20 Oct,2017 By Jagabond
Most of my excursions have been solo travel, but over the years I’ve had the privilege of wandering with some great people. Different people mean different personalities, and some are compatible, others not. I’ve listed the various personalities I’ve dealt with.
These categories aren’t mutually exclusive, as one can relate with many. So…where do you fall?
1. The daily planner
The notebook is filled with scrawled dates and attractions. Sometimes divided by themes, other times by regions of the city. The typical daily planner must see 2-4 attractions per day or else they haven’t done anything. Many people like myself wish they were like this, then devolve into the next category.
2. The planner-procrastinator
I take detailed pre-trip notes, then quickly disregard them. Filled with lofty expectations I load my schedule up with sights, then during the trip I question myself and say ‘do I really want to see that?’ I definitely fall into this category, as I plan longer trips with the expectation of ‘throw-away’ days where I basically bum around and do nothing. Always waiting for tomorrow…
3. The general
The master of efficiency! This is the more extreme version of the ‘daily planner’. You have 24 hours in a town, and you must see X, Y and Z. Don’t order that second beer, because you need to keep moving. The trip is a mission, and your travel partner is your military buddy to help you execute that mission. Don’t be a failure, stick to the plan! These are my least favorite travel partners.
4. The ‘walk around and see the town’ person
This traveler is super laid back and does no research. They figure on just walking the town upon arrival, and running into things they want to see. If there’s nothing to see, no biggie, just focus on finding a nice restaurant, usually by asking locals they meet for recommendations. It’s hard not to appreciate a travel partner that’s so stress free like this.
5. The red-liner
Some sights are simply not an option…the red line has been drawn. No museums, no late nightlife, only late nightlife…the list goes on. This traveler may not be that diverse in their likes, but you can easily plan around it by splitting up for awhile. Conversely if you let them rope you in, your trip may end up one-dimensional and disappointing.
6. The tour enthusiast
When looking for yourself or audio-guides won’t do, you always have overpriced tour guides. I have mixed feelings on this. Pompeii, for example, would be difficult without a guide. You never really know the quality you’re getting. I spoke with one tour guide in Munich who admitted to just making shit up if he didn’t know the answer to a tourist’s question.
7. The Tripadvisor robot
Look for the top five or ten listed attractions on Tripadvisor and pledge to see them all. I’m a huge Tripadvisor fan but I use it as a guide, not the gospel truth. Zoo lovers, for example, have over-inflated the rankings of many European zoos, when many of them are not worth your time. It’s great to plan, just dig a little deeper into the reviews.
8. The blind photographer
This traveler frantically takes pictures, but doesn’t really absorb what they are looking at. While traveling with a friend in Avignon, she asked me “wasn’t that a nice palace?” I responded with “I don’t know, let me check my pictures.” Yes, I’m guilty of this, but over time I’ve learned to be more observant.
9. The ‘different’ traveler
Sometimes people just love being different. Think a week in Paris is a dream? You’ll meet someone who instead recommends a week in Albania, just because. Remember those hikers who were captured in Iran? I’m sure Persia is beautiful, but did they really exhaust all the other hikes on their list? I can understand the allure of being unique…so be different, and let your colors burst!
10. The solo traveler
I relate strongly to this group as well. You have in your head what you want to see, and you subtly convince your partner that they’re okay with that list. There is something inherently cool about this…like a cowboy, or those lone strangers in Western films who meander ominously into an unsuspecting town. This is a non-flexible traveler who best fits with the next category.
11. The assimilating traveler
They tend to go with the flow, letting others do the travel planning. Every now and then they might vocalize something they want to see, but unless the others in the group concur, they quickly assimilate. Sometimes just being on travel is enough…I can respect that.
12. The ‘shouldn’t travel’ traveler
I’ve met people like this, who just end up not liking it. That’s okay, as at least they tried. There is something romantic about establishing a stable home and supporting cast, and focusing on things like work and family. There’s another meaning to this…getting tired. I think that many chronic travelers can end up in this category after awhile. I certainly can see myself here one day, but until then the road continues.