After six months, we are still happy to stand arm-in-arm watching the sunset. This picture was taken on English Bay Beach in Vancouver.
Hilary writes: “It’s hard being together 24×7 when we’ve been so independent in the past 23 years of our marriage. We’ve had our own separate careers and used to often go many days without seeing each other or were only “passing ships in the night”. So to travel together this long, with no friends and family around us for external dilution has involved effort. Fortunately Roger is a good and eternally positive travelling companion and we are kept busy each day doing the basic things necessary just to survive. There hasn’t been much time or energy for argument, we’ve just had to operate as a team.”
Roger writes: “Hilary and I have been apart for only four or five hours in the last 26 weeks – travelling around the world with a partner means you are together a lot. And being together doesn’t mean one of us in the home office and the other in the garden. It means in the same small hostel room, always going to the same activities, or sitting next to each other on a night bus. But it’s worked as I see Hilary as a best friend and she’s a great travelling companion. We’ve had a few tiffs, but these are mainly to do with Hilary’s need for rest and my wish to max it out”
So here in no particular order are some thoughts on making it work:
- Give your other half “time alone”. We’ve done this in the evenings by simply not speaking to each other for an hour. Or do separate things for a few hours.
- Try and have a number of conversations with others each day. Don’t let different languages be an excuse; sign language or Google Translate work fine.
- Stay in touch with family and friends back home. This gives “input” to talk through later.
- Have a joint project to work through together (ours has been the Blog), or it could be a shared hobby or interest.
- Understand what is important to each other (ie rests, food, accommodation quality) and make sure you deliver this on a daily basis as a minimum.
- Allocate some of the key travelling jobs (ie budgeting, map reading) based on individual strengths. Play your team A as much as possible.
- Make sure travelling plans are flexible enough to respond to how you feel. If you are tired of hiking say, jointly decide to move on. Intersperse city with country, adapt to weather and mix the terrain.
- Don’t blame each other when things go wrong as they will.
This is one of our occasional tips for middle aged gap year travellers. To see the others, click below on the link – Travel Tips