Writing a bilingual blog can sometimes be painfully time consuming, but also extremely rewarding and instructive. Every now and then I notice some interesting differences how the travel habits and interests vary between Finnish people and other nationalities.
Some time ago I started to think about all of you. Yes, you as well! No matter how fun or interesting it is for me to follow how the number of unique visitors is climbing up, there is still something that statistics can’t tell me. Who are you guys? What are you like? I can see some detailed numbers, for example which countries my readers come from, but those are only numbers. Numbers don’t have personalities.
To learn a bit more about my readers, meaning you guys, a couple of weeks ago I made a little questionnaire. It’s still open for answers, so if you haven’t yet done so, go and answer six extremely simple questions. It will take like a minute, if even that.
Of course I made the same questionnaire for my Finnish readers, and when I was glancing through the answers, I noticed something fairly interesting between the travel habits of Finns and other nationalities.
Who do you rather travel with?
My travelling companions have been varying a lot over the years. I’ve been travelling with my mum, with my brother, with girlfriends, boyfriends and even in a bigger group with lots of friends. Last summer I made my first ‘official’ solo trip to Belgium.
When reading international travel blogs I often stumble upon solo travelers, who are surprisingly often young women. These solo travelers tend to hype the positives of travelling alone. When travelling solo, you have all the rights to choose where to go, how to get there and what to do, see, eat and experience during the trip. Sometimes it makes me wonder what kind of travel companion they’ve had before if they had felt so chained when travelling with someone else.
I included this in my questionnaire, as I wanted to know who you guys rather travel with. Based on the answers I have received this far, the difference between the Finnish and ‘international’ answers is quite interesting: Finns prefer travelling with their spouse or partner, girlfriend or boyfriend, when other nationalities seem to love travelling solo.
Are you one of them who love travelling alone? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, as I can’t help wondering what is the reason for this difference. Could it be that us Finns, who are often classified as a shy and quiet nation, rather travel with someone we already know to make sure we don’t need to talk to strangers during our trip?
I doubt that. Sometimes I find these stereotypical jokes about Finnish people more irritating than funny, mostly because they hardly ever match my nature. Some of them are true, I admit that, but based on my personal experiences Finland is not the only country where people rather take a seat in a bus on an empty row and pretend to sleep if someone puts their bottoms on the seat next to theirs.
Alone or with a friend?
I could tell so many stories about my travel companion. I’ve made so many amazing trips with so many amazing people, that I have to leave it for another day. If I had to choose one trip that is worse than the others, I would have to say it was my solo trip to Belgium.
There’s nothing wrong with Belgium, exactly the opposite. I loved the country and the cities I visited. But I hated travelling alone. I enjoy it when I can share the new experiences with a friend, no matter whether it’s a girlfriend or a boyfriend or even both.
I have never felt that any of my travel partners would have tied me at any way. I have never had the problem that I didn’t get to see or do whatever I like. Travelling with a friend doesn’t mean you have to spend every single minute together.
There was one similarity among every nationality answering the question who you rather travel with: travelling with a bigger group is the least popular option. This far, considering all the votes on English and Finnish questionnaires, travelling with a bigger group has been chosen once. Only once.
When I started writing this post I had a clear vision how I would concentrate on pondering the pros and cons of travelling solo. A few sentences ago my vision suddenly changed.
I suppose this is what they call as a stream of consciousness. My new aspect on this post is:
The more the merrier!
Two wonderful and unforgettable weeks with seven wonderful friends.
Dominican Republic, 2011.
Two wonderful and unforgettable weeks with seven wonderful friends.
It’s time to get rid of the bad reputation of travelling with a group and show some proof that an old saying ‘the more the merrier’ really is true. There are surprisingly many pros and amazingly few cons of travelling with a group of friends. Surprise, surprise, travelling in a group is not only for old people! Although it would be kind of funny to see a group of grannies sitting on the roof of this off-road truck in Brazil with the rollators on the back of the car.
When travelling with a group there are at least as many ideas and perspectives as there are travelers. And as stated, you don’t need to spend every single second together in a group. If three of you want to try rafting and the other three want to go diving, the two lazy bones can go snorkeling together or just lie on the beach and get tanned while others are being active. Just kidding, snorkeling is fun. And there’s nothing wrong with being lazy on the beach either. I would do it right now if I could.
One option is to go for a banana boat ride. That would be pretty boring to do alone.
During these group trips we’ve played so many games of cards, Yatzy and a funny game that has something to do with beans. Chilling out by playing cards in a beach bar with a fruity cocktail is pretty nice, but fairly boring alone, or even with one friend only.
How about volleyball, frisbee or beach football then? Sooooo much more fun with lots of friends!
All the best memories haven’t been captured with a camera. I remember how in Brazil we were wading in the sea, in the middle of the night, struggling through huge waves that were higher than us. All eight travelers were walking in a row, holding hands, and the only rule was to shout out loud if anyone loses their grip.
Or when in Dominican Republic we made breakfast together in the hotel room every single morning. We cooked the bacon, the eggs, the beans and the toast and opened a bottle of wine, had a tasty group breakfast on a terrace when the sun was shining. I also remember when I had an awful wisdom tooth pain in Brazil that lasted for several days. It was aching so badly, that I couldn’t eat or even brush my teeth properly. Luckily I was able to enjoy my Cachaça with a straw. I couldn’t even speak clearly, so my lovely friends gave me a nick name, beaver. Oh, those golden memories.
Travelling with an amazing group of amazing friends is amazingly fun. And when you have many friends with you, for sure there is help available whenever you need it the most. For example, if you are swimming in a pool and you are about to get dehydrated! You never know.
So, how about you? Do you rather travel alone, together or together but spend some time alone? Have you ever made any kind of trip with a larger group? For myself one short solo trip was enough to learn I don’t enjoy travelling alone. And going through old photographs was enough to remind me how much I enjoyed travelling with lots of friends.
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