A Couple Takes Solo Time to Keep the Romance Alive

Dave and Deb are a travel blogging couple from Canada who have been married for 13 years and traveled together for 10. In that time they have managed to hike, bike, paddle and climb their way across 5 continents and 45 countries. They are always looking for unique ways to explore the world while sharing their experience through words and pictures on theplanetd.com and Picture the Planet .  Here’s a story by Deb.

I remember when we first set off on our extended travels to Thailand in 2000; all our friends warned us how traveling together is difficult. How we would want to kill each other by the end of the trip and how travel is hard on a relationship.  We laughed at their warnings and merrily went on our way.

When we arrived in Thailand, we found out that we were very different travelers. We had never been in that sort of intense travel situation before and we learned more about one another during those five weeks than we did living together for the 9 years prior!

I couldn’t handle the low standards of our budget accommodation and Dave could handle anything. I suffered from culture shock and Dave went with the flow.  I didn’t care what we paid for transportation or accommodation as long as it made life easier and Dave was ready to barter down to the last penny to find a good deal.  Yes, we were very different travelers.

It was our first time in a completely different culture and at that time Thailand didn’t have all the modern comforts it has today. It wasn’t practical to take time apart to recharge our batteries.  We didn’t have cell phones with us to make a call if we got separated and we didn’t have an email account to send each other a message as to where we were. Nope, if we got lost at a train or bus station, we would have a very difficult time finding one another.  How quickly times have changed and Asia has changed more in this regard than any other part of the world.

After 10 years of traveling together, we are now quite comfortable on the road as a team. But that’s not to say that there haven’t been challenges.

Traveling as a couple can have its challenges.
One time we were arguing while lost on a remote road somewhere near the Bridge on the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. We were furious with one another about getting off at the wrong stop. It was hot, nobody was around and we didn’t know where we were going.  We wanted nothing more than to be away from one another, but we couldn’t storm off for some alone time because we had no idea where we were or where we would end up.  All we could do was walk 100 metres apart to get some space from one another.

Another time we had a fight and I had nowhere to go since we were in the middle of Khao Sok National Park. All I could do was slam the flimsy bathroom door and sit under the shower on the grimy floor.  Needless to say, that fight didn’t last long.

Eventually, we found our stride and learned to travel together. Many couples do need alone time, but we find that we work well together and enjoy sharing each and every experience. We’re joined at the hip; almost to a fault.

We’re joined at the hip, but we cherish some alone time.
In the routine of every day life, a person has many times when they find themselves going solo. When traveling as a couple, we find that solo situations are few and far between.  But it is important to take the time to be alone and remember that you are an individual.

We have come a long way since that first trip to Thailand.  We even have an email account and cell phones.  We are more comfortable with different cultures to be able to walk around a market alone or take in the sites separately. We no longer have the fear of being apart while traveling.

Sometimes we enjoy a day of sightseeing without each other.  If one person doesn’t feel like going out, one will stay back and putter around the hotel room or read a book or catch up on a TV show. It is important to do the regular things that a person does rather than constantly travel.  It is also important to have time alone.  As much as we love each other, there is a need to make sure we are still our own person and have our own identity.

Keeping the romance alive.
When traveling together, you can become lost in being together. We find that we can lose our individuality and end up living the exact same life.  To take off for a solo day of shopping or checking out a museum alone or to even go for a long run, helps to clear our minds and reignite some passion.  Being together too much can turn a romantic relationship into more of a friendship.  If you don’t have something to talk about at the dinner table, you can end up turning into a couple of zombies that take each other for granted.

While we don’t spend a lot of time alone when traveling, we do appreciate our quiet moments apart.  We are experiencing the most amazing life together, we don’t ever want to turn our travels into one monotonous experience of seeing the same face 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.