When telling others about our year (or so) long trip to Argentina in our camper, one of the most frequent comments we heard was about spending a lot of time together in small quarters, amongst the other concerns related to the stress of traveling and its potential impact on a relationship. We’d had enough successful and smooth adventure travel experience in the past (in much smaller quarters) for lengthy amounts of time that the thought had never occurred to me.
Admittedly, after a month on the road we’d inevitably bumped up against the added stressors of traveling with a dog and traveling in a large vehicle in a foreign country where navigating the roads, unpredictable dogs, and language barriers were challenging and dangerous. Things had gotten a little tense at times, and during those times we would find ourselves at odds with each other verses being a team.
I recalled a few tips from fellow gurus that we had sought advice and training from before we left. The first and repeated advice we heard was the big “T” word: you have to Trust your partner. In other words, put your faith directly in each other. The second bit of advice was: communication is KEY. You have to find a language to share so you can be on the same page, especially when navigating. And the third was: there’s no rush, especially when trying to get unstuck. The irony is that’s this is all great relationship advice too.
Most of the people we see doing this type of adventure are couples, usually retired or making a living on the road. The fiancé of a retired couple we met traveling in a bus-sized RV equipped with all the amenities of a nice condo (including espresso machine and a washer and dryer) joked that she had already threatened to go back home 6 times in 6 months. When bickering about positive reinforcement with our dog, Oz, (because one of us thinks it’s more like rewarding bad behavior), one partner of a married overlanding couple (on the road for 2 years) joked about wondering that same thing too since traveling with their partner.
After a month and a few “at-wits-end” moments, we were happy to find that we were beginning to understand the true beauty of these 3 pieces of advice. We’re both learning to relax more and let go of our own neurosis’ for the sake of the other and we’re finding a rhythm that works. Like Mexican drivers that live their entire lives passing on double lines, we too are beginning to trust that “it will all work out,” even if our lives are in the hands of another who doesn’t have the same way of doing things. Instead of bickering about the “right” way to do something, we are having and giving grace, and cheering, “Look! It all worked out, and we’re still alive!”
I’m always curious about relationship dynamics, especially with couples that are road and adventure warriors (like we are), and or spend most of their time together. We’d love to hear any traveling-with-partner stories and tips you feel inspired to share with us. Comment on the website, or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org!