As it is now 2017 and everybody seems to be making resolutions to be a different, better person in the new year, I thought I would find out exactly what other people thought of me and my bad habits so that I can strive to be a bigger reprobate and even more of a pain in the ass. In the last month or so I have interviewed six people, who had the misfortune of spending extended amounts of time with me, about what it’s like to be my travelling companion. These are the best bits refined into one handy blog post.
What is the best country you have visited so far and why?
Hanna; The United States because I love the breathtaking national parks as well as the big cities, and the people were so welcoming to me, and it feels so much like freedom when you drive a road for days and don’t meet any other human.
Axel; New Zealand; the nature is stunning, the people are lovely and the freedom of living your life.
Pratik; The US has to be the best among them all because of the diverse landscapes and people.
Tim; Australia – actually it’s the only country I’ve ever had the pleasure to travel in for a long while and I loved being part of this big travelling community, it made me feel like anything is possible if you just try.
Iris; New Zealand because of the stunning landscape and the friendliest people ever.
Julieta; I would have to say Peru; I feel very connected to that country and the landscape is great. It’s good for hiking and I feel very connected to the culture.
Do you prefer travelling alone or with company?
Hanna; I prefer to start my trip on my own and meet up with people on the way and travel with them for a while.
Axel; This is a tricky question because when you are traveling alone you are more likely to meet new people. I made good friends during my time traveling alone and it was a good experience just being responsible for myself. On the other hand I had a wonderful time with lovely friends and to honest… a lot of things I’ve done wouldn’t have been that much fun if I’d have done them alone.
Pratik; With Company. However, I don’t like traveling in big groups of known people as that would defeat the purpose of meeting new people from around the world.
Tim; Hard to say. I enjoy the freedom of travelling alone, because nobody will ever keep you from doing exactly what you want. I once built my tent up on a beach and woke up at the crack of dawn watching the first people on the beach going for a walk with their dogs, and I think everybody else thought that was a stupid idea. On the other hand, it’s awesome when you have found good travel partners to share your adventures with and I definitely spent my best moments in Tasmania where I found my second family in Australia. You need times like these when you’re constantly meeting new people on your way.
Iris; Travelling with company. You have someone to share those beautiful moments with and talk and laugh about it later. But from time to time I like to travel alone and explore new places just by myself.
Julieta; Alone, because I can make my own plans and I don’t depend on other people.
What is the worst thing that a travel buddy (not necessarily me) has done to you?
Axel; cooking full grain rice properly all the time while I’m still not able to do that.
Pratik; Being lazy. One of my buddies preferred to plan his travel and stick to the plan. This annoyed me as that seemed very scripted and we couldn’t do things on a whim.
Tim; When I did my first road trip, the people I was travelling with told me they don’t want to travel with me any longer and I had to rearrange my whole travel plans. We didn’t have the best chemistry whilst travelling with each other, but it was quite unexpected.
Iris; Snoring. Definitely snoring next to me in my campervan.
Julieta; I travelled with a friend of a friend to Peru and she messed up everything – she was late, she missed the train, she just wanted to do her own thing and was not very respectful to everybody else and messed up everybody’s plans which was very annoying.
What were the reasons (if any) you enjoyed travelling with me?
Hanna; I liked that you were the only person of our group who got up early in the morning and who wanted to make the most of the day.
Axel; This might be a bit personal but you were the person I needed the most during that time. Even if it wasn’t on purpose you taught me the things I lacked a bit too much: Living your life and happiness.
Pratik; Free spirited, co-operative, positivity and of course your singing.
Tim; God, Love your guitar playing, getting to know about the differences between Scandinavian languages and enriching my vocabulary with words like “skinny dipping”. We spent a great period together in Launceston, in Hobart and on all the roads in between, not to forget your visits to my hometown Tübingen.
Iris; You’re never running out of funny stories to entertain everybody. Because it’s never wrong to take a guy with a guitar with you because then you always belong to the cool people. And because of your endless enthusiasm and energy that I’ll never understand.
Julieta; You eat my leftovers. You’re always very enthusiastic about waking up early. You’re always happy and always have a smile, and you never get mad.
What were the reasons (if any) you didn’t enjoy travelling with me?
Axel; For financial reasons: we always ended up in a pub somewhere!!!
Iris; Your endless enthusiasm and energy that drives me crazy in the morning. And again – snoring sometimes.
Tim; You considered throwing me into Neckar river! Dammittom!
Did I ever make you get up early or force any unbearably long hikes upon you with such enthusiasm that you had to restrain from hitting me in the face?
Hanna; Yes you did, and it was great – my way of travelling as well.
Axel; To be honest: no. But I won’t forget this time on the Otago Peninsula when you cycled in front of me like you had no limit of energy while I had the feeling of coughing out a lung.
Pratik; Fortunately not.
Julieta; Not really, I’ve been dragging you.
Did you notice my smelly feet?
Axel; I can’t remember – this might be a sign, that I fell into a deep coma while smelling them so I was not able to recognise anything.
Pratik; Didn’t take long for me to notice. The smell gave me enough realisation.
Julieta; Yes, I have.
Iris; Are there backpackers who don’t have smelly feet?
What is the stupidest thing I’ve done in your presence?
Pratik; You climbed up a rock by a mini waterfall at the golden gate park in San Francisco and starting playing your guitar. I remember people giving us looks.
Tim; Singing. Seriously, the first time I heard you singing, I thought “Who’s that weirdo?”.
Iris; Probably jumping in water that feels like -100 degrees to me.
Julieta; You’re silly but nothing stands out.
What was the nicest thing (if any) I did for you?
Hanna; Always walking behind me while we were hiking up to the Mueller Hut so that you wouldn’t be too fast for me.
Axel; Supporting my weird behaviour and my strange thoughts.
Pratik; Taught me how to construct a pop tent and take it down. And of course shared your travel stories with me.
Tim; Visiting me and bringing TimTams. It tasted like you somehow managed to smuggle this chocolate brown temptation out of paradise. On this occasion, please google the word “Schleichwerbung”.
Iris; You always supported my need for alcohol. You gave me a really good time and made Napier even more a home for me, and you brought up some of the nicest memories I have to my time in NZ. And you visited me in Bavaria!!
Julieta; You gave me your jacket when I was cold.
For the sake of indie road, what dirt have you got on me that you would like to tell the world?
Hanna; I don’t know anyone with such an organised backpack, with so many green things in it.
Axel; It’s quite entertaining to watch Tom trying to eat a pizza while having trouble with his jaw.
Pratik; You need to wash your clothes more often.
Tim; Your driving skills.
Julieta; You need to stop biting your nails and to buy new socks.
Iris; Beware of Tom – he’ll most likely make you drunk.
As it turns out, I’m not as bad as I thought I was. I will have to try harder.
– Tom @ indieroad.