What a topic, right? When traveling together, attitudes and behaviours can make or break a relationship. Especially if there is incompatibility from the get-go. Or if the person you are embarking on the trip with is someone unknown to you – regardless of how well vouched for they are.
I recently read a book about a young man who rode with a friend from the United States down to South America and back. It was interesting to see the progression in the pages of how the relationship started out close, but then gradually disintegrated until at the very end of the adventure – they could not wait to get home to get away from each other. If any of you have taken long trips with another companion or companions, it is easy to see how this can take place.
I will start this all off on a personal perspective from my years of motorcycle trips – some short (2 – 3 hours), some long ( 15+ days on the road). I have gone on a number of vacations or rides with close friends, people who have yet to be friends, or people who will never be friends and I have few simple rules. 1 – give me my space. Just became I’m riding with you does not mean I wish to be held in a conversation from the moment I get off the bike to the moment I start the engine again or from the moment my eyes open in the morning to the moment they close at night. 2 – give me my space. Don’t ever crowd my lane or get into my blind spot! Not only are you taking away a possible emergency exit for me if I need it in a traffic situation, but if you hit me because of your own asinine behavior I will never ever trust you again. 3 – Give me my space. Basically, I am a person who loves to ride because one of the aspects of the motorcycle (or motorcycle trip) is that it gives me the peace and quiet I need. I have a very demanding job and people never give me a moment’s rest during my 10 – 14 hour days. If I sit at the breakfast table not saying a word for 5 minutes it is because I have nothing to say.
How to avoid this?
1- Set the ground rules and be very clear. 2 – Stick to the ground rules. Personally I am not a morning person who likes to talk or chatter. My preferred way of spending my morning is being quiet and restful. 3. Don’t touch my stuff 4. Just because I’m your riding companion does not mean we have to be inseparable. Just because I want to go to a movie or see a show or go have sushi for supper or the local cuisine, that does not mean everyone has to. Neither should one person have to withdraw from experiencing the local culture just because the rest of the group does not want to partake. – 5 – Don’t judge. 6- Be very clear in your communication as to what your feelings are.
7 – Listen well. Familiarity breeds contempt sometimes and as humans we have a tendency to assume that just because we like things a certain way, means everyone else likes it that way as well. There should be some time set aside every day for each person to spend time doing what they want to do.
In the end, there might be absolutely nothing you can do that will make the new addition/ride companion understand that you are not their new Siamese twin or bestest, most-wonderful friend in the world. Be prepared to cut your loses and enjoy the fact that, in all likelihood, you will never have to see this person ever again once the ride is over.