Want to know if your relationship is going to be one for the ages? This is not new advice, but it is indeed sagely: for the ultimate test of true love, travel with your significant other.
Here’s a secret though. If you’re not ideal travel buddies, that’s okay. There’s no rule that says you must travel together, although if you’re like most people, you hope to enjoy many romantic vacations with your beloved. But the goal of traveling together for the first time isn’t to make sure you are perfect travel partners, but rather to give you an opportunity to see the other person in a whole range of situations. It’s less about the travel itself than about discovering who you two are, and who you are together. Traveling brings out some of our best (and worst) qualities, and there’s no better proving ground than a long road trip, delayed flight, or language barrier–all things you encounter when traversing the globe.
Traveling Together Teaches You Patience
Patience is definitely a skill that can be developed and honed, but it doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Travel requires a lot of patience, however, if you want to have an enjoyable journey. Not only are there long legs of transportation to be dealt with, but more often than not, you’re going to experience some delays and cancellations. How does your partner react in these situations? If he or she gripes and complains unceasingly…well, I hate to tell you, it’s going to be a long trip (and a long life!) Of course, don’t bail at the first sign of impatience. Some elements of travel are inherently stressful, and your mate is only human. Give them the freedom and acceptance to vent some of their frustrations. This is perfectly normal. If you start to see a pattern of excessive whining, consider a gentle reminder that life is short and some circumstances are out of your control. A self-aware partner committed to being a better person will likely try to temper some of this behavior…if only for your sake.
–> Beyond travel: our friends at Happily Ever Adventures have 7 relationship tests that all partnerships should pass. <–
Dealing with the Unfamiliar
A short road trip in your home country is not generally a huge leap out of the comfort zone, but traveling to another country can be, particularly if one or both of you are novice travelers. First of all, what an adventure! If you are able to embark on an international journey with your significant other, this is a rare and beautiful gem. This is also a fantastic chance to see how he or she deals with the unknown.
How open minded is your partner? Will she try that deep-fried bug with you in Thailand? Will he attempt to use a few foreign phrases with the locals? It’s great if you’re on the same page from the start, but a more adventurous and bold partner can also help bring a shy soul out of his or her shell. Likewise, a more reserved partner might keep the more reckless one in check. It’s all about balance. Again, these factors on their own don’t signal an impending breakup, but instead are part of a larger pattern. You should witness growth in your partner, however small. Travel is a HUGE way to grow, and together you can watch one another become better people. That’s how it should be anyway. Travel should be bringing out the best in you at least 85% of the time. (That’s our own invented statistic, for the record).
Temperaments Show Their Ugly and Beautiful Faces
Is your boyfriend or girlfriend an extravert or introvert? You’re about to find out in the ultimate test of true love. These differences in temperament can provide a wonderful balance amongst couples, and may be the basis of the adage: opposites attract. Extraversion and introversion do not merely refer to how social a person is, although that can be part of it. Rather, they deal with how an individual gains or loses energy. Travel and adventure require a significant output of energy. As you explore Rome in the summertime with your partner, for instance, this busy and colorful city may seem simultaneously to invigorate one of you and deplete the other. Introverts are often affected by sensory overload and may begin to feel overwhelmed by the hordes of people, noises, and activity. Most extraverts, however, will seem to grow more enthusiastic as the day wears on, apparently electrified by the crowds, smells, and sights. These examples are somewhat extreme (most people fall somewhere in between these two polarities) but they do paint a vivid picture. Without talking together about how the two of you are feeling and learning to respect the needs of the other, you could be in for a tense argument.
You May Want to Punch Them
Let’s get real. Fights are inevitable. Bickering is to be expected. At some point during your trip, you will want to slug the one you love. Nathan and I essentially lived in our campervan last year when we crisscrossed Australia on a lengthy roadtrip. I will honestly tell you there were a few times we drove each other a bit bonkers. When you’re with someone 24/7, it’s impossible not to get a little sick of one another. But the lesson is in how you deal with these moments. Do you let minor annoyances stack up until you’re crabby and snapping at every remark? Do you sulk silently for miles of the trip? These unpleasant and irksome times will happen, but it is how you work them out together that matters. Spending even an hour apart or taking time to go on solitary walks, meditate, or read can make a monumental difference for each of you personally. Being able to move through these trying times (or complete a 6 month road trip with both of you still alive) shows you’ve got what it takes to make it through the long haul.
Are you ready to take the essential test of true love? Time to start planning your couples travel!
Best of luck!
Cheers, Amy & Nathan