Travelling with another person is lovely, but I think if Piglet knew how to count higher than two, he would've substituted that number in his "it's so much friendlier..." quote with a larger digit. The world is such a huge place, and most of it is so far away from New Zealand, that to hang out with your friends on the other side of the planet is pretty exciting, don't you think? It's a big effort to get people's timing and budgets to align like that.
Ted and I have spent five of our seven weeks in Europe with others and we have loved it. From London to Edinburgh to Barcelona to the south of France we've bantered, gaped at landmarks and shared meals with a rolling crew of awesome peeps.
Have you travelled with your close mates as well? From what I've seen, backpacking either brings people together or drives them apart. I've never experienced it myself, but I've felt for the travel buddies who I've seen in hostels having vicious rows with one another.
Fortunately, everyone I've holidayed with has been on the same buzz - nothing calms down fractiousness in a group like a good laugh. Ours is always over stemming "hanger", that undesirable cross between hunger and anger. It's amazing how much calmer we all are when we keep our blood sugar levels on an even keel. Food is a crucial part of good intergroup relations.
And when you are well fed, there's a wicked group camaraderie on the road. Even my nemesis the travel day becomes fun. The longer the journey and the tireder you all become, the faster the smack talk flows. Try to explain to someone else after the fact why the flattening of four iPods and three laptops just as we were trying to look for directions was so hilarious...ah you just had to be there.
The other benefit of group holidays is that everything becomes so much cheaper. Individually we'd be taking the bus to our accommodation in a 10-bed dorm before cooking ourselves two-minute noodles for dinner. But with four people, it's equally affordable to rent a pimping apartment, hire a car and cook gourmet meals together (it helps that wine is only 3 euros a bottle).
All this friend happiness is when you actually plan holidays with others. How amazing is it when you bump into someone somewhere completely random? I had the best night with a group of friends who unexpectedly walked into the pub I was drinking in in London. It was trippy. But even crazier are the stories from my other pals about how they saw someone they knew at the top of Machu Picchu or in the backblocks of Guatemala. What are the chances?
What are your travel tales with your mates? Who have you randomly bumped into in a strange country and have you ever fallen out with your friends on the road?
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