Halfway There

Well, we’re halfway through our trip, demarcated by an unbelievable two-day jaunt from Kathmandu to Seoul to Moscow to Iran. As I write this, I’m high over mainland China, glancing out my window onto the darkened landscape below, dotted every few miles with a cluster of lights that represents a city, or at the very least a gathering of people.

The posts thus far have been a bit different from what I like to write. If you’ve followed me [my personal blog](http://jordonwadlington.com), you’ve noticed that I update only when the mood strikes me. For this trip though, I’ve committed to writing something for every place we visit. Some posts are better than others, some places I’ve enjoyed more than others, but all are getting (somewhat) equal coverage in this space.

For one thing, there’s a distinct difference between writing an immediate reaction to something rather than writing something after I’ve dwelled on it. One isn’t necessarily better than the other– they each provide different kinds of insight. As I continue to write for Leap Forward Travel on this trip and beyond, there’s a good chance that my writing may take the tact of the latter rather than former.

But as I’m finally getting a chance to take a breath from days of touring and have some time on the flight to sit down and reflect, I wanted to take a moment and talk about what this trip has taught me.

Because of work and my general disposition, I tend to gravitate towards shorter trips; I think the last time I took a trip over a week was to visit Ireland and London three years ago. I don’t necessarily value short trips over long ones, but my travel has just kind of turned out that way. With that in mind, I wanted to be very conscious of keeping my energy high. Even if it means missing out on a few things here and there, I’m in this trip for the long haul; I don’t need to burn out in Bhutan when there’s things I need to see in Madagascar.

But, since I’m taking this trip with Mike, I have to also be conscious of what he wants to do and see. My enjoyment of a situation depends on my own state of mind, his depends on how much he can see and do. While we sync up in many, many ways, this is one of them that differs. It hasn’t created conflict, but its something that both of us have had to keep in mind. There’s nothing right or wrong with either way of looking at things, it just means I’ve had to sometimes do different things than him.

The first example of this arose in Sydney. We went out to eat and to bars for the evening and at one point I was ready to get back to the hotel before he was. The good thing about both of us being independent travelers is that I didn’t mind to head back by myself and he didn’t mind to stay out alone. The key to making this a good trip is finding the best solution for both of us. This isn’t my trip; it isn’t Mike’s trip; it’s our trip. We may want the other person to want what we want, but sometimes it isn’t feasible. The best thing to do is to find ways to compromise or recognize that we won’t agree and go our separate ways.

This does mean that both of us don’t always get what we want, but to take a cue from the Bhutanese, sometimes it’s about being kind to others and putting their needs ahead of our own. I often think that putting others’ needs in front of my own is only a necessity in a romantic relationship, but in reality, it’s also good to do in all relationships. If I keep this in mind, problems tend to find their own solutions.

So the key to this trip being successful is two-fold: 1) split on things when we can’t come to an agreement and 2) where we can, compromise.

Halfway through this trip I’ve learned a lot about the places I’ve been, but I’ve also learned a lot about what kind of traveler I am and how to be respectful of others’ preferences. There comes a point where you do need to watch out for yourself, but if there’s any way to do it while considering another, take that option.

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