A few months ago, I wrote this article which got published on Through Catalog which I decided to reword and republish here. Why? Well quite ironically, one of the most common questions that Tom and I get is about couple travel. Although we are no experts at it, we think sharing our experiences on it can be quite helpful.
Some people say that they would never marry someone unless they have tried traveling with them. Whoever said that definitely knew what they were talking about because for me, traveling with someone is THE ultimate relationship test. Traveling brings out the best…and the worst in every person. You see each other go through highs and lows and everything else in between. Mind you when I say traveling, I don’t mean a weekend here and there or a 5-day splurge in an all-inclusive resort.
Since my partner and I decided to quit our jobs to pursue a crazy travel dream, we’ve since traveled through countless countries across 4 continents together.
We are with each other 24/7, through the good and bad. He has seen me throw childish fits when I’m hungry (P.S. h-ANGRY Anna is not very pleasant), I have seen him grouchy over sleepless travel days. Above it all, we have seen each other through bad stomachs, high fevers, stinky clothes, and 24 hour transit days.
The truth is, traveling with your partner is hard. It takes commitment, a lot of patience, and well, a lot of love.
One of the things which he does that I adore is when he catches me at my worst and tells me how beautiful I look and how much he loves me. You know, those days when you’re wearing your last clean shirt (which you’ve been wearing for the last three days) as you sweat profusely while you fight through the last 12 hours of a long travel day, he looks at me and lovingly says, “you look beautiful today.”
Quite frankly, there’s nothing better than knowing your partner loves you through your worst.
Sorry ladies, he’s mine.
So want to know why should you travel with your partner?
Travel Together to REALLY Get to Know the Person
Contrary to what a lot of people think, traveling can be stressful. This especially holds true to budget traveling as you’re constantly doing the cheaper option just to save some money (i.e. $150 2 hour flight from Vietnam to Laos or a $50 24 bus ride? –go figure which one we took!)
It tests your character and how you handle and respond to situations. Unlike regular dating where you always see the best foot forward of a person, when traveling together, you get to see your partner react to everyday unusual situations. How your partner responds to a missed train or bus is more likely how he will respond to a few things later on in life.
Trust me, you wouldn’t want to be with someone who would throw a fit or a panic frenzy over the little things.
My dad always says that you can see the true personality of a man when placed under stress. In fact, when getting to know both my brother-in-laws, he purposefully ‘tested’ them by placing them under stressful situations to see how they would react. Although these pranks that he played (wetting the charcoal before asking my brother in law to light the bqq) were seemingly harmless, he saw their true character when faced with small little problems. Which trust me, happens a lot on a daily basis when traveling.
Travel Together To Find Out If You Can DEPEND on Each Other
Like everything in life, traveling with someone is all about partnerships and working together as a team. When you guys go on a trip, does one person take all the responsibility? Can you rely on your partner to get you through both the big and small things?
Traveling is a good way to determine what kind of role your partner will play in your life. Can you depend on them to step up and take control of a situation when needed? Can you depend on him/her to take care of you when you’re sick?
Trust me, it takes a different kind of love to take care of someone through stomach problems when on the road. There are moments when traveling when the only two things that you can do is curl up in a ball in bed and run to the toilet. And when the going gets tough, will your partner just leave you to be or will they nurse you through it…vomiting and toilet sounds included.
Travel To See Your Partner Outside Their COMFORT ZONE
When you travel with a partner, you will constantly see them step out of their comfort zone. How they respond to daily challenges of doing things outside life’s normal routine is a great way to judge if you would want to be with this person for life. Is he/she culturally sensitive?
Do you enjoy learning and growing together as you experience different cultures and languages? Do they respect and embrace people from different walks of life, regardless if it is similar to theirs or not.
In the end, you would want a partner who is respectful and is open to different possibilities in life. You would want someone that is willing to step out of their comfort zone just to try something new.
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Travel to Test How Willing They Are to COMPROMISE
When traveling, your partner’s ability or lack of willingness to compromise is a deciding factor for any relationship. It is natural to want to do different things and have different ideas of how to go about a situation. When planning any trip, these small differences will come up and how you deal with it and compromise about it will say a lot about how your future decisions will be like.
Can you compromise over a budget? Place to eat? Things to do or even where to go? You wouldn’t want to be together with someone who refuses to budge over little things to meet you in the middle over simple decisions.
I am a rather thrifty traveller (okay, who am I kidding, I’m the most frugal person EVER) and my partner, Tom doesn’t really pay attention to his budget. This has caused issues between us initially but we spoke about it, reached a compromise, and pretty much resolved this immediately.
We are now savvy budget travelers who don’t mind splurging once in a while for a nice place to stay or a good meal in a country. Plus, seeing how a person handles their finances is a big tell-tale sign of what life would be like with them in the future.
Travel to Make Lifelong MEMORIES Together
Lastly, I HIGHLY recommend traveling with your partner for the sole reason of making memories together. I have this silly dream of being old as I sit on a rocking chair (how cliché, I know!) talking to my equally old husband reminiscing all the fantastic moments we shared around the world.
Remember the time we went cliff diving in Thailand? Swam with giant manta rays in Indonesia? Got lost in the streets of Budapest? Or that time we sat by San Marco square in Venice drunk on wine? Traveling brings about many amazing experiences, but for me, being able to share them with someone else makes these experiences even better.
My partner and I have a different dynamic as not only do we travel together full time, we also run a business together and although this adds another dimension to our relationship, we both wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t get me wrong, our relationship is far from perfect. We struggle, we disagree, and we argue like all couples do. The difference is, we know how lucky we are to have found each other.
So every day, we embrace the ups and downs as we both know at the end of the day, there is no one else we would rather travel the world with.
Through our travels, I feel like I got to know my partner more than I would ever have compared to if we were just normally dating.
So before you take your relationship to the next level, put it to the ultimate test and go away somewhere together. You can thank me later!
This article was written by the author but was originally published at Thought Catalog. Photography by Gavin Sutton
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- Why I decided to Travel the World in my 20’s
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