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Adrienne

Africa, Life, Morocco, Photography, Tips, Travel

Travelling with Friends

They say you never truly know someone until you travel with them. I kind of agree with that sentiment, but I also think that if someone you know well ends up surprising you when you travel together, then you probably haven’t really been paying that much attention anyway…

I’ve been lucky enough to travel with a bunch of different people – partners, close friends, family, and even the random friends-of-friends who have ended up becoming great pals. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned through all of it, it’s that you’ve gotta pay attention to the chemistry of the group, and what everyone is into. So for the final blog about our Moroccan adventure, I wanted to chat with Lisa and Daniel (two of my most wonderful friends, and my excellent travel companions on this journey) and share some insights into what we found worked for us on our travels around the country.

First off, a bit of background. How do we all even know each other? Lisa is a shining light from New York City. Whenever I think of NYC, I think of Lisa. The two just go hand in hand, and I know that a trip to the city will always involve stupid jokes and her bright smile and my own fruitless efforts trying to get her cat Gus to love me. We first met in 2012 when we both attended Phoot Camp. Lisa was a complete stranger and she offered me a place to stay in NYC before we headed upstate for Phoot – I literally showed up on her doorstep one evening and crashed on her couch for a few days – she’s been one of my dearest people ever since.

Daniel was originally a friend of Lisa’s – a while ago now Lisa was in Paris, and found herself taking French lessons. Daniel (originally from Venezuela and now living in Paris) was in her class, and they became best friends. It’s beautiful to see them together. They have a shorthand between them of total ease and contentment. I met Daniel for the first time when Lisa, myself, and our friend Mo all happened to be in Paris at the same time. Lisa introduced us all (and we met Daniel’s wonderful partner Stephane there too) and we spent a few days wandering the city together, hanging out in their typically tiny Parisian apartment in the eaves of an old building, and taking a lot of photographs – and have been friends ever since 🙂

So – fast forward to the start of this year. Morocco had been at the very top of my bucket list for about 12 years, and I still hadn’t been. In my mind, I’d kind of seen it as the perfect place to explore with a partner. So I’d held off going until I was with someone who was interested and would love it as much as I was sure I was going to. Well, relationships came and went, and it still didn’t happen, and honestly I just wanted to go there already. I posted on Instagram that I really wanted to go to Morocco one day very soon, and a few hours later I had a text from Lisa: ‘Hey I’ll go to Morocco with you!’

From there on it snowballed. Lisa said she was heading to Paris to visit Daniel – why don’t we all go together? Within 3 weeks, the trip was booked and we were hugging each other in the airport in Marrakech. The ease with which this trip came together was to be a signal of how easy the rest of the trip was to be…You’d think that trying to organise an international journey with three people living in three different countries might be difficult, but when it came down to it, it really wasn’t. Sure we faffed around a bit, but when it came to crunch time we all assumed responsibility for booking various things, and agreed to just let the rest happen naturally. What a lovely way to travel <3

So, here we go. Our individual thoughts and feelings on travelling with friends, and how we made the most of our time together…

LISA
The American, living in New York

Is there a reason why you choose to travel with certain people? What do you think are the ingredients that make a person or group good to travel with?

Usually because we have similar expectations on what makes a trip a good trip.  I like to walk around a lot, I like to eat well, I like staying in unique places, I like to take my time and not overly schedule things.  Traveling with friends who are the same page about that stuff ensures that everybody has fun and not stress. I love traveling with friends – spending a weekend with a group of friends upstate, or taking a special trip with friends I don’t get to see in everyday life.

Image by Lisa Weatherbee

How do you decide where to go? Does it take a long time for you to plan a trip, or does it come together quickly? How did it work for this Morocco trip?

I want to go everywhere!  Sometimes it’s from seeing pictures of a place and feeling inspired, sometimes it’s from books I’ve read…I tend to be slightly more a city person than an outdoor adventure type of person…but both are fun!  Just depends on what feels good, and where we can find a good deal. I like to go back to places I’ve already visited – for me, if I remember a meal we had that was just perfect, I want to go back and do it again, maybe with the same person or different people…Sometimes travelling can be a little bit stressful – you want to have a memorable trip…so going back and knowing good spots is something look forward to – you can mix it up with some new places but you can relive memories and create traditions from places you’ve been before.

Images by Lisa Weatherbee

Travelling with other people can be tricky – is there anything you suggest people do to make it easier? Is there anything that worked great for you on this, or previous trips?

Just travel with laid-back people for the most part.  Be flexible, and when things go wrong (which they will), make the best of it.  Don’t let a missed connection, or an awkward encounter, or a disappointing meal ruin your day.  Go with the flow and laugh about things whenever possible.

Images by Lisa Weatherbee

Is there a reason why you choose to travel with certain people? What do you think are the ingredients that make a person or group good to travel with?

Usually because we have similar expectations on what makes a trip a good trip.  I like to walk around a lot, I like to eat well, I like staying in unique places, I like to take my time and not overly schedule things.  Traveling with friends who are the same page about that stuff ensures that everybody has fun and not stress.

Image by Lisa Weatherbee

Image by Lisa Weatherbee

Tell me about your favourite (and least favourite!) parts of the Morocco trip – what were the highlights for you, the things you will never forget? Is it little personal moments, amazing views, a meal, perfect photo, or something else?

My favourite part would be the sense of discovery felt with each day, the excitement of exploration with friends.  And it was fun to travel with my fellow photographers…we understood why a bus station was particularly compelling (the light!) and we could all fall in love with a wall.  Least favourite part would be the times when I wanted to just blend into the background, but couldn’t – pretty impossible to do in Morocco.  As much as I may want to romanticize our trip, in Morocco I am very much a tourist and I look like a tourist.  It’s hard to get away from that label, and sometimes I just wanted to be me.

Image by Lisa Weatherbee

ADRIENNE
The New Zealander, living in London

Has it always been successful for you, travelling with friends?

Honestly, no! There was one time in particular where I really should have thought about the dynamic and interests of the group before agreeing to go on the trip. When we got stuck in our destination for many days longer than we had planned, it turns out that my fellow travellers just wanted to sit in the nearest British pub and watch the football – and I really couldn’t imagine anything worse. So I took myself off on day trips to nearby countries, explored the coastline solo, and generally lamented the fact that I was travelling with people who really weren’t that interested in… travelling. After that trip I really learned that it was only worth it to travel with people who are into similar things, or have a similar idea of what they want to do on a trip. Some of my favourites lately have actually been with my Mum! You can read about how she and I travel together here.

Image by Adrienne Pitts

Do you have any top tips for making travelling in a group easier?

I do! I’ve travelled with various people – boyfriends, friends, and family, and I really think it helps to chat about these things first. Every single one of those trips has been successful when we’ve done these 2 things:

1. Decide what your must-do’s are

It goes without saying that when you’re travelling, especially when your days are limited, that you might not be able to fit in everything that you want to do. If you each choose, and let each other know, what your top 2 or 3 must-do’s are, then we all can promise we will do those things, and everyone gets to see/do what they really want. If there’s any time left over, then anything else that can be done is gravy.

2. Have a kitty to pay for things

This just makes things SO much easier. Not only am I a freelancer, but many of my friends are too, so money isn’t exactly flowing out of our pockets and onto the ground we walk on. If you’re travelling with people and plan on basically going to the same places and eating/drinking the same amount, it makes it sooooo much easier to have a kitty that you all put money into – and every meal, camel ride, and glass of wine is paid for with it. That way you don’t have to keep track of who has paid what, there are no hurt feelings, and no-one is short-changed. If a kitty of cash really isn’t your thing (it should be!) then the Splitwise app is also a great way of making sure that the totals remain tallied, and it’ll send you a handy email when your trip is over, with who owes what.

Images by Adrienne Pitts

Did you have any favourite moments along the way on your Moroccan trip?

I think we all loved when we were walking through the Jamaa el Fna in Marrakech, when all of a sudden Daniel and I realised that Lisa was no longer walking next to us. Slightly panicked, we started looking around us (it’s a busy area) and ended up spying her atop one of the fruit juice carts, behind the counter, helping out the man selling juice. It totally didn’t surprise us.

One of my other favourite memories also involves Lisa – who is the quintessential cat lady. Morocco is a country that really loves and reveres cats, so it should come as no surprise that in the town of Chefchaouen, on a very cold night, Lisa let one of the hotel cats sleep in her bed with her.

Oh, and that time the herb man told us he could cure us all of snoring, and made us huff nigella seeds up our noses…

Images by Adrienne Pitts

Was there anything that surprised you about this trip together?

I don’t think there was anything that surprised me, but I did love how a lot of the tiny little moments ended up being my favourites. We had been super excited about heading out to a beautiful waterfall one day, but by the time we got to the area we realised we had left it way too late in the day, and we weren’t going to be able to make it. So we had a makeshift picnic by the river instead, sitting in the sunshine and chatting, then hiking out of the park as the sun set. Talk about making the most of a situation 🙂

I also really loved our chill-out moments. When we’d get back to our riad late at night, and spend an hour or so with candles lit, music on, chatting and editing photos. Or the sweet sweet bliss of hunting down one of the few places in town we could get an ice-cold beer from. Little things. Special moments.

Image by Adrienne Pitts

DANIEL
The Venezuelan, living in Paris

How often would you say you travel with friends each year?

We travel quite a lot, most of the time on get away weekends. I think it’s because living in a cosmopolitan city, you often feel saturated and for me there’s nothing better than a change of context.

Images by Daniel Pieruzzini

What do you think are the ingredients that make a person or group good to travel with?

In my opinion, the most important ingredient is to be free to talk about your wishes, expectations or state of mind. Sometimes during travel the expectations of each person might not be the same. You only need good discussion and openness to satisfy each persons needs.

Images by Daniel Pieruzzini

Tell me about your favourite (and least favourite!) parts of the Morocco trip – what were the highlights for you, the things you will never forget? Is it little personal moments, amazing views, a meal, perfect photo, or something else?

I liked that we kind of developed our own language between French, English and Spanish, and because of them having this mixture of those three languages, it made it easier for us to communicate with people. And within the three of us, because we spoke those languages, we could communicate with them.

Chefchaouen was really beautiful because we discovered this little village in the mountains, and the views there were really beautiful, and the energy was really nice. We managed to escape and make a trip to the mountains to the waterfall, we didn’t make it but we saw the mountains and the sunset and it was beautiful.

One of my favourite photos I took is the one with the ladder and the rugs. We were in the rug store and Adrienne was trying to find the perfect rug, in this big store. There was a back room and it was super dark, but this ray of light captured my attention and I wanted to photograph it. I went in and was concentrating hard – the light was low and I knew i needed to figure out the settings on my camera. As I took the photo I heard this massive snore behind me. There was a guy sleeping on the couch.

Images by Daniel Pieruzzini

What do you think worked well with our group

We had the same interests, and we were all making the effort to have special moments, and everyone collaborated with what they wanted to do. There were no imposed roles, so any one of us could find a cab or talk to someone, find a restaurant (though that’s more Lisa’s thing!). We wanted to have the same experience –  to enjoy things without hurrying each other up. We stayed 2 hours in the school, we could have done it faster, but because everyone was finding different things to photograph or waiting for people to pass by, we spent more time in places. There was no hurry.

Images by Daniel Pieruzzini

 

 

So what’s next? Well, we didn’t get to go to the desert this time around, so stay tuned… we might just be having another Moroccan adventure together soon. I can’t wait 🙂

 

Want to see more? Find everyone online:

Lisa Instagram | Website

Daniel Instagram | Website

Adrienne Instagram | Website