Let me start by saying: travelling with your partner is an absolute must in your relationship if you can. Whether it’s a month backpacking in Indonesia, or four days in Berlin, you should expose your relationship to the tests and revelations of travel.
Riley and I started travelling together very early on in our relationship – we kind of had to given that we lived in different countries for the first few months of it! Our time abroad together brought us much closer, much faster, and after a year and a half, we moved in together. What is usually a huge step for most couples, for us it was just another extended trip in our lives. We had already spent multiple consecutive weeks away in each others company, from road tripping in America and months spent in Australia, to week long breaks here and there – we learned a lot. Not just about each other, but ourselves, and what we needed to maintain this relationship and continue to grow it.
Riley was very much the seasoned traveller when I met him, and while I had been on various family holidays to Mexico, Cuba, Cyprus, the usual holiday island destinations (and the odd UK train trip with a very responsible friend) the prospect of really travelling was all still new to me. I was fortunate that Riley had the patience to support me through all the initial stresses and responsibilities. This is something that has at times put a lot of strain on us (I’m a worry-wart in recovery to put it mildly), but going through these issues together has taught us how to be effective in supporting each other – and knowing when to tell the other they’re just being silly…
Travelling with your partner also teaches you the value of alone time. Having time to yourself is so incredibly important, and this is something else I’ve struggled with. For a long time I hated keeping my own company (and I’m by no means a social butterfly) but I take a lot of comfort from being around people I’m familiar with. Spending so much time in close quarters with someone else teaches you that there is peace, and value in spending time with yourself, and it makes you appreciate the company of your partner all the more when you’re back together.
We’ve encountered some pretty stressful situations, as you can when you’re away in another country. These can often force you into communicating clearly with each other. After all, you only have each other most of the time you’re away, and falling out/not speaking for ages is often impractical, in addition to being a poor way to solve things. Riley and I quickly learned to talk about things, and argue effectively – we all do it at times so you have to learn to be reconciliatory if you want things to continue working!
Travelling together will also help you to be more appreciative of your partner. You learn things about them you might not otherwise if you hadn’t put yourself in this situation. Riley is incredibly forward thinking, and has a distinct lack of fear with most things in life which I admire hugely. This has in turn highlighted aspects in which I could improve on in life. Travelling exposes many aspects of your personality you may not have realised you had, and it can be a rewarding challenge navigating those discoveries with another person.
Experiencing the world with your partner not only has benefits to your relationship, but also to yourself as a person. Negotiating travel experiences with someone close to you, can give you the confidence to take on these challenges on your own. I will regularly catch flights by myself now – it’s become the norm as I tend to book the cheaper options where Riley get’s flown places by his work, usually with a different airline. I also recently explored Barcelona on my own (my first little solo expedition), something which would have terrified me a year ago!
You should travel with your partner at least once, and as often as you can, if you can, for as long as you can. It will turn you into a better communicator, and you’ll learn to compromise, appreciate, and support one another in ways you wouldn’t have known you could otherwise (or wouldn’t have discovered until after you’d moved in together)! It was a great test for us, and allowed living with each other to feel like the most natural thing.
Travelling brings you closer together, and you’ll have amazing memories to look back on for years to come as a result too.