Myself and Fernando have spent the 2 of the past 4 months traveling together in S.E Asia, and the later 2 months in Barcelona, with the idea to stay for the forseeable future , should things work out in our favor.
Before embarking on this adventure, many of our friends expressed concerns and had many questions such as, “are you sure you will be ok travelling as a couple for an extended amount of time?, it’s not the same as a to week holiday” ” you are aware this could change things between you and have quite an impact on your relationship” ” won’t you get board of each other?”. I was somewhat baffled yet intrigued by these questions, and it got me thinking ,
- what kind of relationships have these people got themselves into? yeah, sure, of course the thought of being together, in the same space 24/7/ 365 , would be a challenge but, besides that I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about
- Ok, maybe if you have been in a relationship for less than say 2 years and had not lived with your partner, then I could see where these concerns could be taken seriously but, we have been together for 15 years, living together for 12 and been best mates for 18.
- In my opinion when you are in a long-term relationship with the one you intend to spend the rest of your life with, isn’t that basically an even longer journey of traveling through a life time together?……..
……..and then I got thinking so does it mean, if you can’t travel with your partner then do you really stand a chance in hell as a couple? And if that the case then I advise most couples to travel together, if considering marriage or settling down, for at least 3 months. It will save a lot of long-term waste of time relationships and maybe the divorce rate might lower.
The Good the bad and the not so ugly truth about traveling as a couple
Over the past few months I have learned, and continue to learn that no matter how long you have been with your partner, traveling as a couple is true testament to the strength of your relationship. You will bicker, you will get fed up with one another and you will see sides to your partner, and yourself that you had no idea even existed. The up side is that though these sides can be bad they can also be also crazy good and even great! In our experience, yes there are shitty times, stressful times and down right let’s go home times but, these are just passing moments that are quickly forgotten every time that we share a jaw dropping experience together, an ever lasting memory on this life changing adventure.
The biggest challenge for me, for the first 3 weeks, was being together all the time, and I mean all the time. This is not something we are used to. Though we have lived together for many years in theory we only see on Sundays and th odd time during the week due to our work schedules. I work in the day 9-5 and fern works 5pm-12am. – I have asked Fernando what has he found most difficult and he says the bickering part. you see he is so chilled, so having to decide anything or have an opinion is just too much hard work 🙂 …..and with that thought here are
THE 5 KEY INGREDIENTS, TO OUR SURVIAL AS A TRAVELING COUPLE
The type of accommodation we stay is essential to our happiness and harmony. As we traveled we tried an array of accommodations types and slowly formed a list of what was essential to keep the balance:)
- We require enough space to be together yet apart , and settle in quicker in a modern( ish) apartment or Studio type accommodation if staying longer than a week – with a Wifi, TV & Kitchen and/or a balcony or terrace. – this felt like real life.
- For stays less than a week a large room with tv and Fridge , and balcony works well.
- Hotels and hostels need to have ample or spacious communal areas and good breakfast.
- Great Wifi is a non negotiable
- Great cable channels and/or a flat screen we can hook up to our laptops, is a massive plus, but not essential to Fernando ( is to me)
- lively immediate surroundings – Shops, bars returantes, cafes, within a 5 mn walk is essential. We like a place that has a buzz.
If we have the above then we tend to settle in very quickly. If we fill safe, and comfortable we are the less grumpy and relaxed.
2. Team Work – If you’re not working together then your working against each other. The many obstacles you face on the road can really lower moral and turn you against each other in no time . So, it’s important to quickly establish and accept what your strength and weakness are, in order to confirm who is playing what role . In “real life” I have always assumed the leader role in our relationship. Fernando surrenders it so willing ( something that i hate by the way) However, during this trip it quickly became apparent that if im doing all the work then im just stressed all the time, whilst Fernando was of course having the time of his life, as he had nothing to worry about what so ever ( cos Bianca had it all covered) Sharing responsibilities was key. My strengths ( Fernando weaknesses) lay in the planning, and organisation so i took care of all the logistics, accommodation bookings, and itineraries. Fernando strengths ( my weaknesses) are that he is very rational thinker, can always maintain a positive out look, and is cautious without being over carefull So, he always keeps us in good spirits, picked the restaurants, which saved us tons of time ; he makes sure we’re safe and handled the money side of things. Most importantly making sure we stick to budget. Once we got settled into our rolls the journey became a much smoother ride 😉
3.Communication is key : Both parties have to be willing and co-operative. Without communication well, your doomed to fail. We can both be really rude, and un co-operative when frustrated, tiered , or even worse hungry, then all bets are off, arguments, well actually in our case it more heated bickering, occurs, shortly followed by both parties going into shut down mode, resulting in nothing getting resolved. Another classic is decision making. either have a opinon or fully support the best suggestion Our rule is “I don’t care” “I don’t know” and “I don’t mind” don’t count – Bottom line its a waste of time and perfectly good oxygen and again will result in bickering to no end. Lastly listening and understanding what your partner is saying is just as important as expressing what you have to say.
Thought we have such rules and are fully aware of how lack of communication will crush us, this doesn’t mean that we don’t still manage to argue. We don’t to agree on everything and have come to except that most of the time we are not even on the same page :), therefore Bicker is inevitable. However, i think the way in which can be more productive if you learn how to communicate what it is you’re trying to say. I.e bicker but, don’t stay angry, say what you mean, mean what you say, and stay on topic. Once its been talked out and resolved, move on, no long ting. Till this day there hasn’t been more than a 5/10 minute gap when we “are not talking to each other” after that said 10 mins we are just back to normal.There’s no point crying over spilt milk and when the smoke clears , all we have is each other.
4. Patients, Tolerance, and Compromise – Realising and accepting , that you’re not perfect and neither is your partner. I belive in a relationship it is essential that give up a portion of yourself (say min 50%) to make room for your partner. This can not be achieved without the following usual suspects patience, tolerances, and compromise. 3 things i will be forever working on:). Com[promise i think we have in the bag. However I have to work on patients still have a tendency to snap especially when I have to repeat myself, i can’t stand how slow Fernando moves, and I have absolutely no patients when explaining to Fernando how to do something he doesn’t know how to do. It’s a sad sight to see trust me. Fern, to his credit has a high tolerance level of my bull crap! ( thank god) but don’t get it twisted he’s no picn nic in the park either, he tests my patients every single day!!!!! but hey we both got shit to work on so ……..:)
5. Alone time: Nurturing the 50% of you that remains individual is essential, so having a bit of alone time makes it easier to give up the other 50% of yourself. Even though we spend more time together than apart whilst traveling, we both understand the meaning of me time. It maybe just pursuing separate hobbies or finding a quite space to read a book, sometimes it mean sitting together on the sofa but head phones and we are just in our own virtual worlds surfing the interweb. Whatever it its we feel its a must your no good to your partner if your dead inside : )
🙂 HAPPY TRAVELS TO ALL THOSE TRAVELING COUPLES OUT THERE! 🙂