Though traveling with friends can be a great experience, it’s always important to be self-reliant. Maybe your companion doesn’t mind sleeping the day away to nurse a wretched hangover even though you only have three days too see everything in Rome and you woke up at 7 AM to get in line to see the Colosseum not-that-anything-like-that-has-ever-happened-to-me-I’m-just-saying.
It’s always best (when traveling together, moving in together, marrying each other, etc.) to be honest about your expectations and your style. Even though you may be great friends in normal circumstances, familiarity, as they say, can breed contempt, so be prepared to be flexible, tweak a bit, and be comfortable going off on your own. It is your trip too, after all.
There are, of course, times when the planets align and you find your PTC: your Perfect Travel Companion. They like all the things you like, they start and end the day the same time you do, they’re as organized as you are, and they don’t hog the bathroom. A PTC is hard to come by, so when you finally do find one, know that it’s something special – a trip is no fun if you spend half of it arguing.
Over the last few years I’ve had a terrific PTC, but sadly it has come to my attention that their traveling days are over.
Yes, Rainbow Sandals. What? I mean, really – they’re strong and supportive: able to withstand stressful situations and lots of walking without whining. They’re low-maintenance and know how to get through security checks quickly: slip off, slip on. Socks and laces? Are you kidding me? Get out of my way. They’re protective: I have avoided countless diseases just by not walking barefoot on creepy hotel room carpets. They’re flexible: I mean really, what outfit doesn’t match an ugly brown? But most importantly, they go where I tell them, when I tell them: the most important feature of my ideal PTC.
They won’t be offended when I say that they’re starting to look a bit haggard. The move to Manhattan really took a toll on them, especially the super rainy summer we had last year. At one point we were caught in a downpour and stepped in a pretty massive puddle; they haven’t really been the same since. They’ve known it, I’ve known it, John has REALLY known it, and they agree that it’s time to retire.
These particular bad boys have been in my life for nearly five years and for flip flops, that’s a pretty impressive lifespan when you take into account all the adventures we’ve endured.
Like the one time when we explored the Forbidden City together.
And then of course we also fulfilled their dream of seeing the Great Pyramid at Giza. That was cool. They were so excited.
I was kind of pissed that they wouldn’t let me read the prayer they stuck into the Western Wall, but we got over it quickly, especially when they told me that it was about me and if they told me what it was it wouldn’t come true. That was kind of sweet.
Always the conspiracy theorists, they of course loved to go alien hunting, too.
Looking back on it, we really have seen a lot of beautiful things together.
In the next coming weeks I’ll give in and buy a new pair, deal with the blisters that they’ll give me for the first week until they suddenly know me as well as their ancestors did and are ready for their initiation trip. But don’t worry: though in retirement, the old pair will be “lovingly” taken care of. I think someone has their eye on them . . .