The other day while munching donuts with two gal-pals, the subject of travel came up. One said, "It's really, really hard to find someone to travel with." The other agreed. At first, I did, too. I said, "Chris & I travel quite well together - I mean, sure, there's the odd day during a 2-week trip when we want to do separate things, but generally speaking we want to have the same trip. I guess we're lucky."
The more I thought about it later, however, the more I wondered. What, exactly, makes a "good travel companion?" Does it have to be the person who wants to do every single thing you want to do, so you're having identical trips right next to each other? I think that's what most people would say - that you'd share all the experiences with someone who wanted to have those experiences, too.
But take, for example, the situation of a friend of mine and her partner of something like seven thousand years (okay, my brain doesn't retain that kind of stuff, but trust me - it's a long time). They both like to travel, and have done a fair bit of it together. What's interesting is that they never sit next to each other on the plane on any trip they take. They can't stand each other's "plane habits," or something like that, and have found that if they just sit apart they're much happier about spending the rest of the trip together. Now, I don't know if they do some separate but equal activities during the trips, or if the plane ride is the only thing they do alone, but it's something that's interesting to me.
Another more extreme example is my mother and her brother. Both love to travel, and as they're both unmarried, they've traveled together a couple times - sharing major expenses like car rentals and big hotel rooms - but they do virtually nothing together during the days. They'll usually meet for dinner each evening, but I think that's about it. And yet my mom considers him a good travel companion (I'm sure she'd prefer to have someone with similar interests for some trips, but sometimes I think she enjoys just taking off on her own with the security of knowing there's someone else around in case things go pear-shaped.)
Anyway, it's an interesting subject, certainly not one I have any answers for (I'm much better at the questions). And by the way, Chris may well characterize the way he and I travel together completely differently... I dare him to speak up if he does... ;)