Relationships on the Road

Whether a couple goes on a weekend trip or does long term travel, it will no doubt take your relationship to the next level. There is nothing quite like spending 24 hours a day with your dearest to bring out the true colors. Add the curve balls that travel usually throws you and it can turn into a make it or break it type of situation. 

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Amauri and I have had our entire first year of marriage play out on the road, so we  experienced the battle it can be to find that perfect balance it takes in order to keep ourselves sane. While our situation is not for the faint of heart, it has worked out pretty well for us. One thing I know for sure, traveling will test your relationship. However, if you are willing to put in the work, it can also make your relationship that much stronger- a trial by fire for sure.

How travel has strengthened our relationship:

Problem Solving

Crazy things will happen while traveling, you can count on that. You will miss a bus, get lost, get sick, or make some sort of silly mistake that throws off the flow of getting to your destination. In retrospect, these are the stories you will share and laugh about in the future because this is where the adventure actually takes place. However, at the time these moments can suck. As a couple, you will have to solve these problems together. It’s the greatest team-building exercise out there, but with practice it will get easier to conquer those speed bumps over time. 

Waiting for the train in Brandon, UK

We’ve found success in avoiding some of these complications by assigning roles. We each have our individual strengths and try to bring them forward to make our team more efficient. Even with something as simple as finding our hostel. I do the research, find the addresses and print them out. After that, Amauri takes the lead and finds the place. Easy enough, right? What we’re avoiding here is that I am completely useless with maps and usually get overwhelmed and frustrated. Crisis (and bickering) averted. 

Compromising

While things like compromising and flexibility seem like “no duh” advantages to any relationship, traveling amplifies this need. While on the road, you are forced to evaluate and make agreements on the most mundane and absurd parts of your daily life. 

Communication is key here. Your partner is not Mrs. Cleo and cannot read your mind, so you must tell them what you need. After a while you will begin to understand what you can do to support your partner to make them happy, creating a win-win easy travel day. It’s the little things that will go a long way and help show your partner that you care.  

For example, on any given day I need 3 meals to function and Amauri will get a sore back, so we both know when it’s time to stop site seeing and start looking for food before the grumpiness sets in. After a long flight I’m typically not in the mood to talk to any airline/taxi/hostel representative so I make sure all of our documents are filled out and organized before landing while Amauri handles everything afterwards so I can sit back and relax.  

Lunch in Hyde park. Not happy AD is taking pictures while I'm eating...
Taking a break.

Like I said, mundane and absurd. On the road, you will be forced to evaluate everything and it can get exhausting, but it’s all about finding a new rhythm to the dance you normally step to at home.

Conflict

Yeah, you will fight. You will be tired, hungry, and irritated by something (or everything). When you are traveling that close with your partner, all their quirks and habits will be magnified, so it’s impossible not to. Mostly you will find yourself arguing about the silliest things. Compared to back home, we have realized that we must address it quicker because life on the road is more intense. You cannot let things go on too long without dealing with them. 

Afterwards, you will calm down. Hopefully you will be able to talk it through as a couple and find better strategies to deal with your frustrations. In fact, I think that in the end these fights will make you a stronger couple. 

Space 

When you’ve spent every minute with your partner you start to develop a weird co-dependence. At first it’s all fun and games, but after a few months it’s only natural to start clawing at the walls and forget what it’s like to have 5 minutes of independence. Obviously this can be a challenge while traveling, but even a nice walk or a day trip by yourself can do your relationship wonders.  

Taking a break from each other.

Advice

First and foremost, long term travel and life on the road is going to be different than life back at home. Make sure you both have the same expectations for the trip. Make sure you tend to both of your priorities, wants and needs. Keep the romance. To mix things up, Amauri and I try to make it a priority to still have dates and set aside a small budget to splurge once in a while. On the flip side, plan for alone time. 

Sushi date night in Bali.

Step out of your comfort zone. Meet people and do things you would never do back home. We’ve met a businessman in Slovenia that was obsessed with 2Pac and a Florida State professor in Hungary. These are the moments that will give you a different perspective on life and grow as a person, which is the reason you went on the trip in the first place. 

Some amazing TEFL friends in Prague.

One of our favorite Brits!
Greatness
 
Hopefully you don’t get the sense that all Amauri and I do is fight and separate on the road. We are not miserable together. Quite the opposite! Traveling as a newlywed is a ball of awesome-ness. On the practical side, I have found it much easier than doing it alone. I have my best friend to help me plan and troubleshoot all the day to day stuff. He’s there to watch my bags while I go to the bathroom, makes it cheaper for us to book a private room, and adds another brain to the mix while staring at a stupid map.
I hate maps.

More importantly, the greatest thing about traveling with Amauri is sharing the life changing events and experiences. We are living out a dream we never imagined possible. We are learning a lot about ourselves as a married couple and have full hearts knowing that we will have so many travel moments to carry with us to our rocking chairs.

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