We (Trish and Dave) have been travelling together for over 2 years, sharing memories from 12 different countries. Here are some valuable insights on what it’s like being on the road and in a relationship; the 4 phases you go through when you travel as a couple.
Phase 1: I can’t believe this person exists
It’s true, you’ve just met the most incredible person in the world. Nobody else has met a cooler, better, more amazing person than this. You’re both mad about each other and decide, screw it, let’s leave this place and frolic in our perfectness all over the world together! Like anything that’s new, it is always exciting, you are filled with adrenaline and you want to revel in this “newness” for as long as possible.
You have zero flaws, fact, and you want your partner to maintain that view of you and so you always put your best self forward. Can’t be bothered to clean? Totally fine man! Taking the afternoon off to do nothing? No problem! Spend the money now and we’ll think about it later, because, you’re breezy! Both of you imply that neither of you have a temper or have the ability to get stressed!
Phase 2: Who are you and what have you done with my partner?
Travelling together is far from a frolic! Firstly, there’s two of you and no two people in a couple think or act exactly the same. Secondly, there is nowhere to hide! Unlike dating or relationships back home, you spend the majority of your time together. My partner and I also work together, which means we literally spend 24/7 together. You get to see every possible side of your partner and of yourself. Any I mean every side, the beautiful, the caring, the freaky and the damn right evil! You won’t understand how ‘phase one’ partner just morphed into this thing in front of you!
The biggest difference between travelling and just living together, is you have to think about the handling of finance, stress, personal space, and navigation all in a completely foreign environment. Even simple things like going for a food shop can lead to a complete breakdown! I found myself plenty of times in arguments over food, getting lost, budgeting and even how we spent our free time.
With so much time spent together, you forget to miss each other, to appreciate each other and to even control yourself getting angry over things that just aren’t worth it. Any why, because they are the only familiar thing in an unfamiliar place. The way you both handle this phase is truly what breaks down the barriers of being a surface couple and turning it into a relationship with substance.
“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” — Mark Twain
Phase 3: Acceptance
Once you get the reality slap of phase 2 around your face, you realise there’s 2 ways to go. Run. Run for your life in any direction possible and avoid having to deal with this or anything like this. Perfection is what you strive for and perfection is what you will find, nothing more and nothing less. Or, you have an outer body experience and have the realisation that it’s all going to be OK!
It’s important to get out there, socialise, and integrate in your surroundings. Hermits were not made to travel and even if you are one, tough luck, it’s time for that to change! People need a good network. We are human beings who feed off of each other and that is why it’s so important to have different people in your life. Once we integrate in the country we live in, phase 2 becomes a distant memory. Sure, mental images of crazy us will never be erased! But knowing what not to do it always useful too.
As well as getting yourself out there, giving yourself personal space is vital (unless you plan on growing into an old, resentful and bitter human being!) My partner and I spend time apart with either small part time jobs, classes, simply going to the shop or meeting up with friends. This also helps us work better together. We are more patient, have more ideas to bring to the table and are generally more productive.
Phase 4: Enjoying every minute
Over the time we have been travelling together, we have allowed ourselves to completely trust each other. Not the unrealistic, “if I told you to jump off a cliff” kind of trust, but in way that we fully know we are there for each other. Travelling and discovering new places together is something I can’t put into words. Having travelled solo, documenting, filming and capturing moments wasn’t enough for me. Sharing it with somebody takes the experience to a new level.
“Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared is doubled.”
We are no longer selling ourselves to one another, we are being ourselves. Over time you will develop an “us against the world” mentality, where you both have mutual interests, ideas and similar feelings on subjects, or horribly, even people! You’ll know that if a turtle bites your arm off, or you eat some street food and spend 5 days sweating from all ends, that person is going nowhere!
There is no better feeling than sharing unique, hilarious, beautiful and even dark experiences with somebody else.
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