‘The only way to have a friend is to be one’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself travelling alone. The significant thing I have discovered is that I think I would struggle to travel with someone for a long period of time now that I have done it solo. I just love travelling alone. Particularly because I’m never actually alone, I have met so many people on the road and am still in contact with most. I love having the choice of joining people or doing it alone. I love doing what I want, when I want without the worry of someone else’s desires.
However this past week I have had a travelling companion. Jaime and I met in Ilha Grande, Brazil and clicked almost immediately. We then met again in Paraty and Foz do Iguacu, both Brazil. For weeks we had been trying to plan to meet in La Paz, Bolivia but it just didn’t look like our dates would cross. However when I arrived in my hostel in La Paz, there was Jaime! I have been so fortunate to have made such a good friend on the road, being two solo travellers we are comfortable saying what we think and doing activities independent of each other. Having finally been reunited we were both equally eager to travel together and so a few days later, our week together began consisting of Copacabana, Isla del Sol (Bolivia) and Puno (Peru).
Our journey to Copacabana was straightforward and finding a hostel just as easy. Being a two we had the advantage of booking a twin room with our own bathroom, a huge luxury for me as I’ve been in dorms since the beginning of my trip. The town is sweet and quiet, just what we both wanted and as we had a relaxing two nights there we took advantage of the 20km hike around half of Lake Titicaca. The views were incredible and I loved seeing Bolivians in their natural habitat, a whole world away from what I’m used to. After Copacabana we took the boat to Isla del Sol where we planned to spend three nights. The island has no WiFi connection and the power went down for one of the days. However Jaime and I felt we needed the lack of internet, beautiful scenery, early nights and long hikes.Once again a twin room was purchased and we fell into the slow, easy pace of the island. Whilst travelling with someone does mean you meet less people, it made a nice change for me.My favourite part of travelling with someone is the laughter. You’re able to create inside jokes and have moments which aren’t the same with someone you’ve only known a couple of hours. I have not had continuous company for longer than four days and I enjoyed not having to ‘get to know’ Jaime, having done that stage of our friendship in Brazil. We even had a slightly trying day when Jaime got out the wrong side of the bed and spent the morning with a face like a sulky toddler. However our honesty kept us from going crazy and after hiking separately a little (and after I told him to pull himself together) our easy connection resumed. Our journey to Puno commenced without difficulty and on arrival we not only made a friend from the bus but proceeded to purchase a triple room together with a private bathroom and TV! Travelling as a group is such a luxury!