This post was contributed by our Couples Travel Experts, Mack & Laura.
They say that if you want to know someone that you should live with them. I would like to challenge that. If you REALLY want to know someone, travel with them.
Life’s routine has a heightened intimacy when you are outside of your comfort zone, sharing new experiences and small spaces with another person. It can be challenging at times, adjusting to this proximity and potentially uncomfortable circumstances.
That being said, we are yet to find anything that is more rewarding than experiencing the world’s wonders with your closest confidant. For the best chance of making it to the other side, check out these ten tips for a great relationship on the road.
Relax. And Not Just At The Beach
Adventure begets surprise. When we travel, we are exposed to new places, new cultures, and new languages. We don’t always have control over the day’s events and, in our experience, the more wholeheartedly we accept that, the happier we become. Allow yourselves some wiggle room. Accept the changes of plans as they come up.
Enjoy the journey that the two of you are on together and go easy on each other. It’s natural to be short with your partner when you’re experiencing stress. We find the best way to avoid this is to diffuse the stress before it starts. If you’ve been travelling with us, you will have heard us tell each other to ‘surrender’ countless times. It’s our mantra on the road. What we mean is to let each day happen without concern over plans or consequences. Travelling is a pursuit of experience and we’ve learned that the best experiences come when we relax, surrender control, and roll with it.
Find Some Perspective
Travel is a lifestyle choice. It is something that we prioritize, something that we value and something that we work hard for. It is also a luxury. Acknowledging our privilege to be able to travel allows us to derive more from it. Appreciate the time that you and your partner spend together in those far-gone, beautiful places.
Enjoy it, celebrate it and when things get rough, remind yourself where you are and who you’re with. Have a look at the love of your life taking in an exotic sunset, feel your heart skip a beat and know that you are living a blessed life.
Speak to each other. When you are happy, say it. If there is something that you need, share that. If you are upset, talk your way through it. This can’t be stressed enough. So many problems that couples have while travelling stem from poor communication and a feeling of being misunderstood.
Openness allows you to understand where each of you are emotionally. If you know how your partner is feeling you will be able to give them what they need. Travel is an intimate experience and if you can be intimately open as a couple you will develop a stronger relationship. Spend more of your time smiling and get so much more out of your journey together.
Learn Each Other’s Love Languages
The Five Love Languages is a 1995 best-seller written by American author, Gary Chapman. In this book, Chapman dives into five ways that he believes human beings give and receive love. The love languages are: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gift giving and quality time. Our expression of these love languages varies individually and understanding how they relate to you and your partner is an invaluable tool in the progression of your relationship.
Learning your love languages is the ‘a-ha’ moment in which all those seemingly little things that your partner does or says change into a resounding proclamation of ‘I love you’. Read the book and take the online quiz to discover how you and your partner share your love. It will open your eyes and bring greater meaning to countless daily interactions in your life in transit.
Work together. Plan your trip together and share the responsibilities that arise on the road. Decide where you want to go, where to stay and what you would like to do together. Travel is a journey and it is one that is best undertaken in a partnership. You will develop a deeper respect for yourself, your partner and relationship if your journey is a union of your dreams and you will be moved more deeply by the incredible moments you share on the road if you create them together.
Find space for yourselves. You will meet some incredible people on the road. Fellow travellers, locals, some people who will become lifelong friends and others who will change your entire perspective in a single day. Meeting wonderful people from all over the world is one of the best things about travelling.
Even better is a taste of perfect solitude. Spending time with Laura, completely alone and on the far side of the world is a feeling that I have yet to match. Peace, isolation, a feeling of disconnect – these are the things that we appreciate most when we get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. These stolen moments are our favourites on the road and ones which we would love you to experience for yourselves.
There is no better time to try something new than when you are experiencing a different culture with your favourite person. Whether it’s tasting a local delicacy or trying an adrenaline-filled activity that you’ve always thought about. One of the best experiences on any holiday is experimenting with your partner. So, warm up the taste buds, get your hearts pumping and don’t forget to laugh at yourselves while you create wonderful memories to last you a lifetime.
Take the time to care for your physical relationship. On the road, away from the stress, fatigue and demands of daily life allow yourselves to relax and develop a heightened level of intimacy together.
Maybe you will even rediscover something that has been forgotten. You will have more energy, feel more connected to your partner and be more receptive to the beauty around you. The sun will shine warmer, the birds will sing sweeter and smiling laughter will flow more freely. And when it is time to go home, you will do so feeling refreshed and full of optimism.
Mind Your Expectations
Earlier I introduced you to our travelling mantra: ‘Surrender’. Now I want to take a moment to share one of our core principles in travel and in life: ‘Trade expectation for appreciation’. The day that this piece of wisdom was imparted upon me changed my life for the better.
We as human beings spend so much time thinking about the future that sometimes we forget to be present. When it comes to travel, we invest so much time, energy and excitement into a long-planned trip that we develop a certain level of expectation around it. This expectation does not serve us. It robs us of the joys of adventure and sets us up for bitter disappointment.
If we can actively rid ourselves of expectations we can create extra space for great experiences. Wrong turns become part of the journey; moments which we never anticipated wow us and the grand experiences are even sweeter than they would have been otherwise.
Love The Little Things
Stolen kisses, subtle touches and shortened breaths of wonder. Those fleeting and immeasurable moments hiding at the periphery. These are the moments which make up the core of our spiritual sustenance. When planning a trip, we often spend our time dreaming of the grand experiences and highlights to come. Even more important are all the small moments which make up each day. These are the ones which have the greatest impact on our sense of contentment and wellbeing. Take time for the little things. Be active in your giving and receiving of love while you travel and watch as the big moments take on an incredible new light.
A happy and healthy relationship on the road is one that is open, intimate, and reciprocal. Have fun while you travel. Laugh, dance, wander and soak up fresh experiences. Support each other, love each other and do your best to make sure you have everything you need together.
Seeing the world with your significant other is something that will change your lives for the better. Find a balance that works for you and enjoy while your hopes are fulfilled, your dreams take shape and you create memories that will last a lifetime.