Today’s guest post is by Caz Makepeace of popular travel blog yTravelblog.com. She has been travelling around the world since 1997, solo, as a couple, and now with a child. She shares her travel tips, stories and inspirations at her popular travel blog and fanpage community.
“It’s either going to make you or break you!”
This is what I usually say to anyone who is considering travelling with their significant other for an extended period of time.
Travelling as a couple means living out of each other’s pockets twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. If you can’t find a way to manage and work through this crowded shared living space and the annoying little quirks you have, the challenges will be far too much for you to bear, and could lead to the implosion of your relationship.
But if you can follow some simple tips on how to survive travelling as a couple, your relationship will flourish. Your experiences travelling together will build a firm foundation of respect, understanding, co-operation, teamwork and incredible memories to fall back on when the times are tough.
Compromise and share decisions
There is usually someone in the relationship who likes to make all the decisions. Being the teacher, I often naturally jump into the role of tour guide. But sometimes I just want to sit back and be led. If that doesn’t happen then I get the cranks and a fight will ensue. Make sure that you share the decisions with each other. It is okay if one prefers to do this more, but give them a break every now and then. Be sure to make compromises on where you go, stay and the activities you do. You each have separate interests which need to be respected and nourished on the journey. Remember this is both your adventure. Don’t sacrifice what you want for the other’s wants. Work together on it, otherwise resentment will build which will have disastrous consequences.
Spend time apart
“Not you again! Why are you everywhere I turn?!”
This quite often became our morning greeting over the breakfast table. It can get pretty monotonous seeing the same face day in, day out. Give yourselves a break from each other for at least five minutes. Sometimes that may simply mean throwing your earphones in your ears and facing the other way.
Do what you have to do to get your ‘me’ time in. It might be as simple as taking a long walk along the beach, getting up early for some exercise, going for a massage, shopping or even taking a whole day excursion on your own. By the end of the day you’ll find yourself longing for the arms of your lover again, so badly will you have missed them.
Interact with other people
One of the best ways to get a break from each other and to discover new things to talk about is to interact with other people on your travels. Don’t hide away in lover’s corner all on your own. You’ll be surprised at how many young, single people and other couples will be more than happy to hang out with you if you are open to do the same.
Forming friendships together on the road will add so much extra joy into your life when you continue the relationship beyond your travels. It is always great to have the same friends who have shared similar experiences to you and understand what you are all about.
Have special romantic ‘moments’
Take time out on your travels to have special romantic ‘moments’. This is really hard to do, as usually every day is filled with incredible special moments. How could you get much more romantic after spending Christmas morning at Victoria Falls?
Take the time once in a while to splurge on nice things for each other – a beautiful dinner on the beach; a more comfortable lodging for the evening; a midnight drink and conversation under the sparkling lights of the night sky.
Seek out team building experiences
Craig and I view our relationship as a team, always working together to achieve our common goals. We made sure we had ample opportunity to strengthen our ability to work as a team by experiencing so many activities whilst travelling where we had to rely on each other’s strengths.
There is nothing like white water rafting the Nile River, one of the wildest in the world, or hiking up a 3000m mountain to help you learn how to work together and look out for one another. You will soon learn each other’s strengths and how you can rely on one another when challenges arise.
Beware of the hand grenades
No, I’m not talking about going off the beaten track in Indochina and running the risk of losing your partner to the unexploded ordnance. I’m talking of an explosion of a different kind. The kind that could possibly have either party screaming their final goodbyes, packing their backpack and jumping on the next bus outta there!
Tiredness and frustration are the hand grenades that could possibly rip your beautiful relationship apart. When you are feeling these emotions it is best for you to follow the above tip and take some time out.
You are going to come across many situations on your travels that are going to make you extremely frustrated and tired. When we get in these states we cannot think clearly and we usually end up taking it out on the nearest person close to us, often with regrettable words and actions.
Most important of all, have fun
Try to always see the funny side of situations and don’t sweat the small stuff. Laugh at all the crazy things that happen, your stupid little habits and the emotional meltdowns you are sure to have.
Cherish each moment you have together, good and bad, as it won’t be long before you’re back to reality and the picket fence is surrounding you. If you’ve learned how to have fun together, it will be much easier to continue that carefree spirit of your relationship when you return home.