Prior to travelling the world among many other privileged humans I wanted to find someone to share the joys and wiles of my journey. The first necessary step was finding the perfect travel companion, but how? Travellers around the world have inspired this list, pinpointing exactly what makes the perfect travel partner. This is what they said.
The Essential Attributes of the Perfect Travel Companion:
1. The Experimentalist
Eating is one of the most essential feats of travel. You need to ensure that you are travelling with a person of like-minded culinary prowess, that is, an inner fatty. No one likes a stingy eater. On the road there may not be a lot of range or dietry requirement met so you need this person to open their mouths to an exotic experiment and taste the hidden treasures of a nation.
They MUST be willing to digest the following:
Or, just the odd stroop waffle or Surinamese baguette
2. The Bag Juggler
It's hard juggling luggage with food, coffee, tickets and passports. It's real hard. Make sure you arm yourself with a real do-gooder, someone who's not afraid to get his or her hands dirty for you. The right applicant must be flexible and strong. As world famous companion Samwise Gamgee will tell you, when you're hiking up Mt Doom you need a mate to "help you carry the load".
3. The Perpetual Buddha
If, and when you find yourself with a massive burden to carry i.e. saving mankind, deciding to paraglide over the Swiss alps, biking in Bangkok or travelling in time (like proclaimed Sassanach, Claire Randall) you'll need a friend willing to walk beside you. No matter the struggle or journey you'll need this person's calm, talent for understatement, and ability to get lost in the moment to ease your rattled mind.
PS. This person is usually easy to coerce with little resistance or complaint.
4. The Gesturer
Surprise breakfast? No worries; the Gesturer is willing to please. They are generous and considerate with a flair for domestication. They like to give, whether it's the last bite of a loaded brownie, the first frothy sip of a Belgium beer or a Parisian bakers treat. Stick with this person to be the lucky receiver of a surprise.
5. The Flirt
You may be starting to think, now what's a smooth criminal doing on this list? I'll tell you, they're just plain doing. This is the gal or guy that bends over the sticky bar and coerces the bartender into giving you free shots all night (true story). Maybe they win you an invite to an exclusive hipster club (another true story). The wordsmith; seducer; party animal: this person is an essential item you shouldn't overlook- put that in your flirt trolley and keep on rolling.
6. The Joker
This person has been described as, "A stupid person with a funny smile" (stupid: affectionate endearment). They know when stalking you behind a shrub in a grungy Spanish bar is necessary. Occasionally they have breakfast for dinner and dinner for dessert. Primarily however, their cheesy grin and penchant for humour is the finest medicine your parents could send you in dire straights.
7. The Navigator
Ever needed someone to look up to, learn from, and lean upon? The Navigator will have your compass pointing in the right direction. In those difficult moments where clarity is needed and you can't decide whether to get down or head to the chopper, the Navigator will show your the way with their natural leadership abilities. Stick with them and you'll know the best restaurants in town, how har to the nearest toilet, and the right numbers to call if you're in deep. Never go hungry in a foreign town again or attempt to read a map when you've got the Navigator.
TIP: If you can't find someone who exhibits all of the above qualities you may want to recruit a posse that collectively make the perfect travel companion.
DISCLAIMER: If indeed your travel companion/s turn out to stink, ditch 'em at the nearest airport.
Image: Rowane Bechara