Sunday, 6 May 2007
The Amazing Race 11 (All-Star Edition), Episode 12
Fort Soledad (U.S. Territory of Guam) - Honolulu, HI (USA) - Lanai, HI (USA) - Oakland, CA (USA) - San Francisco, CA (USA)
The All-Star season of The Amazing Race finished this week once again in my adopted home town of San Francisco. The decisive final task required one member of each team of two racers to guess how their partner would have answered a series of questions about the other teams they met on the race.
Despite its hokey staging, which used the numbered answers to the four questions as the combination to a standard hotel-room safe set up in a basement room of the Old Mint (hotel safes in a bank vault?), the "roadblock" tested a real-world travel skill: the ability to guess, when you aren't able to consult your travel companion(s), what they would choose.
In the real world, when you have to make a decision without being able to consult your partner, it matters less whether you think the same than whether you understand the differences in each other's thinking. That can be especially challenging if you've grown accustomed to being able to consult your partner quickly by cell phone or e-mail, wherever you are in the country, but don't have those means of communication as readily available when you are separated (however briefly) during an international trip, and one of you needs to make an immediate decision, on the spot and on your own, that will affect you both.
Perhaps it's not surprising that Danielle and Eric, who met (as members of different teams) during an earlier season of "The Amazing Race", were the ones who did best at guessing each other's travel preferences, thereby finishing this final task first and winning this season of the race. People are different when they travel, and it can be hard to know what someone will be like as a traveller until you actually travel with them. People who know each other well "at home" often find that their partner has different tastes in travel, or behaves differently "on the road" than they had expected. People who meet while travelling may not get along at all when they try to settle down somewhere (regardless of what may happen with Danielle and Eric) but they can get a much quicker, and more accurate, impressioin of each other's manner of travel.
That's why I recommend that people considering long-term travel together, no matter how well they think they know each other or how long they have lived or worked together or been married, (1) spend some time, before they commit to a long trip together, describing to each other (and listening to each other!) what they expect their travel life together will be like, and (2) if at all possible, take a shakedown trip together before committing to a longer one (or to one to a place or under conditions where they wouldn't both feel comfortable splitting up en route).Link | Posted by Edward on Sunday, 6 May 2007, 23:59 (11:59 PM)