Traveling with your partner. Some say the road and your partner should never be mixed, while others consider it the best relationship test out there. For us, neither have ever been the case. We met while both of us were pursuing a life of adventure with no fixed address and I guess you could say that we never dated but simply merged two expeditions seeking ultimate freedom.
To find someone to travel with, adventure with and share a life on the go with is something most long term solo travelers never see happen and many existing couples fear will ultimately destroy their relationship. But fear not, fellow roamers! Traveling with your partner isn’t all that scary, impossible and frustrating and doesn’t have to be all about sacrifice. For this special day dedicated to love, we decided it was about time (especially after so many tips for solo travelers) to really think about how we make a settled relationship and unsettled life work together.
Now we’re by no means relationship experts and we feel in no position to hand out advise since things will be different for every couple. All we can do is talk about how we handle situations and give a few suggestions that have worked like magic for us and hope you can find something to help keep your better half happy when traveling with your partner.
HOW WE DEAL WITH CONFLICTING INTERESTS
He said Compromise, compromise, compromise. You have to give and take equally. If you always do what the other wants just to make them happy you will eventually start to resent them for it and vice versa if you always do what you want. Mostly we have similar interests so this is a pretty easy subject for us. Sometimes you still find yourself in a museum looking at old paintings of…yawn, but it can be good to have one in the bank for when you come across a classic car show.
She said It seriously depends on what this conflict of interest is. With most things, if I know Sam is really passionate about it and I have no huge interest, I simply do what he wants anyways since I know he would do the same for me. In case we only have limited time in one location and we both want to do different things, we will simply go separate ways for a little bit. Just because you’re traveling together doesn’t mean you must do EVERYTHING together.
ALONE TIME AND PERSONAL SPACE
He said For me alone time and personal space are two different things. I have no great need for my own space, which is good as we usually live in tight quarters and share pretty much everything. Alone time however is something that I think everybody needs occasionally. For me the simple fact that we share a different sleeping pattern mostly covers my need for some time to my self. I will regularly stay up till 2-3 am whilst Merel is usually asleep by 10-11pm. I love night time, everybody is asleep and it’s like they left the world to me. So when I really need some time alone, I will go for a night hike over the mountain or when on the boat just sail on through from sundown till sunup. The flip side of this is that I will usually sleep a bit longer into the next day which in turn gives Merel a bit of time to herself.
She said We almost seem to thrive on small spaces since we always seem to go for the confinements of tiny living quarters. Whether it’s living on our boat, in a van or even when we took it slow this year, we ended up going for this tiny studio apartment because is was right on Mt Wellington. So I think it’s safe to say that we don’t need personal space away from each other.
I do need some alone time once in a while, but when you live on a boat or are stuck in your van while the weather is horrendous outside, simply going for a walk is not always that easy. Like Sam said, we usually have a couple of hours at the start and end of the day to ourselves. Aside from that, I always make sure I’ve got some headphones on me so I can zone myself out and watch a movie I never get to watch, because I know Sam hates it or listen to some music I really like but he doesn’t. It really allows me to feel like I’m in my own world, doing my own thing even if Sam is wide awake and sitting next to me.
HOW WE GET THROUGH SCARY SITUATIONS
He said I think this can be one of our biggest walls at times. We have vastly different levels of fear and whilst Merel is always keen and determined to do something. she doesn’t always view a situation rationally, which can lead her to panic in a hairy situation. I find it is my job to know her limits and be there to help her though a situation. I find if I can be there to offer a hand or a way through something before she needs help, things tend to go a lot smoother. Whilst most of the time it’s best to just go do activities in our own way, it’s also important to know when to take charge and just tell her exactly what to do to get through.
By no means do I feel that Merel is weak and incapable though, when we first met I left her on the boat for three days whilst I went away for work. I had the yacht anchored in a bay with no northerly protection and so when it started to blow 25 knots from the north for the three days while I was gone, it turned the bay into what could best be described as a surf beach. I had seen the weather reports and knew what it would be like on the boat and just hoped that Merel would go into town and stay in a backpackers. She didn’t. She stayed on board for the three nights going ashore during the day to get away from the rodeo bull that was her new home and to gain some sanity after some terrifying nights. I can tell you now that there are not many people that would still be there when you get home after that, especially not someone who didn’t have any prior boating experience.
She said The scariest situations I can recall was when we were sailing our boat to Brisbane to catch a plane. We were tucked away in a protected bay to hide from stormy weather and when the weather forecast said the winds subsided and horizon looked calm enough, we decided to head out. Once we reached open water, the waves were still huge and winds were gusty. I was absolutely terrified and was so happy that Sam agreed to go back even though I knew this was probably not as scary for him, but I had never faced anything like it. Sam gave me precise instructions on which line to pull at what time, since I was to scared to think straight and in that moment it was exactly what I needed.
We said This usually doesn’t create a lot of issues for us since we are both happy on saving on pretty much everything most of the time. We have list of luxury items (say a new computer, camera or auto pilot for the boat etc.) and whenever we have a bit extra to spare we take turns crossing something off our own list.
Do you have any tips on traveling with your partner? Leave them in the comments below, we’d love to hear about your experiences!