‘A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.’
– Tim Cahill
Every travel brings out different personalities; at least for me. I am the type of traveller who, to some degree – quite high usually, likes to have stuff planned and organised. I am not saying I don’t like spontaneity or on-the-spot decisions, but usually I prefer knowing what’s going to happen next, especially when I am in a new, far-away-from-home city/place. And sometimes this is a good thing, most of the time – a disaster. Why is that? Well, let me tell you a bit about my recent trip to Brussels (Belgium).
To begin with, there were four of us going on this trip. The purpose of this travel (not that you necessarily need a purpose for travelling) was to meet my ex-housemates from GM13. After the reunion in Brussels, we wanted to go visit Amsterdam as well. Before getting to the point, I need to mention the three types of travellers that I discovered within a group of four people: myself as ‘the planner traveller’, my best-friend as ‘the neutral traveller’ (at least in this situation) and the two guys as ‘the no-planner travellers’ (and I am not implying that only boys/men go under this category, but this is how it happened) – you probably figured out what the typologies imply.
So, reunion time – getting to see the people you spent more or less 24/7 with for a whole year, memories, stories, interrogations, jokes, fun – perfect! After reunion day, the plan was to hire a car and drive to Amsterdam. Easy peasy, but not really. Not only that my precisely structured plan went down the drain, but we also got lost in Brussels, while trying to find a car rental that would suit us. BTW – if you ever go to Brussels and you want to hire a car you should know few things: 1. some car rentals only allow Belgian nationals; 2. make sure you have at least 300€ on your credit card for deposit/guarantee; 3. if the driver is over 24 years old, you don’t pay extra taxes; 4. the car rentals are spread throughout and outside the city, so be prepared to walk if you don’t plan the whole situation in advance. Going back to our story, after wandering around Brussels for more than 7 hours and without a car, we decided to go back to the city centre. We were outside the city already, walked for about 15km, drained, cold, disappointed and still with no solution for Amsterdam.
Eventually, we got back to Brussels and decided to explore the city. The sun was slowly setting, the scenery was beautiful, the buildings looked majestic and the people seemed happy. After a full day of getting lost, things were coming into place. We enjoyed the city, we explored, we were content – even if nearly nothing went according to the plan – my plan, obviously.
Long story short, this part of our trip taught me a lot: first, long distance friendships work – probably better than relationships; second, never go full-planner – as you might get wacky if it doesn’t turn out your way; and third, even if you get wacky, your friends will be there to mentally support you and will try to put you back on track – which will eventually lead to an awesome, experienceful, memorable encounter. So, in case you go travel and get lost, make sure you also explore and discover and most definitely, repeat all of it. Buckle up, get your friends and appreciate every mile along them!
Until next time, open your eyes and your ears to what the world has to tell you!
Written by: Ioana-Alexandra Tache