‘For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.’ – Stephanie Perkins
It’s not healthy to be with someone 24/7 and constantly have to sacrifice your needs every minute of the day to make them happy. Fact. I might be able to do it for a couple of months, but after that it’s gonna start grating.
You can be in the ‘perfect relationship’. You might not ever argue or even bicker. You might not have screaming matches when you’re blind drunk because the green eyed monster made a random appearance. You might be on the same wavelength about everything from what to have for dinner to where to buy your first house. You might have it together, together.
But I can tell you one thing for certain, travelling is bloody hard work. You are in a foreign country and might not be able to speak the local language. It might be pouring with rain for days at a time or ridiculously hot and humid. You’re wandering the streets aimlessly trying to find your accommodation and your hungry and thirsty and tired from not getting any sleep on the [insert number] hour journey because of the snorer next to you.
YOU ARE AT BREAKING POINT SERIOUSLY.
Suddenly, the love of your life shares that they are also feeling all of the above like that’s your bloody problem and OMG YOU WANT TO THROTTLE THEM. Just for a second, or a minute, or ten.
So if you’re living the dream but contemplating the dream without the love of your life, is it really worth it? What can you do to fix it without your BFF to call and rant to and get advice from? How can you take time out, when you are petrified that if they’re out of your sight for more than the 20 minutes it should take for them to get you chocolate, that the worst has happened? How do you travel as a couple without uncoupling?
I don’t have the answers. I really don’t. Me and Lew managed 15 months living together and then living and working together and then backpacking and we made it through.
There were times when I stormed off but I always looked behind me to make sure he was in my sight (and therefore I was in his in case some madman decided to snatch me…).
There were times when there was nowhere to storm off to so I’d sit in the bathroom listening to our songs to remind me of the good times.
There were times when I thought I’d surprise him by buying UK brands in the NZ supermarket-daylight robbery honestly, $8 (£4) for some flaming hobnobs?! Or he’d let me buy another bracelet (such a cliche traveller) even though I had an armful.
There were times when we took time out from each other with our new friends.
Or I’d go for a run whilst he slept in/made breakfast.
We had date nights. When we got to Bangkok we’d been together non-stop for 3 weeks. The only time we spent more than 20 minutes apart, was when he got food poisoning from Lombok airport spaghetti and spent hours at a time in the toilet during our 9 hour KL airport layover… Good times. So in Bangkok he got ready and went to a local bar for a beer, I actually brushed my hair, put on some make up including lipstick and met him for a drink before we had a pretty pricey meal (it probably wasn’t that pricey but it wasn’t the street food we’d been living off). It’s important to do this at home, that doesn’t stop when you travel.
It’s important to remember this is your travel experience; it’s not just a we, us, our. It’s me and I too and that’s OK.
This time round we’re going to make an effort to take time out from us, in order to enjoy it more when we’re together. In order to be the perfect couple (yeah, right) we have to work on ourselves.
So, we got Lew some running trainers so I can workout knowing he is off doing his thing too. I’ll blog when he has football to watch. I’ll people watch and drink tea on my own like I do back home. We’ll have date nights. We’ll each find a new place on our own to tell the other about.
We’ll do what all couples the world over do and just keep on keeping on.
This time, we have no jobs or housemates to help break up the day. We are backpacking for 12 months or more and it’s going to get hard.
Do you have any advice you can give us? What do you do to keep the relationship strong when together so often?