Think you may have met your match? To find out if your relationship will stand the test…go on an adventure! You’ll find out every tiny detail about each other (including those you probably would rather not know), get irked by the smallest things they do, and there will most definitely be arguments when your patience is pushed to the limits. However, you will grow closer, find a union that you couldn’t have imagined and share some of the most amazing and memorable experiences with someone you may end up falling even more in love with. Here are some of the wonderful, and not so wonderful, things that travelling together brings that will either make or break you!
What if we had the most amazing time which brought us closer together…would this be it? Would this mean that we were forever woven into each others’ lives; having shared life-changing experiences on the other side of the World together?
A couple of years ago I was planning a trip around South America, part of which I was going to do with my friend Kate and the rest I was going to travel solo. When Andy and I became closer he suggested he may come and meet me for part of it if he could get the time off work. As I have previously explained I enjoy travelling on my own and was rather hesitant about his presence. Would we be able to stand each other? What if he didn’t enjoy the things I did? What if he didn’t want to do cheap hostels and long bus journies? What if he wanted to take control of the planning?! But then I started to think about the positives…maybe it was about time I handed some planning reigns over to someone else, maybe having a man about (especially an ex-marine) would allow me to do some of the things I would be a bit frightened to do alone. What if he would encourage me to step further out of my physical comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t have believed I could do (visions of me being hounded into a press-up position filled my mind)! But the really scary thought I couldn’t shake was what if we survived? What if we had the most amazing time which brought us closer together…would this be it? Would this mean that we were forever woven into each others’ lives; having shared life-changing experiences on the other side of the World together? Only having been a couple for a short time, would there be a get-out clause when we returned home, should one of us feel that way? As a bit of a commitment phobe this was my biggest concern. So, in typical me style, I took a leap of faith and said: “Yes of course you can come!” Three months of some of the hardest and amazing times brought us closer together than I think I have been with anyone, mainly due to the following reasons:
I may as well jump in here from the beginning. Travelling to far off lands often brings certain bowel-linked problems and once you’ve rid yourself of the past week’s culinary delights in liquid form in front of your partner, while he is holding your drip bag, there is pretty much no turning back!
Kiss hygiene goodbye
A four day trek along the Inca Trail with no shower most definitely makes or breaks. Not only do you get to smell yourself as you have probably never smelt yourself before, but your partner too. Sweat, smelly socks and the same pants create a suffocating cacophony of scents when combined in a two-man tent!
Money, Money, Money
Or lack of it…heightens tension for even the calmest among us. Inevitably you will need to borrow off of one another at various points and pretty quickly live out of each other’s pockets. This is always a big hurdle in any relationship, but without the safety blanket of work and normal life, the step away from independence towards becoming unified in financial matters happens a lot faster.
Not looking your best
Make up has it’s place, but there is little point when backpacking. When you spend every minute of every day with that person, they just have to deal with taking you as you come; panda eyed after a sleepless night in a freezing tent, matted hair from losing a brush and running out of conditioner (maybe that is just me) and wearing the same outfit over again.
Coping with boredom
Seeing how someone copes with boredom gives a massive insight into their personality. Some, like myself, enjoy wiling away the hours on a long bus journey staring out of the window lost in my thoughts, others like to play games or read and then there are those who turn into attention seeking 5 year olds. Andy is most definitely of the latter elk and this was something I realised pretty quickly into our trip…two days in!
“What was that…you went to Edinburgh University?”
Meeting new people on a daily basis; you tend to tell the same stories over and over again. Needless to say it wasn’t long before we could both reel off childhood memories, family holidays and previous relationship issues experienced by the other. We got so bored of listening to each other say the same thing over and over again that we began setting challenges where certain pieces of crucial information, repeated phrases and whole chunks of our lives had to be omitted from conversations with new friends over drinks or dinner or we had to suffer the wrath of a pre-determined forfeit.
Coping under pressure
Many people think that travelling is like one big holiday and in some ways it is. In many others though it isn’t; dealing with situations like being refused entry into a country because you don’t have proof of exit, which would entail missing a flight when keeping to a strict schedule, all when having to try and speak in a different language, will never bring out the best in anybody. Equally, nor does being swamped by a hound of local sailors when trying to get off a tuk-tuk and onto a boat to sail on the Amazon in Peru. In such situations you quickly learn the other’s trigger points and develop a united approach in dealing with problems as they arise.
Bringing out your inner-child
This is actually the highlight of travelling together in my eyes; often the only way to cope with the above situations is to be silly. Singing your heart out on a bus, adopting various regional accents at any given time of the day, naked dancing on the beach when no-one’s around and ridiculous posing for photographs becomes the height of entertainment. If you can’t have fun together; there’s no point going on…in the words of a good friend:
“Looks fade; fun doesn’t”