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a travelin’ partner

March 30, 2010

It looks like I may not be traveling solo after all. I was visiting my family this weekend and said to my brother, offhandedly, “get a passport and come on.” And he said, “Ok.”

While it doesn’t have the same devil-may-care, I-do-what-I-want-yo, appeal, it is still good. Mainly because my brother is kind of a ne’er-do-well and shiftless layabout (aka gamer—see, e.g. Call of Duty/Xbox live), so it would delight me to expose him to the world, to force him to spend an entire day checking out the Lipizzaner stallions with me (I plan to go all out and spend a whole day indulging my childhood penchant for horses. I had a big, expensive coffee table book about horses and the Lipizzaners really captured my imagination, so why WOULDN’T I go chill at their training stable at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna OH MY GOD), or to go explore some WWII history with him and hear him wax on about, like, whatever aircraft they were using, etc.

I’ve got 4 and a half years on him. In the fashion of any good older sister, I am overly-invested in knowing “what’s good for him,” and perhaps a bit overeager about his moral edification, but it really excites me to have the opportunity to share this kind of thing with him, to show him new places, show him how to travel and be bold and all that. Getting cheesy, so…

There are other good reasons for him to come along.

  1. It becomes exponentially easier for me to get the obligatory pictures of myself standing stiffly in front of various historic and scenic attractions with the awkward/self-conscious face of a person who suspects she looks like a giant tool but is doing the damn thing anyway. If Jamie comes along, I can just get him to snap my photo, and vice versa. I don’t have to approach other tourists and hope that they don’t run off with my camera or anything. And I don’t have to settle for pictures of all scenery (which no one will bother to look at if I post them on facebook without tagging people in these pictures. And what is the point of doing anything in life if no one is going to look at and comment on the facebook photos of it?)
  2. I would be very interested to see how people react to him. He’s quite tall and has shifty eyes, and his ears are gauged and he has tattoos. He gets enough comments on the ears here (rednecks especially are fascinated/repulsed: boy, whatchu done to yer eeeeeurs?). In fact, a criminal defense attorney once tried to convince a jury that he was SO shady-looking that he could not have been assaulted, but must have been a would-be assailant himself.  And also hilariously referred to the holes in his ears as self-inflicted “cuts.”
  3. He is straightedge! sXe! NAILED TO THE X. this means that if I want to linger in a bier garden or something, and he comes along, I can maybe have two beers instead of one. I can get fairly tipsy instead of just mildly tipsy (which is what I will limit myself to if I am drinking with other backpackers, probably. I mean, just because I don’t want to have something bad happen, but I also don’t want to embarrass myself by getting silly.) Because he will be the sober voice of reason. (This is a whole other post though, my feelings about my feelings about a single woman getting drunk in foreign lands. I have feelings about it.)
  4. Sibling bonding, or something. We get along and all, but we haven’t talked as much as we could have since we have both grown up/I’ve moved away. When I’m home to visit, I usually get a “Sup, mika,” in between COD rounds or on his way out the door. So yeah, on this trip, we might actually get to know each other. !!??
  5. He may be a deterrent to dudes and other unwanteds. I get it, hostels are all about meeting people. I have done that and it was my favorite part of the last trip and I am looking forward to it again. But once or twice, I’ve had kind of unpleasant people append themselves to my sightseeing group for the day. Since I was with my friends, I could take/leave the annoying hangers-on. If I’m by myself and don’t WANT to be by myself on a given day, I’d have to make do with whatever assholes are going to check out the castle that day.
  6. One less person I have to send a postcard to.

My only cons are:

  1. He may be a deterrent to dudes. What if some total BABE thinks about chillin’ with me but thinks I am “with” my brother? The HORROR.
  2. He kind of whined a lot two summers ago when we were in Charleston. It was the hottest week ever (pretty sure it was at least 100, maybe with a higher heat index and stifling humidity) and we were traipsing all over downtown in the blazing midday sun and he was wearing bad shoes that made his feet hurt, so all in all it was fairly mild whining on his part, but still. I will expect him to be a trooper.
  3. I wouldn’t care about changing my clothes in a co-ed hostel in front of randos. But I may have to figure other arrangements if he’s sharing the room.

Anyway, this might all be moot because, like I said, shiftless layabout. He might never get around to booking the flight or getting his passport. in which case, w/e w/e.

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