Whenever I’m traveling with someone other than Jim, I try to go with people who don’t have too many ideas of what they want to accomplish, that are easy-going, willing to just be and explore.
There are so many different types of traveler, and I’ve probably been each one myself at different times in my life. At one time, I used to make a list of things to do and see, and I would try to get to all of them dutifully, not necessarily taking in the ambiance and personality of where I was. That, thankfully, didn’t last long. From there, I did a 180 degree turn and stopped making lists altogether. Instead, we would point at a place on the map, head there and wander with no real destination or goal in mind.
During that phase, we met people, we saw little things, we definitely enjoyed ourselves, yet we would get back and hear about something wonderful that we didn’t go see and have a few regrets. So, we evolved. Now we do minimal planning, but we do plan. We wander around, but we also have a list, and the only times we are locked down is when we have pre-bought tickets to something we really want to do.
So, yes, we have had years of figuring out our travel style. Now, throw in the people who want to travel with us. The ones that are on cruises or group tours that invite us along, it’s pretty easy. It’s a no. We’ve never cruised, and I just don’t see us taking one anytime in the near future. Again, there are some things you can only do by boat, and yes, we’ll definitely do those…but as a general rule, no cruising.
Tours are a little trickier. When we first met, Jim and I would take these cheap bus tours to all the large cities in western Europe. They cost $69 for the weekend. We spent the first full night on the bus, where they sold 35 cent canned beer. We’d be a little stiff in the morning, but hey, we were young. They were easy. However, we soon learned that the format, let alone the insensitive people, would drive us nuts. We’d be dropped off at the Eiffel Tower for 25 minutes. Since I would never dream of being late, we’d be there, in our seats ready to go, and we’d wait at least 10 minutes more for the rest of the people to finally get on the bus. Then we would be dropped off at a shopping street for 40 minutes. In my mind, this was beyond backwards. We still had fun, but we soon learned doing it on our own was just that much better.
Now, I can’t say we don’t, or won’t, take tours anymore. Sometimes we have to. There are places in this world that you just cannot go, unless you are on a tour; or if you can it’s really difficult, but we minimize seeing things this way. You see, the format hasn’t changed. Plus, we like to see sunrises and sunsets in a location, and that almost never happens on a tour.
So, now our friends and acquaintances want to travel with us. Sometimes it is because we’ve found this really cool thing we’re going to do and who wouldn’t want to come along? We’re pretty open to that, but we make it a habit to list out our disclaimers right away. We say things, like “we’re waking up for the sunrise, then going to breakfast at 8:30,” or “we’re skipping the Eiffel Tower, but you should still go.” We love traveling and discussing the area, the sights, the food, but we want to establish right away what we’re doing so that our friends don’t feel put upon. And we have to admit, the people we’ve traveled with the most, are always the ones that have no expectations and no sense of needing to be somewhere, no times. Our kind of people and we love that!
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