Traveling For / Towards a Sustainable Relationship
“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” ― Ernest Hemingway wrote in his memoir about his years as a journalist and writer in bohemian Paris. Why wouldn’t you believe the famous American writer? Another thing is that during a trip you can actually understand if you love that “anyone”. My personal opinion is that traveling together is crucial for a sustainable relationship. But is this true for all the trips you make together with your partner? Are there any lifehacks how to not screw it up? I also will share with you the best destinations I and my friends enjoyed traveling with our beloved ones.
23 March, 2019
by NATALYA NEMCENKO
Relationship strength test
My husband proposed me in Nepal on the 6th hiking day in the Himalayas, crossing the highest point of our first so distant and so long trip together. We had been acquainted for 6 months then and it turned out that both of us were considering this trip as a crucial one for our relationship. He joked that if I hadn’t made it to that 4610 m high Lauribina pass, he wouldn’t have got that ring out of the backpack. I'm laughing, but it’s clear that this is not a joke.
I heard that Swedish guys usually take their wives-to-be to a two weeks boat trip to check if their relationship is strong enough. Well, the harder is the trip the more believable is the result. If you spend your vacation in a 5-star hotel with breakfast in the room and 24/7 limo service, it's not the same as if you are waking up every morning with no plan, dealing with many unpredictable circumstances where you just don’t have a possibility to pretend – you have to be yourself. So does your partner, therefore, traveling together is a perfect way to get to know each other for real and also save money on accommodation.
Look to what our contributor Julija writes about the new things she has discovered when traveling with her husband: “It’s always an inner journey. I see how he manages different situations, how brave he is to take responsibility. I feel safe. I know that he will take care of us. It’s much more hardcore than in everyday comfort zones.”
Rule nr.1: Be yourself
Our first trip with Max happened after 2 months we had been together. It was a 4 days weekend in Norway where we went to visit his best friend. So, imagine my stress – being totally out of my comfort zone with a barely known guy and his best friend. Furthermore, it was the first real hiking trip in my life - I remember that I didn’t have proper shoes and my feet got wet during the first 2 hours of our 10 hours hiking day. I was brave. I was completely taken by these breathtaking views and extremely fresh air that I totally forgot about any inconveniences. We sat on the edge of the cliff and looked over the fantastic valley of the river 500 m down there; and I started to sing my favourite Ukrainian song about the moon that is walking in the sky. Later, I found out that Max has Ukrainian roots and with this song I simply conquered him.
Rule nr.2: Take care
When I ask my friends what do they like about traveling together, many of them mention becoming much closer and caring about each other more than in everyday life. Therefore, if that guy from a movie “Into the wild” (caution, spoiler) had a partner in his fatal trip, maybe she or he would have read that book more carefully than he did himself.
Rule nr.3: Share responsibilities
I have noticed that when I and Max are traveling together we are totally harmonious – no quarrels, no pushing. He usually is a creative director and a bookkeeper of our trip. He plans the route before the trip, finds out all the lifehacks and must-sees during the trip talking to local people and tourists we meet on our way. I'm doing an organisational job - booking accommodation (sure, because he could just sleep in a cave), researching the situation with visas, parking spots, tickets etc. Also, I’m the one who usually reads Lonely Planet guides and Wikipedia to know more about the history and meaning of the place, local traditions, food etc. It is so much about the confidence that both of us want to enjoy this trip together by doing all the best we can. And trust. Mainly trust. It wasn’t like that in the very beginning. I really suspected that he wants to kill me with fatigue and lack of coffee on that trip to Nepal.
The most important part
My friend once told me about her parents who travel a lot and always have dozens of stories to share. Like “Do you remember how we lost our baggage in Brussels?” or “OMG, don’t remind me that seabass in that Serbian restaurant! It was so bad!” and both laugh heartily.
I remember that feeling when I and Max have just met and spent the whole night walking along the waterfront telling our own stories and sharing memories with each other. And then comes the time to make new memories together - trying new experiences, making common friends, traveling across the world, being in wonderful moments to remember. And that’s is the most important part of traveling together, I think. Exploring the wonders of this wonderful wonderful world and being able to share the delight of being in a place you want to be in with a person you love (if you follow the Hemingway’s piece of advice). Seems like it’s happiness that is only real when shared.
Best destinations for traveling together
Sorry, there is no top10. Answering the question “Which is your perfect destination for a traveling couple” none of my friends advised Venice or Paris as the best one. Julija and her husband adore snowy mountains because they are crazy about snowboarding; Max’s best friend Dima (the one I met in Norway) describes his ideal place for traveling as “a warm place with sea/ ocean, great food, beach, and a good bed!” Add a foot massage as an obligatory condition from his fiancee and the best destination for them is Thailand. I didn’t even ask my husband, cause I know what he gonna say - mountains! So, maybe it’s not about a concrete place but about the travelers themselves?
Traveling together can be even more meaningful if you prefer to experience sunset marriage in Santorini, a conception of a baby in Amazonia’s forest, childbirth in Bali or any other place where you want to be connected to that magical moment in your life. Anyway, I wish that each of your trips becomes amazing and gives a wonderful memory to be shared with a person you love.