The world is full of beautiful places and there are travelers who want to explore it all. There are many ways to explore this beautiful world. And the major part of this journey are the people. The people we meet along the way and also the people who travel with us.
Based on the company we travel with I can see three common trends:
Group: When three or more people are traveling together. It can be family, friends, colleagues, strangers, travel group or anything similar.
Solo: When a person travels alone all by himself/herself.
Couple: When a person travels with a person with whom he/she is romantically involved. So it's just two people.
In a big group I feel lost as I am just following them wherever they go and caught up in the struggle to meet contradictory expectations, sometimes tantrums and suitable dates. Alone I am anxious all the time to be safe and not let my guard down even for a minute and compromising on the costs of a room. My romantic partner unlike me doesn't take much initiative to travel with me and when he does it's mostly us trying to enjoy some quality time together.
However, I am confused when I want to put some of my trips into one of the three categories I listed. I am talking about those trips where I had just one more person with me and that person was not my romantic partner. It was sometimes one of my friends, bff and sometimes even a complete stranger who got together for a trip with me and eventually becoming my new friend.
Whenever I travel with just one more person who is not my romantic partner and may or may not be a known friend, I witness a whole new way of travel and it is not justified to put this kind in any of the categories mentioned above. This is unique and a type of its own.
Let's just call it "Duotravel" for now as I have not come across any other suitable term for this type of travel yet.
So when I travel duo, I enjoy a company all the time, share my room cost, have a person to talk to and even open up emotionally, be spontaneous, let down my guard sometimes and the list goes on. It may not provide the complete freedom as a solo travel but is pretty much close.
Its only two people's expectations which have to be met so mostly those get accommodated easily. For example, one person may like to attend party and other may like to go for yoga camp. So they can decide to attend a party and also do yoga or go their own ways for a day! I am not sure about others but this has worked for me most of the times and hence I call this my favourite type so far for the flexibility it offers along with the comfort of another person to be with you during the journey. It can be the most basic comfort of your bags being watched while you go and pee or big ones like when you are stuck in a dark night in an uncomfortable situation!
Due to lack of company I am not traveling as frequently as I used to do earlier. Yes, I do miss travel. Some suggest me to start traveling alone. I have travelled solo but realized it's not my cup of tea. I have come to realize that everyone has a type and Duotravel is my type. I can wait till I have a company but I am not traveling alone as the point of travel is that I should enjoy it. And I don't really enjoy solo. Period!
I hope there are more people like me and would relate to this article. I would like to know if they think the same or have different views on it. And for this purpose I wrote this not so significant write-up. Let me share some of my Duotravel journeys here to get more idea about what I am talking about.
My first Duotravel with Captain Jassi
I was planning a trip to Ladakh with my friends in 2012 and as usual all of them backed out. I was living in Delhi then and I decided to go alone even though I had never travelled alone. I posted a comment in a travel blog seeking suggestions on travelling alone to Ladakh. I was surprised when another girl posted a reply to my comment saying that even her friends have backed out and let's do it together. Well, I didn't think even twice before saying yes to her. We met up before the trip to get to know each other and finally booked our flight tickets to Ladakh.
So this is how I met Jassi, a Punjabi open spirited girl and a hot pilot soaring the skies!
I am a shy and reserved person but she is total opposite. She is bold, confident and fearless. I enjoyed the trip and opened up to the path of madness she laid out. We danced on the road in front of complete strangers and spent a night at our driver's house with his sweet family. We tasted real Ladakhi food in real Ladakhi homes and learnt their recipes. I even rode a bullet myself for the first time here (offered by a sweet stranger who had no idea that I had never tried it before). I enjoyed every bit of it despite our differences sometimes!
The craziest thing in this trip was our spontaneous Activa ride to Alchi from Leh which is around 60 kms! We took a gearless two wheeler for rent for a free day for local travel in Leh. However, we met a couple who was heading to Alchi on their bike and we decided to join them!
Well, it was a disaster that became a crazy memory. The gearless two wheelers would just not go fast. Uphill, the speed would dip to even less than 10 kmph and the wind made it worse. We drove the whole day to reach Alchi just before it was going to be dark and hence we had to stay overnight at Alchi instead of Leh where we already had a booking. Not just that we also missed a booked trip for next day to Pangong Tso lake. We got angry looks and curses from our driver and tour agent who got us two more people to share the cost of the cab to Pangong Tso that we had booked for the next day. And also the Activa rental guy who just could not understand how can someone be this crazy! But all that was totally worth it!
We had loads of fun and I wouldn't have done most of it if I were alone!
I was working in a company in Delhi and got to know a colleague. We used to hang out together after office with other colleagues and sometimes had night stay at my place as she was in a hostel. Eventually we decided to take a rented accommodation nearer to the office and stay together. We found a nice flat near our office and shifted into it. I was a full time traveller during that time and used to travel a lot with a group of friends as well as strangers.
One fine day she suggested that we should just go to someplace together and I agreed. It was the weekend and we picked up our backpack, took my DSLR, tripod and spontaneously decided to go to Dharamshala. We took a bus and booked a room in Dharamkot and had no idea of the place or a plan.
Well that was just the beginning and we never stopped after that. This was the favourite type even in Duotravel. We were spontaneous, irresponsible, no itinerary and accommodated all the whims and fancies of each other. "Never say Never" was our motto. We would just setup our camera on the tripod and click our pictures. Just sufficient for each other and we didn't give a damn about who's watching and who's thinking what about us.
Unfortunately, we had to part our ways after our marriage as we went to separate locations far away and within six months our Ghumakkad Travels came to an end ????
Travel with BFF
Everyone knows that we are most understood and comfortable in the company of a best friend forever and when that bff happens to love travel like you do then this is like cherry on the cake! I had a lot of close friends but somehow in terms of travel they were not so keen and had various reasons to turn down a trip.
So when eventually I found a bff who also loves travel, it was a blessing! We travelled many times as a part of a group of friends. The best memories were those moments when it was just the two of us. Especially when we embarked on a journey of our own to explore the unexplored parts of Andaman Islands.
I got bitten by centipede once in a very remote island which gave me unbearable pain the whole night. She was sitting by my side the whole night and at the same time flirting with a hot European guy. Then there was another time when we went for a trek in Webi village even when it was raining since the past few days. I have no idea of the number of leeches we pulled out of my body that day! She was pretty comfortable pulling them out! Phew!
She was the one who is the adventure seeker and makes me push my limits. She is the one who took me to my first scuba diving experience and that's how I met my now husband, the scuba diving instructor. If it were to me even the thought of scuba diving wouldn't have crossed my mind, leave alone doing it actually!
I am glad that we met, became friends, travel buddies and created some memories together.
While, these are just few of the experiences, I have a lot more. There are varied experiences and I travelled Duo in many other forms. Like I travelled Duo with a guy who was a friend, an official tour with my senior, colleague, a stranger etc. I loved them all.
This style is my personal favourite and I am sure the people who travelled Duo with me may not prefer this mode of travel. And that's okay. It's just that over the years this kind of experience is becoming rare and I am just waiting for more such experiences in the future too.
And so I hope I have built up my case for DuoTravel to be considered a genre of its own!