Travel companions on expeditions


Chinese  Proverb:
Unity of will is an impregnable fortress.

                                            Zhòng zhì chéng chéng

Yukon River Expedition© Copyright by Ch. Breier

© 1999 Copyright by Tomoya Matsushita/Japan

                        That was absolutely awesome!   

Nao, Tomoya and I had fun without end on the Yukon River !   

Domo arigato gozaimashita Nao & Tomoya San !


Yukon River Expedition© Copyright by Ch. Breier

© 2000 Copyright by Atsushi Ikeda (Japan) Atsushi

Atsushi and I met in Beaver and had a lot of fun on the Yukon ... 

Domo arigato gozaimashita Atsushi San !


I am not talking here about a short two weeks tour, I talk about a real expedition of several months in the Bush !

As long as everyone has his own boat, with his own equipment, it is no problem on most short tours because you can avoid each other for some time if the mood is getting bad ! 

However, if you travel in one boat for many months it can quickly become hell for everyone on board...

I have experienced this unfortunately ...

The main problem is that someone on board has to be the captain, the one that decides, as stupid as it sounds but that's how it works on every expedition. 

Of course things have to be discussed but at a sertain point decisions have to be made !

If the group consists of people with approximately the same experience level and interests it is relatively easy, everyone has enough experience in such things.

However, if there are a newcomers, misunderstandings can very easily occur... 

Everything is going very well because the right decisions are made. This gives the newcomer the impression it is so damn easy ! 

It is quickly forgotten that it is based on years of experience and previous good planning and preparation thats why it is going so well.  

Then the debate begins about every little detail and the newbys think they know it better...

But every tolerance does have an END  !

If the expedition leader speaks a "word of command" some newbys are in a bad mood due to there lack of experience. They just dont undertand why things been done in a certain way.

Sometimes this bad mood disappears relatively fast, sometimes not !

It becomes very bad if distributed tasks are not fulfilled, for whatever reason and all work has to be done by one person, the expedition leader.

This leads to an work overload and that can be very dangerous ...

People tend to forget that people may be seriously injured or die on long journeys because they have made bad decisions.


Choosing the right travel partner is extremely difficult. 


Even friends who have known each other for years can quickly become "enemies" on expeditions. 

It doesn't help to take a short trip together beforehand.

Unless it is an extremely difficult one. Only under enormous pressure and tension one can recognize whether one can work together or not... 

The annoying topic money should be clarified BEFORE THE EXPEDITION in writing !  
Otherwise there might be unnecessary bad feelings afterwards.  


I had led a super expedition where everything worked well, but after the trip there was some bitter blood because of some stupid money issues. 

 Paying "guests" are also sometimes a big problem...
Often they feel like they are the " BOSS", because they have paid... 

In short, it is extremely difficult


Especially when one did many expeditions alone.

Anyone who normally travels alone is difficult because he has his one rhythm!   

He knows his way of doing things works and he doesn't like to leave his way.  

The experenced traveler really wants to listen to his stomach feeling, to his 6th sense because he knows his 6th sense never faild...


Yukon River Expedition© Copyright by Ch. Breier

© 2005 Copyright by Ch. Breier


I had met Ralf on the Yukon. We travelled together from Ruby to the Bering Sea and then for a few weeks in Alaska in an  4x4 without a single bad word !  We still have contact to this day.

He is one of the few with whom I would go through every Expedition no matter how long & difficult might be !

       Any time again Ralf !


Loui at the Arctic Circle Yukon River © Copyright by Ch. Breier

Loui was one of the best travel partners I've ever had on my expeditions !

Any time again Loui !


My experience so far has shown me that it is the best thing to team up with someone on the way ! 

Both have transportation and equipment. Both have (mostly) enough experience. 

Everything is relaxed because you don't necessarily have the pressure to stay together.

There's no problem in avoiding each other for a few days.

And you can learn something new from each other !


Trike Expedition© Copyright by Ch. Breier

© 2009 Copyright by Ch. Breier

With Ortwin Ott I rode my trike through Alaska in 2009. He accompanied me 1000 km on my journey and always tolerated my swearing on the mountain with humor !

 Any time again Ortwin !



Let's have a look at the  
Advantages & Disadvantages  
of a travel partner

Either you already have someone in the back of your mind, or you go on a special search. 

But this is much more difficult than one might guess.

That's why I thought about it so much.

What I miss personally on a solo journey is the exchange with someone to talk about what I have just experienced.

" Did you see that bear there? ", or,  
"Jeez, what a great sunset that was" and so on.  


 Expedition© Copyright by Ch. Breier

© 2007 Copyright by Ch. Breier


On my 2007 expedition I realized once again that an expedition for months with the wrong travel partner in a small boat is not a walk in the park, especially not if the travel partner did not keep any of his promises, although the expedition did not cost him a cent  !  


The PRO of traveling alone:

Yukon River Expedition© Copyright by Ch. Breier

© 1998 Copyright by Ch. Breier


  • I alone decide where I go and how long I stay someplace ...
  • I am totally independent...
  • I get to know other people more easily because I am not focused on my travel partner. 
  • No conflicts, no disputes, who is arguing with himself?
  • One can fully enjoy nature...


The contra of solo travel:

Yukon River Expedition© Copyright by Ch. Breier

© 2005 Copyright by Ch. Breier


  • I can't share the beautiful moments with anybody ...
  • I am on my own in extreme situations...
  • (can be good, but also bad...)
  • I can't save on equipment...
  • Alone one unfortunately laughs a lot less, but it also depends on the travel partner
  • The nightly campfire and the cooking alone is not so real pleasure...
  • The whole not insignificant financial burden of the expedition is carried by one...



When I look at the pros and cons, it all comes down to a very simple decision.

Do I want independence or company?

Everyone has to ask this question very carefully and answer it honestly for themselves...

      I'm at 50-50.

With one half of my travel partners it worked out great, we still have very close and healthy contact today! With the other half it didn't work out at all, with those people I have nothing to do anymore ...


The Non Plus Ultra would be to travel as a couple...

Yukon River Expedition© Copyright by Ch. Breier

© 2005 Copyright by Ch. Breier

 Extremely enviable

Nicole and Ole got on very well with each other !  
 I wish them many more beautiful journeys together !

Continue with: Motorcycle

Only those who risk going too far, will discover how far they can go!

Expedition in USA, Alaska & Canada, Scandinavia with folding boat, motorboat, catamaran, motorcycle, off-road vehicle, bicycle ...