Five Things I Learned From Traveling With New People

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Who do you usually travel with? I have traveled with family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers all over the world. While traveling with people you know and like, or have traveled before is a lot easier as you know them and know how they travel - traveling with new people is exciting.
Before you go and say you are completely off your rocker, who likes traveling with people they don't know or are not comfortable, hear me out... Over last 12 months I have gone to Vegas with friends, Bosnian with family, traveled with 8 complete strangers to Ghana, and spent a week in Croatia with two people who meet ONCE two weeks before our trip, and I wouldn't have done it any other way. Amongst many other awesome things, you get to make new friends along the way because it is really hard to dislike anyone while on holidays; you get an entirely new perspective on travel; you get to learn from their experiences (or them yours).
Here are five things I learned from traveling with people:

You will try new things.

Whether you are staring at a menu realizing you have no idea what the items are, or jumping on a bus that you hope will get you somewhere familiar, travel is exciting. Traveling with new people you are more likely to allow yourself into new situations and turning them into amazing experiences. In Ghana I tired food that if I was with people I usually travel with would have never done. 

You find the value in getting lost and off track.
There is nothing like being lost in Dubrovnik where every street corner is breathtaking but very confusing; or being lost in Venice where every neighborhood has a cluster of similar looking homes. There is so much to see and experience that is not in the guide books. Go off plan and get lost! Just because everyone is climbing the walls leading to best lookouts in Montenegro, doesn’t mean you have to. We found the best terrace restaurant and people watched, and drank delicious wine.  Traveling with new people allow you to give your crazy plain rains (I am talking about me here) and go with the flow. Really! Get lost in a city then wander around. Maybe it's walking down endless amount of stairs to take a dip in the ocean, at 5AM.

You learn to communicate better.

Communication is a funny thing, we talk and understand each other so differently, so when traveling , especially with new people  sometimes you are struggling with another language but you learn to communicate in other ways. Yes all with hilarious grammar errors, or talking with your hands, or talking to each other view Google translate but you make it work and most times end in laughs. Having to figure out how to communicate in a different way is a great asset. It is a golden opportunity to fall in love with people, fall in love with cities and be in love with things you never knew possible – all because you took time to talk to new people, in a new way!

You learn its okay to say no.
Not all of us think the same, want the same things, or find same things interesting. If you are traveling with people you know so well, you learn that its 100% okay to say no, and you don't feel guilty about it. When I travel with people I know, I tend to cater more to what they want to do. In some part that is because I want them to have a good time, and if they don't have it their way they usually don't. So traveling it strangers, you say "no thanks" and for a while do your own thing.

You learn that most of people are friendly and decent.

Traveling with people I never met before, I went into the experience as open minded as I could. Traveling to places I never been to I made a concisions effort not to see the stereotypes. Yes some of those stereotypes, "difficult" personalities or perceptions do really hold up, but on average, most of the people I’ve met around the world, or traveled with are extremely polite, friendly and helpful. Expectations can also make or break a person or place a place. If you approach travel to new places or new people with an open mind, and no pre conceived notions about a person, place or culture you are bound to have a wonderful experience.  

Traveling with new people is 75% all about how you react and approach things and 25% about everyone else. If you approach travel with someone new as a clean sleight, and a new opportunity full of possibilities, you are bound to have a better experience in the end. Be kind, be flexible, only give a fuck about things that actually matter, ask a lot of questions and listen. There is ton of power in that.

What have you learned from travel?