You can’t say you really know someone until you’ve traveled with them. Be it your BFF of 10 years, lover of three or family member since birth, there’s always room for you to learn more about a person.
I’ve just come home from a two-week trip to Japan that I took with my boyfriend of five years. We’ve traveled together before, but never for this duration nor the distance. Going into this, I knew we’d have our share of ups and downs, but we’ve gone through quite a few tricky stages on this journey. Here’s why I think this trip is one of the best challenges we’ve faced yet.
Tired, hungry & literally lost
I’m a firm believer of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. For me, the physiological needs are very important. If I’m hungry, I’m hangry. When I haven’t had enough rest, I can act like I’ve never loved you. Okay, I’m not that extreme, but my mind can’t seem to focus properly if I’m not physiologically satiated.
When you’re traveling, your body goes through a whirlwind of emotions:
“Ooh, we’re going to have such a fun time together. It’s gonna be great!”
“I can’t wait to go down to the local market! BUT I don’t know how to get there and I don’t know how to ask for directions since I don’t speak the language. Oh well, YOLO.”
“Eh. I’m tired as $&*k.”
There’s a lot going on physically and mentally, so you might not be in the best state of mind when you interact with each other. But, it’s just the beginning so you brush these worries off. You just want to have a good time. Don’t worry, these emotions will catch up with you later 😉
You have your way, I have mine
Next, you start picking up on each other’s habits. You might already have known X, Y and Z about your traveling companion, but now you see it all happen in real time, all the time. For us, I learned that he likes things to be done a certain way while I’m a little more lax. He likes to take the lead and make sure I’m well taken care of, but my independent side repels from this drastically.
I actually didn’t realize how these traits affected our relationship until the end of our trip, when we were irked and exhausted, hauling our heavy luggage up and down stairs all across town. All this time, we kept worrying about what the other person was doing. I realized that if he just started worrying about his stuff and I worried about my own, we’d both have more peace of mind. When I brought this up, being able to communicate how we both felt helped us immensely.
Way too much time together
Every minute of the trip is spent t o g e t h e r: traveling on the plane for hours, eating, sleeping – and a lot of time is spent in a tiny, cramped hotel room. But doing all of this with your significant other sounds like a dream right? I mean, it mostly is.
At one point of the trip, I asked my boyfriend if he ever got annoyed with being around me too much. He said yes, once.
I said, for me not really, but I admitted to the relief I felt whenever we would go our separate ways to shop by ourselves etc., because that way we could hit the reset button on self-love then come back to each other feeling refreshed.
How to get past it all
Any test your relationship faces will not be easy, but I’m always grateful for each one we go through. My relationship is flawed and not perfect, just like any other relationship, but with each argument I learn more about him, myself, our bond and how we can work together as a team in the future. There’s a saying that goes, “Lose the argument, not the person.” I resonate with this statement. I mean I’ll admit at times I can be pretty stubborn myself, but if you really like – or rather, love – someone, that choice comes easily.