Last weekend, I finally got my life together enough to go on a long weekend trip to San Francisco with my friend S, and we had a blast! It was her first time there, and my first time getting to do all of the fun touristy stuff. We spent the six hour drive singing along to our favorite pop music, were enraptured by the Golden Gate in all of its foggy wonder, and unwittingly were caught up in a disastrous firecracker lighting ceremony that left us simultaneously laughing and coughing our lungs up.
As I’ve mentioned previously, S is my current bunkmate, and we’ve also done some world traveling together. This past weekend went along so smoothly, though, it got me to wondering why we’re so good traveling together, and what lessons I can take from roughing it with her to apply to adventuring with others.
1). We are aware of and respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I am terrible with maps, but I am excellent at solidifying plans and making itineraries. S is amazing with directions, but sometimes lacks the foresight to see things through. We know these things about each other, and are accepting of them. Thus, I never try to plot our route without consulting her, and she lets me take the lead in making hotel reservations.
2). We are very go with the flow. I had really, really wanted to climb Coit Tower while we were in the city, and S was hell-bent on an Alcatraz tour. Sadly, Alcatraz had booked up weeks before we had even imagined ourselves visiting, and Coit Tower closed earlier than we were expecting. Rather than pout about it, we turned our extra time and money into an excellent seaside lunch and tour that involved taking a boat out underneath the Golden Gate and around Alcatraz. It was just as good, if not even more exciting, and at the end of the day our change in plans gave us more to do during our next trip there.
3). We are honest about how we’re feeling. Sunday night was supposed to be our fun night of dressing up and bar-hopping, but after a very full day of sightseeing, I was exhausted to my core. I was nervous to admit this to S, because I didn’t want to ruin the evening, but I could barely keep my eyes open in the cab ride over to the Mission district. Turns out, she was really tired too, and we ended up having a quiet movie night back at our AirBnb.
4). We make time for each other’s interests. I don’t think I could name a single Grateful Dead song to save my life, but S wanted to drop by an old house they had lived in, to honor her Uncle’s love of the group. So we made time for it. After all, she had accompanied me on a random detour into a cool glasses shop, where I spent about an hour and a half picking out a new pair. We realized that the trip was for both of us, and that it was important to honor the things each other was interested in.
5). We had an agreed upon plan for money. I wouldn’t say either of us is miserly, but we are still recent graduates trying to get by on minimal wages. Before we even left, we sat down to discuss how much we were each willing to spend (I wanted to keep my entire portion of the trip to $250), how we were going to pay for gas, etc. This way, there were no hard feelings when stopping at the gas station, or when I ate a breakfast I’d packed from home, rather than eating out. Nothing is more painful or awkward than trying to figure out money issues in the heat of the moment.