My last day in Vietnam was spent walking around the city by myself, as my brother's flight took off almost a full day before mine. As soon as I woke up on my last morning in Ho Cho Minh City and saw my brother wasn't there, I realized how much I liked having family around.
I feel that having a friend or family member with me on my travels validates my experiences, so when I go home after it's all over, I know someone will remember something the same way I do. It means I can say, "Hey, I remember in Vietnam when..." and someone can actually say yes. It brings my two worlds together so I know I was doing something real, it wasn't just a dream, my experiences aren't lost in some black hole somewhere only I can find.
Before moving to Korea, I lived for a year in Ghana, West Africa. Halfway through that adventure, my older sister came to travel around the country with me for two weeks. We hustled our way over the whole country, hitting up national parks, beaches, cities, bars—everything we could possibly squeeze into fifteen days. She saw my residence at the university, she met my new friends, she ate the food, she rode in a trotro. Now, when I feel the urge to talk about Ghanaian anything, I know I can talk to my sister and she'll laugh and say she remembers, too.
Sure, new friends met abroad are always available for those reminiscing moments. "Remember when we..." "Remember the time..." And I can write about my experiences for anyone who cares to read about them, and I can (hopefully) describe the experiences well enough to make people feel like they were there with me.
But there, really, is nothing like a sister standing right there beside you as you look at the elephants drinking from the watering hole in Mole National Park, or a brother resting on the lounge chair next to you on a junk in Halong Bay, or a good friend from Ghana living in Seoul and spending her weekends with you and your new friends.