Travel is not always easy.
David and I went through some rough patches in our first year traveling fulltime. One of those times we almost went our separate ways. We almost didn’t survive the travel life together.
Doubt, fear of the unknown, seeing what’s out there, not knowing what’s next messes with the head.
Our strengths and insecurities bubble to the surface brought about by the constant change, both internal and out.
And the worry!
We worried about where the next money was coming from, our future, where we were going, about missing the train, or not being somewhere on time. Or as in David’s case, it was time to move on and find someone new.
His words came as a shock. It was at a time when I felt things were right between us. Not perfect, but okay.
I closed off from the world. Shut myself away in my box, vowing never to come out again. It hurt so much. I cried a thousand tears and then a thousand more.
I loved this man. I didn’t understand why he didn’t feel the same way.
Wounded beyond belief, I gave up.
We were at the end of a three-month stay in Italy. Heading on to a two-month house sit in Shankill, Ireland.
I think if we had been or gone anywhere else, we never would have made it.
Wisdom from a close friend in Italy worked to help pave the way for reconciliation. And then the peace and serenity of Ireland worked to heal the wounds, giving us time to think, mourn our losses, reassess, and move forward.
Today, we’re still together!
A little more ragged around the edges but stronger than before, still traveling.
And I KNOW we owe it all to that loving friend in Italy and our time in Ireland where the rugged beaches, soothing greens, and incredible people helped reenergize our souls, giving us time to reconnect.
And while we can’t tell you exactly what will help you survive the travel life together, we can offer what worked for us.
Spending Quality Time With Each Other
I bet you just laughed and said “You’re already traveling together. How are you not spending quality time with each other?”
You would be SURPRISED!
Yes, you’re together most of the time. BUT it’s a whirlwind of travel, new people and places, different lifestyles, and cultures. Even if you slow travel the way we do, you’re still always on the move.
If you’re going to survive the travel life together, you have to stop sometimes.
Plan a date. Do something special. Or just have a moment of quiet time spent holding each other.
David and I would sometimes spend an afternoon vegging on the couch or bed watching a Netflix series. We’d laugh, talk, make food, touch each other, hug, kiss and just reconnect.
Those moments of downtime are valuable because we are moving so much. So an afternoon of doing nothing is a memorable time for us.
Checking In: Communicating
Communication: the key to every successful relationship.
And yet, it’s one of the most neglected pieces.
Regardless of how good our partner’s mindreading capabilities are, checking in and communicating is the only way ever to know what’s going on inside your mind.
It’s so easy to become locked away inside ourselves, ESPECIALLY when traveling.
Everything is changing so much, including us.
We’re growing both as individuals and partners.
Sometimes, because that person is with us all the time, we forget to share what’s going on inside.
Communicating is the ONLY way to know. So open up. Share. Talk. Ask.
Listening and Hearing
Listening is NOT the same thing as hearing.
BUT both are just as important as communicating.
Hearing happens when you not only listen to your partner, but you absorb, retain and understand what he or she is saying. Ever heard the expression “in one ear and out the other?” It means you listened, but you didn’t hear.
Usually, when we’re not listening or hearing, it’s because we’re paying attention to something else. Maybe it’s the busy world around us, or the mobile device in our hand, or our internal chatter.
Whatever it is, we have to STOP AND LISTEN.
We have got to HEAR what our partner is saying if we’re going to survive the couple travel life together.
Otherwise, we’re missing out.
Doing Things Apart
Yep, you HAVE to do things apart if you’re going to survive the travel life together.
For me, that usually was a walk somewhere on my own for meditation, or to listen to my music, or a little shopping, or relaxing in a bath with a glass of wine. For David, it was off to sightsee or a drink at the bar.
It doesn’t matter what your time apart is spent doing as long as it’s something fulfilling for you.
It is time just for YOU. So, you have to make it all about YOU.
Because even as a couple, you are INDIVIDUALS.
And that’s OKAY.
So make the time to be apart. Because without it, you run the risk of resenting or growing tired of each other.
Never take yourself or life too seriously.
ESPECIALLY when you’re traveling!
Things are going to happen. You’re going to screw up.
Like the time we got on the wrong train in Italy (fortunately, it was going where we were going and the ticket taker didn’t catch us). Or the time I sent us to the wrong airport in Paris and it cost us 150 euros to get to the right one. Or saying a word that means something besides what you meant in a new language (this really breaks the ice with locals).
Instead of stressing about it, laugh about it.
Laughter really is the best medicine for the soul.
And if you’re going to survive the travel life together, you’re going to have to laugh together.
Because when you laugh, you release so much stress and life becomes so much easier and lighter.
And when you’re happier everything if better, including your relationship.
Sexing It Up
I’ve read statistics that say couples who travel together have more sex than other couples.
And I’ll admit our sex life was thrilling the first few months of travel. It probably has something to do with the excitement of new places or something like that.
BUT after traveling together fulltime, all the time, the sex life does die down.
Probably because you’re together ALL THE TIME!
It’s one of the reasons you need to have that all significant time apart. Time apart gives you a little time to miss each other.
David and I started scheduling in “sex nights.”
I laugh a little at this because I always said I would never be one of those couples who had to schedule in sex. But here I was, putting sex on the calendar.
I soon learned there’s no shame in it.
Sex is an essential part of a healthy relationship.
I’ve also noticed when David and I have enough sex, we are more in sync and work better together.
So make it happen, whether you have to schedule it or find ways to spice it up. You gotta have sex if you’re going to survive the travel life together.
Be Willing to Compromise
Don’t you just hate that word?
It means you aren’t going to get your way all the time.
But if you’re going to travel together (or do anything in life together) you are going to HAVE TO COMPROMISE.
I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t always like to compromise, but I do it much better than my husband. If David had his way, he would never have to compromise. He’s doing it better today than he ever did but he still really hates it.
But for a relationship to work and for you to survive the travel life together, it can’t be all one person’s way only. It has to be about both, ESPECIALLY when traveling!
Travel is stressful on it’s on and you’re not always going to agree on where you should go, what you should do or how to get it done. That’s where the compromise comes in.
Someone is going to have to give.
Otherwise, you’re both never going to get anywhere together.
Sharing the Challenges Together
Travel offers more than it’s shares of challenges.
If you are going to survive the travel life together, you’re going to need to share those challenges.
Just remember two heads working together are much better than one (well most of the time, sometimes I KNOW my idea is better than David’s and if he would just butt out, but…).
But the truth of the matter is when we’re working together and not against each other; everything flows so smoothly.
Even when it comes to challenges!
So stop trying to take on the world by yourself and remember, you’re a couple.
You don’t have to shoulder all the challenges by yourself.
You CAN share them, and life is so much EASIER.
Loving Each Other
Yep, you gotta keep loving each other if you’re going to survive the travel life together.
Love is an up and down thing.
Sometimes you’re in love, and sometimes you’re not. It’s a natural cycle of life and any relationship.
And when you’re facing the difficulties of travel and the newness of everything, it’s sometimes easy to forget we love the person we’re with.
Just remember the honeymoon is always lovely, but it fades.
It’s the real lasting love that happens afterward that gets you through all the crap and survive the travel life…TOGETHER.
And if you’re feeling a little cluttered right now and need to clean up your act so that you can be a better partner, check out our article Life Feeling Cluttered? Quickly Dump These 6 Things Right Now.
What methods and techniques do you use to survive the travel life together?