the road trip friend

Izaak Walton – and English writer of 17th century. I have read his The Complete Anger while still being a student, but actually just few weeks back I have reached out to him again. To my surprise one of the quotes was as follows As Italians say: good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. I found it a bit funny that I have noticed the quote just now – before the weekend road trip with Giulia.
The quote is also very contradictory for me, however, let me start from the beginning.

Plans for the long weekend, so-called swiss holidays, have been arranged already in February or even earlier. The choice of the place was not easy, as living in Como gives a great array of beautiful places to visit that are easily reachable by car. After quite thorough research we have decided to go to Trentino, so to more eastern part. I said We, cause this time it was not a solo trip, but a trip with already mentioned Giulia. Who is she? Long story short – started from being a colleague, through a sort of mentor in my new path in Italy – finishing with a real friend.

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The trip itself will be a subject for another post as the itinerary we have created and covered within only three days was demanding but the views totally worth the efforts. Maybe we were tired and afterwards decided to devote Sunday to pure relax and chill at home after… holiday! However, I would not change anything in a trip. Well, maybe the weather, but clearly  we haven’t booked it in advance. You can’t have everything though, can you?

Coming back to my main thought though, do you really think that having a road trip – not a flight, not a train, but a road trip in one car – with your friend is always a good and easy idea?
If so, you were lucky by now with your friends and it means you should stick to them for your life! If not, then we are in the same group as I strongly believe that having a road trip buddy is a special gift and in the end it is easier to lose a friend than to create closer bonds. Every person has their particular way of travelling and spending time abroad. When I say different I mean it can be like black and white experience that you would only notice while preparing the trip. Unfortunately, usually we are not able to say if going away with even our best friend is a great idea, until we actually make it. So we take some kind of a risk. Either we have fun or we have awkward moments after the trip.
I want to believe that I have found some kind of balance on how to work things out and make sure that everyone is happy during the trip. The ROAD trip.

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Why Road Trip is so particular? You are spending with a person good few hours (at least!) closed in a car. Usually listening to music or annoying radio broadcast. Either you are a driver and you may get annoyed by your co-pilot or the other way round. There are so many things that could go wrong, but even more that you can make right.

When you decide to travel together, always ask yourself few crucial questions. First one is what is the aim of the trip. Let’s make sure it is clear and everyone wants the same. If you are going to do a trekking, but your Friend in the morning is annoyed and wants to grab a coffee or go to the beach. Clearly there was a miscommunication and you don’t want to have a hot discussion in the morning on how to compromise and who does what and then have some not very pleasant moments of silence in the car. Of course, don’t get me wrong, silent is fine – as long it is the I need my space and time type. Otherwise, one can feel like opening the door and leaving the car with a friend far away.

On the contrary, don’t try to talk all the time. No one is able to listen actively and have a meaningful conversation for 24 hours. If you are in silent it does not mean one of you is upset. This means you feel comfortable with the person and you can simply enjoy the moment.

This leads to the next question do we have to do everything together? There is one answer – NO. We are not chained to each other and we do not have to spend every second of the day together, but there are some limitations if we all stuck with one car. Make clear plans in advance and while still being flexible, try not to mess it up too much.

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You have to be flexible and open for new ideas and ad-hoc things happening during the trip, but please for everyone’s sake, don’t be the always I don’t mind type. Probably this is the most annoying and irritating sentence if repeated by the same person more than 5 times within a trip. Have an opinion. If you say that you have none, it clearly means that you are scared to share what you really think as it is probably against the majority. Have some balls and say it out loud or keep it low and follow the herd. But do mind. On the other side if someone is walking or eating a bit slower, just chill. Probably they think you are too fast. No one is perfect and there are always two point of view.

What is the usual core of all problems? Money. Make sure you make it clear at the start how you split the expenses and if you pay 50/50 or everyone pays for themselves. I have been travelling in the past month with all type of friends and since we have said at the start how everything is gonna function, we have avoided a lot of unnecessary conversations. Another advice though – if someone says they will cover the bill or you don’t have to give them 50 cent change, don’t fight against them. Just buy them espresso next time and give back the favor. You will all feel way better about such situation.

Don’t forget rules about packing. You might want to take half of your wardrobe, but please… if you are travelling in fiat 500 in 4, probably a little backpack is more recommended unless you are happy with holding your stuff for 5 hours on your laps.
One of my nightmares? Once I have traveled with a person that has eaten sardines in the morning. The smell in the car was definitely unforgettable…

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In order not to start your story with infamous words the night was dark and rainy… and lead to some undesired actions, repeat to yourself – you can be as irritating, disorganized, annoying and slow/fast as the other person, so take it easy, communicate everything clearly and chill. While you realize that, you can focus on the trip itself and getting closer with your friends.

This month I have done every single type of travelling with other people. With Friends, people I haven’t known before, some people that are close to me but still we are getting to know each other and other maybe more randomly met travelers that have become the big part of the adventure – short or long term. Having said that, I can tell that from my perspective every trip was different, but everyone respected our space. All rules were clear and we did not argue at all. I was definitely not irritated, but rather very pleasantly surprised that in such mixed groups we have made it to have great time with no misunderstanding or discussions.
Clearly I have found the way to have a road trip with my friends or maybe I just have found the best friends to travel with?

Remember a good friend listens to your adventures, the best friend makes them with you.

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