The Selfishness of Travel

by Nora on May 12, 2014

Hi. I just read your blog. Wanna move in together???

 

A recent email conversation with a reader made me realize that travel is a very selfish pursuit – for better or worse.

Here’s how the conversation read (with personal or irrelevant details edited out):

 

Reader: Maybe I could travel with you, write, do some sketching…in a year when I take an early retirement?

 

Me: I have no idea where I’ll be in a year; hard to commit to traveling with anybody at this point. And travel is a very individual and unique thing; the style of travel that I’ve adopted over the years is not likely the style of travel you’ll want to start out with. Once you hit the road, I think you’ll realize that following me around will cramp your style!

 

Reader: It seems nobody wants to get too close to anyone. We live in a virtual world now where nobody wants to form any kind of community.

 

Me: Forming a community that travels together is much more complicated than you might think. It becomes a nightmare of coordination – both of logistics like transportation and flights, as well as coordination of personal desires and itineraries. If you want to travel with a group of people, the best thing is to go on an organized tour.

Please keep in mind, you’re using this virtual world to connect with me. I don’t know who you are, whether we would get along, and how our travel styles would match.

You’ll find a lot of communities on the road once you go. For example, here in Peru, there are all kinds of opportunities to meet people from all over the world, as well as stationary communities of expats to tap into. It all depends on what you want. You won’t be alone on the road even if you’re traveling solo – trust me!

 

Reader: I know, it’s true, I did use the virtual world to connect, it’s just frustrating sometimes trying to develop community.

 

Travel is Personal

This reader is far from the first internet stranger to ask if they can travel with me. Quite honestly it seems a ridiculous request to me now, but if I think back to when I was selling everything I owned to travel and had no idea what was “out there in the world” for travellers, the idea of being under the wing of a seasoned traveller and experiencing the world together seemed like a really nice idea.

Less scary. More fun.

 

But the reality is that travel is intensely personal.

 

Some people like museums and art galleries. Some like hikes in the wilderness. Others like cities, cafe culture, and the party scene.

Some people like to stay up late at night, and others rise with the sun.

Some people want to travel slowly, others want to cover lots of territory.

Some people want to live a local life (such as with house-sitting or volunteering), others want to party with other travellers.

Some people nurture location independent careers that require daily attention and work-life-travel balance, and others haven’t a care in the world to attend to.

Some people like fancy hotels and steak dinners, others like cheap hostels and plain pasta for dinner.

And there’s a lot of in-between.

 

It’s Hard Enough with Romantic Partners

In my experience, it has been hard enough to coordinate travel styles and lifestyle preferences with romantic partners on the road, much less virtual strangers.

My first partner (that I travelled with) and I broke up because we realized we had drastically different travel styles and life goals. The next major relationship broke apart also because we weren’t on the same page; something that became glaringly evident when we took some time to travel apart. And my last partner and I were also way too incompatible when it comes to travel expectations, desires, and budgets.

 

Hi. I Just Read Your Blog. Would You Like to Move In Together?

Emails like the one above smack of a perfect stranger asking to move in with me. This reader may feel like they know me from reading my site (which often includes very personal and open accounts of my life and feelings), but I know nothing about the person contacting me.

My personal style of travel includes house-sitting and living around the world, often for months at a time (which anybody who reads much of my site will figure out quickly). How am I to incorporate a stranger into that routine?

Sure, if you’d like to meet up while we’re in the same place in the world, and maybe do an excursion together, great. But to travel with me? It just doesn’t compute.

 

 

 

Travel is Selfish

This makes me realize that travel is selfish (at least for me it is). Travelling the outside world is also a very personal inner exploration. How I learn from and react to different scenarios is different from the next person. Where I want to go, how I want to travel, what I want to do, and where I want to stay are all very personal decisions. It’s about how I want to experience the world, and find my own little place in it.

 

Meeting Travel Partners Online…doesn’t work

It doesn’t mean you can’t travel with others and enjoy a sense of community on the road; my 5-day trek through the Andes was done with a few other people, who each had their own visceral experience, and as a group we bonded in travelling together.

Travellers often make fast friends in hostels and travel together for a time, and then go their separate ways when their itineraries so dictate.

I’ve made some lovely international friends here in Peru who I expect to visit in their home countries in months to come.

 

But I met these people first, in person. There was a personal connection, and a desire to explore some aspect of the world – or ourselves – together.

People who date online don’t usually start off with a marriage proposal as their opening line after lurking an online profile. Meeting for coffee is generally a better start.

 

The reader above suggested how difficult it is to develop community. I believe they are trying to do it the wrong way. You can’t develop a community virtually, made up of complete strangers, and expect everybody to get along. The more people you add to the mix, the more personal agendas there are to fulfil, the more compromises need to be made, and the more dissension there will be. I was contacted by another reader who wanted to form some sort of esoteric intentional community that involved travelling, and all I saw were logistical nightmares.

 

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m a selfish bastard.

Or maybe it’s travel. Travel is a selfish bastard.

 

But please, dear readers, don’t ask me if you can travel with me. I’ll let you know when I start offering group tours or retreats if you want to learn the ABCs of travel and get to know me a bit better. But until then, please remember, travel is my life – day in and day out – it’s not an excursion, a vacation, an event, or otherwise. It’s what I do, and who I am. And no, you can’t be a part of that.

(Not at least, until we’ve had coffee).

 

 

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allison @Zen Monkees May 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

I think you sent that reader a great response – empathetic and logical. And I can attest, building a community of friends can start with just getting out and traveling! Staying in a hostel dorm or joining a volunteer project are easy ways to meet people who could end up being life-long friends. Plus the act of traveling can build up self esteem and confidence, which can combat feelings of loneliness.

Reply

2 Nora Dunn May 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Hi Allison,
Indeed – and I think in order to travel the world you have to step outside of comfort zones and make that first step to get out there. Maybe this reader was looking for a security blanket in asking me to travel with him, to make the initial leap of faith easier to do. But it doesn’t work that way. You have to take the first step yourself. And one of the most cathartic realizations when you do, is to understand that it’s not such a scary world out there after all.

Reply

3 Rob May 12, 2014 at 10:58 am

On one level this sounded like someone looking for a mail-order-bride.

Reply

4 Nora Dunn May 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Rob – LOL! Yep.

Reply

5 Sofie May 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

I was thinking exactly that!
If someone I don’t know were to contact me and asked me to travel together, I’d be creeped out.
I’s like those people on Facebook who are sure they can be your friend.
I’m not saying your reader is like that, but that’s the impression I would get.
I also think you handled it really well.

Reply

6 Gigi May 12, 2014 at 11:10 am

Hilarious timing! I just got a request like this a couple days ago (though, to be fair, it is someone I’ve met in person…just not someone I actually know well). The idea of taking a relative stranger along sounds incredibly difficult to me; as you pointed out, it’s hard enough to travel with people you love.

Anyway, excellent post. Glad you’re talking about this and encouraging people to understand that travel styles don’t always necessarily mesh just because you admire someone.

Reply

7 Nora Dunn May 12, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Thanks, Gigi! Funny how these requests roll through. Glad I’m not the only one!

Reply

8 Annette O'Neil May 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Holy frijoles, ladies. Look at this! Look at these three names right next to each other on a screen! Crossing fingers that the fates throw the three of us together before too much more time has passed, so we can be selfish gypsies all together in one place.

The recent themes of my kinda-sorta-stalkerish messages have been whuffos insisting that I take them for a skydive…but now I’m feeling lucky that I’m not being tagged as a potential roommate. 😀

Having such happy, albeit geographically disperse, memories of you both. XOX.

Reply

9 Nora Dunn May 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Annette! Miss you girl! Ha ha…you know it’s been too long since my last skydive, because I’d forgotten about the term “wuffo”! Too funny.
Indeed it would be lovely to meet up….somewhere….sometime….soon! I vote you guys come to the Sacred Valley in Peru. It rocks! 😉

Reply

10 Annette O'Neil May 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Would love to go back there — had I known you were close, we would have trucked up there from La Paz with the gliders last month! I’m going to make sure I keep closer tabs on you from here on out. 😀 As a note, we’re going to be living in the same building as Gigi in Lauterbrunnen within a handful of weeks…could a Convention of Dogged Individualists (and One Dogged Dog) be in order? 😉 xoxox

11 Turner May 12, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Like you said, take the slow approach, and it is comparable to online dating. That’s why I think it would be more likely for me to meet a good travel partner when I’m… traveling. Let me know if you make it over to San Francisco!

Reply

12 Nora Dunn May 12, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Hi Turner – indeed! I don’t know that I could travel full-time with somebody who doesn’t have any travel experience (hence best to meet a travel partner on the road). I’ll let you know when I’m in your neck of the woods! Are you living in San Fran now?

Reply

13 Elizabeth May 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Well said! It is rare to travel easily with friends life and travel styles, budgets, things you like to do differ. What happens if something really screws up? I look at the inevitable bumps and curves of travel as colorful easy to learn lessons, others can freak out and breakdown – so now I have to deal with the bump and the person – who needs that baggage? Which reminds me – if you want to travel with me – it’s carry on only.

Another great post Nora.

Reply

14 Nora Dunn May 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Hi Elizabeth – Ha ha…carry on only! Well said! 🙂

Reply

15 Emily May 12, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Wow – I can’t imagine that sort of request from someone I don’t know. We have a friend who will be meeting up with us shortly in our travels in Argentina and we seriously hummed and hawed over whether it would be a good idea or not!

Reply

16 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Emily – I’ll bet you’ll have a fabulous time with your friend. Don’t sweat it! I assume it’s also a temporary meetup, which is a bit different…

Reply

17 Fab May 13, 2014 at 2:10 am

Hi Nora,

a) As far as, “Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m a selfish bastard”.

No, it isn’t the exact definition at all, you are just a freak woman in the positive meaning of the word!!

b) As far as, “Or maybe it’s travel. Travel is a selfish bastard”.

It isn’t true at all because there are a lot of peple around the world who like travelling together: special and general travel clubs, travel groups arranged ( online or offline ) only for special travels, couples/families/friends who like travelling together by roulette/caravan or by sailing boat and so on!!!

c) Those readers who asked you to travel together are naive at least because you have called your blog “The Professional Hobo” and not “The Professional Traveller”, which is quite different!!!

All the very best for your freak hobing around the world!!

Fab

Reply

18 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Ha ha – Thanks, Fab! True on all three accounts.

Reply

19 Francis Tapon May 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I’ll take the contrarian position. I’d say the answer is probably (a).

Being able to co-exist with someone has little to nothing to do with travel. It’s about personality fit. Let’s take your list and assume that I live permanently in San Francisco. I’m not a nomad/hobo – just a regular dude with a conventional life. And I want a girl. I observe:

Some people like museums and art galleries. Some like hikes in the wilderness. Others like cities, cafe culture, and the party scene.

Some people like to stay up late at night, and others rise with the sun.

Some people want to hang out in San Francisco slowly, others want to cover lots of territory by making lots of day trips and having a hyperactive social life.

Some people want to live a local life (such as volunteering), others want to party with other locals.

Some people nurture location independent careers that require daily attention and work-life-travel balance, and others haven’t a care in the world to attend to.

Some people like fancy dates and steak dinners, others like cheap dives and plain pasta for dinner.

And a lot in between.

See what I mean? I hardly modified your list, yet the diversity of preferences remains.

The point is that you’ve your ideas of doing things a certain way and you’re not into much compromise on them. Such a “selfish” way of operating exists everywhere: both among hobos and sedentary folks.

Nora, I suspect that if you ever settled down in one spot, you’d still find it hard to live with a partner 24/7/365. Right? At least, finding such a special guy would be hard, because he would have to match your preferences tightly.

Well, the same goes for travel partner with you. You’ve got your set preferences, goals, and desires. His has to match yours. If such a man exists, perhaps you’d take him in.

In conclusion, it’s not travel is selfish. You’re selfish.

And, by the way, I’m right there with you – 100%. I read this post of yours and thought, “Gee, I could have written that!” So guess what? I’m selfish too! Woo-hoo! 🙂

So give that we have so much in common, can we, like, um, travel together? 😉

Reply

20 Nora Dunn May 17, 2014 at 10:53 am

Hi Francis,
Ha ha – great point! (Yay for being selfish). 😉
I guess maybe what jarred me the most is that travel for me is also my lifestyle; Anybody who reads anything of my site would know that I travel slowly and live for months in each place. It would be one thing to say “yeah, sure, come along” if I flitted from hostel to hostel and somebody could stay in the next room and we could do stuff together. But this request – either came from somebody who doesn’t read my site at all and doesn’t understand how I travel, or from somebody who somehow thought it would be okay to move in with me. Either way, I’m flabbergasted at the request.

And I’ll bet if you were looking for a girl in San Fran, you wouldn’t invite her to move in with you based on nothing more than an almost-anonymous email!

Reply

21 Francis Tapon May 17, 2014 at 11:14 am

If the San Francisco girl is a hottie, then sure, she could move right in!

That’s because I’m not only selfish, I’m also superficial! 😀

Reply

22 Lisa - Wee Wanders May 13, 2014 at 6:35 am

Being relatively new to the travel blogging world, I am genuinely surprised that someone would ask you this…but maybe I am just naive. Similarly, I liked your response. As I am about to set off on long term travel for the first time in a few weeks, I repeatedly think that I am being very selfish in my decision which is full of self-indulgence…then again, it’s my life and I only get one! Happy travels 🙂

Reply

23 Rob May 13, 2014 at 8:18 am

Sometimes I have to remind myself that (as you said so well,) ” it’s my life and I only get one!”

Reply

24 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Hi Lisa,
Indeed, travel can be self-indulgent, but I’ve come to realize this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The personal journey that travel enables helps us to be better people, which helps those around us, and in turn those around them. It’s a ripple effect. So if a little self-indulgent selfish travel starts the ball rolling, then have at er!
Happy upcoming travels!

Reply

25 Lunaguava May 13, 2014 at 11:20 am

Wow… people do manage to up the ante on “weirdness” on a pretty regular basis. “Can I travel with you although I’m a complete stranger in front of a computer?” Er… no. I wouldn’t call traveling selfish though, but definitely personal (ok, that might just be using a better word to mean selfish). I think a lot of the, well, let’s call it “confusion” people experience regarding long-term traveling folk stems from a misunderstanding of what that entails. As you point out, you’re not on an extended holiday – travel is who you are and what you do. For a random stranger from the interwebs to want to tag along is just… silly. Good luck and safe travels!

Reply

26 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Thanks, Lunaguava!
Indeed, long-term travel is a giant unknown for anybody who hasn’t done it before. And you’re right – selfish might be a harsh word to use….as Lisa above said, maybe self-indulgent is a better term.

Reply

27 Steve Wright May 13, 2014 at 4:09 pm

A bit personal, so not posted on your FB page. I won’t feel hurt if you don’t publish this. 😉

People are going to like you. A lot. You must see it already – you have an enormously engaging personality (almost certainly ENFP or ENFJ – did you ever do the quiz?) So I am surprised you aren’t more regularly propositioned. There is also a table whereby you can look up compatible types, so you can confirm very quickly whether the person who wants to hang out with you will be an expense or a benefit. It’s an interesting and useful tool, so ask if you want help with this. 😉

xx

Reply

28 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Cool – thanks, Steve! Indeed, I do tend to attract all kinds of requests to my email in-box (and in person)…I’m regularly confused by the perfect-stranger-email-invitations, but then again, I do share a lot of immensely personal things on my site, so it stands to reason that strangers who contact/proposition me feel like they know me. What they fail to understand is that I don’t know the faintest thing about them.

Reply

29 Josie May 13, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Hi Nora,
Another good thought-provoking conversation-starting post.

Two stories:

1. My cousin (62) is spending a wonderful career as a uni. professor and has fulfilled several sabbatical years in Ghana or Cuba. All holidays are spent at some exotic location like Raratonga, (a favorite), or Prague. She never married because there simply was never a compatible wanderer. It is the life she is meant to live.

2. My (current) husband Conrad and I met and were traveling around Australia 3 months later. We discovered that we are our best selves when traveling together. We are amazingly compatible while on the road. That discovery clinched the deal of our relationship — it’s such a beautiful thing to share our travels together. I consider myself incredibly fortunate.

Keep up the good work, Nora! Whatever you’re doing, it’s darn good! So good, in fact, that many folks want to join in!

Josie

Reply

30 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Hi Josie,
Always nice to see your thoughtful comments and stories on my posts. I have a feeling I’ll meet a compatible wanderer, but I’m not needing it or looking for it (by far, quite the opposite in fact). And it’s wonderful that you and Conrad click on the road. It’s a match made in heaven! 🙂

Reply

31 Syd May 13, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Decidedly creepy. I think you handled it well! I probably would have been like….duuuuuuude you have some serious issues get out of my inbox and out into the world and maybe see a shrink while you’re at it.

Reply

32 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Syd,
Ha ha! I guess I try to be a little more diplomatic about it. Instead I trash them through provocative blog posts! 😉

Reply

33 Katherine N May 14, 2014 at 7:32 am

Hello Nora… thank you for this post!!!

I feel like printing it and sticking the “intensely personal” bullet points to my head when people ask me “Why don’t you take someone with you?”. And it’s always “take” never “travel with”. I get the feeling people think I could take care of them or someone else on the road. What a nightmare!

And unfortunately (or fortunately?) when I get going I can’t think of anyone I would want to take with me never mind travel with long term.

So when I leave the UK it will be on my own. On my terms. In the direction I want to go, when I want to go.

And I am impressed with your answers. I’d have been a little more cutting with such stupidity right there in my inbox.

Reply

34 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Good for you, Katherine! You’ll have a wonderful time on your travels, and you’ll be far from alone in the end. Enjoy your trip!

Reply

35 Travel Underwriters May 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm

You’ve raised a great point here, and it makes one look at it from a different perspective. You’re right, after reflecting on it, traveling can be a rather selfish experience, and coordinating trips with large groups can be rather tricky when it comes to suiting everyone’s needs. I guess the key is either finding the right person to go with (that won’t drive you bonkers), or just going it alone!

Reply

36 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Hi there,
Yep! And even if you go it alone, you’ll generally meet people on the road who you will want to travel with for periods of time. This is very enriching as well.

Reply

37 Amy May 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Just found this post via twitter! 🙂 I think it is quite flattering that a reader asked to accompany you on a trip but I do agree that travel is a very personal thing and to go with a seasoned traveler no less would be more of a burden on YOU taking them around versus two close friends or a romantic couple traveling together.

I think what you also said – offering to meet up in the world for a temporary activity/excursion (a day or two or even a meal or drinks) would be MUCH better and I think if your reader suggested THAT idea, it would’ve came off a bit better and gotten a more positive response from you. Anyways, glad I found you on this big wide virtual playground!

Reply

38 Nora Dunn May 14, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Hi Amy,
I’m glad you found me too in this vast virtual arena! And yes, to be honest I’m quite flattered to receive such requests – it means I’m doing something right, or at least, inspirational. But also like you said, I don’t want to be dragging somebody around the world with me, nor do I want to compromise my own travel dreams and plans. Coffee…coffee is good. 🙂

Reply

39 Kate May 15, 2014 at 7:33 am

I think you handled the request quite well. I don’t know that I would have been able to put things as thoughtfully and graciously as you did! It is a bit strange, but on the other hand, it sounds like the reader is rather new to the permanent nomad way of life and may just not understand the complexities of travel styles, budgets, and everything else you mentioned. I suppose travel is, in a way, selfish, but I also think that life tends to be selfish (because if you don’t take care of yourself, it doesn’t continue…), so when traveling is your life, it has to be on your own terms. I’d never thought much about that aspect of permanent travel before, and will certainly be turning it over in my head for the next few days.
Way to handle the request, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Reply

40 Nora Dunn May 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Kate! You bring up a good point about “selfishness” in general; if you don’t take care of yourself, there isn’t much point in a lot of things.

Reply

41 Derek Freal May 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Wow, so eloquently put! I find travel to be both personal and selfish, not only for the reasons you have mentioned but also for others. Like how as professional travel (bloggers) we are always striving for a new location, a new experience or that perfect photo to capture the moment.

As far as relationships on the road go, well that is a whole different issue. I wrote a post entitled “How To Find Romance On The Road” but all too often those relationships end up to be short term. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend duos who have made it work for them — but nearly all formed the basis of their relationship *before* embarking. It’s much easier that way as you already know what each persons whats / needs are, not to mention their personality (and other related things, such as how to handle things when they get down).

I’ve loved and lost on the road, most often the latter. However — and now to take this comment personal — I am in a still somewhat new relationship with a lovely lady here in Indonesia. She currently cannot travel out of the country due to the demands of her work but I also return here every few months for another extended stay. This for me is perfect because she trusts me and is willing to wait for me while I am off working in foreign countries. While I cannot yet say if this will be one, I’ve found that having a partner who isn’t traveling with me 24/7 is the ideal solution for me — especially because solo travel allows for much more interactions with locals, who are (I’ve found) much less likely to approach foreigners when they are in pairs or groups.

Reply

42 Nora Dunn May 15, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Hi Derek,
Wow – great insight about having a relationship with a somebody who doesn’t travel with you! I had a bit of that with my last partner, but it wasn’t meant to be for other reasons. My first partner and I however, were indeed in a relationship before we started travelling, but to be honest, I don’t think his heart was in the travelling as much as mine was, which is (part of) why it didn’t work.
No need to attach grand statements and titles to whether or not your current relationship is “the” relationship – just enjoy it! Have fun and love one another, and the rest will sort itself out in one way or another. 🙂

Reply

43 Deia @ Nomad Wallet May 15, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Even if you get along really well with someone, it doesn’t mean they’d make a good traveling companion. I wouldn’t travel with some of my best friends, just because I know our travel styles and interests are different. There are communities of travelers like the Couchsurfing meet-ups, actually, if the letter writer wants to meet more experienced travelers.

Reply

44 Nora Dunn May 16, 2014 at 11:21 am

Hi Deia,
Great suggestion about the couchsurfing meet-ups! Indeed, there are a variety of ways to meet experienced travelers on the road. But first….you have to get out there. I think that’s the leap of faith that is the most scary for many people.

Reply

45 Rob May 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I’ve seen the word “selfish” used in this thread & I have to say something.

This is “your” life, you live it as you see fit. (If you are enslaved it’s a different story…)

If you choose to share your life with another that is your call, if you choose to have and raise children that’s your call, if you choose to do anything else with your life that’s your call.
Living “your life” like you want to is not selfish, it’s living your life like you want to.

Your life IS your life!

Reply

46 Nora Dunn May 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

Hi Rob,
Although “selfish” is a word with negative connotations, in the scope of this thread and article, I’m not ashamed of being “selfish” – if that’s indeed what I am (which I’m not really). Like you say, this is my life, and I’m just not ready for a stranger to encroach on it in a “needy” way….maybe that’s “self care” and not “selfish”.
Either way, I sleep okay at night. 😉

Reply

47 Isabel May 18, 2014 at 11:13 am

I was always wondering why it was so difficult to travel with other people, and you put that perfectly. I feel lucky to have 1 (one and only) great travel companion and by great I mean we shared almost identical interest, pace, and vibe. I’ve been traveling with her countless times and never we had any argument, at all. I swear.
I don’t know if this is related, but she’s also the only person to whom I never get jealous (well you know, female friendship often includes concealed competition, am I right?:)).
I also agree with you on the romantic partnership part. She and I are now married and oh how we complained about traveling with both our partners! I have to admit I can’t enjoy traveling with my husband. Too many compromises and too many efforts that sometimes I’m just too tired to enjoy the trip.
Anyway, love your writing!

Reply

48 Nora Dunn May 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

Hi Isabel,
I hear you about your travel companion – sometimes there are two people who just “click” and are on exactly the same page with travel. I’ve traveled with a couple of girlfriends of mine and we’ve been good for up to a month together, but ultimately have needed a big break from one another after that!
Funny that you both don’t like to travel with your husbands. Funny – but not uncommon. Glad you found a solution! 🙂

Reply

49 Robert Bruce May 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm

I agree with several of the others here, I think if you handle it as if it were a dating site situation, with the same level of care and caution. Right now, we are here communicating on this blog in comments. Social Media isn’t just Facebook, Twitter, et. al. Having said all that, if someone emailed me out of the blue and wanted to travel with me, I would be very put off.

Reply

50 Nora Dunn May 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Hi Robert,
In this social digital world, I’ve met a lot of interesting people and travel colleagues – and depending on the depth of our online communication, I can call many of these people I’ve never met friends. It gives me pause for thought as to what constitutes a friendship if you’ve never met somebody. Hmm…

Reply

51 Amanda Kendle June 3, 2014 at 11:49 pm

I missed this post earlier Nora – but it’s hilarious! I mean, it’s hilarious that people actually think that this is appropriate! And yes, meeting up somewhere for a meal or whatever is potentially OK (although I would prefer to “know” them online for a long time first, the way you and I did) but anything more than that – ew!! I have enough trouble travelling with my husband in tow, let alone a complete stranger 😉

Reply

52 Nora Dunn June 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Amanda,
LOL! Well, you tolerated me very nicely during our 24 hours in Perth together. But like you say, we knew each other for a while!

Reply

53 Joseph A. November 5, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Hi there,
In my opinion, travel is totally selfish, is about you, you and you, of course you care about others but first you, you leave the people you love for “you and your dream”, I think is that way.
And the people you leave behind, of course they´re happy if you´re happy with that, and they have to accept and to let you go, but when they need a HUG from you, you´re not there, they only get a wishful message once a month or a quick visit, the real friend you have at that moment is the one you´re going to have a coffee after reading the wishful message.
And all the travelers say; well, they’re in my heart! Of course is truth but is also a lousy excuse to feel ok with their self about that matter.
In my opinion, you can´t be a father, boyfriend or a friend if you´re not physically there, even if you write hundreds of messages or skype meetings nothing match actually “be” with them, kiss them, hug them and look in their eyes, and if don’t believe it, ask you mother, intimate friend wife or son, and they just will lie for your happiness.
Not a bad thing in this case being selfish, one have to look for their happiness, but I like to call the things by their name, although maybe I’m wrong :p

.

Reply

54 Nora Dunn November 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Thanks for your input, Joseph! I can’t disagree with anything you say, it’s true.
And yet, to be selfish, in the pursuit of happiness and true self-understanding….despite the compromises and consequences, for me – is still worth it.

Reply

55 Mark Shattuck December 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Nora, you were so kind in your response!

I think that many of your readers just feel like they know you through your writings and realize how cool you are (I know, of course, right?!) and think that they’d like to travel with you.

Your responses are always so thoughtful and kind to your readers. Although I have to disagree with Joseph that you can’t be a father/boyfriend/whatever if you’re not physically there. I think many people in the world would disagree with his view. We all make choices in our lives that are selfish. We’re alone in the world. Having to be physically near someone to love them and hold them dear in your heart? That’s just silly.

Have a great day!

~Mark

Reply

56 Nora Dunn December 25, 2014 at 8:20 am

Hi Mark,
(Merry Christmas!) You’re right…I have family and friends who are back in Canada, but who are near and dear to my heart. Distance changes relationships, but not always for the worse.

Reply

57 Gary February 23, 2016 at 11:17 am

Another good laugh today. I’m on vacation as I read your blog today. I sometimes have trouble traveling with a woman I’ve been married to for 28 years. I shudder to think about traveling with a total stranger!

Reply

58 Nora February 23, 2016 at 11:25 am

Gary,
I’d forgotten about this post – thanks for the refresh! And I still stand by it; you want to travel with me? Buy me coffee first, and let’s see where that goes. 😉

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: