Travelers come in many forms. They’re all different and have characteristics that make them excellent companions. I’ve come to meet a few:
The Navigator is never lost, at least not forever. Adept at pathfinding, with a keen sense of direction, she has an uncanny knack for plotting the best way to get to the final destination (although sometimes the best is not necessarily the fastest). She’s perfectly at home with using maps, the compass, or high-tech GPS devices. The navigator is also not afraid to ask for directions, knowing that the locals are her best resource.
Often the first person to be invited on a trip is the one with a good sense of humor, because we all know that journeys are always better with comic relief. The Jester is a master at finding just the right time to crack a joke — to lighten the mood or to lift spirits. The best of them are superior empaths, knowing exactly how a group or individual feels. A few of the more talented Jesters also pick up skills like playing the guitar or consuming liquor in strange, comical ways.
If you’ve ever wanted to travel through time, travel with the Historian. His knowledge of people and cultures is unmatched. With the Historian you’ll experience new places richly. Visit familiar sites, and you’ll see them with new eyes. When you roam the world with him, suddenly that 50-foot-high mundane rock wall that you gave little attention to becomes the site of an epic battle. What was once seen as an ordinary, worn-out house turns into a place of romance and revelry — all from a period long, long ago. Historians are natural sponges of information, and they’re among the finest storytellers.
You’ll notice the Journalist. She’s often the one with the camera — the big one. She might have a few notebooks in her pockets (and more in her backpack). At night, while everyone is asleep, she’s still busy writing the day’s blog entry. The folks at home eagerly wait for her photos, often wonderful, to be uploaded onto Facebook or Instagram. Do not mistake the Journalist for someone who’s not enjoying the moment — she is, in more ways than you can imagine. The Journalist is a multi-tasker and a keen observer. You’ll appreciate her greatly after your vacation ends and your life returns to normal, because her awesome stories and photos will bring back great memories.
When the Charmer speaks, people listen. It isn’t just her words, it’s the way she gestures that calms everyone around her. Don’t be surprised when even the most guarded strangers suddenly share their life stories with her. Her mind and actions are like poetry; they ebb and flow like an invisible aura. Many great favors have been done for travelers because their Charmer worked her magic — free food, better rooms, unexpected gifts. With the Charmer you’ll be able to visit spots ordinary tourists wouldn’t have the chance to see — often in modes of transportation reserved only for the most important people.
Michelin stars, you say? He knows where they are. Fine dining too snobby? Not a problem. He can find all the little holes-in-the-wall. The Gastronomist is a connoisseur and food hunter who’ll make sure that every day you travel, your meals will be delightful.
Say hello to the Party Animal. He knows how to have a good time. He’ll often be seen with a drink in one hand and a dance partner in the other. With the Party Animal, you’ll get access to all the exclusive clubs, and the bouncers will offer you fist bumps along the way. Prepare to collect stories of epic nights and many, many new acquaintances. The Party Animal is a creature of the night and a man of the moment.
If you find yourself hanging on for dear life on some cliff as the wind howls into your ears, then you’re probably traveling with the Adventurer. The Adventurer never tires, and her energy is boundless. You’ll be tiptoeing through narrow mountainside paths or biking downhill at breakneck speed. Your accommodations are in her bag. Be prepared to be awed by majestic sunrises and the magnificent outdoors.
If it’s your first time shopping with the Haggler, remember one rule: Let her do the talking. She’s a master negotiator and can sniff out a good buy anywhere. The Haggler knows her way around the labyrinthine marketplaces of the world. When you travel with the Haggler, you’ll come home hauling bags brimming with new treasures.
Illustrations by Mark Joseph Deutsch. This post originally appeared at Medium and is republished here with permission.