We've been a travelling couple for almost 5 years. During this time, G and I spent 24/7 together. I know, this can sound crazy and even daunting to some, but for us, it just works. Was it always a smooth ride? Of course not. We had to spend a lot of time learning about each other, dealing with new emotions and reactions. Getting into a new relationship means stepping into the unknown. Add being a travelling couple to that equation and you can quickly see why travelling can make or break your relationship.
We quickly realised life is too short to wait for things to happen. We wanted to create our own exciting path. We decided to go all in and find the art and science of being a travelling couple. Here is what we discovered along the way.
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Our Secrets as a Travelling Couple - Contents
Being a travelling couple
We got a message the other day from a reader asking us "what does it mean to be a travelling couple". After speaking with G about it, I guess the answer is: it's up to you. Are you in a relationship? Do you guys travel together (part time or full time)? Then you are a travelling couple. Truth is, you don't have to label anything if you don't want to.
We started considering ourselves a travelling couple after spending a lot of time abroad. We quickly realised that we are in our element when we search for new travelling opportunities, create travelling goals together or pack our bags for the next adventure. We are the sort of married couple who loves doing, going, experiencing. We worked hard to attain this lifestyle because very quickly in our relationship, we realised what works for us. This brings me to the next point: if you must fail, fail fast.
If you must fail, fail fast
G and I unknowingly decided to go all in with our relationship. We started spending 24/7 after one month of being in a relationship. We met each other's families in record time. We took our first trip abroad after just 3 months. We officially moved in together after 6 months. Along the way we had this tagline: let's not delay the inevitable. If it works, then we do everything the way we want it and don't spend time dwelling on decisions. If it must fail, we might as well fail fast in this relationship and not waste each other's time.
This approach allowed us to be impulsive and genuinely follow our hearts. It made us relaxed and not worried that things might go wrong. We didn't second guess one another and only made decisions which made us happy. Ultimately, we wanted to share a precious commodity together: time.
Having the same attitude towards our time together, our relationship and our lives in general, made it easier for us to make decisions as a team. Don't get me wrong, we had many times when we wanted different things, but we happily reached compromises. Many couples look at compromises as a negative thing for the relationship. That's not the case. A compromise is a mature way of sharing things 50 - 50. Think about it, you get some of what you want and you also offer your loved one some of what they want. It's an incredible balance of love, respect and endearment.
Eventually, as you grow as a couple, you get to grow together. That helps tremendously when you start travelling together as there will be times when you face challenges and you have to overcome them as a team.
For us, travelling together means having the same interests. At least to some extent.
Do you remember that silly romcom called Just Married? When Tom (Ashton Kutcher) wanted to see the football whilst in Italy whereby Sarah (Brittany Murphy) was interested in museums and history? This sort of relationship might not work for everyone and certainly not for us. We think having the same interests makes us enjoy travelling as a couple. Ultimately, we want to travel together and experience the world as a team.
This being said, there are times when we need to compromise. I might want to spend a whole day shopping whereas G wants to chill in nature, outside of the city. When this happens, we simply add an extra day or two to our itinerary. We spend one day doing what I want, then spend a day doing what he likes. We never dread doing so, and we take a genuine interest in what the other desires. That's what makes us tick.
It's not always glamorous
Honestly, it would be such a lie to say that travelling together is always amazing. I got ill during our first 2 weeks in Japan. That made it difficult for both of us. We got really tired during our first flight to New Zealand and couldn't really deal with the stress of our first long haul as a couple. In fact, our New Zealand trip had so many ups and downs. Travelling as a couple is also our work, so sometimes we just get carried away with doing marketing related tasks. When external factors frustrate us, we sometimes take it out on each other and get grumpy and frustrated for no apparent reason.
It took us years of practice to learn how to communicate with one another. It took time, patience and dedication.
When things go wrong, you need to remember to try and restore that balance. If you make a mistake, do say sorry. If the other person says something wrong, calmly ask them to communicate their issues in depth. Glam or not, we learnt from our mistakes and realised that in any relationship, communication is the most important factor.
Learn to communicate
Travelling couple or not, this is our biggest secret: communication. It seems like such a simple concept, but trust us, it takes so much time and dedication. Be honest with yourself, when your partner throws an accusation at you, isn't your first reaction to accuse them back? Well, we wanted to challenge that. As opposed to negatively reacting to the other's issue, we learnt to take a deep breath, let is go and say something like "ok, you are upset. Let's sit down, discuss and figure out what's really going on". What we discovered it's amazing: 99% of the time the cause of frustration is rooted in some other insignificant event which can be easily fixed.
One thing you need to consider though: communication goes both ways. You should expect the same level of communication and understanding from your partner. You can't just be the only one who tries without getting anything in return.
Be honest with yourself first
Do you get the attention you deserve? Are you the only one who compromises? Do you always travel to your partner's desired locations? Do you sacrifice your own happiness to attain theirs? That's not good. A happy relationship goes both ways and you should get back what you put in. Never less, never more.
It's important to be honest with yourself. Are you happy? Is your partner making you happy? Do you put enough effort in to make them happy?
Push your boundaries
Don't allow your relationship to get dull. One of our biggest secrets is to always challenge ourselves. We basically fight routine as much as possible. Sure, we have days when we just want to chill on the sofa with junk food and Netflix but in general, we try to do something different. When we feel bored, we go out for a long walk. When we are too lazy to cook, we go for an impromptu date night to a new restaurant. When we cook together, we try and find new recipes to try. We are introspective travellers, looking for experiences that help us grow as people.
Challenge the dull and seek to evolve in your relationship. If you don't allow yourself to fall into a repetitive daily routine, everything will feel new and unexpected.
Find common goals
Write a list of things which motive you and your partner. Pick the common goals and work as a team in order to achieve them. Having common goals means challenging yourselves and learning how to share responsibilities but also successes.
This became obvious to us when we started working together. We found those common goals which motivated us. We also have individual objectives but they are all in line with those common goals we share as a married couple.
Don't be afraid to say no
Just because you are in love with someone doesn't mean to have to always say yes. Don't be afraid to simply say no to things you don't want to do. You should feel safe to do so and be assured that your partner doesn't mind. Again, it's about open communication, respect, love and compromise.
Quid pro quo
Travelling defines a relationship. You learn to enjoy each other's company 24/7. You learn to overcome difficulties on the road. It becomes an incredible teamwork. And as a reward, you get a never-ending adventure. You capture intimate moments together, you laugh, you play, you share. As previously mentioned, you need to always be sure that everything you give, you get. It's a quid pro quo which works both ways. You have to be happy and your partner has to be happy. Being a travelling couple means achieving that perfect balance of work, love and life.
Intimacy on the road
You are a travelling couple and not just best friends, hence being intimate with one another is super important. There will be challenges to this as travelling can make you tired, grumpy or unfocused. Sometimes you will be travelling to countries which don't inspire intimacy due to lack of facilities, hygiene or privacy. We believe that as a travelling couple, intimacy is incredibly important, hence we always go for private accommodation in a decent location. We'd rather spend less time in a destination and pay more for facilities which make us feel comfortable as a couple.
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Encourage each other
I can't stress enough the importance of encouragement and support. Things don't always go according to the plan. There are days when we feel a little lost and uncertain. Be the support pillar for your partner and encourage them to do better. A few kinds words can really mean the world to the other person and might be exactly what they need to find their way.
When I started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing but G's words of encouragement made me excited about learning new things and making it work. He was the positive energy I needed in my life.
Listen to your heart
Always listen to your heart. Are you happy? Are you compromising too much? Do you feel that you'd rather do something else? Are you waiting for your partner to change? Then you are depriving yourself of important time put to better use. We are born with these incredible instincts to know what path to take. Listen to your inner self and do what your heart tells you to do. It's really magic. If you go to bed with a sense of peace and wake up excited about the day ahead, you know it's all good.
Two years of full-time travel later...
We started travelling around 5 years ago. In the last two years, we left our permanent home in pursuit of a true travelling adventure. We lived in Japan, Portugal, Spain and Hungary, and we are getting ready to move again. We did countless road trips around Europe, visited myriads of places. We have days when everything is wonderful and days when we need to overcome challenges. We follow our hearts every single day. We think travelling together is the best thing ever and it's because of travelling that our relationship is stronger than ever. Our biggest secrets? Love, honesty, patience and communication. We believe these are the key ingredients which make us work as a travelling couple who spends 24/7 together.