Be in Better Shape than your Travel Companions
This ensures that when you are hiking or climbing mountains that you are not the slowest person – giving you a real ego boost; similar to the feeling of being picked first on the school playground for soccer. If you are too slow, your hiking group may slip away from you and then later while they are still waiting for you at the summit they aren’t even sure whether you are even still coming or not. Being in better shape also allows you to film those in your group who are struggling to catch their breath while climbing that hill. Everyone likes to see other people struggling. Being last up the hill is also analogous to being the last to arrive to a house party that has been in full swing for several hours (people are laughing, relaxed, and some are even getting ready to leave). Being out of shape also means that you are likely very sore the next day. It is not fun when you can’t climb the stairs or even comfortable sit on the toilet. Being the fittest is also very beneficial if you are attacked by wild animals as you can easily outrun your travel companion to leave them to deal with the angry bear.
Dress Better than your Travel Companions
This can be viewed several ways. You should dress better considering the activity you are doing. For instance, blue jeans are not really appropriate for climbing a mountain. They tend to get heavy in wet conditions and may even show your plumber’s crack at times (remember, we are always filming). You need to wear pants that stretch, breath, and dry quickly. You should dress better for the weather. If it might be very cold on top of the mountain, bring warm clothes with you like a toque and gloves – even if it is a warm summer day when you start the hike. Don’t be the one freezing as you approach the summit that forces the climbing party to turn around. Overall, try to be the best dressed from the perspective of style – in particular as we film these trips. No one wants to be seen on TV looking like your wardrobe is still from the 90’s. Always remember that if you yourself have no idea about dressing fashionably, then you better consult with your wife before heading out on the next adventure.
Make sure your Travel Companions are skilled with Social Media
This is particularly important for someone like me who knows very little about social media. I only recently entered the world of Rodney McAffee on Facebook and I still don’t really know how to use it effectively. Using Twitter and LinkedIn are still completely foreign to me. To make things even more confusing, my daughter informs me that only Instagram and Pinterest really matter to the younger crowd.
I must be getting old. Fortunately, my travel companion is a whiz at these things and he posts, tweets, and shares all our great adventures so others can see the incredible places that we have visited and some of our most embarrassing moments. It has been hard, but he is slowly dragging me into the 21st century. I should add that the first picture of myself ever Tweeted was re-Tweeted by the Prime Minister of Canada (Justin Trudeau). Not bad for someone who knows little about social media.
Make sure you know of any Special Dietary Requirements
On a recent trip, one of our travel companions had a special dietary requirement that should have been disclosed at the start of the trip. The issue was potentially quite serious and based on what happened could have resulted in the need for hospitalization or in extreme circumstances – potentially death. Unbeknownst to us, our travel companion required three square meals per day. Furthermore, the meals had to consist of meat and potatoes served warm in an upper class restaurant. Snack foods obtained at local gas stations or pre-packaged foods such as energy bars could not be substituted in any circumstance. In addition, it must be stressed that any deviation from the typical morning, noon, and early evening feeding schedule was also a serious problem. Now I should be clear that the reference to hospitalization or potential death was not necessarily a direct result of the individual not receiving the proper diet, but instead could have been an indirect result of what could have happened to anyone in our group due to the amount of complaining that occurred. The best example that comes to mind was when we were 100’s of kilometers from any form of civilization when the individual declared that we must stop immediately and have dinner. Now I don’t know what he saw, because the only food for 100’s of kilometers was in our backpacks. So you can see how important it is to know in advance about any special dietary restrictions.
Do not pack too much Luggage when Traveling
Carrying around extra luggage is a pain in the butt. It is easy to bring more than you need. When the Trekkit Team went to Iceland, I felt that I had traveled the lightest of the group. Yet, I didn’t use all the stuff that I took. It seemed like I had packed enough clothes for a complete change twice a day – which didn’t happen. Perhaps my wife was thinking I would be changing my underwear and socks every day, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. The other guys all had large suitcases packed completely full, while I brought only a backpack.
Ryan’s suitcase was larger than anything I had ever seen before – even bigger than the typical large suitcase. Furthermore, it weighed nearly 75 lbs. The limit for most airlines is 50 lbs with a surcharge fee for overweight baggage up to 70 lbs. I am still surprised that they let the bag be checked onto the plane as it was. Apparently, the lady that checked us onto the flight liked his smile. When we went to Norway, Ryan again travelled with the “giant” suitcase. This time I noticed one example of why it weighed so much. He brought a jumbo sized bottle of shampoo that was full. He had enough shampoo for 6 months – or more! I don’t think he has heard of the small travel sized versions. I can’t wait to see what he brings to Scotland.
You must be able to Spend Time in Close Quarters for Extended Periods of Time
Like most trips, it starts with the flight on the plane. Flying itself is not particularly fun. You are in a crowded space, you can’t easily move around, and overall I find it exhausting (perhaps in part because I cannot sleep on a plane). Ryan on the other hand just takes a pill and sleeps during the entire flight. As good as this sounds it wouldn’t work for me. I would only be groggy and thick-headed, but still not sleeping. Then, you will spend plenty of time packed in a vehicle not only with your friends but with the entire luggage (remember that Ryan has a giant suitcase) and camera/video equipment. Even though you may be doing lots of hiking or outdoor adventures on the trip, there will still be an abundant amount of time spent driving. While in Norway we travelled 2100 km by car, the distance travelled in Iceland was similar. The final part of the trip for getting close and personal with your traveling companions is of course the nightly accommodations. In Iceland, I spent nights in a tiny room with Paul. He snores! In Norway, Ryan and I spent one night in a hostel where the room was so tiny that only one of us could move around at a time inside the room. I had to wait in the hallway while Ryan was rummaging through his giant suitcase. So make sure that you get along with your traveling companions before venturing out on the next adventure.
Be Prepared for Inclement Weather
Let’s face it, you cannot control the weather. No matter how much you want good weather, it isn’t something we have any control over. Furthermore, it really seems like the weather forecast isn’t particularly reliable – at least beyond 24 hours. In Iceland, we had several days of rain and wind which makes it very difficult to film and especially difficult to film with the aerial drone. When the weather turned bad, Ryan started to lose his mind. Much of this fear related to potentially returning home with insufficient video for the number of episodes needed (he said his wife would kill him). It took much effort to cheer him up and make the best of the situation. When we were in Norway, bad weather was also frequent. Once again, Ryan had trouble dealing with the situation. I convinced him that we could still film – it just had to be done differently (using umbrellas, shooting from within the car out an open window, etc.). On both trips, Ryan was fixated on continuously checking the weather forecast. He would check it every 30 minutes (like it is going to change that often) and he talked about making drastic changes to our travel plans based on an unreliable forecast at best. As we prepare to visit the Highlands of Scotland, notorious for rain, drizzle, and fog, we have discussed how we will handle the weather. Ryan has assured me that he will be better and that we will simply “roll with it”. Remember, you shouldn’t worry about things that you have no control over.
Travel with someone you can Work well with
Those who know Ryan and I would probably say we are quite different, perhaps even opposites. First off, Ryan works with computers and technology and I work in the field of engineering and geology. Additionally, some people may say I am meticulous, the opposite of a risk taker, and fussy (I think I may even have heard the words “anal retentive” used to describe me). Others may have used the words: all over the place, erratic, maybe even disorganized to describe Ryan at times. Even though these differences may be insurmountable for a marriage they seem to work well if you are friends traveling on adventures. Where I like to have things planned, being so well organized does not always add to an adventure. This is where Ryan excels – walking more on the “wild side” often brings excitement and great stories to the trip. That being said, my meticulous organization often helps Ryan to stay on task and move from location to location getting great content for Trekkit TV. Let’s just say yes, Ryan and I may be very different in some ways but we do have a very similar outlook on life in general. We definitely want to be outside, breathing the fresh air and pushing ourselves to go beyond our comfort zone. We both believe that people are over stressed and detached from nature. We definitely love to travel and see new things, finding those treks off the beaten path. We both enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. This combination of similarities and differences allows us to work great together as a team filming countless adventures for Trekkit TV.
Travel with someone you can have Stimulating Conversations with
As I have mentioned before, while traveling you often have long periods of time to kill while on a plane or in a vehicle. The radio is usually not an option as you have no idea what channel is good to listen to, or more likely which channel you and your traveling companion will agree on listening to. This is definitely the case for Ryan and I, as after connecting my iPod to the car’s sound system in Norway, Ryan immediately asked me to turn off that “crazy music”. Therefore, it often comes down to conversation. Now here is where our different talents have often filled in what could have been awkward silence. Since Ryan is the technology guru, I have been able to get private lessons on computer software, photograph, videography, etc. while traveling in Iceland and Norway. Ryan on the other hand has been taught about: continental drift, mountain building, rock formations, and engineering topics. I know what you are thinking, why would anyone want to know about these things (i.e. please poke my eyes out now)! However, we are both geeks at heart and we just want to understand how things work. Our differences then make it easy to discuss these things for hours at a time. On the other hand, there are completely different, or outlandish, conversations that we can have that are both very entertaining and can become very animated. I really don’t think anyone would want me to go into much detail about these particular conversations but suffice to say we have discussed, in probably too much detail, cars, food preferences, bathroom related issues, etc. These strange conversations often lead to one or more of us being picked on relentlessly while the other busted a gut laughing. We found these stimulating conversations often came with being able to make fun of ourselves, which seemed easy for us to do.
You must have a very Understanding Wife
OK, this statement is good in a general sense but especially good if you travel to amazing locations every year with the guys. Leaving you wife at home to ferry the kids to their many activities and look after the home while you explore exotic locations around the globe with your buddies does not tend to go unnoticed. During the planning stages of each trip, as much as you want to discuss all the awesome places you will be visiting with your wife, it is best to downplay what a terrific time you will be having while she is still at home. Similarly, upon returning from these adventures, your wife will want to hear all your tales, but remember that she wasn’t there and that she was stuck at home doing the same old routine. Luckily, Ryan and I both have really awesome wives that encourage us to go on these great adventures. Having an understanding wife can make a significant difference.