On this trip I have made transits with people and I have spent extended periods of time in one place with people, but rarely have I actually traveled with anyone. But when a friend from Guatemala–Nick–caught up with me in Utila, traveling with him to Nicaragua was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Hell, I desperately needed rescuing to get me off that freakin’ rock! He is a seasoned traveler and someone I wanted to travel with since we met (for the second time) in Lanquin three months ago. After a few days hanging in Utila, we set out for Nicaragua together.
It has been quite different from being on my own. We check in often, communicate well, and take care of each other. I have adapted to his structured travel style readily; it reminds me of the careful planning of M@M so is second nature and easy to slip into. We have en route strategy sessions to ensure we obtain the first taxi or snag the best accommodation or have contingency plans, just in case. Hand signals and lip reading often come into play. There is always a tag team system already in place when we disembark anywhere on who will be on bag duty or find food or stall the taxi driver. We problem solve well together, have remarkably similar tastes and instincts, and usually get what we want. We also get on swimmingly, which is more than a bonus.
It has been an exercise in balance for me: a chance to practice moderating my tendency to overly compromise, to work well as a team player but maintain my independence, and make sure I still get what I want out of my time. Luckily, Nick is an experienced traveler, used to the buddy system, but once logistics are settled he is very comfortable branching out. So if he wants to climb a volcano or go out at night, but I would rather read a book or watch the Wimbledon semis, it’s all good. As long as we get the broad sketch of where we are in tune, the details always work out.
On the fourth of July we checked into a new hostel outside Granada, but it didn’t feel right. So after two hours there we powwowed, decided to peace out, and headed for Granada proper. We found a pretty amazing hostel and lots of company to enjoy the holiday with. At one point, Nick was presiding over an entire table-full of revelers, with me mirroring him at the other end. From across the table he called to me, “Coming here? Best decision ever!” High fives ensued. Yeah, we only make good decisions. Make that GREAT decisions. Booyah.
The past week has been a new and positive experience for me. Add more lessons learned to my path of growth on this trip. We’ve also become better friends, which makes me oh so happy. Thank you, Nick, my awesome travel buddy!
|Team photo! Kicking it in red white and blue on the 4th of July. Heart the Aussie support!|