travel companions

Friendship and adventure: The different types of travel companions

Someone once said ‘A good friend listens to your adventures, a best friend makes them with you’ and I couldn’t agree more.

I didn’t have the best start to 2014 and was out of action or away for most of January, but once I was ready to get back in the game, I was lucky enough that I had some great friends there to help by providing plenty of fun, laughter and adventure. As an expat it is mostly easy to make friends and always have something to do, but to find true friends who are there whether you have something to do or not, can often be much harder. As an expat, I have found that my immediate circle has changed every 2-3 years as one set of close friends moves on or back home, and I therefore consider myself very fortunate to have some of the amazing people in my life that I do. The last couple of months may have been tough but there’s also been a lot of laughter, and for that I’m forever grateful to my friends.

With the rationale above in mind, I really do have the best of friends, each supporting a different kind of adventure, although some can’t be put into a box and belong to more than one category:

The partner in crime – a close friend willing to share any adventure no matter how big or small, from city breaks and sightseeing to camping and trekking. This person would literally go to the ends of the earth with you, and you know no matter what the journey, you’d have fun doing it. Knowing each other so well, you feel comfortable in each other’s company and trust each other’s gut instincts. Similar interests and likes ensure you will have no shortage of things to do.

The adventurer/thrill seeker – this is the friend that will push you to your limits, taking you out of your comfort zone and encouraging you to try new things, creating amazing memories in the process. This person is fantastic in a group environment, when their infectious energy and enthusiasm help to forge new friendships and keep everyone upbeat and active. You might need a rest after adventuring with this person, but you’ll have awesome memories you couldn’t have created without them.

The no-frills friend – this friend doesn’t like a fuss, preferring the rustic to the luxurious. Experiences shared with them are cheap or ideally free, but are no less special. Backpacker style travel and guesthouses are preferred to five-star hotels, and adventures are therefore plentiful. Close bonds with this friend are formed through facing challenges and difficulties together and sharing the learnings and successes. You will always have stories to talk about with this friend.

The girlie companion – this friend’s name wouldn’t normally appear in the same sentence as the word adventure, in its truest form of the word, and as the name implies, is usually only applicable to ladies. It’s not that this friend is lazy, it’s just that their idea of quality time is lying on a beach or in a spa somewhere or going for long leisurely walks and pub lunches, and talking for hours, rather than being distracted by scenery and activities. A great person to spend time with when you need to relax and unwind, or when you have something you want to share.

The adopted family – this friend comes as a bundle with at least one child. For those of us without children, they provide the ultimate excuse to revert back to your childhood and play games, sing songs, toast marshmallows and play – whether it’s at the park, on the beach, in theme parks or water parks. A child’s happiness is infectious and it’s liberating to lose yourself in their world – although it’s also good to be able to give them back when the trip is over!

The flashy friend – for this friend, the adventure has to be well-managed, supervised and often comes with a high price tag. Not one to mix with the thrill seeker or no-frills friend, this friend likes to indulge in the finer things in life, rather than roughing it. Whilst this may remove the thrill of risk and independent travel, they have been known to have a lot of fun on city breaks, in theme parks and adventure centres, and a trip with them is always guaranteed to be a giggle (often induced by something bubbly!)

All of my closest friends, here and away, generally fit into at least one of these categories, and each are equally precious to me – along with my wonderful family, they are the most important things in my life. And although I hadn’t really known where this blog post was going when I started writing, I guess in some way it’s a small tribute to those people who make my world go round… Thank you, and I love you, here’s to many more adventures in the future!