all were getting mad at each other :)
Some of the travels made me closer to these people, some of the travels tore our relationships apart. Now time has come to do this again, so you, my dear reader can reap the benefits of my experiences without all the tears of your travel buddy :)
TLDR: Give the link to this post to the friend you’re going to travel with to make it better for all of you :)
Be prepared :D
Hostels will loose their bookings. Metro will close right before you’re able to make the commute. Evernote and gmail will decline to display cached pages. Flights will be canceled and/or delayed. Cards will be rejected. Favorite things will be stolen and lost (people also can lose each other!).
Some of these happened to my friends and some of these happened to me. To survive all the problems of a travel, be like a space ship: duplicate all the things.
- Every document should both exist in written and electronic form
- Same applies for money, both small bills and electronic cards
- All of these stored separately
- The most important bits never leaving your body
Accept stuff which is bigger than you
Once you’ve prepared all the thing you was able / wanted to prepare for, there’s still hell of a lot of things which gonna happen.
If you feel like crying – do so. If you’re angry (or hungry, like I get all the time) – let somebody know while you still can do that in a calmed in controlled manner. Worst thing you can do is spending your energy to make appearance that everything is ok.
Breaking the rule usually leads to dumping 3 weeks worth of suppressed feelings onto your fellow traveler. Bad for everyone involved.
This also means that you should accept yourself as you are. If you don’t know where’s our train, or where are we – let the group know rather than try to play a cool captain (even if you lead this particular group).
We’re all in the same boat and nobody expects you to know everything.
Keep the balance
While traveling you’ll be far from most of the resources which usually support your self confidence:
- Family, friends will be far away, similarly your image of a successful person :)
- Work. Doing that remotely is still something not everybody is granted with. Plus it can be trickier to maintain your performance while working off a shitty 3g internet somewhere in jungles, trust me. So if you imagine yourself a good colleague, be ready for that to be gone :)
- Work out routines will need to be re-established (I had times visiting up to 3 no-longer-existing gyms per day to find a one for myself)
- New foods and climates will affect your health depending on your luck (e.g. you can get 5-days dengue fever preventing you from sleep or mild indigestion)
In such conditions it is common to look for the support in people nearby. Continuous demands can easily strain your partners, so be careful (remember, they’re in around the same situation as you are).
That’s where the notion of emotional bank account comes into play. Whenever somebody does me good, I can feel like I’m up to doing more good for them, similarly whenever somebody asks (or demands) a lot of help from me often, I will be feeling like the amount of good I’m willing to do for them is reduced.
If that’s your first wild travel, be especially careful: habits which you form now will predate you (or support you) until the very end of your life. Another important thing is that most probably you’ll feel like you need a lot of assistance. It’s up to you to decide how much of a helplessness you will root in yourself.
So, once my usual self-confidence is gone, I feel like growing some new. The simplest way for me to do so is by learning how to get to home (tent, apartment, shack, …). In most places this can be achieved by buying a sim card with 3g data. On lightning in a bottle, though, I had to spend some time exploring the territory :D
Having that, it is much easier to support the balances: I don’t need a person attached to me to try the stuff I like (Darling, let’s go to a zoo [as I don’t know how to return from there]).
Next step is usually taking care of some shared stuff. Taking your friend(s) to a cafe both counts as a contribution to your emotional bank account as well a proves (to yourself) that you’re capable of more.
Next time you’re gonna travel with friends, just observe who’s the first one to take you somewhere and how do you feel about them.
Embrace your fears
After taking care of some basics, it’s usually time to challenge yourself a bit. Cool if you can do that in a controlled manner (e.g. when somebody more experienced is around). That’s not required, though.
Being introverted, my first fear is about talking to people. So I try to talk those who are already interested in conversations with me: sales people. Being a guy which loves to eat, I just approach any food truck / cafe and I’m done.
Pick something you both like and a bit uncomfortable to do and you’re good to go.
Sometimes, the thing can prove itself difficult (e.g. approaching a cute girl in the office). What worked cool for me in such cases is imagining what I will do next time (all the exact steps, phrases said, you can even write that somewhere just for kicks!). For some reason brain can be trained well even using such a hypothetical scenarios, so after a while, I prove myself capable of doing tricky things. So are you.
What are the tricks you use to make your social travels feel better?