There are two types of people in this world: people who love maps and directions, and people who could just as happily do without them. Because opposites attract, these two different types of people often find themselves bound together as spouses, best friends, or roommates. Eventually, people who love maps and directions will find themselves on a road trip with the people who want to be spontaneous and travel without such extensive planning. This is where the trouble starts.
As soon as the engine turns over, or even hours before, the person who loves maps and directions will unfold a map and begin poring over various routes. The person who dislikes maps and directions will immediately bristle at the thought of following a map. After all, they know approximately where they are going; isn’t that good enough? It’s easy to see that a conflict is inevitable, and that this conflict, along with the very different styles of managing a trip, could cause ongoing problems throughout the road trip. However, it does not have to be this way. People who need maps and directions can take vacations and trips with people who dislike them, but only if they follow a few basic ground rules.
- Plan ahead. The trip will be much easier if everyone involved can agree on a master plan and trip philosophy before the car leaves the driveway. To what extent will maps and directions, along with other navigational and planning tools, be used? Once the people in question come to an agreement on this point, the rest will be easy.
- Compromise. Although it can be difficult to understand someone with a very different viewpoint, much less have a discussion with them, hearing your travel partner’s point of view and giving in on a few issues can make them feel better about giving you your own way when it matters to you. Maybe you can use the more rigid method of following maps and directions strictly for certain segments of the trip, while driving spontaneously during other times. Another good compromise is bringing along a map “just in case,” but not using it at most stretches of the trip.
- Be tolerant. Remember that there is a good reason the other person is in your life, most likely several great reasons in fact. We tend to choose people who are different from us for close relationships because we innately know that they will enrich our lives and expand our horizons. The area of maps and directions is no exception. People who love maps and directions could probably benefit from putting aside their plans to simple enjoy the ride, while people who dislike maps and directions can often learn much from those who are more organized. There is room in the world for all types of people, and no one type is more important than another. Keeping this in mind will make it easier to understand and tolerate your differently minded road trip partner.
Taking a road trip with a person who is very different from you may sound like a nightmare, but with a little planning and a lot of patience, there is no reason this trip can’t be the trip of your dreams. Maps and directions are important, but people are much more important. Taking a trip with someone you love should be a wonderful experience, so don’t let anything get in the way.