This is the final post in our Enneagram Types on Vacation series. For the past year, we’ve deeply explored each Enneagram Type and how it may relate to travel.
But, as with everything Enneagram related, it’s just the beginning of our journey – and hopefully yours.
As Brittany said at the beginning of the series:
Traveling enriches us as people because we begin to have a broader perspective on the world. We begin to appreciate things and see things differently as our understanding of other cultures and ideas grow.
Using the Enneagram to enhance that growth by identifying specific strengths and weaknesses and learning to leverage them will, we hope, make traveling even more beneficial, enjoyable, and life-giving.Brittany Stanton
The Enneagram and Travel Series
Why bother with the Enneagram concerning travel?
In addition to discovering the places we visit, travel is tailor-made for learning more about ourselves and our travel companions.
In our opinion, there’s no personality system more valuable for personal growth and mental health than the Enneagram.
Because of that, the Enneagram will make you a better traveler. And through travel, you have the opportunity to become a better student of yourself and the ones you love.
Understanding your motivations, underlying priorities, and the trigger points for interpersonal conflict can only make your travel richer and more memorable.
Where will you crumble?
One of the most practical uses of knowing your Enneagram type is identifying potential points of conflict.
On our trip to Washington DC, Jody and I came to a helpful realization: Heat, Feet, Eat, which has a catchy ring.
I (Cheri) do not like being overheated, having aching feet, or being hungry. I can handle one of those discomforts simultaneously, but combine two, and things start to go south (I am a SEVEN). Make me walk all day in a hot, humid city and miss a meal – I pretty much shut down.
If Jody has to wait in long lines, runs out of water, or has cold ears, I start to dream about solo travel. (Unfortunately, his three key discomforts don’t rhyme.)
Knowing our physical trigger points helps a lot. Most of the time, we can take proactive measures to minimize meltdowns.
The same is true for our mental health and the Enneagram. When we understand our type and partners, we can head off minefields of stress.
We highlighted many of these potential stumbling blocks throughout the series – mainly related to travel.
Time orientation is the most useful
In Enneagram wisdom, each triad relates to time in a specific way.
ONES, TWOS, and SIXES orient to the present time.
THREES, SEVENS, and EIGHTS orient to future time.
FOURS, FIVES, and NINES orient to the past.
As a disclaimer, even veteran Enneagram teachers will say they are still exploring the idea of time orientation – it runs deep in a person. Brittany and I are complete Enneagram amateurs.
But when it comes to travel, we think understanding time orientation is the Enneagram’s most beneficial aspect. The payoff in harmony with your travel partners is enormous.
And you don’t even need to know the other person’s Enneagram type for this knowledge to be helpful. Time orientation is pretty easy to pick out, even in children (Enneagram teachers discourage typing young people).
Check out our recommended Enneagram resources for more information.
If you understand your time orientation and your travel companions’ time orientation, you will begin to understand where the bulk of your conflicts on the road are coming from.
Time orientation affects how we plan and prepare for a trip. It determines how early we think we should arrive at the airport. It factors into how we process a trip after the fact. And most importantly, it plays into your state of mind on the trip itself.
As a SEVEN, I have to guard against the future-oriented tendency to plan my next big adventure while I’m in the middle of the current one. A past-oriented type will have to be careful not to compare this trip to all past trips. And a present-oriented traveler should probably think ahead, at least a little, to stave off disaster and missed opportunities.
Once you’re home, you will also realize why people process travel in different ways.
Cassidy pointed out in her FIVE interview that she will bring up a travel memory from months or years ago, while her ONE (present orientation) husband is left wondering why that is even a relevant topic of conversation.
Some types can’t wait to start planning the next trip. Some need to spend significant time processing what just happened. And others will be too immersed in today’s work to give the trip much thought at all.
As you might imagine, combine two different time orientations, and you have a lot of potential conflicts. If you understand where each person is coming from, you can use your different time perspectives to strengthen the experience and relationship.
Same type – big differences
Our family (10 adults) has settled firmly on their Enneagram type. Granted, some of us are more Enneagram nerdy than others, but we use it as a common language.
We have a few interesting Enneagram anomalies in our family.
We have three SEVENS
And we have three ONES.
Interacting so closely with others of your type is illuminating. A major takeaway is that people of the same type will present in vastly different shades of Enneagram.
I’m a SEVEN (Cheri), Jordan (son-in-law), and Andrew (son) are also SEVENS. We have many traits in common; we share a basic fear and the greatest desire of a SEVEN. Yet, our day-to-day dealings look entirely different.
Likewise, Jody (Dad), Taylor (son-in-law), and Maddie (daughter-in-law) are all ONES. We can see some similarities on the outside. But their ONE-ness manifests itself in very different ways.
The point is you can’t type someone based on their behavior. Our deep, often hidden, inner world determines the type we most identify with.
(We also don’t have a single family member in the feeling triad, but that’s a topic for another day!)
Insights from the interview process
As we wrote the nine deep-dive Enneagram and Travel posts this year, we interviewed approximately 30 people.
Some were family or family of family.
The rest started as strangers. We belong to a large network of bloggers and travel professionals. I put out the word that we would like to interview Enneagram enthusiasts about their relationship with travel. Many people volunteered. It was a blast getting to know other Enneagram students.
While our interview sample is far from scientific, I made a few fun observations.
The most common type of volunteer was the TWOS, THREES, and SEVENS. So many that I couldn’t interview them all. If you know anything about these types, this makes perfect sense. They volunteer for very different reasons, but they do volunteer.
Across the board, our THREE interviewees went over the top. Most of the people that responded to our invitation simply said, “Yes, I would like to participate.” The THREES went the extra mile. One type THREE volunteer sent me a resume. And they clearly spent significant time on their answers.
When it came to FIVES and EIGHTS – crickets, I imagine for EIGHTS, they don’t have the time for such tomfoolery.
FIVES, of course, are the bane of all Enneagram podcasters and interviewers. They are private people and rarely raise their hands to have their inner workings exposed.
Even my type FIVE daughter, the child I gave life to, had to be coaxed into sending back her answers. And she only agreed because talking about travel didn’t feel too personal.
Eventually, more FIVES and EIGHTS stepped up. We ended up with great interviews. The EIGHTS did win the short response award – get to the point, after all!
NINES have the gentlest opinions – or no opinion at all. This is reflected in their answers.
FOURS and SIXES were the biggest surprises. They were nowhere to be found. We did have one volunteer for each type. I’m not sure what to make of this; they are usually willing participants on the Enneagram podcasts we listen to.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the Enneagram and Travel series. Our sincere wish is that exploring the Enneagram through your travel life will; grow you into a stronger person, help you love your travel companions better, and help you see the world more nuanced.