They audit what everyone has packed for the trip…
Travel mates: Ugandans have embraced travel and many are doing it as a group. On these group trips, there is always a manifestation of some archetypes, some common personalities that never miss. You could be one of them or you have experienced one of these.
- The group DJ
Peaceful, focuses on the music. Their only worry is finding a proper charging spot for their equipment. They never run out of options. They know how to read the mood of the bus. When the journey gets the best of everyone, and people sleep off, the DJ will still be making a mix to make sleep peaceful. They admire from afar as people make out, hang out, and dance. They have learned to distance themselves from the fun, and instead, create the fun.
- The group monitor
There is always a self-appointed Mother Hen, or Father Hen that takes it upon themselves to police everyone. They audit what everyone has packed. They keep offering unsolicited advice. “Wait, don’t risk coming without a sweater. I know this, I have camped there before,” they will issue warnings to the newbie traveller.
The group monitor is the encyclopedia of everything about the journey. If you attempt to stop for roadside muchomo, they will insist they know a better place. “Driver just continue, I will show you where to stop.” They can be nagging, but they are able to keep the group focused on the destination. Policing adults is not an easy job.
- The mother who left the babies home
She just can’t settle. She is always seeking updates from home. “Has Troy now eaten? Has he watched some cartoons? Please call me when he mentions my name,” they will request the caretaker at home. Although she’s on the bus, her mind is stuck at home. She can’t contain herself from thinking about the baby. God forbid, you get in a place without proper network.
- The married chap who left the partner home
There’s always that one married chap who dreads travelling with their partner. Although he’s hanging around with the opposite sex at the trip, the only photos he sends home are those with fellow dudes. He keeps emphasising problems of bad network, phone blacking out to the partner in order to pre-empt most of the questions.
- The over packer
Often, it is a girl from Mvura. She leaves nothing to chance. She is the one stop centre for everything needed on a trip. She will even pack a cooker, a flat iron, a drip, sometimes, even charcoal just to be sure everything is covered on the trip. Although everyone wants to partake of the abundance of her packing, no one wants to share in carrying her many bags. Do not risk getting advice from them on what to pack, you may surrender from the long checklist they will recommend. Every trip needs an over packer, because in those hard moments, they will be the only ones with a painkiller or Deep Heat.
- The newbie
It is his or her first time travelling. He is trying to acclimatise to the environment. There is only one problem, even second time travellers think themselves better than him. Everyone comes around to advise on something. “When it gets cold, just dip your legs in salty water. You will be fine,” one tells him. “It’s best to wear your clothes inside out. It repels mosquitoes from your tent,” another advises. Poor dude, he will follow every advice to the dot. Only to suffer the consequences because most of the advice is just pure lies.
- The loner
He speaks to no one unless you speak to him. He never participates in debates. He simply focuses on the trip and keeps moving from his head to the trip. He is a monk of sorts. Sadly, his silence always bothers people. If only he gets the chance to reveal that their loudness produces the same effect on him. He packs just what is required for the trip. If the group monitor asks people to jump, he simply asks, “how high?”
- The Bebe Cool
This one never stops talking. He is hyper. He is the cool guy of the group. He charms everyone. There is only one problem – he always forgets to recharge. When it comes to alcohol, he will take endless shots. And once he blacks out, he doesn’t return to the scene until the next day. He operates at extremes. If he is awake, then everyone will know.
- The photographer
It is a crime to have a good phone on Ugandan road trips. Why? Because you end up as the designated photographer. The only way to enjoy a road trip is to fake bad photography skills or claim not to have a phone. Otherwise, you will be relegated to the fringes of; “please take a photo of me”, which later turns into; “please send me those photos.” At the end of the trip, the photographer never features in any of the photos. No one remembers to photograph the photographer.
- The turtle
She’s never in a rush. She’s always the last one to every activity. As people are boarding the bus, she will be wrapped in her towel heading to the bathroom. If the bus leaves at 10am, you must tell her an earlier set off time. For 10am in her head reads like 1pm. Everyone deserves to find the peace and serenity of this turtle. They enjoy the trips to the fullest. They see the things that everyone misses.
Which travel archetype are you?