Going the Distance: The ups and downs of extended travel with your spouse.

Most people swoon over the idea of a long sabbatical with their partner. Perhaps you find yourself yearning for far away places and Margarita Mondays that stretch into a horizon beyond the status quo 1 week getaway in Cabo.

Though there are definitely perks to extended traveling, there´s an important factor to consider up front: Most couples don´t spend 24/7 together.

While that may sound romantic, it also comes with challenges.

Whether you´re used to solo jaunts or just shorter vacations with your SO, those endless sunsets can quickly become tedious and downright annoying without establishing some ground rules from the start.

After spending 80 days traveling on a motorcycle with my husband across 4 countries in South America, I feel like we developed an effective system that kept us from strangling each other in those unplanned and frustrating moments that I promise will be a part of your ultimate dream trip.

Greetings from a deserted beach in Uruguay!

So with that in mind, I´d like to share a few of the things that helped make our 80 day adventure so amazing.

  • Give each other space.

This one may seem like a no brainer since as I already mentioned, most of us aren´t locked in tight quarters with our smoochy-poo 24/7. We´re usually working full-time jobs, going to the gym, enjoying hobbies, dealing with kids, or any of the other rich assortment of normal adult stuff that keeps us from seeing our partner for more than a few hours a day.

So believe me when I say you´ll both be happier when you take a day to do your own thing sometimes!

Maybe you´ll be too tired to go sightseeing or want to catch up on Netflix, but your boo wants to go rock climbing. Let em´ go and meet up for dinner later. You´ll both be refreshed and excited after taking a day to focus on yourselves.

Remember to take time for you too! (Argentinian Patagonia)
  • Problems will arise. Have a plan or you´ll just blame each other.

Unforseen events will happen. Flights will be cancelled, tires will go flat and insane weather will inevitably dump all over your planned excursion. (The weather thing is especially real when you´re traveling on a motorcycle!)

So with that in mind, communication needs to be better and stronger than ever between you and your partner. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that so much in life is beyond your control. Especially when exploring strange new places.

Discuss your options together, create a new plan and make sure it´s something you both can agree on and be excited about.

Don´t let yourself get stuck in the cycle of: Had we done it the way I wanted, this wouldn´t have happened!

It´s an easy thing to do, but will only make your situation more difficult. Stay focused on solutions and remind youself that a constructive team effort is what will save the day.

Part of the support framework for our luggage boxes broke mid-trip.
  • One or both of you will eventually get sick or injured. Don´t be a dick about it.

Imagine having tickets for a boat ride to some exotic, remote island to go scuba diving and on the morning of your adventure, you wake up to the sound of your love expelling their vital fluids into a toilet.

Well shit. Literally. So now what?

This happens more often than you think and similar scenarios plagued my husband and I both during our trip. Yes, you´re in a tough spot because you already spent the money and really want to go, but what about your partner who is likely (if not obviously), too sick to tag along?

The first and most important thing you need to do is assess their situation. How long have they been sick? Are their vitals stable? Is there any possibility they may need a doctor or hospital? The same process applies for an unexpected injury.

After evaluating your companion´s condition, discuss options with them. It may be possible for you to continue with the original plan solo, but also maybe not. Either way, it’s important not to make your partner feel guilty for a situation that is completely out of their control.

So try not to be a jerk and think only about how bummed you´ll be if you aren´t getting to do what you wanted to that day.

Literally no one wants things like this to happen. They just happen.

Be kind and the favor will likely be returned when it´s your turn to be out of commission.

Strive to keep the peace. (Road life, Uruguay)
  • Remember to have fun! Yes, seriously.

Though that sentiment may elicit a collective “duh” from my readers, you would be surprised how easy it is to get caught up in the details of your travels and stop enjoying yourself. I´m a big planner, so I really have to focus on relaxing my grip on things and not let myself get so bogged down in the minutiae of all that needs to be handled on a day to day basis.

Leave room for fun outside the “plan”. (German village, Argentina)

Did I buy the tickets? What time do we leave? What time do we have to make that connecting flight? Did I remember to make the reservation? We need to get laundry done and hit a pharmacy before we leave town!

All this and more will be part of the white noise of your daily grind when doing longer travels. People forget that normal life crap still needs to be dealt with while on the road. Just be sure not to let it consume you and remember why you´re doing this: To have an amazing adventure with the person you love!

I hope these tidbits will help you have a more relaxed (and realistic) extended journey with your snuggle-bug.  Until next time, keep wandering folks!