Jono and I have done it a bit of traveling together. We’ve also travelled with our families, friends and all alone too. We’ve done it on a shoe-string and in lux resorts, we’ve had 50-day intercontinental trips and four-day whirlwinds… It goes without saying that it’s not always great, we don’t have a gospel to sing about travelling with your significant other – but here’s what we do – and how to make most of your time great.
- Be friends first. I think about what I say, do and expect him to do. Would I ask my girlfriend to do this? No. Then I shouldn’t ask him to either. This includes but is not limited to; one person making all the decisions, one person with all the responsibility (“did you get the tickets?”), expecting him to carry my bag everywhere, look after the money, etc.
- Bicker. This one is the hardest for us. We rarely fight (other people will disagree but we really don’t). We bicker loudly and will disagree with and maybe low-brow insult each other but there’s usually no real hard feelings involved (especially if it’s a 10/10 insult). I will often catch ourselves doing that quick little back and forth, being argumentative or rolling my eyes. Try your best to bite your tongue and drop the little things before they break the camels back.
- Argue… or let’s say “debate”. Don’t get me wrong. If you need to challenge each other and argue. Do it. But stop, find the time and place to do it, sort it out and move on. When travelling, you find yourself in so many hard situations. It can be easy to grow frustrated and get annoyed at little things. And easy for these little things to turn into medium things, then medium things get much bigger then all-of-a-sudden shit did I actually just say that because it was BAAAD!? Accept that there will be ups and downs but you also need to put the effort into avoiding them. Otherwise, you might end up 1/3 of the way up the Stairway to Heaven in Hawaii strapped to a GoPro on the verge of tears (or did you actually cry?) with a group of strangers and no choice left but to keep going up even though he’s cranky at you for organising this awful and illegal activity oh and it’s torrentially raining. Whoops. But hey it will make a good blog post. This leads to the next point…
- Be possessive. Not of time, trip decisions, things you packed, the better side of the bed, aircon temperature or your partner. Choose to sit on the bench rather than taking that 30-flight staircase to the top of the temple if you don’t want to rather than harbouring passive-aggression to your poor S.O.. Go without them when they are tired. Go and see where Tomb Raider was filmed rather than to dinner at that ultra-cool restaurant you saw on Instagram and don’t actually know where it is. Give them the good pillow in the hotel – or steal it back when they go to the bar with new friends they’ve just made.
- Make the effort to not be together sometimes. Whether it’s finding new friends, going somewhere different or just shutting up and sitting down to read your book, listening to music or playing Candy Crush on your phone next to each other – for a few minutes of peace. Yes at home we live together, we see each other every morning and every night. But during real life between 8am-6pm, we are usually with other people maybe with a text message. So when you’re away together, for hours and days on end you seriously need to give yourself a break from each other. Do this every day – even if you’re only away for a week. Our last holiday to Bali I booked in for gym classes each morning and he made it a mission to try out every cafe until he found the best espresso in Changgu. We ended up together for breakfast to launch the day and we both got to do something we wanted to on the holiday. I didn’t have to overdose on caffeine just because Jono likes to have four lattes before 11am while reading Harry Potter fanfiction and people watch – he didn’t have to sweat it out near “CrossFit People” because I apparently like pain first thing in the morning on holidays.
- Don’t complain endlessly. Now, this isn’t as stupid as it sounds. Of course, no one likes a complainer but hear me out first. Communication is big for me. This means that I talk about everything, thoughts are articulated, usually more than once. While that’s not necessarily complaining. If I’m hot, I’ll say “I’m hot” if I’m tired, “I’m tired”, hungry? cold? back hurts? blister? He will hear about it. And he gets sick-to-death of it. Now I realise that sometimes I just need to shut up about that smell. But other times I need to articulate the good with the bad too. Because endless negative comments (aka complaints) becomes irritating and demoralising.
- Divide travel responsibilities, but do it together. I kind of said it before with but just because you live with someone doesn’t mean that you know everything they want to do and get to make all of the decisions for them or them, you. This could mean that one of you will book an ultra-luxe resort with a butler one week and the other has chosen a $2 a night hostel that has inexplicably and constantly wet carpeted floors but is right across the road from his tattoo shop (that you’ll definitely want to sit and watch for the two eight-hour sessions he’s booked) and not much else.
- Expect too much (of yourself, the trip, or your partner). I think Instagram and the internet in general regularly portray unreasonable expectations for nearly everything in life. Thanks to Facetune and lip fillers we see more beautiful people, selectively shared food (I mean I definitely didn’t IG my Costco-sized bag of cheese doodles we ate for dinner last night), more friends, better-behaved pets, the list goes on …but especially with travel. Everyone has a carefully curated gallery for one thing or the next and any person’s photos are pre-planned down to the most minute detail. It can be incredibly easy to fall into the make-believe trap that each and every day of a holiday will also be one for the memory books. The truth is that yes, most overseas trips will probably be amazing and memorable but not every single minute. Keep your expectations true to life and make the choices that benefit you – not your insta followers. Choose to enjoy a romantic sunset but also leave if youre getting eaten alive by mosquitos. You will have elegant meals that will cost more than most of your hotel nights but you’ll also have awful ones that could be used as a SPFX prop from Alien and tastes like dirt. You will stroll hand in hand through the Louvre in Paris but you also might get your period at a club in Seminyak and he will have to walk the beach to buy you a sarong so you can get home because there was no one who understood what he meant when he tried to get help. Just remember that travelling together is not what you see in picture-perfect Instagram photos and sometimes the most awful times make the best stories.
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