TRAVEL & LGBT
6 Ways Travel Makes Relationships Stronger
Meg and I fell into a life of travel by accident. We were living 2 hours apart when we started dating. Instead of going to each other’s houses we decided to meet in all the cities in-between. Eventually travel just became our normal.
We have grown tremendously as individuals and as a couple over these last 4 years. I’d say it a million times over – we are at our absolute best when we are traveling together. I’ve had some of the best moments of my life in small coffee shops surrounded by conversations in a language I do not understand.
For me, travel is about constantly pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. I have grown more in a 10 day trip to Thailand or a weekend in Columbus than I did in some years in Pennsylvania. Our relationship grows leaps and bounds each time we are pushed out of those comfort zones together. Today I’m sharing some tips on how traveling together makes relationships stronger.
Learn to Compromise
We are the definition of opposites attract. I’m salty and Meg’s sweet, I want to plan, Meg is spontaneous – the list of differences could go on and on. We have different food preferences, preferred schedules, and activities. For us sometimes meeting in the middle is the right answer and other times taking turns making choices is what works best. Meg’s favorite example of this is from a trip to Thailand. My mind was made up, I wanted to do a jungle hike and she wanted a massage. Our solution was to do the hike and then get the message. She still hasn’t let me live it down that her “giving a little” meant a 5hr hike in the pouring rain and my “give a little” meant getting a massage. I am constantly in situations I’d never put myself in because it’s what Meg’s into and vice versa.
Don’t hold a grudge
When your environment is constantly changing arguments are going to happen. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is great for growth but it can also create the perfect storm for an argument. I am self-aware enough to admit any combination of hot, hungry or overtired turn me into an actual monster. The thing about having an argument on the road is that it can’t linger. Most of the time taking space to cool off isn’t an option and grumpily sitting beside each other on a bus is miserable. Arguments are going to happen. Take the time and talk it over, figure it out and move on. Spending 24 hours of your 4-day trip arguing over which person got you lost just isn’t worth it.
Talk to each other!
Soak in your experiences and talk about them. There is something nice about being some place with no service or spotty wifi. Taking the time to connect is one of my favorite parts of being on the road. Long flights or quiet bus rides are the perfect time to reconnect. When you are seeing and experiencing so much new stuff there is a lot to process. Connect with each other, learn what makes each other tick. When we started traveling regularly my Dad felt very strongly that we should have a travel journal. I thought it was a little silly but eventually gave in. [You were right Dad.] We’ve gotten in the habit of writing in that journal right before bed every night we spend away from home. It still amazes me when recapping the day how differently we often feel about the same experience. Talking through why we felt a specific way in whatever situation is such an amazing way to learn about each other.
Find a shared passion
We fell in love with travel at the same time we fell in love with each other. It is ingrained in the fabric of our relationship. It’s not my thing or Meg’s thing — it’s our thing. We’ve planned 20 trips we’ll probably never go in and shared 100’s of travel articles with each other. For two people as different as we are, developing common interests was crucial to our success as a couple. Travel for us is something we can customize to fit us. You can catch us at any moment and we probably have 4 trips we’re planning, even if it’s only in our heads or on Instagram. [Shameless Plug – follow me on Instagram to see more photos of our adventures
Learn to be a team
My all-time favorite travel stories to tell are the ones where we make mistakes. We’ve made them all – ranging from that time I ate out of an ashtray in South Korea to spending a good amount of money to go to a “floating market” with only one boat. It’s not all fun and games though. We’ve been in weird places with no money and spent too many nights on airport floors. We’ve been forced to rely only on each other in some pretty high-stress situations. When you’re traveling – especially internationally with a language barrier – there’s just no one else to bail you out. Learning to read each other’s stress level as well and understanding strengths and weaknesses has served us well in all aspects of life.
Plan intentional time
We are huge with intentional time. Yea – taking the dogs out together is great and there’s no one I would rather sit beside holding something clean talking about how I’m helping but really doing nothing fold laundry with – but intentional time is crucial for us. Travel is all about creating that intentional time. It doesn’t matter if you stay one night in an Airbnb on the other side of town or 10 days in Ecuador shaking up your normal make things feel special. We constantly talk about how we want to date forever. This is the way we choose to keep those dates feeling fresh and interesting.
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