Travelling with a control freak is, I imagine, really difficult and perhaps not that much fun. I wouldn’t know. Probably because in a travelling duo, I am the control freak.
With the exception of the Russia debacle, I am relentlessly organised before a trip. Every destination is thoroughly researched. Every journey is googled using a number of booking websites, stop overs and airlines. Travel forums are inundated with my questions. And while all of these things are immensely time-consuming, I really enjoy the researching and organising stage. So, at this point, any travelling companion of mine can consider themselves pretty lucky. I will happily provide them with all the information on the chosen destination, including a thorough break down of costs.
So what about the actually travelling, you know, that bit between leaving home and returning? That’s perhaps where being a control freak is a less beneficial characteristic.
I hope that I am a wonderful travel companion in many ways, I do have an obsessive need to check that my passport is where I left it throughout the journey. And for most of the journey, I will rack my brains wondering what it is that could possibly be creating that ‘forgotten something’ feeling that I can’t seem to shake. And I might even have a mini meltdown when I think I’ve lost something when in fact I am holding it. I will insist on bringing my guide book with me, in case I get lost, and the pages will probably be covered in markings, underlinings and highlighting. I will pat my pockets at regular intervals to ensure that nothing has magically escaped. I will search for my phone again and again, just in case I stupidly dropped it. (Once, in Verona, I ended up on the brink of tears, convinced that I had lost my phone, only to find it my bag fifteen minutes later – but that’s another story).
However, I have come to realise that these silly obsessions tend to detract from the entire experience. So, while I can’t guarantee that I won’t indulge in any of them (because I will still annotate my guide book), I have tried to cut down. Last year, I nervously handed over my passport at the beginning of the journey, letting someone else be in charge. I even handed over my file full of confirmations and booking references. Because I really think it is much easier for a non-control freak to take charge from the point of leaving home. In Russia, I may take it a step further. I might hand over my phone (or perhaps, leave it somewhere safe?). I certainly won’t plan too much or create a ‘Things To Do’ list. In fact, so far I only have one thing planned for St Petersburg.