Do you remember your first fight as a married couple? I remember ours clear as day—because it was on our honeymoon. It was the first time we had travelled alone together and, subsequently, the first time we figured out we weren’t good at traveling together.
I remember sitting in a little coffee shop on one of my favorite streets in my favorite town on Earth when my new husband said with that tone, “Are you ready to go?” and I burst into tears.
Understandably, he was so confused. He just wanted to get the day started. It took us a few years and several more trips to figure out what had really gone wrong. In short we learned, when it comes to travel:
He is a do-er.
I am a be-er.
What Are Your Travel Styles?
For my husband, Tom, the point of travel is to DO as many things as possible. That means early mornings, long days, walking at least 15 miles in a new city, and soaking in as much of that city as possible.
For me, the point of travel is to BE in a new place. Sitting in that coffee shop, listening to Spanish conversations, and sipping a latte was exactly what I had come to do. I was vacationing. For him, my latte was the very thing was keeping us from vacationing.
Neither of us was right, but it was the first time we realized our travel styles were very different. And I think we both were pretty disappointed. After all, travel is one of the things we said we wanted to do most when married.
For us, not traveling together was like not living together or not sleeping together—a non-option. So, this was the first of many spots in our marriage where we had to “figure it out”.
Here’s what figuring it out looks like for us:
1. Ask Each Other a Lot of Questions
After learning my way to travel wasn’t the right way or the only way (Don’t judge. We all think that about our own opinions!), I lost the luxury of just assuming he liked the same things as me.
So we began to ask each other lots of questions when it comes to travel, question like:
- Mountains, beach or city?
- Early mornings or sleeping in?
- Planned itinerary or seat of your pants travel?
- Maps or wandering?
- Nice hotel or inexpensive hotel?
- Same place every year or new place every year?
- Road trips or airfare?
- Museums or concerts?
- Amusement parks or city walking tours?
- Cruise ships at all?
- Camping at all?
2. Let The Other Person Be Themselves
The reality is Tom would never convince me to be an early riser. (Why vacation at all?) And, I would never convince him that just sitting in a pool is fun. He tried it once and said, “Ok. We’re in the pool. No what do we do?”
Instead, he takes an early morning walk alone and scopes out the city while I sleep in. I leave the cute shoes at home so I can keep up on our fast-paced days. He checks the maps and his work email for a few hours while I soak up the world at a coffee shop.
Do we still argue about it? Totally. But we’re figuring it out, and I think that’s the point.
Don’t Let Differences Stop You From Traveling
Even though we’re different, nothing we do is better for our marriage than travel.
Nothing takes us farther from our daily routine, gives us new perspective, helps us have fun or reminds us why we love each other like being in a new place together.
And part of the magic has become discovering new things about each other, new ideas, new opinions, new “favorites” and new “I didn’t see that coming” moments.
So we’re going to keep doing it, even if that means setting an alarm.
What different travel preferences do you have from your spouse?
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