Adventuring as a group is the stuff of song. The band of brothers, the leather-clad, grease-stained marauders; road trips and wars, pilgrimages abound. There are two ways to go about this; plan a trip with people you know or jump into a brood of people who you don’t.
OPTION #1: Go with your friends and, man oh man, the things you love and hate about each other will get magnified. Regardless, I imagine if you do this, the people in your group have already proven themselves worthy of sharing cabs, leaky toilets, and negotiations with angry armed guards at every border-crossing. Trust is crucial in these moments, and with that in tow, pushing yourselves to the limits becomes that much more feasible.
OPTION #2: Starting off as strangers to kayak, bear hunt, or camp means one infallible truth: You will not be strangers for long. You’ll share pictures, follow each other on at least two social media platforms—you may even bag a hook-up or two. This option can be awfully fun. The only downside is the ever-present wild card: You don’t know who is joining you on the bus or the boat or the five-day safari. Could be Loud Snorer, or Constant Complainer. At the end of the day this is sort of a high-risk/high-reward scenario. Perhaps the greatest advantage doing it this way is the sense of adventure that comes with getting to know someone new; experiencing an unknown social landscape in tandem with a new physical frontier. Besides, think about, all your worn out stories that your friends can recite by heart. . . they are brand new and wayyyy more interesting to the Australian surfer or “bird from Essex” in your newfound crew.
It’s important to realize, however, that Option #1 will always have the potential—and I mean always—to combine with Option #2. Even in most of our cases, which translates roughly to “hitting the streets, pubs, and hiking trails with standoffish (ex-)ground-combat guys plus their women insane enough to be called ‘girlfriend’,” we’d have to go out of our collective way not to meet the local toughs or the sparkle-eyed yogis out to find themselves, thus inevitably becoming a short-lived, exhilarating super-group. If meeting new people is one of your pre-travel goals, remember that starting as a group can make achieving this goal that much easier.
Why? Travel alone and you may be viewed as a thing of caution.
Much of this has to do with how the majority of the world (and almost all cool places worth flying to) are communalistic in nature. Translation: They see someone alone and immediately assume there is something wrong with them. To the locals, this loner has been outcast, shunted, shunned. A smiling member of a rowdy group, by contrast, has already been vetted.
And speaking of groups—we know who makes up the bulk of our audience. With that in mind; polish the pistols, pack the rubbers, and finish the tail-end of this piece knowing we aren’t forgetting why most of you clicked this. *Cue bloodshed.
Groups of nothing but men: Dangerous, all-out, good-ol’-fashion adventure better take you to countries where collectivism is king (for a refresher on Collectivism, see Travel Tip #1). In these lands, a group of men traveling together are often viewed as something like roaming, prideless lions. This is when (let’s be honest) muscles flex, the once-terrible suggestion becomes the next great idea, the right crowds part, just as the right crowds begin checking their lipstick. For those of you who’ve experienced this, you know the sense of invulnerability can be addicting.
There is an element that comes with this, however. Call it a risk, or call it a perk: The chance of running into a similar group.
These types of clashes almost happen all of the time. What stops them from going down is a few simple ingredients are missing.
Take two groups of men: A and B.
Group A talks shit to Group B, but Group B doesn’t have the stomach for a fight. The result = no fight.
Or, Group A walks politely by Group B and says nothing while Group B was praying they’d start something. The result = again, nothing.
You get it, and could probably drum up a dozen other examples. It boils down to opposing sides need to both possess a certain level of aggression. When this does occur—the Whose Dick’s Bigger Syndrome— there’s usually some:
To wrap all this up and toss in your ruck; whether assessing risks, assessing perks, traveling as a mixed group, starting as strangers or starting as old friends, knowing someone’s got your six is paramount. Yep, I’d say it’s about trust. Pure and lasting. Creating it and then relying on it.