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Bad Idea - Planning Travel w/Ignorant Friend (long vent)

Bad Idea - Planning Travel w/Ignorant Friend (long vent)

Old Nov 19th, 2005, 04:35 PM
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Winter Olympics in Italy 2006
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Old Nov 19th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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Be nice, just meet up, and have a few happy days together.
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Old Nov 19th, 2005, 04:44 PM
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I'm glad I'm not in your shoes!

I'd vote for not going with her. Too much drama already!
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Old Nov 19th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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LOL Poor mcnyc!! It all sounds like a nightmare in the making or better for Fodorland, a really good funny horror trip report !!
I don't know about your 'friend' sounding blonde..I am one too and hope I am not that dopey sounding..but I do agree with the passive/aggressive idea.
She will let you do everything, then have the freedom to blame you for everything she doesn't like.
I have an excellent Travel Companion, but in this case, if I had to choose her or going alone, Alone would be so much more preferable.
Good luck, darlin!
Scarlett
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Old Nov 19th, 2005, 11:30 PM
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Hi all: Obviously, this was a post after the most trying of conversations. My apologies that perhaps a lot of things didn't make sense w/o more detail, but it was already a long post (and this place not really a venting forum). Please know that I constantly kept in mind that this would be my friend's "trip of a lifetime," of her 20s. It was important to me to make it work for her sake, but sadly, because I value the friendship, I cannot move forward with this trip. Believe me, I'm far from passive-aggressive, but I'm not mean-spirited either.

This trip was born of my desire to have followed my group to Venice, but I'm the low woman on the Totem pole, so I stay home. Fine. We all whine to friends every once in a while, that's what I did. I did mention during that phone call that I'll just go to Venice on my own next year, maybe for Carnival. That's when she proposed us going together. Friends in my group do this all the time. Never any harm before, in fact, it brought our friendships closer, a nice perk of the trips.

She reads mostly travel books. She plans dream itineraries all the time, subscribes to travel magazines, constantly talks of traveling somewhere, looking for ways to put her plans to good use. How was I supposed to know she'd be clueless when the time came to actually move those plans along?

When she told me she booked the hotel and flight, I asked her to cancel both. While I understood her excitement, I told her that if she wanted to go somewhere else in addition to Venice, now is the time to talk, before money is invested. I even suggested that when time came, she should book using her miles (she can't afford to buy tix & pay hotel), while I purchase, but it was in talking to her that I found out she wanted to shadow me. Completely. As in same flights. No problem with that, I've shadowed friends, and had them shadow me. When I mentioned that I wanted to roam around and explore, she wondered which strappy heels she should bring, and if she needed to know how to swim (I am not kidding!). I gave her an idea of where I wanted to go: Burano (what do they make there? why would anyone want to see someone making lace? that's so boring!), Murano (like in Murano glass? glass is glass, one crash and it's done for), roaming the streets of Venice (is there anything interesting in those streets? are they dark and scary?), checking out churches (yawn, see one church, seen them all), see the Peggy Guggenheim museum (there's modern art there? boring. i can draw a circle in cement and you can call it art). I told her she should spend time exploring by herself, or maybe join a walking tour, but she insisted on doing whatever I was doing, as long as she could take pictures.

In order to give her ideas on what she would be interested in, I made 2 dates to meet up at the bookstore (and another time, the library) nearest her house w/an agreed goal to peruse guidebooks. She ended up wanting to see the latest chick-lit section (all 3 occasions). Another time, we met in a cafe and she brought up Venice - she wanted to know how Venice is in Feb. I tell her (cold, possible rain, like NY); she made faces at me and talked about shopping our way through Italy "if we can only stay out of Louis Vuitton shops" (great! it's out of my $ range!). I mentioned maybe she'd also want to go to Florence or Milan to shop; she wondered why we'd do such a silly thing. The list is endless.

Sorry to offend, Xenos. My other friends and I choose a spot on the map every year, and we save throughout the year to make that trip. Granted when we're choosing the spot we may only have a general idea (sometimes, not even an inkling), but we do diligently read up and research for our trip so we're better informed, get together for dinners to share our newfound knowledge and plan our own itineraries. I didn't expect this out of this friend, but I thought there would have been a little more thought than just being proactive in booking a hotel & flights without mutually agreeing to some of the travel details (important if she wanted to shadow me because I do want to go elsewhere). She should have used that extra energy to research her shopping/photography interests, not book flights.

And my apologies for offending anyone (btw, she's not blonde, and I don't ever pretend to have superior travel knowledge). It was a vent of frustration. I'm sure she has her own side of the story to tell, and I'm open to suggestions (even if it's telling me to chill out and be thankful I can travel, which I am!). But sorry Isabel and Statia, no funny horror stories for you in Feb!
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Old Nov 19th, 2005, 11:58 PM
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mcnyc, I can sympathize! How about this, though....if you can't get out of the trip, why don't you arrange it so that she does get her wish to shadow you for most of the trip....but you have a few days at the end of the trip by yourself? It MAY mean that you'll have to escort her to the airport to go home, but it's a small sacrifice for the sweet, sweet solitude at the end of your trip. (Believe me, it's better to have the solitude at the end of the trip than at the beginning. Been there, done that.)
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Old Nov 20th, 2005, 03:42 AM
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Just returned from a trip with similar friends ... we are not likely to speak again for a very long time ... go it alone
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Old Nov 20th, 2005, 08:43 AM
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When she rushed and booked the flights and hotel, was that only for herself or for both of you?

Since she has such an avid armchair interest, reading travel magazines, etc. is there any chance you could encourage her to go on her own?

I notice your phrases "She should have..." or "I didn't expect this..." and gently suggest that the problem is that you two aren't friends but more acquaintences who don't know each other very well.

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Old Nov 20th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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It sounds like your friend saw this as a 'friendship' trip in which the two of you simply shared adventures of whatsoever nature, while the diversions of the place you visited took second place. I've done trips like that(or parts of trips like that) and enjoyed them immensely, because I made up my mind in advance to donate the time and related expenses to the cause of the friendship(s) and nothing else. What we did, where we went, who took what room, etc. hardly mattered, because my principal objective - spend time with my friends - was being met.

On the other hand as I suspect you've figured out, if your personal objective of the trip is, in the main, to do serious sightseeing, and if serious amounts of money and time are at stake, then the trip takes on a more 'business' like aura (even if in fact it's a 'leisure' trip) --- and you know what they say about mixing business with pleasure. It's one of the reasons why I grew so alarmed over the booking of the air tickets. The amount involved is for most people too much not to be taken very seriously, i.e., in a very 'business' like way, and casual arrangements such as your friend was making -- with sketchy communication, etc. etc., just won't do. If I have understood what you've been trying to say, you are trying to get up the courage to point out to your friend that your objectives are just too incompatible for the two of you to travel together this time, yes? If so, then hard though it is, I think you are doing both of you a favour.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 01:41 AM
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p.s. if you do go thru with it, please post a trip report! I realize it may get frozen as Barb's excellent thread did, but it's a good educational experience to share........
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 02:10 AM
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I just got back from Rome - Florence - Venice. Actually, by the time we got to Venice I think pretty much all we did was eat, shop, see the sights, and take photos. LOL. We had a lot booked in the 1st 2 cities.

It sounds like an interesting trip. I have friends like that too. I am a total planner so it drives me nuts. Also, complaining would suck! You ought to decided exactly what you can live with from her and if you can't handle her for your vacation... go for the solo trip.

Also, the reason behind the trip was quite confusing.

And, I'm completing my doctorate to be a psychotherapist and we aren't all nuts!
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 02:27 AM
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Seafox - my sympathies. Did you also go with someone or turned out to be a completely different person on the trip!
My experience in 1998 with an acquaintence left me longing to be home. I found out she did:
A)NOT like going up or down escalators and stuck her head in the back of my shirt or walked the stairs.
B)Could NOT shower - only bath.
C)When bathing never took her underwear off.
D)On the bus tours always went to sleep while we all viewed wine cellars etc.
E)Maintained getting to the airport 30 minutes prior to departure was enough time.
And so the list goes on.......if only I had known!!
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 03:03 AM
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mcnyc--I am so glad you posted a second explanation of the details. Since you have had great success in the past traveling with friends, you obviously know this time it's not gonna work. I sincerely hope you can find a good way to back out graciously. Of course, the statement, "This just isn't going to work right now" might be enough.
 
Old Nov 21st, 2005, 03:47 AM
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Have you actually seen her diploma from Columbia??
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 02:02 PM
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I have no idea why I feel the need to correct this, maybe because it's been mentioned a couple of times, but Louis Vuitton is a FRENCH brand, not Italian.

From reading your posts it doesn't even seem that you like this girl very much. So I can't imagine you would still consider traveling with her. All of her annoyances will be multiplied times ten on a vacation, even if she does just go along to the places you'd like to see. Bag this trip now or one of you may not make it back from Venice alive.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 02:06 PM
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Hi all. I upset her tremendously this morning when I told her I couldn't go on this trip w/her. All she did was weep & wonder why no one would travel w/her.

I gently reminded her of her end of the deal, to go look at any book (I even let her borrow mine a week ago, itís a veritable picture book), and point to 1 place and 1 food that looked interesting to her . This morning, I gave her my choices: the Doges Palace and cuttlefish w/polenta, she told me she hadnít looked in the book yet, and canít find it. She then asked why in the world Iíd be interested in cuttlefish and polenta (because I am).

I was as diplomatic as possible. I basically explained that reserving both our tickets w/o agreeing to flight times irked me. Reserving our hotel w/o talking about budget and # of days was also very troublesome to me. That she doesn't seem to care to hear about Venice bothered me because I know she'll be bored and will whine & complain. I then reminded her itís something I donít tolerate at all, and after an episode I might plot her fall into a canal. I told her none of this would bother me if we were just meeting up, not together the entire time (she staunchly refused to do any walking alone or with tour groups). I told her in the end I will probably throw away my list and roll with the punches depending on weather and stamina, but it didnít seem to me that she had an open mind or a sense of adventure for that, especially with her comments on what I wanted to see. I mentioned this as the reason I asked her to look at books and point to just 1 thing she found interesting. My wish list was not iron-clad, and I was open to going to other cities instead of Venice since it was her first trip abroad.

She said she was just trying to be helpful (of course) and didnít think I would cancel the trip on her. She said it seemed like I wanted to go so badly that sheíd share expenses with me so it would be cheaper travel for her, plus everyone comes back with stories on how much fun it was to travel w/me *blush*, she wanted to go too Ė because I have such patience. And although what I mentioned did sound rather boring to her, she was just joking w/her comments. Too bad it was a joke gone wrong. She stays, I go.

Some of you may think Iím unreasonable, but Iím really not. This is someone I've taken 1-day flights w/along the east coast just to keep her company while she traveled to her grad school interviews (she whined to each of us incessantly to go with her until I gave in, I paid my own flights). I had to herd her into planes on time and get her to appointments w/o her getting lost in cities she knows well. Fine, the things I do for friends. This trip is one thing I cannot do at this time. Not with her. Even with all the sobbing.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 02:28 PM
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Oh, Kimberly1881, I don't think psychotherapists are crazy at all. She was like this before.

I really do feel bad for my friend, just not bad enough to go on a trip with her. I already went on a stressful trip (lost luggage, complaining uncle, sick dad), I don't want to start off the year with another one.
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 03:13 PM
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I don't think you are unreasonable, but simply can't understand how the plans got as far as they did when you clearly do not want to travel with this person, actually don't seem to like her at all. I don't get your connection to her... if I thought someone was Ignorant, I would not consider them a Friend (as to your post title).
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 03:14 PM
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You are not being unreasonable. Please tell yourself that eight times.

This is a seriously disturbed person, and as you have discovered, there just isn't anyway you can be responsible for her happiness.

First, you cannot be responsible for ANYONE ELSE's happiness and second, she can't really be happy, not matter what you do.
 
Old Nov 21st, 2005, 03:47 PM
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Oh my - what can I say. Let me think .... GO SOLO!!
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