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  • What kind of traveller are you?

    Posted by evangeline richards January 17, 2013 - 422 views - 0 comments - 0 likes


    What kind of traveller are you?

    When thinking of a backpacker, second to the happy bags under their eyes and the distinct ‘scrumpled’ look that all their clothes have, what do you see?


    There are three types of travelling. There is the independent back packer. Despite the string bracelet that their best friend gave them at their wine fuelled leaving do, and the unused miniature waterproof towel that mum purchased after reading the Sunday Times article ‘10 necessities of the backpack’, this class of traveller has ventured out with no links to home .


    The second group of traveller, is those who have started their journey with someone that they know; however this person may not necessarily be a friend. In this case, each person maybe shamelessly using the other for support and a strong friendship may not be present between the two. In fact, the first finds Family Guy hilarious, whilst the second can’t even muster a titter over the talking alcoholic dog[1].


    The third strand is the friends. These are the travellers that are very good friends, and go out not just to see the world and meet new people, but also to have a great adventure holiday with one of their closest companions.


    Having tried and tasted different places as a member of each of these groups, I do not think that one kind is superior, as they all turn your travels into a completely different experience. Obviously this does depend on what kind of trip your taking and your personality. But Australia is a country that effortlessly meets up to its national stereotype of being friendly, relaxed and most importantly embracing the experience of having a good time with strangers, so it’s an excellent canvas for trying out each mode of travel.


    To travel by yourself is exhilarating. You are completely in control of where you want to go and what you want to do that day. This can sometimes be a bit daunting when you wake up and remember that you have a whole day ahead of you to pack with incredible memories, but enough time spent in this structure and it quickly becomes second nature. Travelling isn’t like year 9 drama club after school, I do not think that you meet more people because you are on your own and so less intimidating to approach. But travelling is different to normal life.


    Amongst travellers, there is an understanding that everyone is oddly on the same adventure-some maybe more so than others-but generally almost everyone will want to meet new people to share different experiences with. Therefore it doesn’t really matter if you’re on your own, or with someone that you know from home, befriending strangers is just a natural part of travelling, and social skills that you normally aren’t so in touch with at home on a daily basis bloom. By travelling on your own, you are not limited to talk to people that both you and your friend can connect with-you’re free to talk to everyone and with Australia welcoming such a large hub of travellers, it is most likely that you will get a good chance to do just that.


    The second option is to travel with someone that you know. Amongst my travels, I spent two ‘trips’, with people that I worked with but didn’t especially ‘click’ with. In all honesty, I am very different to both these people-not in a good opposites attract way-and in the weeks before we left I had moments of sheer horror thinking ‘what are we going to talk about? Do they even watch Family Guy??’ However, what I took from these experiences where only positive. Firstly, it must be noted again that travelling is different to a normal holiday. It is of course, thrilling and beautiful and wonderfully satisfying and all those other reasons why people do it. But you are without your normal comforts and just like relying on your ability to be able to make new friends, somehow you make it work between you. This comes down to the fact that you don’t have to spend all your time together. Although you’re travelling with someone, you don’t have to share every experience. Instead they act as a kind of touch stone. So that when you go into a group of new faces, and have to pretend that you like beer because the first people you talk to are the guys on the stag do who invite you to come and join their circle, it’s reassuring to know that at least someone on the boat knows you. As you shakily crack open your second beer, you know that you will be able to laugh about this episode of social awkwardness with someone later. That’s not to say that you will be inseparable by the end-though ‘you’re like my sister’ was drunkenly slurred months after one of these sojourns-but you do make memories together. Even if neither of you play a massive part in each other’s favourite moments, you are still there to support each other. 


    The final mode of travel is to go with a friend. On the journeys that I took on my own, or with someone else, I did have a fantastic time for all the reasons mentioned above. But the weeks that I spent with one of my best friends, skipping from Sydney, to Alice Springs, to Darwin and a last casual week in Byron Bay, will always be held in my fondest memories. The fun of travelling with someone whose company you enjoy so much is immeasurable. Travelling with a friend means that you never face the occasional insecurities of having to meet others; some days you just don’t want to be social. Equally, there is always the backup that when you’d really like someone else to just plan it for you, then your friend is there to support this fatigue. Of course, when you’re on your own you are more motivated to chat to new people as opposed to just relying on your friendship, but as we know travelling is a social game, and the mere fact of being with a mate doesn’t destroy the social value, it just takes the necessity of it away. Travelling in a pair also takes the pressure off befriending someone and you can spread the social duties between you, diluting the intensity of spending so much time with someone new.


    Most importantly though, to travel the world is exactly what it says on the tin. You are exploring and experiencing entire new parts of the globe and all they have to offer. You may leave on your own and come back with a new friend, you may meet people along the way that you separate from until a later date, or you may decide that you and your travelling partner want different things and go and make new memories to share later. There are no rules to follow.

    Apart from telling mum you used the miniature waterproof towel. Everyday.

    [1] Family Guy is hilarious.

    Image: Backpackers at Little Sahara, Kangaroo Island. Copyright SATC Photographer