Skip Navigation

Travel Companion Blues

Travel Forums General Talk Travel Companion Blues

1. Posted by wplemon35 (Full Member 45 posts) 11y

I am planning on going to Europe for 8 weeks with a buddy of mine from high school. We have been friends for the past 4-5 years. Lately everything seems to be sex this, and drinking that, etc. (Translation: He is always talking about getting drunk and having sex). Well this is starting to carry over into the trip that we are planning. He has begun saying things such as "I just want a BIG beer stein from Germany.", "What kind of bars do they have in _________ country.", I want to go to Vandersexx in Amsterdam." (From Eurotrip). I think you get the point.

Don't get me wrong I will be trying German beer, and drinking inexpensive wines in France, visiting the Coffee Houses in Amsterdam, etc. But this is a very insignificant part of the reason I am going to Europe. (I want to go as a reward to myself, broaden my horizons, experience different cultures, etc)

His original plan was to go for 5 weeks, while I wanted to go for 8 weeks. I told him that I set the trip up so that he can leave from any city after the first 4 weeks and go back to London and go home. But now he is saying that he doesn't want to travel alone and he may be able to stay the whole eight weeks.

With his "new outlook on life, alcohol, and sex" I am not sure I want to go with him. I may enjoy it more if I travel alone. But how do you tell someone this when you have been planning a trip with them for 2 months? Any suggestions? Pleaes help!

2. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

I was in a very similar situation to you back in 2000 Chris. Initially, I had planned to go inter-railing around Europe on my own and was hugely looking forward to it. I was so enthusiastic when I talked about it, in fact, that a friend of mine DECIDED he was coming along with me.

When he first TOLD me he was gonna come with me, I didnt really have the heart to say "What do you think you're doing? I didnt invite you!" and then I thought, well it mightnt be so bad. We might havea laugh and so what if we are interested in different things, we can have lots of seperate alone time on the trip. Right?

BIG MISTAKE!! We wnated very different things from the trip, and what was initially my trip (with lots of interesting excursions and trips planned) turned into a constant compromise. Even at that, he was still always complaining about being bored on thr trip. I remember on one occasion wanting to spend an hour or two in St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, and he sat outside like a bold child and sulked and I just couldnt enjoy a bit of it.

Anyway, we ended up cutting the trip short and coming home in terrible form. We stayed in touch a bit afterwards, but I think we both saw a side of each other that we didnt like and it was hard to be friends after that.

What's my point? If you're afriad of telling your friend that you want to go alone because you might lose him, the thing is you might really end up not liking each other if ye go ahead with this trip anyway
.
Its hard not to build up a feeling of resentment towards someone if you feel they're ruining or commandeering something that you've been looking fwd to.

We have a saying here in Ireland "It's six of one, half-dozen of another". Kind of a no-win situation.
If you are feeling like this BEFORE you've even begun the trip, imagine how its going to be later on.

Would you feel comfortable just sitting down with your friend and explaining how you feel to him. He cant get mad at you for just being honest. Just explain that sex museums and getting hammered at every bar you pass isnt really your thing. Maybe the two of you could come to some sort of arrangement where you have some alone time to yourself every couple of days. At least if you talk about it toegther before you go on thr trip, he will understand where you're coming from. you might be pleasantly surprised, he might compromise a little for you.

But if you say nothing for the first week or so, and build every little thing he does up in your head, and then have a fantastic eruption in the middle of some nice sleepy piazza somewhere (as I did ) it could end up driving a wedge between you.....

Dont know if any of that helps....

3. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 11y

It's really hard to tell a friend that you don't want his/her company. There are really no pleasant ways of doing it. I've been through this too - and I really regret that I didn't just tell her: "I appreciate that you want to go travelling with me, but really I want to do this by myself!". Maybe hurting her by saying so, but on the other hand we would probably still be friends...

As it all turned out, she came with me to Southeast Asia, it didn't work out at all, and now we've lost touch completely.

If you want to keep your friend at all - be honest now, not on the Italian piazza... ;)

//Susanna

4. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

"I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." -- Mark Twain

5. Posted by lil j (Travel Guru 1303 posts) 11y

Yeh i agree with you all. Poor you Chris-i can imagine how irritating it is!

Perhaps he will be different when he's away but then again he may not-but why should you take that chance if there's a possibility that he could ruin it for you.

I think you should word it along the lines that this is something that you feel you need to do yourself-if he questions you -well how does he know what you do and don't need to do, just because you've been mates for a long time doesn't mean he properly knows you. you never get to know someone fully!

Or say you want to do part of the trip with him and then gain your own experiences and experience travelling alone for the last part of the trip-what can he say to that-your not saying you dont like him, but that going the whole trip alone or just part of it is something you NEED to do.

Just remember you dont need to explain yourself-never ever do that-apart from the fact it then looks like you've got something to hide from him.

At the end of the day you will find out if he is a mate or not, does he respect your opinions or not.

6. Posted by wplemon35 (Full Member 45 posts) 11y

Wow thanks for the quick replies!

Quote by samsara2
We have a saying here in Ireland "It's six of one, half-dozen of another".

I say this all the time!! "It's a small world after all."

Anyway, sounds like this is a recurent thing with travelers. At least I am not alone in my feelings. I don't know how I would tell him to not come. He is against the idea of travelling alone and it would be a radical change, one minute we are planning what countries we are going to the next I am telling him to 'suck a lemon'......

The main reason I want to go alone is so that I can get to know myself better, and I feel that will be 100 times harder with a steady companion.

7. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member 458 posts) 11y

You don't have to go all the way to Europe to get all boozed and sexed up. Send him to Vegas for a weekend and he'll be sure to not have enough money left for the trip YOU want to go on.

Kidding aside, this sounds like a recipe for disaster if you're already concerned about it. I'd just be honest with him and talk it through asap. Head all the above advice, these are smart experienced people.

I think we all need a list of sure-fire ways to address this. Like many others, I was in the same situation. Luckily my buddy injured himself just about the time we were comitting to purchasing tickets. You don't have any way of setting up an "accident" do you? Sorry, poor taste. But in case you're wondering, my friend managed to do himself in through his own stupidity. For those of you at home, do not attempt to open bottled wine by wacking it against a tree!

8. Posted by lil j (Travel Guru 1303 posts) 11y

I'm in the same position as you-i want to get to know myself better-well not quite but realise my strenghts and work on them, i have been throguh some pretty bad times and this trip means so much to me more than anyone would know, so for yourself go it alone-do it in a nice way to your mate.

He can't deny you your right to get to know yourself-and if that means travelling alone then so be it. it sounds harsh but you have to be selfish every now and then-it's the only way to get on in life.

You just need to pick the right words-it's all about the words-that will be the make or break of it! You go and practice in front of the mirror if you need to, lol! and think of what you want to get out of this trip by going alone. You dont know what's around the corner-you may never get the chance to travel solo or travel at all again-you just don't know!

9. Posted by wplemon35 (Full Member 45 posts) 11y

He is leaving for school tomorrow morning so I will have a break in that sense. I was thinking I may tell him to make a calendar of where he wants to go and we will meet up every once in a while.

This is a shame, its not that I don't like the kid, just 56 days with him could be a bit much