Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Traveling with a boy

Seeing Tim 24 hours a day, for 13 days straight went as I expected. We had a few minor bumps, but overall we get along very well. We had our "Amazing Race" moments as we drove through northern France.

The very first day in the car, it started. Leaving Paris by car (and most European cities in general) can be a confusing and frustrating experience. I remember trying to direct someone into Rome years ago, everyone gets annoyed at some point. We plotted out a clear direction to catch the expressway. We had tried to print out directions from Google, but the printer ink had dried up. I did my best to jot down some notes on the directions.

Driving along the Seine, I swear we missed three consecutive left turns. On the first one, I didn't see any signs. On the next two, I couldn't read the map fast enough to tell Tim what street to keep a watch for. Even worse, when we did see signs, he was in the wrong lane. For some of the major roads, you drive through a series of short tunnels and come up for intersections. What we didn't know is that if you want to turn left, you must exit to the right of the intersection ramp. I'm pretty good with directions, so it just goes to show that maps are tough.

Outside of the big city, the signs are very well marked. I think we would have found our way even without the maps (though we probably would have ended up on a few small, slower roads). Tensions got highest between us when we had to make split second guesses about which way to turn. We each second guessed each other several times which made for some angry spats. Tim, fortunately, is the one person who I know I can argue with and always make up. We both had our share of admitting the other person was right (him more than me ;)). It's easy to imagine the tv editors showing just the clip where I got pissed and yelled at Tim versus 30 seconds later when we were back to friendly teasing and laughing about our adventures. It's all about the drama.

Trying to drive back to Paris was the most confusing. Tim ended up on some alternate route that read "Paris - Bis," but it was not the route number I has told him to look for. It was not an expressway (and was nowhere in sight), so finally he gave in and turned around. Then, somehow we were driving north rather than east. I looked bad now telling him to go the wrong way. Once we turned around, however, somehow we found the original route that I had seen on the map. Both of us had been wrong, in a sense, we laughed and he graciously gave me credit for saying the original, correct route number. :)

Even just deciding where to walk in a city was sometimes a battle. He'd suggest one path and I would ask why not another. Or if I asked about walking a certain direction, Tim would not understand why or accuse me of having an ulterior motive.

All of my trips abroad over the past five years have been with boys. I don't know why... but that's how it's been. Sometimes I worry it's because other women know I'd be too difficult to travel with.

It's always been a good lesson for me I suppose. With Tim, I think about how I jump to conclusions or need to explain things a little more carefully. Maybe since we're both first-borns we tend to be a little stubborn about being right. ;)

Two years ago, I went for a two-week trip to Asia with Ig. He and I know each other well but definitely have opposite travel styles at times. That was a big matter of patience because he wants things a certain way. As he's gotten older, he demands a certain level of comfort that I don't require. We stayed at two hotels more because he wanted certain conveniences. I've learned to let those little things go.

What was great about going with Tim is that I learned that he likes to plan things out similarly to me. Whereas Ig just like to go with the flow, I prefer to have a general idea of what I will do each day. I'm not talking planning out every hour, but at least I'd like to be able to say here are three things that I should have time to do today. I like having the majority of my hotels booked in advance (especially after one trip where I spent 4+ hours walking from place to place trying to get a bed while carrying some 30-pound backpack around!) Ig would rather just wait until he gets to the next town. I don't like to worry, and frankly, I'd rather book ahead so that I'm not waste my precious vacation walking around to find a hotel. Eh, to each his own. I'm glad Tim and I were similarly organized.

No comments: