Traveling – and moving, more specifically – is not for the faint of heart. Or mind. Or generally those who faint a lot or are teetering on the brink of losing their mind. When you combine the unavoidably hectic, somewhat stressful aspects of moving with the added pressure of getting along with your significant other, avoiding murder as a traveling couple becomes a rather high-agenda item on the list. So if you’re wondering how to avoid losing your shit and punching them in their precious, sunburnt schnoz, you’re not the first, my friend.
This is not to say that we don’t dig our life of random travel, or don’t value the opportunity to explore new things alongside the person we love; we absolutely do, and are very grateful to have found adventure partners in each other. I’m just saying it’s not all Netflix and chill.
86 the Murder: Tips for Traveling with your S.O.
When soon-to-be-wed couples tell me they’ve never been on a trip together, my immediate thought is “Holy no thank you,” though my face calmly reads “Oh that’s alright, and good for you!” Having experienced the horror that is realizing your dear friend is a dear friend who you’ll never make the mistake of traveling with again, I realize the importance of finding not only a good partner, but a good travel partner. And even better when you can regularly make out with said travel partner.
Make Travel Compromises
As with any relationship, compromise is key. This is especially true when you both decide to uproot your life and start over somewhere else, and most clearly comes into play when deciding where you want to move. Choosing a place where you both believe you’ll be happy is a big deal, and not without its compromises, assuming you don’t share exactly the same priorities and interests as your partner.
What are your musts in a location? Do you want to live in a big city with a thriving creative scene, or an island that never gets below 70 degrees where you can surf everyday, or a small city with an amazing food culture that’s budget-friendly? There are a million things to consider in your search for a place you’re both likely to find what you’re looking for, and in our case, it doesn’t always happen. It’s a constant exercise of trial and error, and that’s okay, because (at least for now) we know there’s always the next place.
Find Different Hobbies
The thing about moving to a new place is that it’s quite possible you may not know a single other person when you get there, meaning you start from square one when it comes to acquaintances, friends, and the guy at the corner store you buy wine from three times a week. And when no one knows who you are except for the only other person you’re traveling with, it can be tempting to attach yourself to their hipbone out of pure comfort, and the fact that you like their hips. In our case, however, this inevitably leads to a higher than normal likelihood of murder.
Moving, especially at first, already requires a lot of togetherness – you’re trying to figure out where the hell you are, how to get to your new home (should you be fortunate enough to actually secure one before you move), and generally tricking your two adult brains into correctly functioning when they have absolutely no fucking clue what’s happening.
After you’re settled in, however, I encourage you find at least one hobby your significant other gives zero shits about. It might be hip hop dancing (mine), surfing (his), writing and listening to music in non-pretentious coffee shops (mine), photographing marine life (his), making friends with old men (mine), watching shows about outdoor survival (his), or masturbating in peace (ours). Whatever it is, find it, do it, and enjoy some ‘me’ time.
Let the Small Things Go
You know how you internally scream every time your significant other makes smacking noises when they eat Oreos in bed? Yeah well, let it go. Or don’t. I’m not your mom.
All I’m saying is, you probably have bigger things to worry about, like figuring out how the hell to renew your Visas next week, or finding the right adapter so your camera doesn’t burst into flames, or which of the world’s cheapest airlines is least likely to kill you on your next adventure. Now more than ever is when you need a teammate, a partner, and someone to have your (consistently sweaty) back when shit goes wrong. Focus on the big picture, and let the smacking go. And if you still can’t will yourself to get over it, you can always…
You know those really fulfilling dreams when you’re doing a sexy dance for Justin Timberlake in a classy kitchen, or are just about to win an Academy Award for Best Hair, or are saving Bill Murray from a fierce posse of snow leopards, only to accidentally wake up and say “Damnit, self. Go back to sleep! We’re still in this!”
Yeah well, sometimes I have those about fighting sir boyfriend, Peter. In real life, I’d never punch him in the face because he refused to tickle my back or give me another bite of his donut. But in my dreams? It’s Suppressed Aggression Town, and Dream Kelsey just arrived to kick some ass.
Keep your Sense of Humor
There is nothing funny about explosive diarrhea at 4am, crying in the middle of the jungle because you’re so thirsty, or having your car die a smoky death in the middle of nowhere on your way back from a waterfall hike.
It is scientifically even less fun, however, to travel with someone who panics, throws temper tantrums or generally forgets that life isn’t always a fresh batch of snickerdoodle cookies and whiskey. If you want to continue sleeping with and traveling alongside your significant other, don’t be a moody terror of human turd. Laugh, cry a little, laugh again, maybe go see a doctor, and move on.
Things don’t always work out when you travel and move to new places, and it can be more or less difficult for either of you at any given moment. You will get homesick, you will feel utterly defeated, and you will momentarily forget why you thought this was a great idea. And that’s alright. Since our first long-term move (almost 3 years ago!), we’ve had family members pass away and been unable to afford a last-minute ticket home, missed countless weddings and other major events of close friends, and been near-disaster poor more times than we can count.
Get creative in the ways you support each other, whether it’s helping them come up with a new way to make money, a mood-boosting morning dance to Devo’s Greatest Hits, or a spontaneous appointment for a $7 massage (thanks, Bali). The little things go a long way.
Happy sexy S.O. travels, y’all.