My Travel Buddy Made Me Go Insane
Everyone can use a travel buddy, right? This post feeds off my point from my previous post that international travel is NOT for everyone. You see, I used to not always feel this way. That is, until this past summer.
I came to this realization this past summer, a week after graduating from university, I went on a trip from Las Vegas – New York City – Puerto Rico – The Dominican Republic – to Haiti. The majority of the trip was solo, until the last month and a half, which was split between DR and Haiti. This was when a coworker, who had never been abroad, would tag along.
No problem right? My first time abroad I backpacked solo and volunteered through Sri Lanka. If I could get through Sri Lanka, I could surely help anyone with their first time abroad. I was wrong. So wrong.
I was happy to have a travel buddy, even though I did not know this coworker too well. I worked a few different jobs as a college student to save money for traveling. During our mundane workday, I would often be asked to tell travel stories to my coworkers. Many wished to one day accompany me, which I welcomed. However, this coworker was the only one who actually went out and applied for their passport.
Warning signs began from the beginning. I tend to be meticulous with my travel plans and wanted to include the coworker, let’s call him Austin, in the plans. However, he repeatedly told me that he didn’t care, and would go along with wherever I planned. I periodically sent him links and documentaries on the places we would visit in hopes of gaining his interest and ease his culture shock. I created a Google Drive account that broke down the day to day plans, including accommodation and transportation, attached with prices on how much I anticipated everything to cost. We set a budget for the trip to be between $1,500- $ 2,500. Realistically, I knew that $1,500 was enough for the trip, but having $2,500 available as a safety net made me feel comfortable, especially after knowing what it’s like to be hospitalized in third world countries (blog post about that one coming soon).
Since I quit my job a month before graduating from university to prepare for finals, all of our communication had gone through texts. I assumed that we were on the same page. I was absorbed in my own life, with finals, graduation, and then embarking on my adventure that began in Las Vegas.
A week before Austin was set to arrive I sent him a text to confirm that he was coming. This is when he informed me that a couple months ago he had hydroplaned and wrecked his car,
some all of the money he had saved for our trip he had used to get a replacement. I understood, assuming that he was canceling on our travel plans.
He was still coming, he managed to borrow $1000 from his mom. I tried to explain to him that this was below the $1500 minimum we agreed on (and definitely well below our $2,500 safety net).
I didn’t want to crush his dreams on this trip, so I managed to take out a lot of activities from our trip (cave exploring, zip lining, etc.) in order to accommodate his budget.