Choose a bad travel partner and you will find yourself traveling in an exotic environment with someone who nags and complains; whose negative vibe brings you down as the clock continues to tick for return to the life-sucking routine back at home. Your friend is not trying to bring you down, but he has his own issues to deal and is too wrapped up in his world to worry about your enjoyment. Don’t take it personal. But you need a good way to tell if someone is good to travel with or not. Do that by asking your potential travel partner the following question:
“Do you like to cook?”
I’m talking about real meals, not warming up chicken nuggets.
Unlike what the famous cookbook says, there is no joy in cooking. Slicing, grating, mixing, chopping, simmering, waiting, washing, and fucking up are basic labors, but I do it anyway. I do it because I like the idea of slowing things down to create food using my own ability. Now it’s not like I’m using ingredients I’ve grown myself in a patch of land out back, but cooking still takes more labor and time than ordering from a menu.
Depending on your cooking style and how much you save, it’s possible that the energy you put into cooking is not much more than the benefits you get out of it. But it still says something positive about you. You focus on the process and the current state instead of the end product. You are patient, without needing instant gratification. You can enter situations without knowing the outcome. You are not looking for a sure thing. You “go with it’ and adapt when things go wrong, because they will. These are the qualities you want when traveling with someone in a foreign land.
Easy things you do at home take much longer abroad, such as finding and ordering food, asking for help, and getting from point A to B. Much of your time isn’t spent on “fun” things, but actually getting to the fun things in one piece without being taken advantage of. To the non-cook, the best kind of travel is the tourist package to a Disneyland-type city where English is spoken in a ten square block city center and there are many wonderful structures that have seen the camera lens billions of times before. At least he won’t be “bored.” But the patient traveler, the cook, ventures out and accepts that the inevitable frustrations are the same as doing a sink of dirty dishes; it goes with the territory. When you cook something edible, eating it only takes ten minutes—it’s the process you spend most of your time on.
All that said, there is absolutely nothing like traveling alone, to have the freedom to do what you want and to face challenges with no support by your side. The only requirement is being able to handle your own company.