Before you consider getting married, starting a business or moving in together – there is a way to find out how all that will work out: go traveling!
Traveling together on a round the world trip is the most effective way to figure out if you’re suited for each other – when you take your first long-term trip together, you will either break up, or grow stronger as a couple. Nothing puts as much pressure on a relationship than the uncertainty and stress of traveling, which tends to bring out the worst in people. But there are ways and secrets to make traveling with each other easier.
After years of full-time travel and running a business together, these are the 5 things that have helped us the most…
We believe that one of the things that have made staying together so much easier is a simple mindset about our relationship. Every rule you have is like planting a landmine on the road in front of you, and laying out too many of them increases the risk of stepping on one and blowing up the whole thing. The fewer rules you have – the fewer rules you will break.
When we first met, Nathan explained his thoughts on relationships in a simple sentence, one that we have lived by ever since: I like you today, and I want to see you tomorrow. If a day comes when we no longer feel that way about each other, we know it’s time to go our separate ways.
Play On Each Others Strengths
We try to stick to what each of us does best, and play on each other’s strengths.
I usually do the travel planning, while Nathan keeps track of our budget – same goes for work, one of us usually does the writing, the other does the coding and so forth.
Knowing and being strict about your core values is important, but make sure you get rid of the “fluff” and keep it simple. One thing many solo travelers say they enjoy is that they can choose what they want to do and where they want to go without having to discuss it with someone else first. We’ve found that when we keep it simple and don’t get attached to everything those kind of discussions become less and less frequent.
One thing we try to always live by in every aspect of life – especially in relationships, is K.I.S.S – keep it simple stupid. ;)
Doing something that you might not enjoy for the sake of your partner is crucial in a relationship – but only if you don’t expect anything in return. Compromising by saying “I’ll do this for you if you do that for me” might work in the short run but will build up resentment and create unnecessary fights.
Knowing that you make the other person happy is enough, besides, you’ll often find that you get more in return when you don’t expect anything back.
Ask Yourself “What Else Could This Mean?”
Anyone can be the most amazing person in the world when they’re relaxed and happy, but when we’re stressed, hungry and tired, the worst in us gets brought into the spotlight. We do and say terrible things that we don’t really mean. Something which has helped us solve fights faster is to ask ourselves “what else could this mean?”. When people get angry they tend to let the anger out on those they love the most, or sometimes whoever is closest to them at that moment. For example, if a waiter is rude to you, it’s usually not about you at all but about something completely different – the same goes for your partner.
Try not to take anything personally, from each other or anyone else.
When All Else Fails…
… a handhold and a kiss will be worth more than a thousand words.
Sometimes, when the world is upside down and chaos surrounds you, it’s nice to let each other know that no matter what happens, you will be there to hold each other’s hands.
The best thing about traveling as a couple is that all your experiences are magnified when you get to share them with the person you love the most, and that handhold can make all the difference in the world.
1000Fights: A sincere thanks to Sofia. We especially like the last suggestion. Sometimes a little tenderness goes a long way. Please give their blog a look: www.aswetravel.com . Not sure we could survive traveling together long term…