It Takes Two To Travel
I have always been a solo traveler, right from when I first started traveling at 17. I’m an extremely independent person and have always had a thing for doing what I want when I want. But after being joined by a friend on a recent trip down the South West Coast of Sri Lanka, I think I may have been won over.
While I am still in no way inclined to travel in a big group, I have found a new love and appreciation for traveling as a pair. These are some of the things I learned about traveling with another human while exploring Sri Lanka with my energetic and enthusiastic friend, Sam.
Comprise is Not a Bad Thing
If you pick the right travel buddy, compromising can be easy. Despite not knowing each other for very long, Sam and I got on like a house on fire. She completely matched my sense of adventure and was up for anything. While I don’t think I would ever be able to handle the dynamics of a big group, the compromises that Sam and I made gave us both new perspectives and led us on a few unexpected adventures that we may not have experienced without each other.
This is a rather obvious advantage to traveling as a pair but it is definitely worth mentioning. Both of us being South African, our budgets for the trip were pretty tight. Sam and I split the cost of a private room in Hikkaduwa, which resulted in us paying just $5 USD per night. You’d be lucky to get a dorm bed as a solo traveler for that price.
We also split tuk-tuk costs and managed to lower the price for renting snorkeling equipment. The portion sizes here in Sri Lanka are absolutely huge and we shared most of our meals too. The total cost of the trip was significantly lower than I had expected and I can definitely attribute the cost-effectiveness to traveling as a pair.
Got Your Back, Girlfriend
What a relief to journey with someone that’s got your back and best interests at heart! Solo traveling often means being on constant alert and 100% aware of your surroundings, which can be really tiring. To have a travel buddy is to have someone that can watch your bags while you doze off on the train, someone that will tell you if you have something in your teeth, and someone to look out for you and you for them.
All the Smiles
Do you ever feel slightly stupid when you smile to yourself? Well I do, and on this trip I realized all the smiling I missed out on by traveling solo. I honestly think that prior to this trip I had forgotten about the magic that happens between two people experiencing something for the first time together. The moments of pure excitement we shared while snorkeling with turtles (first time for Sam) and swinging from palm trees (first time for both of us) have gained a very special spot in my heart.
I had so much fun taking joy in all the little things with Sam. I think both of us really appreciate the simple things in life and it came as a relief to realize she also got overly-excited about trying new food, watching sunsets, train rides and petting street dogs. Needless to say, there were so many smiles.