A while back, I wrote a post explaining why traveling as a couple is a great thing
. However, it’s not all roses and rainbows all the time.
Sometimes it’s hard. Really hard. I’ve never done this kind of thing alone, so
I can’t really say if it’s harder with a partner, but here’s my list of why it
really sucks sometimes.
1. Making decisions.
Sometimes making decisions as a couple can be really hard,
especially since practically every decision includes the both of you. Where are we going to eat? You’ll have this
discussion 2-3 times a day, and believe me, it gets old. Where are we going to
stay in this town? This one’s not so hard, because you’ll probably have a
budget you have to stick to, but if one of you doesn’t like the place, you may
have to keep searching.
Now, making decisions can be hard if you both have the same
kind of personality. For example, Ricky and I are both pretty laidback in some
things. We usually end up saying “I don’t really care, whatever you want.”
Neither of us has a preference as to where or what we eat, or what exactly to
do that day, so we usually end up trying to pass the decision making on to the
2. Lack of Alone Time
I don’t care how in love a couple are, or how attached at
the hip and perfect for each other they may seem, everyone needs alone time,
especially couples. It’s simply not healthy to spend ALL of your time together.
However, when traveling, it’s sometimes hard to find alone time. You’re often
in a city you don’t know or where it’s not safe to go wandering out alone.
Sometimes you have a strict timeline in a city. Say you’re in a city for 3 days
with x amount of sights to see. There’s simply no time for separate time, especially
if you both want to see everything.
And no matter how much you love your partner, sometimes you
just to punch their adorable face if you have to stare at it again over dinner.
3. Different Activity Preferences
This one isn’t so bad, because taking turns is a wonderful
thing. Compromise is a bit harder
sometimes, but also good to learn.
Perhaps one of you prefers sports-type activities, like rock-climbing,
kayaking, or hang-gliding. The other hates those things, but digs going to
museums and art galleries. It’s a tricky situation, and there’s no easy answer
except to talk it out and come to a conclusion that hopefully suits both of
We have found those sorts of differences in our preferences
as well. I love hiking. I’ve done some
wonderful hiking in Hawaii and in the taller mountains of Utah. I love it.
Ricky, however, despises it. Hiking is
his hell, mostly because he believes anything that can’t be reached by
motorbike is not worth seeing and he has an overwhelming disgust for anything
with more than four legs.
So we don’t hike. And I miss it a lot. Sometimes I
think of all the cool hiking opportunities I’m missing because Ricky doesn’t
On the other hand, Ricky would like to go kayaking, but I have a
strange fear of quickly moving water that is based around the time I fell out
of a raft in some white water, got stuck under a rock, and when I was finally
pulled out I was missing a shoe and a lot of blood. So we don’t do kayaking either. In a way, no
one wins. And that’s just how it is.
4. Different Energy Levels
I am a very low energy person. After running around all day seeing temples
and museums, I need to re-charge by having a little downtime. Ricky, on the
other hand is high energy. He likes to get up and go and just keep going, a la
|Ricky always did look good in sunglasses.|
|But I have a cuter smile.|
Some days I can keep up and we get everything done by early
evening. Other days I have a hard time and have to take a nap in the early
afternoon. This frustrates Ricky sometimes because he doesn’t like to just lie
around during the day. Sometimes this becomes a war of time management, because
what would traveling with a significant other be without a little violence? (I’m
just kidding here…we never resort to physical abuse. The verbal kind does us
5. Minor Frustrations
|Eating this will fill me with a murderous rage. |
It is not easy to be in a foreign country, a place where you
don’t understand the language or the culture, a place where you don’t like the
food, where you can’t sleep, etc. All these little things add up to a growing
mound of frustration which you often take out on the person closest to
you. When the food is unexpectedly and
unbearably spicy and you’re starving you get angry and start snapping at your
partner and they wonder what they did wrong.
Or tuk-tuk drivers keep shouting at you and you shout back until you’re
shouting at everyone, including your travel companion.
This happens often, more often than I would like, on the
parts of both me and Ricky. We get so frustrated sometimes that we think we’re
frustrated at everyone, which is hurtful to the other person, because really,
they didn’t do anything.
6. Dealing with weird habits, routines, and failings brought
on by traveling
Whatever about living together, traveling together is a
unique situation in which you are forced to see and deal with your partner’s
nuanced style of living, which gets even weirder when outside of the “real
world.” One of you may be too organized
to the point of OCD, and the other not quite organized enough. You stop shaving
(face, legs, whatever), and refuse to wash your clothes. Your partner’s once pristine sense of hygiene
has fallen into disrepair. You yourself are finding that you can’t leave the
room until each pocket has been patted down 3 times each to make sure you have
your keys, wallet, iPod, and tissues.
Traveling changes you, and not always for the better. I have
gained weight and started losing things (phones, earrings, keys). Luckily Ricky
puts up with it, despite his travel-induced anger management issues.
You see, traveling is a weird thing that brings out the best
and worst of everybody. And for better or worse, you have someone to share it
all with if you decide to travel as a couple.
If you think I see traveling as a couple as a negative thing because of
this post, please go back and read the first post about the wonders of travelingtogether
, because despite all the frustrations, problems, disagreements, and
misunderstandings that occur, you have to fight to make it work, and when you
do, it’s amazing.