For a trip to Antarctica, the travelers are well-traveled travelers. One of the best and most fun parts of my experiences was talking to people and seeing where they have been and where they wanted to go next. It was a great way to get advice for future trips as well!
For a good number of this, this was Continent #7. It was actually kind of funny for those that it wasn’t as most would assume that Antarctica is the hardest and most expensive to get to.
One of the best parts about having these well-traveled travelers was that there weren’t competitive conversations. It was a real and genuine interest in what people had to say about their experiences in other places and typically someone else would chime in with their experience at that same place. But again not in a competitive manner but in a teaching and expanding one’s knowledge manner. I got a lot of ideas for some of my upcoming trips (I’m always planning about 10 if not more…).
This may sound silly but I typically don’t bring up my extensive travel resume when talking to other travelers. Instead I like to just listen to what they have to say. You have travel braggers who tend to not actually have a lot to brag about, perhaps they’ve been on one trip and now they think they know how the world works. There are also those that have now been on one trip and can’t believe how the world has opened up to them. They are beginning to plan the next trip and can’t believe that they waited this long to travel. These are fun people to talk to as you can just see the excitement growing within them. They are also the ones who will ask questions and probe deeper.
I find that the more I travel, the more humble I become. Perhaps it’s the experiences that I have and the fact that I tend to leave with more questions than answers upon departing. It’s easy to spot the actual travelers though, the way they present their travels is done in a way that is almost a part of their being rather than a sharing of their exploits.
Traveling alone allows one to meet more people I feel. It’s less threatening than a twosome or more. On this trip I had some unique experiences that I don’t feel would have been the same with a partner, not that I don’t look forward to traveling with my S.O., friends, and family in the future.
At dinner at an Argentine steakhouse, an older couple asked me if I was eating alone. I said yes and we engaged in conversation throughout our respective meals, including sharing a plate of creamed spinach.
In an Irish pub in Ushuaia, I spoke with an Argentinian who had just began to travel. I was so excited for him. We sat and chatted for a long time. I can’t even say until dark as it was still light out when I walked out of the pub at a late hour.
In Scotland, more than a decade ago, I chatted in Spanish with a couple of Spaniards out on Lochness. It was the most unique experience for me and was actually one of those eye-opening experiences where I realized that traveling could take me anywhere, including to the middle of the lake and a Spanish conversation.
In Spain, I was on an run when an older man, noticing my height, asked me about basketball. He was very proud of Pau Gasol, a Spaniard is in the NBA. We sat on a bench in a park for a good half hour discussing life and basketball. This was another eye-opening traveling experience for me.
A couple of years ago, I was on a trip with a person who said that they didn’t want to travel until they have a partner so that they could experience it with them. I laughed. Why wait? And why depend on others? If you want to see the world and have it open itself to you, go! Now!