Travelling As A Couple: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Before I tell you that travelling as a couple is the best experience ever (because it kinda is) let me just say that it’s most definitely not all roses and rainbows. Even the strongest of couples can have their foundations shaken when on the road together – it’s natural, habitual even. It’s all part of the process of understanding and accepting your partner inside-out. You are both tested, sometimes even daily, over what can appear as the smallest thing but can more often than not escalate if it’s not dealt with correctly (and immediately.)
Learning to love one another for who you both are is what travelling is all about – you’ll connect far deeper than most couples could ever dream of, and cross many bridges that you once believed to be unstable or even broken. You’ll hear countless stories of miserable, burdened couples who are on the brink of a breakup, brought back together by letting go and embarking on new experiences abroad with one another.
Travelling as a couple makes you focus on what’s really important – and the rest just becomes a dim, white noise. Thibault and I have gone through all the stages seamlessly – days when we refuse to look at each other, days when we bicker over what now looks laughable, and then the days when we simply can’t ‘gel.’ But these moments are too quickly forgotten, and we are forced to remember why we’re both here in the first place – to experience the world through each others eyes. And we wouldn’t have it any – other – way.
We get to wake up every morning together knowing there’s excitement around every single corner.
We share a common goal in life – that we want to see it all. To experience it all. To live it all. Since travelling together, we’ve learnt each others strength and weaknesses, and helped each other build on both. We have no secrets, no facades – we are what you see. When you travel so intimately with one another, there is simply no room for disguises or deceit.
Some days it truly feels like we live the romance you see in the cinema screens. We get to stroll the cobbled streets of Lisbon together, eat gelato on the beachfront of Hamilton Island together, and discover the mesmerising temples of Bagan together.
All said and done, we’ve got the inside scoop on what we’ve learnt as a couple, and what we genuinely feel makes for the perfect partners in crime…
You are not supposed to see eye-to-eye on every little thing. You are two complete individuals who will often have opposing views or opinions. Let your guard down and loosen up. When you travel, you are faced with countless obstacles that many ‘normal’ couples don’t have to encounter such as which country to visit next and how much to spend on that weekend hiking trip in Sapa. The truth is, you CAN do it all, just not necessarily all RIGHT NOW. If you both have different ideas on something, just remember it’s all about the give and take. When Thibault and I backpacked South-East Asia, there were plenty of situations where I wanted to visit a particular destination but it was simply stretching our budget too far. This is something that WILL happen – just remind yourself that you can come back in the future when you both will have enough money to actually enjoy it. You never know – sometimes it’s actually a blessing in disguise.
I personally have found this to be one of the most difficult aspects of travelling as a couple, whereas Thibault takes to it like a duck to water. The most important thing I can teach you is to learn each others primary communication style. I’ve grown up in an environment where we would conceal our emotions and irritations, and deal with them internally in our own time. Thibault, on the other hand, has grown up in a much more liberal environment where he could discuss his problems openly. Thibaults approach is to confront every situation head on and fix it immediately. I just wasn’t used to it and found it intrusive. I would bite my tongue, and let it eat me up inside until I exploded with a crazy-lady-esque reaction. Since understanding how one another work, we have learnt to deal with our issues in a quiet, compassionate manner. You may know each other well, but no one is a mind reader. Thibault and I now understand how each other work more intimately, so it’s much easier for us to see eye-to-eye and avoid any arguments or confrontations.
Harsh words sink ships. I’m fiery, and more often than not speak before I think. Thibault lost his passport in China, and my first reaction was to call him every name under the sun. I was so utterly furious at his disregard to his belongings (and let’s be honest, it’s not the most fun thing to lose) I lost sight of everything and just wanted to be mad for a while. Albeit funny now, at the time my reaction did absolutely nothing for the situation and essentially worsened it. Travelling with someone so intimately can often leave you feeling claustrophobic and pushes your limits far further than you’re used to – so when something like that happens it’s very easy to lose your head. Patience is most certainly a muscle, which needs to be worked on gently by both partners. We’ve now gained a good balance of patience and assertiveness, and know that sometimes all you need is to take a deep breath and start again. Travel itself requires a huge amount of patience – the amount of buses, trains and boats that will keep you waiting just gets you used to it.
Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less – Mother Theresa
Thibault reaaaaaallllly wanted to go to Singapore for a big dance event, and I reeeaaaalllyy didn’t fancy it. Singapore is a big expensive city, which I had no desire to visit let alone spend a week there. I was pissed. Going from Myanmar to Singapore was a giant punch to the face (or better phrased, a giant punch to my purse) and I just resented being there. Then something reaaally bizarre happened – I opened my eyes and I LOVED Singapore. The sickeningly clean streets, the entrancing flashing lights – even the fake beaches had me. We ended up having the most mind-blowing week which I wouldn’t change for the world (we even debated moving there!) It taught me to let Thibault take the reins and just trust that I don’t always know what’s best. I learnt how to let go of control and enjoy the ride someone else takes me on.When you travel as two, you need to allow yourself to be open-minded and sometimes just go with the flow. It will prove to be the best thing you’ve ever done.
And when that’s all said and done, don’t forget to climb mountains, play in the rivers, hang your legs over canyons, and run with the bulls.