ever wanted to know if you and your boyfriend or girlfriend will make it in the long run? feeling confident? having your doubts? take an extended trip together. it will either bring you much closer… or you’ll realize some things about your relationship that you will have wished you knew earlier. plus, if he won’t go on a trip with you, you can just nip it in the bud right now. (below, fishing on the west coast of scotland)
before setting out on this adventure with alex, we had been dating for one year and some odd months. in the grand scheme of things, that’s really not that long. we still had never had a heated argument at that point. but as travel is accelerated living, our relationship accelerated too. pretty soon there’s no NOT talking about things like finances and flatulence, for better or worse.
it’s through the tougher travel times that you really get a clear vision of someone’s true character. it was actually when i knew i could probably spend the rest of my life with this guy when we were camping in karlovy vary for the international film festival last july. we bought a cheapo tent that was BARELY big enough for two bodies and were SO busy waking up at 6am to walk to the box office and staying out late to catch those 10pm flicks that we got probably five hours of sleep for five nights in a row. the temps of the day rose to about 80 F (27 C) during the day, so napping in the tent was out of the question because it was just that much hotter in there. but to my surprise, we still got along famously. there was one point where i was getting ready in the morning and i became so frustrated due to lack of space and the heat in the tent… so i took a deep breath and calmly asked if he would wait outside the tent so i could have “getting ready” time alone.
trying to catch buses and trains can really test your patience, too. but alex never loses his cool or yells. we both know what we have to do and that it is neither of our faults… and we just do what needs to be done.
i’m a recent fan of that hit CBS show, the amazing race… interested enough in people as i already am, it’s fascinating to take a couple, whether newly dating or married for ten plus years and put them in an extremely high-stress situation: travel somewhere before the other groups do for a chance to win a pile of cash. stakes sound high, right? but for some, winning the money seemed more important than treating each other with respect. i absolutely cringed while watching the husband of the long-time married couple completely break under pressure in the last episode, spouting off all kinds of embarrassing insults to his wife when she couldn’t complete a task fast enough. and it equally suprised me to see the two exes make it to second place because of how well they ended up working as a team.
i couldn’t recommend pre-marital travel enough– it’s so important to face different situations and feelings that an extended trip can bring about, from frustration and loneliness, to sadness and disbelief– the full spectrum of inevitable human emotion. it will certainly give you a glimpse into the future of how the two of you will handle any type of life situation from the stress to the happiness, the good and the bad. after all, marriage is for richer or poorer, for better or worse.
happy travel tuesday!