So why do sisters make the best travel companions?
As an avid traveler, I’ve learned finding a great travel companion is not always the easiest task. My perfect travel companion is someone who can roll with the punches but is not too much of a pushover, enjoys engaging in deep conversation yet is also comfortable with silence, is a team player but can take charge when decisions need to be made, loves to indulge but is practical about expenditures, and is down for anything yet knows when its time to say no. I need someone who can keep me grounded when the going gets tough, who is willing to embrace the newness of everything, and wants to have as much fun as possible! After going over my list of requirements, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been describing my two sisters this whole time.
As my constant companions throughout life, it’s obvious that they’d be the ideal companions on the road. Sure, I’d be lying to say that we’re always happy campers when we’re together. I’ve had some pretty hellacious moments with these two but its never been too catastrophic that we haven’t been able to kiss and make-up. And that’s the beauty of sisterhood: that even with all the drama we serve one another, we can hug it out the end. I’m missing my sisters like crazy right now given the fact that they’re both in Brazil celebrating a milestone birthday —bottoms up baby Dre!— while I’m thousands of miles away in Vietnam. (Boo-hoo, sorta, but not really). But in honor of my baby sister’s big twenty-first birthday, here are ten reasons why sisters make the BEST travel companions!
1. THERE’S SOMEONE TO CAPTURE “THE MOMENTS”
From my own experiences traveling alone or being with people who aren’t as committed to recording every minute of an adventure, taking photos becomes somewhat of a nuisance. When you have your sisters around, it never feels like an imposition to ask for a photo every minute. It’s actually second nature that someone is cataloging the trip — if not for ourselves, then for mom and dad’s sake. Every moment captured is a way to document our family history. And the best part is that someone always has back-ups just in case phones get stolen or memory cards accidentally get erased!
2. YOUR WARDROBE WILL DOUBLE
… or in my case, triple! I count myself so incredibly lucky that both of my sisters have a killer sense of style and that they never refuse to share their clothes when we’re traveling. It’s way more practical to just trade clothing instead of overpacking. The woes of a heavy suitcase disappear completely when sisters are in tow. In fact, one of my favorite things about traveling with my sisters is that they style my outfits every day on the road. There’s nothing better than starting the day feeling beautiful because your sisters took the time and effort to make you feel your very best.
3. THEY’LL HELP MANAGE STRESS LEVELS
While there may be times they’re adding to your stress instead of reducing it, they’re mostly trying to help relieve you of your anxieties. Sisters tend to be very emotionally attuned to one another. If someone is sensing tension, it triggers an empathetic reaction in the other(s) and prompts a need to share the burdens. As a person suffering from social anxiety disorder, I can get super stressed-out while I’m traveling. My sisters can immediately sense when I’m feeling overwhelmed and rush to my aid, no matter the circumstance.
4. THEY KNOW WHAT YOUR LIMITS ARE
… meaning they can rightfully assess when something is too much for you handle or, if you’re short-changing yourself. It’s empowering to be supported endlessly but its also comforting to have a fall back when you’re feeling afraid of something. Its important to be in the company of people who have an understanding of your capabilities so doubt doesn’t cripple you but in the same vein, you aren’t endangering yourself. When I was nineteen, I dragged Mira and Andrea on a punishing climb up a volcano in Guatemala. Halfway up, I knew that it was more than I bargained for and Andrea was especially suffering, so I took it upon myself to hire a horse to take her the rest of the way up. I was able to address my mistake and prevent my sister from resenting me because I knew what her limits were.
5. THEY HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART
In respect to all aspects of our lives, I believe that good siblings a) want you to have fun; b) want you to feel good; c) want you to be happy; d) want you to be healthy, and e) want you to succeed. I’ve seen sisters and brother move mountains if its in their power to do so, to ensure that these hopes are achieved. The benefit of having a sister as a travel companion is you have someone who genuinely cares for your overall well-being. When my sisters and I travel together, we become very doting of one another, almost to the point of coddling. As travel companions, sisters become more responsible of one another since we are personally invested in each other’s welfare.
6. THEY CAN TAKE YOUR HONESTY
No matter how close you are to someone, there’s always the fear that offense will be taken, especially while you’re traveling. I’ve seen the strongest friendships crumble because of some mishap on the road. With a sister as your traveling partner, you don’t have to walk on eggshells just to keep the peace. As sisters, you have had a lifetime to learn how to settle your difference. Also, if sh** hits the fan, they’re kinda stuck with you forever so its more in their favor to forgive and forget. When I’m not up for something, I don’t have to lie to my sisters. When I’m angry about something, I don’t have to suppress my frustrations. It’s healthy to be on an adventure where you can be more of yourself as opposed to the person your traveling partner wants you to be.
7. THERE’S NO SHAME IN ANYTHING YOU DO
Let’s be real: who hasn’t dreamed of being an Arabian princess??? Even with an angry Turkish photographer criticizing our inability to “smize** like we meant it,” we didn’t back down from a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity! Now who else would convince you that putting on a smelly head scarf worn by millions of tourists in a musty underground reservoir would be a good idea? Your sisters have seen you make a fool of yourself a bunch of times. Chances are they’re used to it by now or you’re used to the judgement. Either way, they want you to have fun and they’re probably enduring the humiliation right beside you (see picture below).
**where you smile… using only your eyes – a term coined by diva-queen Tyra Banks of America’s Next Top Model
8. THEY’RE ALWAYS DOWN TO TRY NEW THINGS WITH YOU
Footlong doner kebabs in Turkey, sketchy roadside pupusas in Guatemala, questionable conveyer belt sushi in Poland… okay, okay, so new things don’t always entail foodfoodfood (… maybe to the Pulido girls it does…). But the general statement is true: when we’re surrounded by people we are comfortable with, it’s easier to be goaded out of our comfort zones. It’s hard to try new things alone. But sisters provide the camaraderie we need to face the new and unfamiliar. Sisters are masters at the art of persuasion ie. use copious amounts of flattery, drop words of encouragement here and there, hype-up the fun, and go the guilt-trip route. Also, sisters usually don’t want to leave each other behind so they’re bound to accompany you whether or not they want to.
9. THEY WILL BE GENEROUS TOWARDS YOU
Its an uncontested truth that when you’re on the road with family, they will take care of you no matter the cost. When we were children, our travel expenses were covered by our parents. They not only wanted us to see the world, but ultimately, grow closer as a family. My sisters and I shared everything on these trips: a bed, clothes, food, souvenirs, photos, and most importantly, these memories of places that we may never return to. Because of our upbringing, in adulthood, we’ve continue to give to one another graciously and generously. My sisters never fail to amaze me with their thoughtfulness on our trips: they’ve paid for my massages, covered my meals, and even treated me to shopping sprees in the past! These actions speak volumes when you take into consideration that our trips (flights, transportation, food, etc.) are all covered by our own hard-earned cash. Now that’s love.
10. YOU’LL HAVE YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM WITH YOU
When you have a sister as your travel companion, you’ll never be alone. They’ve been with you through thick and thin so when you’re on the road together, they will always have your back in times of need. The act of traveling is like being on an emotional rollercoaster — one minute you could be at your highest high, checking off a bucket list item you’ve only ever dreamed of and in a blink of an eye, you could be at your lowest low, having been mugged with no way to recover your lost belonging. In these ordeals, they will be laughing and crying with you. They won’t bat an eye if they have to defend your honor. You have your cheerleader/voice of reason/bodyguard/girl-friend/best friend neatly packaged in the form of a sister. The universe has created the perfect companion to follow you not only on your life journey, but also your journey around the world.
As the years pass, I’ve seen the dynamics in my household shift. We’ve begun to move onto the next chapters of our lives — but in separate directions. I’ve been based abroad for the past two years; Mira is on the verge her college graduation and is finishing up her last semester of school in Brazil; and Andrea is a few months away from embarking on her college study abroad. The only time we can remedy geographic estrangement with one another is during our trips together. As the physical distance widens between us, we find ourselves growing more nostalgic of the times –and places– we once shared. It is during my walks down memory lane that I’ve been able to grasp how much my sisters have been there for me and were the fundamental piece to all my best trips.From Bosnia to Belize, Turkey to Thailand and where to next, I daresay. All that’s sure is that I have not one, but two of the BEST travel companions, and they’re mine for a lifetime ♥