Travelling the world with your best friend can feel like a dream come true. You already know each other well, you’ve got similar interests, and know how to have fun together. That said, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get along the entire time, and when you’ve been living in each other’s pockets for weeks or months on end, things can get rocky, no matter how solid your friendship is.
I was lucky enough in 2012 to spend eight weeks travelling around the U.S.A with one of my best mates, Carlee. We’ve known each other for well over 20 years, we grew up in the same town, did all our schooling together and get along like a house on fire. She’s one of the most important people in my life. However, when you spend 8 weeks, 56 days, 1,344 hours and 80,640 minutes together, there are bound to be a few mishaps!
We managed to survive our trip together without any major incidents, and our friendship is now more solid than ever before. She’s now one of my favourite travel buddies in the world, and we’ve gone on to visit plenty of other destinations together. Here’s how we managed to make it work:
Give each other space
When you’re literally together every single day, even the smallest irritations can cause you to want to punch your best friend’s beautiful face in. Carlee and I both had these moments, more than once. Hours of travelling on a cramped bus, eating nothing but crappy rest stop food, and desperately needing a shower can put anyone in a bad mood. So, once we realised we were both snapping each other’s heads off at the tiniest things, we’d give each other space. Maybe one of us would go and relax by the pool on our own, or go and have a nap in the hotel room while the other went for a run or a walk. We needed to give each other alone time, especially when we were feeling irritable. It doesn’t have to be too long, even an hour or two to yourself can give you the chance to refresh, feel better and even start to miss talking to each other!
Make new friends
One way to avoid getting sick and tired of each other’s company is to make new travel friends together. Adding a few members to your group can change the vibe completely, and give you the chance to talk to someone different for a change. I don’t think Carlee & I have ever run out of things to say to each other, but sometimes it’s nice to meet someone new and talk about something different. Also, having other people in the group helps create a buffer if you are having a moment of disagreement. We have to give props to our friend Cam, whom we met at a hostel in Dallas. We ended up travelling to a few other places together, with Cam eventually coming to stay with us in Orlando, FL. It was here that Carlee and I had one of our biggest (and most ridiculous) arguments of our entire trip. I can’t quite remember the details but it had something to do with arguing over who got to sleep on which side of the bed in the hotel room. We’d been travelling together for over 6 weeks by this stage, and it was starting to take its toll. Poor Cam had to counsel both of us through our petty argument, listen to us vent, and help us come to a resolution. We realised our argument was ridiculous, had a laugh, and got over it.
Sometimes, all you need to do is simply compromise, be the bigger person, and let your best mate have their way. Carlee did this for me plenty of times on our trip, which helped avoid plenty of stupid disagreements, especially considering how stubborn I am! It’s not worth getting into an argument about where to eat for dinner, or what time to go exploring, so it’s best to just let it go, let the other person decide, and go on your happy way. Remember, just because you don’t want to go see a certain sight, or eat at a certain restaurant doesn’t mean your friend doesn’t want to either. It’s their trip too, and it’s both of your jobs to make sure that you both have the best time possible, even if that means doing a few things you wouldn’t usually want to do. The good times always outweigh the bad, and it’s important to focus on these when you’re in a crappy mood, or when your best mate is in a crappy mood, or you can’t agree on something.
8 weeks later
At the end of our trip, 8 weeks later, I flew to Europe and Carlee flew home to Australia. Within mere hours of leaving her in New York City to go to the airport, I began to miss her like crazy. We certainly had our ups and downs, we had plenty of ridiculously petty arguments, and we wanted to kill each other more than once, but we had an amazing time together, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!