I have always had an open passenger seat for those who have gotten stung by the travel bug and want to get a taste of road life and the adventures! There has been a wide range of folks adding their love to each road trip including ski bums, entrepreneurs, best friends, complete strangers, college students, and more. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every soul I’ve traveled with, but there was only one that I could marry and commit to a full-time nomadic lifestyle with – Alex. He compliments me perfectly and we travel as one with the same agenda – to enjoy a life free from the confines of society and live our days to the fullest! Marriage is a lifetime commitment, a road trip is at the very least a 2 week commitment. I’ve learned that a road trip is a portion of life’s struggles and hardships with all of the excitement and stoke crammed into one exciting journey.
- Travel teaches you how to work through conflict together – No road trip or vacation goes exactly according to plan. Even if you plan out exactly what you’ll do each and every day down to the exact time of your afternoon coffee, there will still be obstacles to deal with. When Alex and I were backpacking a portion of the Teton Crest Trail, our water purifier pooped out on us on the second morning. Alex and I got in a bit of a tussle in the middle of the trail with 30+ miles to go! In the end, there was nothing we could do about the broken water purifier, all we could do was deal with the situation and keep on trekking! Working through conflict and change while traveling shows you how your significant other will deal with obstacles in the future.
- You’re with your significant other 24/7 – This is a no brainer, but traveling together in one vehicle really binds you and your mate at the hip for all activities! There are plenty of people that I enjoy being around and sharing company with, but there are just a small handful that I can thrive with on a semi-permanent basis. Alex and I are together at all times except to use the bathroom – we cook together, play together, are bored together, sleep together and everything else in between. We’re each other’s climbing partner, hiking buddy, camping mate and master navigator/professional chauffeur. Granted, we go our separate ways when we need alone time but most often we are able to be absorbed in our own thoughts side by side. We are there for each other’s highest highs and lowest lows. It’s crucial to be able to work as a team and not resent your partner just because you’re annoyed or tired of being in their company.
- You learn how your significant other deals with boredom – How does your lover deal without having TV, a computer, wifi or constant entertainment? What does he/she turn to? I didn’t learn to appreciate the beauty in boredom until after Alex and I started traveling together. One evening, I had gone off to explore with my camera and when I came back to our campsite Alex had his face a few inches away from the ground observing an ant colony excavating their home. A feat of nature that most would walk by and some would kick their shoe at, Alex was fascinated by these tiny insects. Boredom brings out the interests we all have beyond the time wasters that fill our days. In a normal environment, most folks have something to keep them occupied in those moments of waiting for the bus, at the doctor’s office, at the coffee shop, etc. However, when our normal routine is disrupted, we have the opportunity to unleash interests that we may not know we have!
- There are some quirks and oddities you just have to learn to deal with – Everyone has their own quirks and traits that make each individual unique! For some, these quirks may not be apparent until he/she is out of a normal routine and comfort zone. Alex gets hangry (angry with hunger) if we don’t eat lunch by 12:30. It’s clockwork that both of us have experienced time and time again. It’s nothing that we can change, all we can do is eat lunch by noon! For me, I get tired and cranky if we haven’t found a place to sleep around 10pm. I know that I have to remind us to eat around noon and Alex knows we need to plan ahead for a place to stake our tent. We both obviously have more quirks other than turning into toddlers at different times but they’re not worth mentioning. It is worth mentioning, however, that I’ve traveled with other folks who I haven’t been able to constructively deal with their quirks at different times. A marriage is a give and take of acceptance and love.
- You see each other as an equal – There aren’t any male specific “chores” or “duties” in the same way there aren’t any female specific tasks. There are some things that Alex does better and there are some things that I do better, its just simply the way things are. Everyone has their own strengths just like everyone has their own weaknesses. However, I don’t cook all the meals just as Alex doesn’t always collect firewood. As a female, I detest when a male asks if he can carry some of my pack weight or try to be the alpha male and take the brunt of the workload. When traveling, each individual is responsible for their own weight and should be helping with cooking, cleaning, planning, setting up the tent, etc. An uneven separation of the responsibilities may work out in the short term, but the person pulling all the weight will probably snap at some point because he/she is tired of putting more effort into the trip! The same scenario can be replicated in a more “normal” lifestyle, it’s unhealthy for one person to always be putting more effort and time in to a relationship.
Bottom line, marriage is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There is very little to lose by embarking on an adventure to leave the familiarity and routine monotony behind. Wouldn’t you rather spend a little chunk of change now on a 2 week commitment to a road trip rather than waking up one morning 5 years down the road to realize you don’t recognize the person you married? At the very least, you will broaden your horizons and experience a new land while learning more about your partner. At the most, you will fall deeper in love and share an epic journey together!