We have been traveling darned near 9 months now and I think we are finally ‘getting it’. Although we have seen so many amazing places, met tons of wonderful people and sampled the yummiest of food, we were surprised to find that long term travel has a down side. How come nobody talks about it??–I would have loved to have been warned. I never in my wildest dreams expected to run into some of the issues we ran into–I mean, after all, we are lucky enough to travel for 13 months. Isn’t the world is our oyster? How could we have even one bad day? Well, we have had our fair share so, sit down and let me tell you about some of long term travel’s dirty little secrets . . .
I think the biggest thing is we didn’t know it was going to be so much work. Seems like we spend an awful lot of time planning our next move, figuring out where we are and how to get around (get a guesthouse, find somewhere to eat, find out what to do in that town/city, public transport, local scams, etc.). By the time we do all of that, we barely have time to journal, write in blogs and upload photos. I also thought there would be free wi-fi everywhere so we can update the website and keep in touch with loved ones and there definitely isn’t—guess we were spoiled in Seattle.
I wish I had a heads up that it wasn’t always going to be fun and exciting. Seems like nobody talks about the downside to long term travel and it’s even worse when we read other blogs and it sounds like others are having the time of their lives while we are struggling (I guess who’s going to write about it or take photos when they are struggling anyways right!). We also never expected we would argue so much because at home we got along so well; agreeing most of the time on what we were doing. Maybe it’s the fact that you are together 24/7 and making tons of new decisions every day. Then we felt bad because we were supposed to be having fun!!! It wasn’t until we met other couples (who seemed to be having a great time and well adjusted) and they also reported experiencing the exact same stresses and arguments. Then we started to give ourselves a break and reminded ourselves that this is an unusually stressful situation at times. I think a lot of the bickering in the early days had to do with the stress of not knowing what the heck we were doing, traveling way too fast (we never stayed anywhere for more than 2 nights) and we were spending so much money in Australia and New Zealand. Now we feel like old pros, we stay in places 4 and 5 nights at a time and our money goes so much further in SE Asia.
Another thing that surprised us during our travels, is how much we missed working. Maybe we just missed having structure and other people to interact with on a regular basis. At one point, We even contemplated ending the trip so we could get back into a routine again. Glad we didn’t because we are having the time of our lives.
Some ways that we have been dealing with this hiccup in our travels is talking about it with other traveling couples/singles and giving ourselves a break–literally. Now, if we are feeling frustrated with each other, we agree to take an hour or two apart and meet back afterwards. It works out pretty nicely to have some ‘me’ time. We also split up at times so Paul can take some more photos which he loves while I get a massage which I love—talk about a good break huh!!! We are also more spontaneous lately–letting things happen instead of making things happen. We aren’t so concerned at doing it all but just enjoying what we are doing. We are also taking time (like we used to) to do the little things for each other even though we drive each other nuts at times. We also laugh about the stupidity of our little tantrums and bad behavior. The important thing is we realize we are on the same team and love each other dearly. I don’t think anyone could put up with me and still spoil me on a daily basis like my Paul.
I love you sweetie and I am so happy we are doing this together!!!