Having the right travel companion is a lot like having the right hiking shoe: if it’s not a good fit, you’re not going to have a good time. With the wrong person, at best you’ll be uncomfortable and at worst you’ll be downright miserable. I have learned that you never really know someone until you travel with them and it’s crucially important that you have someone who is going to compliment your traveling style — the last thing anyone wants is an unhappy holiday and it’d be better to travel alone than with someone who will bring you down. For some personalities, I might be too easy-going and free-spirited; similarly, I wouldn’t mesh well with a control-freak.
Going into this trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, I knew that Jackie is a great travel buddy for me. Jackie and I met when we were both working on farms in Queensland, Australia in August 2011 and road tripped together for three months from Cairns, Queensland to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Along the way we shared a lot of laughs, created an itinerary collaboratively, and supported each other through the twists and turns of long-term travel. We said goodbye in January 2012 when Jackie left Melbourne for New Zealand. Since then, we both returned home to North America (she’s Canadian, I’m a Californian) and were both itching to get out and travel again. We had been talking about going south in winter for months, but it was only a week before our trip that we decided upon and bought tickets to the Yucatan.
What makes Jackie and I good travel-mates is that we have very similar (if not the same) philosophies towards travel. We’re both laid-back and low-maintenance; that is, we’re not going to be phased when (not if!) something doesn’t go the way we planned. We’re both happy-go-lucky and don’t find many occasions to complain. We both want to see a lot and fill our days with activities, but we’re not going to move at a break-neck speed or rush ourselves to see everything. We’re both social and we like to have fun, but we don’t want to wake up with a hangover. We love being outdoors. We communicate! Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we’re both flexible — we like to have a general sense of what we’re going to do, but we’re open to spontenaity and changing our plans as we gain new information and make new friends.
While we were in Australia, Jackie and I had an amazing time on our road trip, and our travels through the Yucatan proved to be another great success!
I think this photo accurately illustrates our friendship and travel-personalities. Here we are, on our second day in the region, sharing a poncho and making the best of a rainstorm in Cancun: