Thai Experience: Group Travels

” Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it” Ralph Marston

10 days later, 1 000 plus pictures taken, countless disagreements and many special moments together; we wrap up what has been an experience of a life time. At first, terrible words and insults were exchanged, tempers flaring like the tsunami and a passport amiss. Fights about logistics, visa applications and threats of cancellations had also made it to the list. Putting a plan to travel together was not a walk in the park, but here we are… We made it! 

I had gotten so used to traveling solo that it was almost second nature to take care of the planning: travel logistics, itinerary and outfits. I was so used to doing things on my own terms that relinquishing that power and allowing other people in was a struggle I hadn’t fully anticipated. Unexpectedly, things spiraled out of control, bringing me undue misery, anger, disappointment and heartbreak. The worst part as all of this was happening, was me reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK; a review worthy of its own blogpost. This book was bringing me lessons I was not ready to deal with; but what is travel without lessons?

Traveling with two friends who are very different was a mammoth task. We have different personalities, preferences and priorities. Trying to coordinate and align these differences was close to impossible, but it was done! This journey has taught me a number of valuable and life changing lessons; ones I will treasure for years to come. For this blog allow me to focus on only 3 lessons which are worth noting.

1. It’s NOT always about you

Many a time we are so self absorbed into thinking everything is about us or about what we like or don’t like. The thing about traveling in a group is that it actually is not about you. You really aren’t that special (lessons for the Subtle Art). Sitting alone, sulking on a 10 hour flight seemed justifiable to me but in the greater scheme of things, it was childish and unnecessary. Yes, we fought but can we stop sweating the small things and focus on the bigger picture? We’ve saved up for 10 months for this!

Traveling together also makes it possible to leverage on each other’s skills. One guy can really negotiate, I mean REALLY negotiate- which worked to our advantage. We saved money on packages and cabs. The other guy could organize, plan and ensure all boxes were ticked. Our check-ins were done seamlessly and all in time. The third guy brought calmness when tempers escalated out of control. His calm nature, helped us gain perspective and reminded us of the “why”. If it is always about you, would all this be possible?

2. Talk and be open about your financial position

It’s often said that if you do not have honest conversations about your financial status with friends or family, this could lead to a number of flawed and unrealistic expectations. I disclosed how much money I had available to the team from the onset. As you go through the trip, there comes a time when you’ll take care of the bill and other activities- to a point where you literally have no money left. It is reassuring to be able to call the team, reconcile (a very tedious process) and get PAID what’s due to you albeit uncomfortable at first. This removes the burden or the awkwardness that usually comes with money.

Equally important is the ability to say no to activities that you cannot afford. Often times people are under pressure to please others in order to fit in. Being able to honestly talk with friends about what you can and cannot afford is really amazing. At times I had to switch to a more affordable drink or meal so I stay within my budget without feeling embarrassed about it.

3. Appreciate your friends (flaws and all)

No one is perfect, no one is flawless! It is our imperfections that make us who we are. This trip taught me to really appreciate my friends, ALL of my friends. Not because of their perfect traits, but because of their flaws. It has taught me to find joy in the random outbursts of laughter, the lack of punctuality or the lackluster attitude towards some things. It’s these flaws that make them special, it’s the imperfections that truly make life worthwhile. We fight a lot, we have many disagreements, but we also build each other. We are unapologetic about our dreams, passionate about self development and trust you me; we hold each other accountable to the highest standards.

Would I travel in a group again?

Oh absolutely!

Group traveling exposes one to amazing experiences, awesome memories and perfect pictures. Moments that aren’t possible when you are traveling alone. Besides the drama and differences, this trip was absolutely amazing.

So to everyone I consider a friend; I appreciate your uniqueness and value your presence in my life. Let’s make 2019 meaningful. Till the next trip: love, peace, money and travel!

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