“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” — Mark Twain
In many ways more than one, people have reasons why they travel. It may be about self-discovery, experiencing new things, getting out of the comfort zone… The list may go on and on, but travel is not a personal quest alone. It can be a good exercise for a couple.
But why do I really travel and how it can be an exercise?
During our trips abroad, we really envy some European acquaintances that travel around Asia for months or even a year. Not just about the cost it entails, but the time to really do it. Yes, you can quit your job and do a life of travel, then there goes the sad realization that most of us are tied of to our work. If it’s only money we’re after, we can always work while traveling– but there goes our career plans, for my husband and I, we can’t just roam around and work. We need to stick with our professions in order to reach that success we have defined for ourselves. That’s why when we were asked by some dorm mates during our travels, ‘So how long have you been traveling?’ ‘Until when do you plan to stay here in…’, they will be surprised that we just get to travel by the mercy of long weekends and seat sales.
But that’s fine, even with those short stints, we were able to gather a lot of lessons and memories, and most of all, we were able to do our relationship exercise. Prior to getting married last year, our travels have helped us understand each other a lot, surprisingly, some of its lessons are very vital to married life.
So why is travelling a good relationship exercise?
Planning things together.
Our first travel together was in Bohol, back in 2007. Mr. A was not really into going to places. I acquired my travel planning skills back when I was in the NGO. As a training officer, I got familiar into flight details, hotel bookings and time management. I was so enticed by Panglao Island, and I thought it would be a great idea for our first travel. We went for the easy stuff — had land arrangements, hotels by the beach, quick and easy. It was a memorable one, little did we know it will mark the exciting plans ahead.
The toughest one we had was during our trip to India in 2011. What made it tough? It was no longer a long weekend treat — it was three-week travel. It was not local, although it was not also our first international travel (HK was our first international trip), but it was Indiaaaa! India, the enormous country which you cannot fathom yourself in books and internet alone! Actually, it was not India only, but it was Singapore-India-Malaysia-Thailand.
It took us a year to plan India. With all the finances involved (to be discussed in the next section), we embarked in a journey very unfamiliar to us. We depended on each other, discussing our best options and of course, looked for ways that will make it memorable. To make the best out of travel, it is not about leaving the burden to one person, but taking charge on it together.
We always travel on a budget. And when we say budget, we squeeze in a possible limited amount of money. We believe airline seat sales is not a matter of luck alone. My husband has a knack for understanding the analytics of cheap fares (that’s a trade secret!).
Beyond that, when we travel, we juggle different currencies and resist our urges to spend. I think my husband has been pretty successful in taming my shopping tendencies. What is necessary anyway in experiencing travel together, number one, is to do things you both want to do. It is really a bad idea to spend half day shopping with your partner just staring blank and doing nothing.
Well, we resolve that we both want to eat. And by our gastronomic adventures, we indeed made our travels interesting and understand the culture even more.
Understanding each other’s preferences
Yes, we do argue during travels! Quite a number of times, I think. But it indicates both of us think of our decisions (whether it’s about the food, the directions in the map or which public transit to ride), and no one is just a lazy fool being dragged around. We have both strong personalities, well, just like in any relationship, one has to compromise in case of tension. Being outside of our comfort zones when we travel, we are engaged in circumstances wherein we both have different solutions. It really helps to listen and understand each other.
And yes, travel has been a part of us, and because of it I am convinced that I have found the right person to be with in this life’s journey. We can’t think of any other advice at time to other couple-friends but to travel and explore as well. It’s more than just a date or cuddling in the beach. Get out, make friends, understand other cultures and feel safe with your travel partner who will always be your blanket in the entire trip.
The essay above first appeared on Tina’s Website – Nutty Professor. Happy Wife . We are republishing it with her permission.
About the Author
Tina has visited a number of places long before she did really travel. Way back in 2006, she has been into most provinces in the Philippines and did some trips to Africa and India — all because of work. It was in 2008 when she began to travel at her own pace, liking and understanding: starting out with the places she used to do her ‘field work’ and later explored other places outside of the Philippines. She is currently teaching in a state university and yet continues to be a student to one of the greatest teachers– the experience of travelling the world. She’s happily married to Jason, her college sweetheart and travel buddy. You can follow her on Instagram
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