The Truth About Couple's Travel [The High's Lows and all In-between]
The classic things you often hear about why couples travel is good:
You always have someone to share things with.
Missing home isn't nearly as bad when you have a piece of it with you.
You can share the trip organizing duties.
It can work out cheaper.
You share the cost of food and you can buy more. Eat more. Always a good thing.
There's someone to lift your enormous rucksack onto your back.
Its the little things...
I'd agree with most of those common points.
I'd say I take action on a lot of things whilst travelling that Taran doesn't, but he also puts in a lot of hours working on our travel videos.
I can be more pro-active, more of a planner, but we both contribute equally as much as is possible.
And it is nice to have your closest friend with you, but it doesn't mean you never miss family. Sometimes if you've argued it can actually feel quite lonely.
I can't help but think that anyone who says that spending every waking (and sleeping) hour with your other half is 'the best', is the biggest bullshitter (that or insanely self-assured and overly content..).
Unless you perfectly mirror one another and like exactly the same things, and spend your days en-rapt in laughter at each other, then you will definitely piss each other off.
It won't always be big scary rows or screaming matches; it will be small moments of friction, a misspoken word, a misinterpreted facial expression. It will be tense looks and even tenser conversational tones.
You will somewhat resemble a middle-aged couple whom long ago liked one another and now just tolerate each other. And I want to point out how that is much more the norm amongst couples who are going through the up's and down's of travel, the harder side of it, e.g. missing home, looking for work, deciding on plans for what to do next.
If you've never lived with your partner, well, there's a whole new category of things to find annoying about each other.
Am I selling it to you? Hmm, well you won't know how it will work for you until you try it.
And I suggest you do.
Sometimes the best relationships are only functioning because the two people in them are playing it safe. Maybe they are suppressing some of their hopes and desires.
They are maybe avoiding things that could bring on conflict or force them to confront their differences, and so, their happiness, whilst nice, pleasant, and easy to maintain, is not necessarily built on a solid foundation of shared dreams, experiences and bonding.
Of course marriage, bringing a mini chubby human into the world, that life direction will put people through the wringer, and test them in a similar way to how travel will. Those milestones put couples on a roller-coaster of emotions that will either tear them apart or embolden their love and strengthen them beyond anything.
But we are not currently wed or expecting a small pooping person. And we might not ever do those things. So how are we to know how suited we are to each other, or how much we can bring adventure and experience into each others lives, without doing this whole nomad thing together?
There are so many positives to couples travel that I can speak of the negative aspects and not find myself depressed.
Firstly, we have laughed, a lot.
- We have made each other smile when stood on the side of a motorway hailing for a lift.
- We share body warmth on a cold night of camping.
- We make each other lunch or brekkie, and have a mutual enjoyment when we eat proper yummy dinners.
- We help each other put our heavy backpacks on, and share the burden of carrying extra things.
- We protect each other, look out for one another, and bring each other out of ourselves.
- When we argue, we are far more honest and open with what we are truly thinking, because there is no point spending any of this potentially amazing life phase lying to each other or to ourselves.
- We have found new songs, new films and new in-jokes.
- We have made our life as a couple more diverse and fulfilling.
But you do need to find moments of personal solo joy by taking yourself away from each other to do your own thing, be it reading a book, watching a movie, or sitting on a beach listening to music.
We need shame-free and indulgent moments to ourselves, always.
And unless you strive for those, you aren't really being fair to one another's experience.
Travel should be what both of you want, whether one wants to hike a mountain whilst the other sits by the pool. You have different wants, and the quicker you reconcile that fact, and accept that its okay, and that it doesn't make you a failure as a couple, the better you will both feel.
When you spend all your time together, you realize, 'Shit, we are different'.
And unless its a difference in belief about the fundamentals of life, then, most things, are just parts of your history, your personality, your habits.
You can still be you, you can still be the worst or most lazy version of yourself. You aren't travelling together because you need each other to be the same, to respond to everything with the same thoughts and energy. It would make life easier, but easy isn't always better.
If Taran wasn't the way he is, there are things on this trip that I wouldn't have done. I would of stayed content with excuses I make to myself for holding back in life.
And without me, Taran feels like maybe we wouldn't have been so organized. And we both agree that having each other is even better when we manage to shoe-horn time apart into daily travel life.
That's is the main truth of couples travel right there.
It might seem more exciting, varied and fun compared to other lifestyle choices you and you partner could have made, but it's nonetheless stressful, and your love is not impervious to the demands of nomad life.
Couples travel takes work, thought, honesty and most importantly, fulfilling your separate interests, trying to make mutual decisions and have the best shared experiences...
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!