Traveling with someone I haven’t really traveled before is always makes me a little bit anxious. Why? I never really know what to expect, and I don’t like damaging relationships or having negative travel experiences. Those two things can easily go hand-in-hand if you end up traveling with someone and it’s not working out well.

I have friends that I can’t travel with. Mostly, I know ahead of time and wouldn’t put myself in a situation where a friendship would be ruined or strained over something silly. Some friends I know I can do certain kinds of trips with, but not all. A very small number of people I’ve found out that I shouldn’t travel with them when we were already on a trip – luckily, in those cases we managed to make it work well enough, for long enough, that we didn’t ruin our friendship.

In the past six weeks, all I have done is travel with people that I consider to be friends that I had never traveled with before.

I went to South Africa for 10 days with my friend Anya, who also writes on this blog.

I went to Hungary with my good friend, and also sometimes roommate (when I live in Colorado), Steve, for a little over a week.

I then was originally supposed to go to Iran on a group tour with my friend and neighbor (in Michigan), George, and an online friend, Brandon. That trip didn’t quite happen as planned, and I am writing this post from Iraq where I am traveling instead with Brandon and another friend Sal.

I had never traveled with any of these people before this trip. In fact, I had never met Brandon in person before, had only met Anya once, and had only met Sal twice. That said, traveling with Steve had the highest stakes since we are sometimes-roommates.

Maybe I’m saying this a little prematurely, since I am still traveling in Iraq with Sal and Brandon, but things have gone surprisingly well on all parts of the trips so far. There have been no fights and a lot of bonding time. I feel like I have become closer to all of these people, and am so glad to call them my friends.

I’m looking forward to many great trips with them in the future and also to strengthening more relationships through travel, because if travel doesn’t do it – nothing will.