Travel with someone whose company you enjoy most of the time. And I say “most of the time” because even though traveling is fun, it can also bring out the unattractive side of people when they’re tired, lost and/or hungry. Some people don’t like traveling and that’s okay. But there’s nothing like seeing a new place and sharing an experience to elevate a friendship to another level.
My friends and I started our excursions when we were in high school. Every Sunday after mass, we would go to KFC to eat breakfast and hang out. Hanging out at KFC is a good preview of everyone’s eating habits. You get to know who’s a picky eater, who always needs extra rice or orders root beer, and who saves the chicken skin for the finale. You note down these quirks so that you know who to invite on a food trip in the future.
We got tired of hanging out at KFC so we began discovering what the city had to offer on Sunday mornings. We went to our city’s museum, the cemetery beside our school, and an old house that they said was haunted. Most of the time, we’d end up walking to the house of one of my friends. We’d stay there until late in the afternoon or until one of our mothers texts or calls asking where we are and why we aren’t home yet. These Sunday walkathons turned to out-of-town trips during summer breaks.
Then college happened and people went their separate ways. Everyone was focused on adjusting to their own new environments. And as much as our high school promises to keep in touch, be best friends forever, and hang out were lovely, you really won’t be able to keep that promise to everyone. I still saw my friends but we didn’t go to any trips until we were in our second year of college.
It was hard getting people together in college, but it’s harder when everyone’s working. Everyone’s suddenly busy with Real Life, which is a more legitimate kind of busy than “busy studying.” It took us another three years to get our bearings in the real world before we finally took our first out-of-the-country trip together.
The idea of flying with friends to a new country was exciting. We felt like adults when we were planning our trip, saving our work money, processing our visas and researching about Korea. We shared a room with each other for six days. We got lost. We walked so many hours together. We got frustrated with each other. And we have many stories to reminisce because of it.
|Consulting the tourist map, Hong Kong|
Even though we had different experiences in our trip to Hong Kong last 2013 and Japan in 2014, the spirit was almost the same as our Korea trip. We still walked a lot, got lost, got annoyed with each other, and for some reason always ended up eating at a KFC at least once.
I understand my friends better because of our travels. I know their sleeping, pooping and spending habits. I know how they are when they’re pissed. And I know what makes them happy (good food). I want to keep discovering things about my friends even if that means I have to sleep through six nights of bed-shaking snoring again because in return they put up with my mood swings. We’re more than quits.
My friends and I don’t have any travel plans yet for 2015. Or even if we did, I wouldn’t write about it because of my pre-travel anxiety. We used to travel as a big group in high school, at least ten people. But now the most we could gather is a group of six. We still haven’t traveled as a complete group and I hope we get to do that soon. It sounds like it will be a fun mess.