Traveling in groups usually grates on my nerves.
I mean, ever heard of the phrase “herding cats”?
Don’t get me wrong, I love going on trips and vacationing with family and getting together with friends for the weekend. But having nonstop, 24/7, sunrise-to-sunset companions for more than a couple days is rough on this introvert.
Which is why the week I spent traveling from Prague to Munich to Spain to Paris (unintentionally) and back to Copenhagen with a friend — a girl I’d known only a few months, no less — is kind of miraculous. Because not only did we have a blast, we finished the trip and stilled loved each other. In fact, we finished that trip and almost immediately embarked on another, this time with a larger group of students from our exchange program, and on the bus to meet the group, we still giggled and chattered away and even skipped to the pick-up spot (because we were so excited to no longer be responsible for deciding when and where we’d go every day).
There are friends you’re so different from, yet totally mesh with. That was us. She was studying architecture, me English. She was conservative, me liberal. She was in a sorority, me very firmly a GDI. But we had enough of a common ground and we just…got along. Instantly. What’s more, we had similar attitudes towards traveling — we planned as much as necessary and not much more. We were down to do similar things and wanted to see mostly the same museums, sites, and nightlife. We loved the random adventures of days that weren’t totally planned. Most importantly, when one of us got tired and cranky, the other stayed calm and understanding (I can think of one epic bratty moment of mine when we were looking at possibly not getting back to Copenhagen on time because we didn’t realize that we’d “fallen back” at some point on the night train from Paris to Frankfurt).
We ran around Munich and kissed stuffed wombats, we took several trains from Munich to Barcelona and made friends with guys making the same journey, we tried to see everything Gaudi designed in Barcelona and got silly drunk on sangria, we met other studying abroad friends in Bilbao, we danced until 4:00 am in what was once a palace in Madrid, we walked from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. That trip would not have been the same, or anywhere near as ridiculous or random or fun without her.
Since returning to the States, we’ve fallen out of touch — but every so often, one of us will comment on something the other’s posted on Facebook and it turns into a whole chat in the comments. Which is how I know if and when we get together again, we’ll pick up where we left off.
photo via SplitShire // cc // modified in photoshop