Though this blog was begun on a train trip which at the moment has me traveling up the North American Pacific coast, the real impetuous for all of this started well before, with a series of trips which have become known in my family as the Siblings Abroad. I will over time get back to these trips and describe parts of them in these pages where they illustrate something useful to discuss.
They became a way for me to hone skills for eventually traveling alone, such as on this trip. I learned a lot about backpacking travel, planning and finding information on routes, setting and then keeping to a budget, staying in hostels and small inns, and with only bringing the gear that you can carry easily on your back.
I am deeply indebted to my traveling buddies which include my sister Mary Dana and my brother Bryan.
And though he is not a sibling, that is a mere technicality because he is one of my very best friends, Julian, who lives outside London and joined me on a memorable trek through the Lake District. We walked from Inn to Inn each day and pub to pub for refreshments. Julian and I had been talking about that trip for something like 15 years and we finally just went and did it back in May of 2017. He taught me a lot about the joys of sharing, talking without tiring of it, and constantly laughing with a great traveling buddy. Something that many people cannot do very well.
I think that perhaps there are a lot of solo travelers out in the world who rave about their freedoms, but in reality I suspect that many simply have been with the wrong partner before. There are few social situations worse than traveling with someone that doesn’t share your vision and priorities. If that has been their experience previously then no wonder they rave over going alone.
The banner photo above was taken on the Ring road in southern Iceland after a few days with Mary Dana staying in hostels and experiencing some of the most dramatic landscapes anywhere. Thanks to her for being a founding Siblings Abroad member. We learned a lot together about how to maximize the hostel experience and make it work on a daily basis.
The banner headline is my none too subtle nod to Norman Maclean’s novella about the transformative power of commitment and love between siblings while they intensely share in the natural world around them. Trout fishing for some, wild windswept landscapes for me. I think his message is that traveling through life alone has advantages, but traveling with the right buddy is always far better.