I’m traveling with my best friend and her boyfriend

I’m traveling with my best friend and her boyfriend

  • When my best friend invited me to Colombia with her and her boyfriend, I jumped at the chance.
  • I don’t mind being a third wheel — you get the company while you’re still single.
  • We loved our summer in Medellín and now, in the fall we are heading to Buenos Aires.

I have always dreamed of traveling the world with the love of my life. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown up yet, so now I’m doing it with my best friend, Camila.

Okay, to be honest, she’s been living her best Julia Roberts “Eat, Pray, Love” life in Medellin, Colombia, with her boyfriend, Tyler, for four months. But when he offered to join them in July for the rest of the summer, I jumped at the chance.

At the time, I was also living abroad, going back and forth to different countries, but making the journey alone. God knows how many foreign meals I had lived in silence in a crowded room, staring into the abyss—the invitation came at just the right time. I’ve known Camila since sixth grade, when we sat next to each other, and our friendship was sparked when I booked a monthly Airbnb in the building right next to hers.

“Are you following Camila and her boyfriend to Colombia?” asked Monica, my other best friend. “Called me!” I said.

Spending extended periods of time with my friends and their romantic partners was nothing new to me. In fact, in May 2021, I moved in with Monica and her friend for a month in their room in Miami because I needed a change of scenery. Running away with close friends and significant others wasn’t something you needed to convince me to do. I wasn’t going to stop making memories with people because they already had a plus one.

I never felt like a third wheel – just another part of their family

During the first few days in Medellín, Camila invited me to lunch. He sat next to Tyler, both facing me. Their housekeeper made us salmon, rice and vegetables, one of my favorite dishes. Camila expressed her frustration over something Tyler had tweeted earlier that week. He had thanked his circle of day traders for getting him through the worst business week of his life and felt the emotional support they gave him went unacknowledged.

I pointed out the fact that Tyler regularly shows his appreciation in real life. “I guess,” he said with a smile. The conflict was diffused and the three of us continued to chat happily.

Although popular depictions of being third often lead us to believe that it would make a person’s loneliness feel especially intense or lonely, I never felt that way, nor did I ever feel uncomfortable. Instead, I felt like I was part of their little family.

The following weekend, Camila and Tyler invited me to go wakeboarding in Guatapé, a resort town in the Andes, with friends they had met. I got car sick on the road trip, so Camila asked her friend in the pilot’s seat to switch with me, which eased my motion sickness. On the way back, we stopped for dinner. I offered to pay the bill to thank everyone for a great day before realizing it was cash only and I had no one on me. Tyler discreetly gave me the total amount in pesos and saved me the embarrassment.

They didn’t seem to help me out of obligation, but they showed the same willingness I would expect from a partner. I have never been around people so intuitive to my needs. that is, at least without the implicit promise of physical intimacy later. The three of us living so far from home together made us depend more on each other for companionship, making us rely on each other and build on the trust we already had.

Another night, they insisted I try Peruvian food at Chïclayö Cocina Peruana in the neighborhood of Envigado. While we were sharing an Uber to the restaurant, they were chatting in the back seat and I sat in the front. I couldn’t help but wonder: Am I too attached to Camila’s relationship? Camila sat next to me at dinner, with Tyler across from us. They took bites from each other’s plates and then mine. I tried to tell them my fries were soggy, but Tyler assured me they are best when they are.

They kept asking me out and out of anxiety and insecurity I found myself asking Camila “Are you sure?”. every time he invited me to tag along. She would assure me that she and Tyler wanted me there. finally, i believed her.

I also formed a deeper bond with Tyler, and the three of us decided to continue traveling together

In early August, Tyler’s grandmother died. Coincidentally, my own Abuela had thyroid cancer surgery the following week. The night before my Abuela’s surgery, I was at their apartment and Camila fell asleep on the couch. In the heat of the moment, probably due to alcohol, I revealed all my worst fears to Tyler about what might happen to her.

I had never expressed any of this to Camila, but she understood my pain. He made me a bowl of weed and I appreciated that offer more than any verbal sentiment. Showing vulnerability is hard for me. I avoid crying on anyone’s shoulder and keep my secret. At that moment he became “my brother”, if you will.

Jamie, Tyler and Camila hike the stairs at Cerro Pan De Azúcar.

Jamie, Tyler and Camila hike the stairs at Cerro Pan De Azúcar.

Courtesy of Jamie Valentino.

The next day, as we climbed the stairs to Cerro Pan De Azúcar, a beautiful peak in the mountains of Uruguay, they asked me if I wanted to come with them to Buenos Aires for the following month of September. It was fast approaching and I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to stay in Colombia any longer. I told them I would meet them there from October and they agreed to stay so we could make more memories in a new location together.

That week I had dinner by myself at a restaurant called Carmen, sitting at the bar to order a drink from a bartender I thought was cute. I didn’t choose to stay in Medellín specifically for him, but our flirtation made me realize that I hadn’t been dealing with the best part of Colombia – its locals. All my adventures as part of a trio made me forget the advantages of traveling single.

And isn’t that the glory of the third wheel? You get all the perks of being surrounded by love while still being able to chase it at any time.

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