Amanda and Lauren, both 34 and from Alabama USA, have known each other for several years. They’ve each got plenty of solo travel experience under their belts, but in early 2016 they decided to go on adventures together.
Here, Lauren tells us exactly why their travel partnership works so well.
“Amanda and I are very compatible travel buddies. I currently live in Atlanta and Amanda lives in Seattle but we’re both single, passionate about travel, and have jobs that allow us to take time off to travel.
We both love to hike. We both love to eat. We both love water and sunsets. We enjoy the same music and take turns listening to each other’s Spotify playlists. We both prefer to be immersed in the culture of a place rather than staying somewhere luxurious – we don’t even consider hotel chains and I enjoy finding unconventional places to stay. Compatibility with accommodations is one of the most important factors when choosing a travel buddy.
“We’re firm believers that the greatest experiences occur when we don’t make any plans.”
Neither of us are big fans of itineraries. We’re firm believers that the greatest experiences occur when we don’t make any plans. This has added some stress to our travels… For example, I tend to book a place to stay the night of or the night before, but Amanda trusts that I will make decisions on a whim. She helps by finding the directions to the place we booked – her experience as an executive assistant comes in handy because she will find important details out about a place that I might have overlooked. Like I said, we’re compatible!
I have all the more appreciation for Amanda after travelling with other friends in the past – I was always the more experienced traveller so they would look to me for the solution to any problems that arose. Amanda, on the other hand, is a team player. She doesn't get overwhelmed or stressed easily and her laid-back attitude helps me find humour if things go wrong. I won’t travel with anyone who is prone to worry or uses phrases like "what if". I don’t anger easily but I won’t hesitate to tell someone to "suck it up" while travelling! Luckily, Amanda has an incredibly positive attitude.
“I just tell myself before setting out anywhere to make the best of it.”
It’s not that I am less afraid than other people when it comes to trying new things or going places I’ve never been. I just tell myself before setting out anywhere to make the best of it. To remain present. To appreciate beauty. To accept the bad with the good. And this gets easier to do with each new adventure. The memories and stories collected from travelling the world are worth a little discomfort and a lot less money in my savings!
As Amanda says, a travel buddy is very important for pushing boundaries. It’s safer when you have someone by your side. Also, you can learn from each other and lean on each other. When looking for a travel buddy, find someone who you respect and who inspires you. Someone that will challenge your sense of norm and stretch your confidence.
“Oh! And a great sense of humour and patience go a long way.”
According to Amanda, I bring out her inner child. Often, she will forget the big picture because of life's stresses, but says that when she’s with me all she wants to do is play!
It’s great traveling together because our interests complement each other. If we were any more similar our adventures would be self-limiting. Instead, we nudge each other when needed in the direction that will result in the best overall experience.
Amanda likes to use her Strava app to keep up with the distance and time on our hikes. Being time conscious keeps us from missing flights. On the other hand, I like to get lost – this makes me good at estimating time without a device – and we squeeze in more activities when I convince Amanda to put Strava away.
Once, when we visited Washington together, we biked 16 miles from Bellevue to the winery Chateau St. Michele only to get there 15 minutes after it had closed. The bikes we rented from PRONTO had no stations nearby. Apparently, the bikes were meant for in town transit, not road biking!
“On that trip, most of our stops were determined by the people we met on the way.”
The Enterprise guys that gave us a free upgrade so that we could rent a convertible gave us tips on where to stay. With their suggestions, we rented a treehouse at the base of Mt. Rainier and spent the next day hiking to the glacier.
Our next trip together started in Oregon. I was headed to Hawaii but I love to use the app Skiplagged to find affordable flights that make it possible to visit many places in a short period of time. Amanda met me in Portland, where we stayed with a friend of mine from Atlanta. He had just opened a marijuana dispensary and opened our eyes to another world we knew nothing about. We then decided to take a train back to Seattle and chose the Starlight Amtrak train ride from Portland to Seattle just for the sunset.
We’re currently planning our next adventure to Chile, and have tentative plans to explore Patagonia this summer.
Our compatibility as travel buddies stems from a mutual motivation to travel. Our goal is to grow as people, to learn about the world we live in while learning about ourselves. We want our adventures to change us and the only way for this to be possible is to take the road less travelled. We anticipate bumps in the road. We get scared when we are lost, when we are cold in the middle of nowhere, when we run out of money. But together we choose to face our fears.”