Long Term Travel as a Couple

Taran and Hannah here, popping over from NomaderHowFar.com, with a little advice post.

Preparing for Long-Term Travel as a Couple, is a topic that we are giving a lot of thought to at the moment. We have been together for not quite 18 months, and yet, in 2015, we are embarking on three years of non-stop backpacking, beginning in Australia next spring. A recipe for disaster? Possibly. A chance to share the most unbelievably awesome experience of our lives, together? Definitely.

Taran and Hannah

Taran and Hannah

Taran and I are best friends. We enjoy each others company and have been getting increasingly excited planning our trip to Oz and compiling posts for our blog. Looking at photograph’s of the stunning beach’s and landscapes in Oz, knowing I will be there in less than a year, makes me giddy, but its even better knowing I won’t be alone. Taran often says, he doesn’t like watching a movie alone, because it’s always better to share an experience, and the same goes for our desire to see the world; we want to see it together, side-by-side.

It’s all great being this positive and seeing our future adventure through rose-tinted shades, as this beautiful and life-affirming thing, but, lets face facts, we are about to spend pretty much every second of every day together, and that is terrifies me. Okay, well that’s extreme, it at least is a thought that is a bit hard to swallow. Why so? Well, I am definitely someone who enjoys my own company and revels in a little me-time. And so is Taran, he enjoys playing computer games with friends and hanging out, not having me there every moment.

So how on earth is this going to work?

Whilst couples who travel do love each other and like having fun together, it’s still not easy to live in someone’s pocket. You are bound to bicker, argue, and maybe even fight, possibly thousands of times ;). You will also see stuff you don’t want to see. When you are full of a very sexy flu virus, or your partner is chucking up their guts onto the tent floor, you both get front-row seats to the freak show. When you haven’t showered for a few days and have started to emit a foul odour, your lover gets to enjoy that. But who said backpacking travel was glamorous anyway.

Traveling long term as a couple..not as easy as it sounds.

Traveling long term as a couple..not as easy as it sounds.

And how about the times you just want to do a bit of mindless internet surfing, or fancy reading a book in silence, all things that are best done alone. The reality is that your interests and hobbies will still exist, along with your desire to have alone time in which you focus on yourself and nobody else. I am guilty of looking forward to time alone quite often, yet I often end up missing Taran (eventually).

So the first step to embarking on a couple’s adventure, is realizing that you won’t suddenly enjoy spending every waking moment with each other. Just accept that. You will need to make sure before you travel that both of you are willing to give the other time to do things alone. The truth being you will probably not end up wanting it anyway, not if you are immersed in your surroundings and sharing every moment with your best bud. But at least make sure that you will have the opportunity to go just be you, and you alone. Maybe come up with a word or phrase, or just a particular look, that when given by either party, means it’s time one of you exited the tent for a little while. Hopefully you can prevent any huffy and annoyed walking off from either of you, by simply communicating, thus not creating tension between you and your other half.

There are many obstacles you will have to overcome once you are on your travels, out there in the big crazy/amazing world. But I think its far less scary knowing you’ll have somebody there holding your hand. As long as you prepare for the less fun realities of couples travel before you go, you will have done all that you can to make it a smooth-sailing.

Who knows, you might become inseparably close and attached, going together on what will be an emotional, wondrous and at times, stressful journey. Either way, it might test you, push you to your limits, but any walk of life can do that; a 9-5 life with your loved one can be one of monotony and meaningless arguments over washing dishes or spending too much money. I guess going out into the real world, will put so much into perspective, it might actually mean your relationship strengthens and becomes based on all the awesomeness of travel; fun, beauty and enlightenment.

If you would like to follow our journey, and see us live out the above advice, then head over to www.nomaderhowfar.com or catch-up via twitter, google+ and facebook. We’d love to meet you all.

1000Fights:  Thanks again for sharing Taran and Hannah!  Give them a follow on twitter: @Nomaderhowfar 

9 Responses to Long Term Travel as a Couple

  1. Danielle August 27, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    Great post! We’ve been lucky and in the 10 months we have been traveling we have only had a few instances of needing ‘alone time’. In some places, like India, it wasnt always easy to get, so we learned how to have ‘alone time’ while still being in the same room :)

  2. The Fighting Couple August 27, 2014 at 6:49 am #

    Alone time is important. You guys are pros if young can do it whilst in the same room. We would just find a way to fight.

    BTW… How did you like India? It is on our list to see. Where did you go?

  3. Danielle September 3, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    We had both worked from home prior to setting out on the trip, so I think we already had practiced techniques :).

    We spent 3 months in India, traveling from Mumbai, down the coast to Kerala/Cochin, while making a few inland stops (Mysore, Hampi, Bangalore…). Then we flew north and stayed in Rishikesh for 9 days at a yoga ashram (HIGHLY recommend!) and then spent a month traveling through the north (from Jaisalmer all the way to Varanasi). I think we benefited from the fact that it was our first stop on our RTW trip. It allowed us to assume that the difficulties, some of which are unique to backpacking in India, were just part of long term independent travel. It was really difficult at times, but also one of the most fascinating places we’ve ever been. We’ve blogged about it a lot on Depart2Arrive, so your welcome to read more there as well.

    The only piece of advice I would offer to any travelers heading to India is make sure you go in with right attitude. You really have to surrender to India and go with the flow. The trains will be late, the tuk tuks will drop you in the wrong place, people will answer ‘yes’ even when they have no idea, but that all has to be ok. If you dont fight against the current you will be in for a thrilling ride! Also, we recommend staying for at least two months. Most people we met seemed to hit their culture shock wall at the two week mark. You need to give yourself enough time to get through that and come back up. Travelers who left early or who had only planned two week trips seemed to all have MUCH more stressful experiences.

    Let us know if you plan on going and we can share more specific tips!

    Happy Travels!

  4. Hans October 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    Take it slow guys, and enjoy the ride … you’ll love it, despite the inevitable bad days!

  5. Samantha H October 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    I actually met my husband at my current job which happened to be at a passport office. So many times we heard about great stories from couples in the office looking to renew their passports to continue visiting beautiful places! You blog gave me excellent insight and I will be sure to share with my husband.

    keep up the beautiful blogs

  6. Raj November 7, 2014 at 1:38 am #

    Good read. We too faced a similar situation & still face it many times as long term travelling as couples looks like a tough job. But we do try to balance it by doing solo trips in the middle or choosing a mutual favorite place for our next holiday.

  7. The Fighting Couple November 7, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    Raj- you are so right. Finding balance is key.

  8. One Modern Couple December 4, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Nice post guys, we have a feeling they’ll have some amazing travel stories when they leave for their adventure.

    We’ve been on the road for almost 3 months now. Its true a balance is needed but we think compromise is important.

    Lets face it, we spend every waking moment together and we have arguments but we walked into this having an idea how it would be, the best thing to do is just jump into it and adjust. Just know that everything won’t always go smoothly and it’s normal. Just have fun when you can and the rough times will be a distant memory.

    your friends,
    Macrae and Carolann

  9. The Fighting Couple December 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    Macrae and Carolann,

    Thanks for the kind words. We admire you. Three months on the road together. I think we would kill each other if we had to spend that much time together!