It started with a look, a smile, and a “do you believe in ghosts?”
To this day, my wife loves to tell the story of how for our first date, I invited her on a road trip to go ghost hunting. I would like to say that she’s exaggerating, but the truth is, I’ve always been a bit of a “paranormal enthusiast” and I confess, I’m the guy who always hears a hidden message in the noise between radio stations. Since that very first road trip together, we now combine some form of ghost hunting in all our travels, taking every opportunity to source tales of hauntings and supernatural myths from the locals. In my defense, I do find this to be a great way to delve into a culture and find adventures that are off the beaten path.
Ghost hunting, for the most part, is a solo endeavor. My occasional travel companion may be the alcohol empowered thrill seeker or the curious skeptic wondering about the “what if”, but generally I’m on my own when staking out a haunted locale. A cross-country ghost adventure certainly has very little appeal for many and doesn’t qualify as much of a vacation. Yet, for some odd reason, I thought it to be the perfect first date. Don’t ask me how, but I managed to persuade (or is the term coerced?) her into what can only be dubbed as “the winter of madness”. A term she coined, not for things that go bump in the night, but for agreeing to embark on the ghost adventure in the first place. She never fails to remind me that I should have just taken her to a scary movie instead.
Unknown to me at the time, our ghost adventure would define much of our compatibility and whether or not we made good travel partners. Any adventure is exponentially more enjoyable when shared with great company. The difficulty though, is finding that personality that jives with yours. Fortunately, with my impeccable pickup lines and an offer- too-good-to-refuse, I was given just that opportunity.
Our “first date” was intended to be 2 months of ghost hunting, taking us into the bowels of the Winchester house of San Jose, The Villisca Axe Murder house of Iowa, down to Waverly hills Kentucky, and finally up to New York where we would cross over into Canada. Along the way we would also visit some private residences, spending the night wherever possible.
Here’s one of our most compelling captures – Face in the window
And the Villisca Axe Murder house.
The road trip started predictably enough as we made our way along the West Coast, but somewhere between Nebraska and Iowa, our best laid plans quickly unraveled. After about a month of braving the unknown and communing with spirits, my jalopy decided to join the afterlife, leaving us stranded on an isolated stretch of Highway, in the dead of winter, and in the dead of night. Needless to say, we never finished out our trip and instead, spent the next couple weeks locked down in a tiny town waiting for engine parts. Looking back however, the insight we gained about each other was more memorable than any capture or ghostly experience.
The winter, the isolation, the darkness, and overall helplessness stretched the limits of our sanity and our capacity to control the panic bubbling beneath the surface. In all honesty, it would have been all too easy to give in to the scream.
But instead, I discovered how traveling with the right companion makes all the difference when the unexpected taps you on the shoulder. It was calming to have a travel companion who exercised an amazing presence of mind and who stayed collected and stayed positive in an otherwise stressful, and potentially dangerous situation.
The trip itself was a bizarre undertaking to begin with, and definitely not the quintessential Paris or Rome, but it became a surprising opportunity to get know each other. In those two months I learned a lot about myself and the type of personality that would compliment my style of travel. When on the road, you’ll invariably meet a myriad of people, some that compliment, and others that may clash. Be aware of the company you keep, as your fun, and safety, can be determined by whom you decide to hit the road with:
- Take smaller trips initially to ensure compatibility. You learn a lot about someone when you’re shoulder to shoulder with them 24/7.
- Someone who doesn’t panic when things go sour – keeps a level head, and doesn’t feed in to the already prevalent fear
- Someone who offers solutions and not more problems – Two heads are better than one, and positivity goes a long way
- Someone whom you trust to have your back – you can never get enough rest if you’re always sleeping with one eye open
- Has the same sense of adventure as you – Whether you enjoy roughing it, or lapping it up in a resort, your companion should feel the same
- Open-minded to new and unique experiences – Loves to try new things. After all, that is why we travel in the first place
It’s been quite a few years and many adventures since our paranormal road trip, but the above still applies to ourselves, and to travelers whom we meet while on the road. In retrospect, our ghostly road trip was an acid test for our future adventures.
What are your worst/best experiences when traveling with someone?
Latest posts by Carey (see all)
- Travel Hack Friday: #DIY Orange Peel Oil Candle #travelhacks - October 16, 2015
- Hanoi Vietnam, The Photoscape! #Hanoi #Vietnam #Southeastasia - October 5, 2015
- Travel Hack Friday: How to Find Edible Bugs - October 2, 2015