Ola Amigos! This is the story of how I became the third weight to an otherwise balanced whirling twosome.
It’s rare to find friends who share a love of travel, but it’s rarer still to have friends who share curiosity and care for diverse people, cultures, and history. So when the opportunity to join Sue and Pete for a few weeks in South America during their year long sabbatical came up, two decades of shared history gave us all the confidence that a short-term traveller, me, could successfully team-up with these two long-term travellers. If we can navigate an evolving friendship that’s seen us through multiple universities, divergent careers, weddings, breakups, and even the occasional bad movie choice, we can survive three weeks of togetherness.
Understandably, I’ve gotten a few questions on how we navigate an odd ratio of travellers on a trip together, so thought I’d share some nuggets of insight that come from past experiences.
We’ve accepted that the word ‘compromise’ is a theme, not a negotiation tactic. When one goes right, the other goes left, and inevitably, the third goes straight. Inevitably on every trip, Pete’s on a search for the perfect cappuccino/coffee/shake, Sue’s looking for a perch on some cliff edge trying to get the perfect photo, and I’m hunting for a bench to people-watch or read. In any given day, we do all three activities.
We’ve also accepted that the two constraints of time and money is what we battle over, not emotions. Long-term travellers have all the time in the world. Short-term travellers have precious little. Long-term travellers need to stick to budgets that are key to lasting months of travel while short-term travellers will willing give away dollars and dollars for every ‘once in a lifetime’ experience that can fit into a defined set of vacation days.
And finally, as with every good negotiation, we know our non-negotiables. In my case, I had two – Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. I don’t care where else we go, and what else we do, but in the 24 vacation days (including weekends and a holiday) that I have, these are the two places that I must see during this vacation.
So, off we three go!