The Real Reason You Need A Travel Buddy

Posted by   Annette on    March 23, 2015

buddies.jpgA good travel buddy is a convenience, but that's not the only reason they're worth their weight in gold. Far from it, actually. 

It's huge to be able to split the cost of accommodation. It's pretty great if someone's as flexible about doing the things that you want to do as you are reciprocal. And it's a bonus to be able to buy the bottle without looking like a lush; to pass off the driving when your eyes are starting to flutter; to have someone watch your back at the sketch ball ATM; to triangulate a surreal experience; to leave your bags with someone in the terminal while you scuttle off to the bathroom.

But the most important thing a travel buddy can do for you -- and I'm gonna go ahead and use capital letters for this -- is The Sacred Bravery Trade-Off.

Because it's hard to be brave all the time. Impossibly hard.

It's hard to always have to be the one thumbing the ride.

The one approaching stranger after stranger to jump the dead battery.

The one trapped in a circle of dirty men in a town square, being jabbed repeatedly in the ribs as they close in, growling ferally at you for money.

The one asking the landlord to please fix the goddamn broken plumbing again because you've already asked a dozen times and the single bathroom in your shared flat still doesn't work.

The one standing alone at the counter with your hilariously wobbly command of the language and a nonplussed clerk wincing as they inspect the line behind you.

The one sticking your neck out -- way out -- in the way that full-time travel relentlessly requires

The right travel buddy gives you a binary relationship to bravery. 

They take their turn, letting you rest your cojones for the next round. They let the fields of your boldness regrow after the trampling of a hard bout so you're ready to take on the next one -- for them.

In my experience (and that of the other lifer travelers I've talked to about this), Courage Fatigue seems to be the number-one snapping point for soloists. No wonder. Intrepidity is a major personal identification for us, and there's an implied defeat when the fatigue finally wears you down to bone…which, eventually, it's gotta do.

I tip my hat to the travelers who go it alone. I salute their mettle. They enjoy a lot of agency that sharers don't. As my personal choice, I prefer to share both the burden and the euphoria this lifestyle offers, and I'm happy to make the investment in compromise. 

'Cause my bravery needs a rest sometimes.

And so does yours.