A travel group is like a dysfunctional family, but better. The familiar interpersonal dynamics are all present, but you don’t have to get together every holiday. To some degree, the tour replicates the intimacy of the family unit. One astute companion noted that if you really want to get to know someone, go on vacation together. Accordingly, we are getting to know each other!
Fortunately, on this wonderful tour, the together-time is fairly optional so the drama has been kept to a minimum. But there are clear differences in preference for where to go, when to go, tour guide style and pace of tour. Eight travelers, eight styles.
It was easier in Egypt where there were 30 of us. No one really felt they had a say. You either went along or didn’t. No problemo. It was easy to hang out with who you liked and easy to avoid those you didn’t.
Eight of us and now everyone potentially has needs and opinions that could be heard. NEED to be heard. It became clear quite quickly what each group’s priorities were. The three college girls were here to have fun, party a little, and see the sights. They laughed and talked loudly and had a blast. The couple that met on a previous Groupon tour was here to snuggle and take photographs. We were mostly interested in learning the history and seeing the sights, so stayed close to the guide so as not to miss a word.
Different styles, no one better or worse than another, but backroom wheeling and dealing quickly started to take place over the pace. Understandable to some degree – everyone paid a lot of money to come here and had certain expectations.
The dynamic reminds me of research on choice. The more choices we have, the less happy we are. We tend to second guess ourselves – is it fair, did I pick the right thing, how do I choose? Those that are offered no choice tend to settle in and happily accept what they have. They are more content than those that had a choice. All that campaigning was distracting from my appreciation of the wonder and beauty of the country. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul was literally so beautiful I wanted to cry. What did we miss while feeling rushed, made to wait, or annoyed by campaigning?