Some of you looked up, saw me suddenly traveling with Ayana and was like, “Who is that?”
The short story: I’ve known Ayana for 2 years through mutual friends and loyal readers Scott and Naomi but I’ve only seen her 3 times. So I’ve been around her MAYBE 15 hours TOTAL before this trip.
How did she get on this trip? I asked her after her emails to me were dead on about what to do and what to eat. And she jumped at the chance to get out of the US for a little while.
When she arrived at Gatwick Airport in London I didn’t know what to expect. She had great insight, but could she be a real road warrior? Would she be a prima donna and slow me down?
I knew we would be OK when I saw how she packed. One bag. That is it. She had been reading the blog and listened to me when I said to take all the stuff packed and cut it in half.
Ladies, take note. Nobody cares if you wear the same thing twice in a row. There are laundries all over the world besides in your neighborhood.
I’ll tell you what I learned from having Ayana on this trip:
1. Language skills can make a big difference.
Ayana told me she knew French and Spanish. I thought she meant she would look thru the phrases in the back of the guidebook and piece together – ‘Me llama es Ayana’.
Far from it. She was having full on conversations with cab drivers and vendors in French in Morocco. That made things so much easier. She was excited when she realized she was understanding the French spoken around her. Travel shows you skills you didn’t know you had or shows you skills that lay dormant for years.
Ayana, you better find that high school French teacher and send her a thank you note.
Understand that you can go anywhere with English as I have stated before. Know a bit of the local language and the trip is enhanced. Know a lot of the language, as Ayana did, and it makes people open up more. It may even get you a better deal at the souks or at a restaurant.
2. The right partner can mean the difference between a great trip – or maybe never speaking to someone ever again.
Ayana and I were of the same mindset. I’m more adventurous and she’s had more knowledge of the locations. Between the two of us we had some idea of what to do each day, even if plans went awry. Never were there any major disagreements. How did I know we would be OK? I didn’t. But I trusted my instincts about her and thankfully I was right.
Or this could be a completely different blog post – like “Forget Partners – Why You Should ALWAYS Travel Alone!!”
3. Y’All Really Read This Blog
And when I say really read it I mean really look forward to it. Ayana was a powerful advocate on your behalf while she was here. She encouraged me to reply to the emails, the comments in the blog and get the posts out in a timely fashion. All because she looks forward to the updates and she knew there were others like her. That is the most gratifying thing about this trip. I’ll find a way to continue to serve the loyal readers of this blog for as long as I can.