Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Travel buddies

Hi guys! I have come back home yesterday and, let me tell you, it feels weird. But look, I’m not going to discuss the way I feel about coming back. Today’s post will be about some important things I learned about others (but mostly myself) while traveling. Now I know what kind of people I like traveling with. And what kind I don’t like traveling with.

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Family (and kids)
I went to Dublin, where my aunt lives. She has a son (my cousin) who’s 9 year old. Now I love my family but when you’re 24 there are things you’d like to do you just can’t do. For example, I wouldn’t dare smoking or getting drunk with any member of my family around. And well, kids, I can’t stand them more than three hours straight. Sometimes I just wanna smack them in the face and be left alone. The other problem about traveling with kids is you can’t, once again, just do what you want to do, especially when the kids have to tag along all the time. For example, kids cannot walk five hours non-stop like I do. Kids don’t always like/understand cultural activities such as arts museums, churches, libraries, etc. So, most of the time, we have to do activities that don’t require much walking and that they will actually like. The good thing is I wasn’t mad about my trip to Dublin because my aunt paid for everything (yes, everything), and because I hadn’t seen them in eight years. So I actually had fun, but if I went there on my own, and with my money, I wouldn’t have traveled the way I did.

The third wheel
On a few occasions I traveled with couples, or a pair of good friends. Traveling with a couple actually isn’t a bad thing when they’re your friends. They enjoy your presence, they listen to you, respect your decisions … the only thing is, sometimes, they fight. And that’s awkward. You know, you can’t just walk out of a fight because, well, you have to stay with them. It’s even more awkward when it happens in a public place. At least those things don’t happen often but I honestly hate those situations. But, I’d rather be the third wheel of a couple than being the third wheel of two good friends. Being with two people that are good friends just makes me feel left out. They have their inside jokes, they often sit together, talk about things that don’t concern you, and they like doing the same things so if you want to do something different well that’s just too bad for you. I actually feel lonelier that way than when I travel alone. Sad, right?

Girly girls
I don’t mind traveling with girls … except the girly ones. By girly I mean the ones that absolutely want to be fashionable all the time. I usually don’t spend more than ten minutes doing my makeup and my hair so, you know, we can get going. Now the problem with girls is they take their time. Thirty minutes, an hour, because they can’t decide which color of eye shadow to wear, how to style their hair, or they decide to straighten it after all, or they feel like trying the eyeliner they bought the day before … so yah, most of the time I’m already done and I play Tetris on my phone while the others are prepping themselves. The other thing I can’t stand about girly girls is the fact they don’t want to wear comfortable sports shoes. So what happens? An hour after we have left, they want to sit, they complain, aaaaaaand there goes wasted time. Again. I might not look sexy in my flashy coral Adidas running shoes but at least I can go on walking all day. All. Day.

What’s a camera?
As you might have guessed, I walk around a lot with my camera around my neck and I snap a lot of pictures. Like. A ton. Obviously taking pictures requires taking some short pauses from times to times (by short pauses I mean like a 15 to 30 second stop). The thing is, luckily, some of my friends like taking pictures too and they respect the fact that I stop from times to times to take a few shots. So they wait for me (it’s just a thirty second pause). On the other hand, the ones that don’t take pictures at all (besides selfies with their cellphones) don’t wait for you because they don’t understand or don’t care. The times I traveled with such people, I would stop, snap a few shots, jog to catch people, then stop again, then jog again … It’s even worse when they are very good friends (referring to the third wheel situation) because, then, you are literally left out.

Rich kids
When it comes to managing my own budget, I am terrible. I can help people do theirs but I can’t spend properly. I just spend. But sometimes I remember my founds are not infinite and I can make smart choices. When I go shopping I always ask myself “Do I need this?”. When I go to the grocery store I don’t buy snacks or munchies (unless I’m about to take the train). I like traveling with people that spend smart because I feel bad spending on things I don’t need : it just makes me look like I’m flashing my money. Whenever I travel with my Asian friends I swear I always come home with extra cash. Now the problem with rich kids is they don’t mind going to the restaurant all the time. I don’t mind either but I can’t have lunch and dinner outside all the time. How about a kebab for lunch then restaurant in the evening? I’d rather spent 20€ per day on food than 30€. I mean it’s a lot of money! And you can’t ask them to not go to the restaurant. They wanna go. You gotta tag along. Now what’s even worse is traveling with rich girls because they like shopping. I’m very capable of going window shopping without buying anything. But then you see something kinda cute, you try it on, and what do they do? They convince you to buy something you don’t need. Aaaaaand there goes my money.

Cheap people
Now it’s all about balance. Being cheap does not mean spending smart. Cheap people make a trip boring. Okay, if breakfast is included where we’re staying, stuffing yourself is smart. Buying only cup noodles to eat at the hotel is being cheap. Going to interesting and somewhat inexpensive museums is smart. Not going any place that requires spending a few bucks is being cheap. Buying all day transport passes is smart. Not buying tickets at all and walk hours between places (unless it’s to live and enjoy the city) is stupid. See where I’m going? I mean, what’s the point of going on a trip if you’re not even enjoying it? We’ve come all this way here and we can’t do shit because you don’t want to spend a penny? I get to sweat like a pig because you don’t want to buy an all-day pass for like, what, eight bucks? But eh, I guess cheap people like traveling with cheap people.

Sleepers
I like sleeping in. Weekends. Holidays. Nothing-important-to-do days. These are the perfect reasons to sleep in and wake up late. Most of the time though I’m an early riser. I don’t like being late so I wake up early in the morning to have a decent breakfast, shower, do my hair and makeup, and then go to whatever place I need to go without having to rush. On the other hand, I know a lot of people that like sleeping in everyday, so they skip breakfast, they don’t shower, and they rush to go to school or work. But I don’t care if it doesn’t affect me. While traveling, however, this makes me want to rip some heads off. First, the fact that I like getting up early pisses people off because it wakes them up (even when I barely make any noise, but come on man, the sun is out no wonder your eyes are opening). So what happens? My eyes pop open around 6am annnnd I stay in bed contemplating the mistakes I’ve made in the past and I internally complain about the trip. The second thing is they wake up late (duh) and take their time getting ready. Now some people only take twenty minutes to get prepared (breakfast, shower, and teeth brushing included). In this case I don’t mind that they get up at 9am. Some people, on the other hand, take two hours to get prepared (especially girls). So what happens is the day doesn’t start before 11:30am. When I’m traveling I usually get out around 10am to enjoy the most time outside possible. You know, go to the museum while it’s not too packed yet, take the bus to go some place that’s a bit remote, stuffs like that. What I’m trying to say is I like taking my time, as long as my time is well managed.

Food purists (or pussies)
Some people are not risk takers. At all. Or they’re just extremely picky. When you go other places the food will be different. I like trying local or traditional foods. To me it’s a way to complete my experience in another city or country. I’ve traveled a few times with people that would only go to McDonalds. Or people that would complain because they don’t want to eat this, or that, or this. Or people that would make faces while looking at the menu because everything “sounds gross” and end up eating a steak. Or a hamburger. Meat well done. Then say things like “oh god, ew, yuck, what the fuck is this” when they take a glance at my plate. I’m Asian, European, and African. I grew up eating weird shit. And as a foodie it would be stupid of me to not try new things just because I would be afraid not to like it. At least, if I try, I’ll know whether I like it or not. The worst thing is, I’m making it sound like I’m trying crazy weird stuffs, but that’s not even the case. I’m not talking about deep fried spiders here. I know some animal parts sound gross, but some people wouldn’t try anything that isn’t shaped like a steak. Or sushi.

I just wanna party
Partying is fun once in a while. You know, getting to experience the nightlife in another city. But I can’t party every night. Honestly I easily get tired of partying (I have no idea why). Once a week is enough for me. But two or three nights in a row? Come on I don’t have the energy or the money for three hangovers, ass grabbing, feet dying from dancing in high heels, and so on. And remember I said I’m an early riser? Partying usually means no one wakes up before 11am the day after. So the day doesn’t start before 1pm.

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Overall traveling with people is hard. I think the times I’ve enjoyed my trips the most were either when I traveled alone, or with a certain group of Asian friends, or with one person who’s like me (wear comfortable shoes, spends smarts, is a risk taker, and likes taking pictures). I know this post made me sound like I was complaining (which is sorta true) but I wanted to talk about how important it is to find the right people to travel with. Honestly, trips aren’t always about what you do. You can do awesome activities, snap awesome pictures, or try awesome foods. But go with the wrong people and you won’t enjoy your stay. My advice? Go with one person : someone like you or your best friend.

That’s it for today guys! Which was a lot, yeah. See you soon!

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