We’ve been looking through a lot of travel blogs lately – just to get some inspiration and try to engage more with the blogging community – and it seems that most of them seem to be written by solo travellers. While we applaud all the solo travellers out there, it’s something we can’t imagine doing again ourselves. We have both done solo trips in the past (pre-Pinge & Wang) and while it was a liberating and rewarding experience, in our opinion it doesn’t compare to having a fantastic travelling companion on the road with you. Here are reasons why having one of one of your best mates along for the ride means double the fun!
- There’s always someone to talk to
From having someone around to talk about and share each experience as it happens, sitting in a bar at the end of the day and recapping everything that just happened, going on a night out and not having to worry about sitting on your own until you find some new friends, to being able to entertain each other on an 8 hour bus rides (otherwise full of strangers whose language you can only say “please”, “thank you” and “two beers” in) – this is the stand out benefit of travelling with someone you know well and whose company you enjoy. Everything is more interesting and hilarious when we’re together, it’s great to have someone else’s take on all the goings on and we constantly surprise ourselves by never running out of things to say to each other! That said we each know the other well enough to gauge when they just want a quiet moment to chill out or appreciate the view.
2. They’re your back up
Lost your tickets/hotel confirmation/boarding pass? No worries mate! You’ve printed off two sets of everything and you both have all the documents for both of you. Had your wallet stolen? No worries mate! They’ve still got all their cards and you can just go online and transfer all your money into their account! Ran out of/misplaced any essentials (like toothpaste, sunblock, insect repellent, hairbrush etc)? No worries mate! You can just use your friend’s until you get to a shop!
3. As well as sharing the highs, they get you through the lows
Inevitably on every trip there will be the odd day when you just want to lie in bed and mope about – anything from travelling misfortunes (see Kyrgyzstan mugging and the disaster that was getting to Turkmenistan), coming down with the inescapable travel-flu or simply feeling exhausted and having no energy to get up and explore today’s amazing place where you only have one day to spend that usually in top-form you would be all over – sometimes you just need a hug, a pep talk, some friendly advice, an outside perspective or even just someone to pop out to the shop and get a couple of beers to get you going again. You’re also less inclined to wallow in lethargy and self-pity if someone else’s enjoyment is at stake as well as your own!
4. (That’s fucking) TEAMWORK!
Everything is so much easier when there are two of you. One can sit on a bench and watch the bags while the other goes on a reccy to find a hotel/bar/restaurant/shop/ticket office – we have a well established routine for catching buses we are running late for by Jill talking to the driver and throwing our luggage on the bus, while Susan legs it to the ticket office. All the work that goes into the planning stage is halved – multi-country trips take huge amounts of research and overcoming logistical nightmares. Setting up a shared spreadsheet and allocating areas that are each of your responsibility (e.g. A does accommodation, B does logistics or A does X leg of the trip and B does Y) means that your trajectory will be proposed and you’ll be raring to go in half the time! And this stage is so much fun over a bottle or two of wine either together in person or Skype. Even blogging can be a joint effort. Jill does most of the writing for P&W (when we’re doing it retrospectively from home – otherwise it’s a team effort with the laptop in a bar somewhere) and Susan does all the photography (and epic photoshopping!), maps, design, layout and everything else that goes into making this site look spanking, as well as editing and adding her own memories (she has a rubbish memory but by some fluke she seems to remember everything that Jill forgets).
5. There’s strength in numbers
It’s a simple fact that you feel safer if you aren’t alone. There’s a certain character building aspect of getting “out of your comfort zone” while travelling solo which isn’t to be scoffed at but we’ve always been glad that we’ve had each other there when we’ve been stranded in particularly dubious places. It also opens up options that might just be considered suicidal if you’re travelling alone, like hitch-hiking to Glastonbury on not 1p and visiting areas that are considered to be a bit risky. Especially as a woman (sad fact of life). Even standing about looking lost, you feel less vulnerable than if you were standing around ALONE, looking lost. Your mate will always have your back, which comes in handy when people can behave inappropriately towards you and your foreigner-in-a-strange-place politeness holds you back from calling people out. You’ll never have to get into a taxi or walk down the dark side street to your hotel on your own.
6. It ain’t o-o-over when it’s oooover!
You’ve travelled a bit, you’ve come home: you’ve got some amazing stories and you can’t wait to share them at every opportunity. However, after hearing said stories being retold to a new listener for the millionth time, or you piping up “That totally reminds me of that time I was in *insert far flung location* when *insert hilarious anecdote*”, you will start to sense/imagine travel-story fatigue in your long suffering pub friends. However, a night out with your favourite travel amigo will involve reminiscing until your heart is content, giggling over some booze at your past antics on the high seas and on railway property without any creeping paranoia that you’re showing off or boring people by repeating your stories. Every trip to the local with them is like living it all again! And then no doubt getting on to planning the next adventure!
If you are lucky enough to have a friend who is chilled out, adventurous, like-minded and won’t lose it in a crisis…then take their hand, open up a bottle of wine, a spreadsheet and a web browser and get this shit DONE!
P.S. We hope you have either Wham! or Lenny Kravitz stuck in your head now. You’re welcome.