Clare and I were talking last night about the differences of travelling as a single girl, or even two girls and travelling within the safty of a male/female partnership.
Alone she travelled to Australia, with her sister she travelled to Thailand and Hong Kong and, with me, she returned to Australia, took on the Indonesian archepelogo and other parts of Malaysia and Borneo. So she has had first hand experiences of all three travel options.
But during all three the experience of finding suitable travel buddies is equally important.
But, interestingly, she said it was when she travelled with her sister that she was most easily able to break down the traveller/local barriers. Two girls seemed to enjoy the security of travelling with someone yet the vulnerability that attracted curious locals.
There is no doubt that she had her most hairy experiences travelling on her own.
Once she was befriended by a drug addict with whom she stayed for a short time. The operative term was “befriend”. There were no alterior motives, she never felt threatened by him, although they experienced challenging moments together: they were just two people moving through the world who just came together for a short time.
When she and I travelled we did so in as friendly and open a manner as possible. We happily put our safety in the hands of strangers, with a smile and a confidence that maybe she had not done so before, but the outcomes were generally the same – as we experienced a friendliness from locals and travellers that we rarely have time to enjoy on our own doorstep.
One thing that did come to light as we discussed the subject, looking back over meetings and adventures, was that we noticed the different sort of people she attracted as she travelled.
As a single girl travelling Australia she was more readily befriended by older people. Her stories are littered with being looked after, meeting older couples and enjoying the feeling of being taken under the wing of more experienced people.
Whilst she travelled with her sister it was younger who seemed to break the ice first. It was with her sister that she experienced being engulfed in crowds of enthusiastic youngsters as she entered villages and neighbourhoods, of being shown their secret places and of being taught their games.
Travelling with me we have tended to attract friends of a similar age – both other travellers and locals alike – although we have enjoyed huges kindnesses from all ages, wherever we have put down our rucksack.
We have enjoyed exploring new places with newly met piers, of discussing the world around us with our equals (often late into the night and then watching the sunrise and the day start around us) – whether they themsleves were travelling (or living) as part of a couple, on their own, or as part of a bigger community.
But as she has travelled, the one undefiable fact is that it doesn’t matter who you share your experiences with, the most important thing is to share them.
How have you found your travel experiences change depending on who you are travelling with?
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