Traveling as a couple: putting our relationship to the test

Traveling as a couple

The first big decision we made as a couple was traveling together. A lot of people say that traveling is the ultimate test of a relationship. We tend to agree with that because traveling made us understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

When we had our first vacation together in May 2019, it wasn’t exactly a deliberate decision, so to speak, because it was Jess’ trip, and Paul was tagging along. Nonetheless, it wasn’t a short weekend trip; we were traveling for almost three weeks together. 

For most of the trip, Jess had already made arrangements: hotels or Airbnb, local transportation, itinerary, and so forth. There was no strict schedule, though: some days we made impromptu adventures, other days we had to do something because we had booked it beforehand.

The whole experience was unbelievably smooth, considering we had only been together for about a month. It was worth noting that we came out of the trip sane and strong!

Our most cherished memories include feasting on tapas and sangria in Barcelona, sunbathing on the beach of Barceloneta, and splurging on chorizo and jamón Ibérico. We love Barcelona too much, we are dreaming of moving there.

As the trip went on, we moved to Greece: Athens to Santorini to Mykonos. Again, we splurged on scrumptious Mediterranean food and visited all the pretty spots in the cities. We were lucky that the weather was nice and warm the whole time we were there.

Highlights of the trip

Paul

I like to just chill and do nothing on holiday. That’s what holiday means, right? You take the time to do nothing because you’ve worked hard for the rest of the year and you deserve it. I don’t mind taking a walk or sightseeing, but there are some days when I don’t feel like doing anything.

Jess

Usually, when I travel, I feel like I need to do and see a lot, otherwise, I will be wasting time, money, and effort. But this time, even though we did practically nothing but going to the beach and drinking cocktails every day (in Santorini and Mykonos for the most part), I felt great and super relaxed. Paul liked the arrangement because he never says no to a lazy day, haha.

It was my first time going to Spain and Greece though, so I thought I had to take the chance to explore. Paul couldn’t care less about seeing monuments, or museums, or nice buildings. In Barcelona, I went to all Gaudi’s buildings myself, which was fine, since Paul also needed to work in between. We compromised by doing what we liked at times, and then regrouped for dinner, tapas, and sangria!

Paul

Oh, one thing I remembered, Jess was complaining a lot—especially during the last week of the trip—about how she couldn’t eat rice. I mean, I get it, she likes rice so much. We were lucky that there was a Chinese restaurant near our hotel in Santorini. But Mykonos? We couldn’t find any place selling rice or Asian food nearby where we stayed. So Jess just had to deal with it until we flew back home.

Jess

I like Mediterranean food, but I can’t eat them all day every day! I need my rice fix from time to time. When we were in Greece, Paul was so patient with my whining; he was such a sweetheart.

Our takeaway: what we learned from each other when we travel

Even though we have different preferences while traveling, we don’t find any difficulties in accommodating both our needs and wants. What important is that we have to compromise and accommodate, so everyone feels heard and understood.
Paul is good at dealing with people. Jess is good at reading maps. We both like good food. We both don’t like shopping.
It is okay to do our own thing and regroup later. Just because we travel together doesn’t mean we have to be together ALL the time.
It is okay if you don’t know one thing as long as you have a strategy to figure it out later. Better if you can work on it together. Just remember not to blame your partner on it.
We were lucky that money was not an issue during the trip. If it was, it was something that needed to be discussed way before the trip.
We miss traveling a lot!

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