In January of 2020, I went travelling for the first time with my best friend, Maisie.
We spent every day together for 3 months so, as you can imagine, we learnt a lot about each other and made memories to last a lifetime! When it comes to travelling, the solo vs group debate is a big one; stepping on a plane completely alone is a terrifying thought, but it can be equally as hard to plan a trip with someone else. However, I’ve always wanted to see the world, and I know that Maisie has the same goal, so sharing my first travel experience with her was a no-brainer!
Maisie and I met on the first day of primary school and, 14 years later, we are still such close friends. From concerts to parties, school to weekends away, we’ve literally grown up together! In 2019 we finished college and both decided to take a gap year before starting university and getting a job. I had plans to go to Bali and Maisie had booked a trip to Kenya, but we both knew that we wanted to slot in another adventure somewhere within our year out! On a random day in September, I woke up to a message from Maisie: “I’m thinking of backpacking Australia next year. Do you want to come?” One month later, our flights were booked and, before we knew it, we were 10,000 miles away from home!
Our decision to go to Australia together was very spontaneous but it worked out perfectly. Having been friends for such a long time, Maisie and I know exactly what our dynamic is like and I think this is why our travels together worked so well.
How We Planned It!
During the planning process of our trip, we were always on the same page and everything seemed to happen so naturally. Looking back, I believe that the way that we approached the planning process set the tone for the rest of our trip. We both did a lot of research and made a pact to always be honest with each other about what we wanted to achieve. When you’re spending such a long time with someone, honesty is always the best policy – and I’m so thankful that Maisie and I realised this very early on.
We based our route off of Unjaded Jade’s YouTube videos, which is where we heard about Welcome to Travel and their tour Welcome to Melbourne: The 8 Day which is where we started our journey.
There were aspects of her trip up the East Coast of Australia that neither of us were that fussed about, so instead of beating around the bush and trying to please the other person, we both made sure that we said exactly what we did and didn’t want to do.
Experiences Make A Friendship Stronger
Maisie and I are similar in so many ways, but we also have differences that came in handy whilst we were travelling. On many occasions we decided to change our accommodation, extend our stay somewhere or had to deal with an unexpected problem and the responsibility of making the phone calls would naturally fall on me. Equally, Maisie was the GPS of the trip. We’d arrive in a new place and, within a day, she’d know her way around like the back of her hand. If it wasn’t for Maisie, I’d probably still be in Hong Kong airport trying to figure out where the gate for our connecting flight is! The different practical abilities that we both had to offer made the trip unfold effortlessly.
Luckily, when it came to activities, we were always on the same page.
Be it sunset hikes, kayaking with dolphins, camping on a remote island or falling 15,000 feet from a plane, we made the most of each day.
I can’t think of anyone else crazy enough to experience these things with me! That said, it’s inevitable that there were days when we were feeling a bit down or just wanted some space. Maisie and I made sure to respect each other’s boundaries and always be there for one another. We were in it together through all of the ups and downs!