While planning our trip, it never crossed our minds to even think of how traveling as a couple would impact our lives and marriage. Before traveling, we both held 8 – 5 jobs and therefore spent way less time together. Ironically, we thought we spent more time since we lived together. In the ideal, standard, normal life, eight hours are spent at work, two to three hours are spent commuting to and from work, six to eight hours are spent sleeping and the rest of the time which is about five to eight hours is what is shared between family, couples time, personal errands and friends. So ideally we would spend on average four hours together. I believe this is the situation with most couples.
For the past one year, we have spent every minute of our lives together and about to celebrate our 1st travelversary. It’s been a really exciting year full of lessons, love, adventure, experience and more so being our first year of marriage, it is also the most exciting honeymoon and time together.
We met in January 2016 and six months into our dating, over a glass of Gin & Tonic, Dos asked if we could take a year to travel. It did not take me a second to say yes. We were so excited that we shared similar dreams. He says, that was the moment he knew he would marry me. What followed that decision was immediately moving in together, embarking on a serious saving plan that included consolidating our savings, planning for the adventure, getting married and eventually leaving on 2nd July 2018 two year later.
Dos quite often says that, if you cannot travel with your partner, may be you should not commit the rest of your life to them. I never gave this statement any much thought but today, after a year on the road, it is the most factual statement I know. This has not only been a riding adventure but an adventure through our hearts and minds as well. We have learned a lot from each other and about each other. We have also been quite fortunate to meet other couples who have inspired and encouraged us on our traveling life. Here are stories, lessons and take aways from our experiences. I hope this inspires more couples and helps you pack your bags for that adventure of your lifetime.
HOW WE MET OUR PARTNERS AND MEETING FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Daniella and Roberto are Chilean by nationality. They are actually cousins (their grandparents were siblings)… yeah, I know! But they didn’t meet until they were grown up. They met at a family reunion at Daniella mom’s apartment in 2007, fell in love and have been together (as a couple) for eleven and a half years. I met Daniella first on Facebook before meeting in person in Chile. We belong to the same group, Women Riders World Relay (WRWR).
Izabella and Keith met in Germany in 1981 – Izabella says; I was 16, he was 17 . I was at school, and he was based there whilst serving in the British Army’s 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. We met in a nightclub on New Year’s Eve, in a town which was 25 km away from the town we both lived in … fate?! We have been together for 38 years. We went out for 8 years, before getting married. This coming 01 July will be our 30th wedding anniversary.
We met Izabella and Keith in Uyuni – Bolivia. The sweetest and most sociable couple. We never ran out of stories. They always woke up before us and fetched us coffee. How sweet is that?
Priscillah and Steve – Fate brought us together!
We met in a motorcycle maintenance class in January 2016 which was kind of funny because we both took the class to find distraction from some trying times in our lives. Two years later and we are on the biggest adventure of either of our lives. Later on I went over to help fix her motorcycle, which turned out to be an easy fix so we had some time to kill. She drove me around in San Francisco showing me some of her favorite haunts and we ended up at the beach. We sat on a bench and talked for a couple hours, when it was time to go I asked if I could hug her and we haven’t let go since.
I met Priscilla on Facebook – women adventure riders group. We were traveling in the same country -Peru and heading the same direction. We linked up as were were not so far apart and started traveling together. It is the first time we have met a couple traveling on motorcycles and have been able to travel together.
MAKING THAT ONCE IN A LIFETIME DECISION TO LEAVE HOME AND TRAVEL.
While in our case it took a glass, may be a bottle of Gin & Tonic, it was different for Daniella and Roberto who have been on two long term travel adventures. The first one 2012 lasting 12 months from Chile to Alaska on a motorcycle and the second one which is coming to an end any time now by air and road through Europe.
Daniella & Roberto
The most important part of planning is making the decision!
For Daniella and Roberto, planning the first trip was a process, but the most important part of it all was to make the decision. Once we decided we wanted to go out to the world, we were so determined to do so and things little by little started to fall in place. Our biggest worry was money, so we dedicated to saving up (we saved for years) and we also sold everything we had. We started doing research on where to travel and what we needed. We bought/obtained whatever gear we were missing, prepared the bike (we traveled 2up on one motorcycle), prepared ourselves and our families to the idea that we were leaving for the “adventure of a lifetime”, and quit our jobs. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as hard as people would think either.
Izabella and Keith..
We both love traveling. In the past, we have had many career breaks of various durations, to accommodate this passion. The longest was in 2005-2007, where we did a 2-year around the world backpacking trip. Upon our return in 2007, we set up our company Viimi Ltd, which has allowed us to do many global projects across the world.
Priscillah and Steve…
Planning their trip was as easy as drinking margaritas.
During our time together we developed a bad habit of drinking margaritas and hatching adventures. There was México twice, Thailand, Spain and Morocco, a bunch of motorcycle trips and then of course we are now on a nine month moto tour of South America hoping to be in Ushuaia by December this year.
SO HOW LONG ON THE ROAD?
Daniella and Roberto…
“Adventure of a lifetime” didn’t have to be only once”
The traveling bug bit us hard! And we decided that the “adventure of a lifetime” didn’t have to be only once… and that if we were organized, we could do it again and hopefully again. So for this second trip, we saved up and sold all our belongings once more. We planned our destinations a little different than last time, but already new the drill and it felt easier than the first time. Our families weren’t as surprised and we got a lot more support from people in general than the first time. Because now everybody believed that we could do this. But the real important thing is that we ALWAYS believed that we could, that’s what got us here! We’ve been traveling for 15 months this time around. The first trip was 12 months.
Therefore, as you know yourself, travel becomes much easier the more you do it (… practice makes perfect …). I had finished my latest project in Portugal in December 2018, so with no other plans ahead, we decided pretty short-term to go to South America. This had already been on our list the year before, but then a project materialised out of nowhere and I decided to take that instead, and to postpone the SA trip. So, as you can see, the South America trip was fairly unplanned & we just said let’s do it, went and booked the flights and within a week we had left for Buenos Aires. The whole point of our travel is to retain the freedom to stay somewhere for as long as we want, therefore as we travelled, we booked the next bus/flight only a few days ahead. Same with the accommodation. This allows us to remain flexible and to make short-term decisions, which in normal, settled life you don’t tend to have. Having done so much travel before, we actually already know what interests us and what doesn’t, so it’s pretty easy to arrive somewhere and to know what we want to do. We have just finished the latest trip in South America in which we had planned to traveled for 4 months to cover: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay. We however, finished early after only 3 months and even included a little bit of Brazil too. Our modes of transport are walking, coach, train, plane and sometimes hire a car.
When I say travel as a couple I am not referring to traveling to a luxurious resort or any other destination for a weekend or five days and back home, no! It is the long term travel for months, probably years on the road. This kind of travel puts you into tests, can make or break your relationship but it is one that teaches you and exposes you to a lot good for your relationship than bad. The benefits outweigh the bad.
You get to know each other well:-
Travel is stressful as it does not only include visiting and seeing nice places. Forget the Instagram travel. Travel includes budgeting, planning, long hours on the road, some times no showers or good sleep. All these can increase your levels of stress. How your partner handles these kind of stress determines how long you can last on the road. It also offers the opportunity to see your partner outside their comfort zone.
You learn to depend on each other:-
We are not just husband and wife, we are partners and team mates. We have discovered our strengths and share roles accordingly. This way, it is not one person responsible for everything. We are also able to help each other on our different roles.
You learn to compromise.
Although we are a couple and doing the same travel, we have different interests in places to visit, things to do, roads to use, places to eat, choice of accommodation or even towns to stay in. Once in a while there will be a differed opinion or choices that require compromising due to cost, time as well as finding a balance. We have learned to compromise on choices that we make and our individual interests. Without comfortably doing so, it is likely that one will be upset and that can cause tension on the travel. Who wants a grumpy partner? It is important for both of us to enjoy these travel and be able to do the things we like. We however, know that we cannot do everything we like individually and so there has to be compromises.
You make life long memories together:-
Everyday we are grateful for being able to travel together. We spend 24-7-365 together making memories that we would never have made on our own even if we traveled the world individually. We are human beings and we have tough times, disagreements, quiet moments and sometimes it can be hard on both of us. However, we know that there is no one else we would rather travel the world with other than each other.
You learn how compatible you are: –
Traveling together for a long time takes courage and patience. You learn your partners strengths as well as their shortcomings. You learn how to trust each other, to trust that you have each others backs no matter what. That you will be there no matter how tough it gets. You learn that doing activities separately is ok. We always say “its literally the two of us against the world”.
ADVICE FROM THE MOST EXPERIENCED OUT OF ALL US – IZABELLA & KEITH
The say; preparation is key! Don’t expect things to just fall into place by themselves. If it’s your first major trip, it’s wise to run through a variety of scenarios you may encounter on the trip and plan for how to deal with each one. Agree on responsibilities, respect each other. Don’t argue in public, this attracts attention and potentially ‘bad’ guys trying to take advantage.
Love each other as you are – traveling long-term can be quite stressful at times, and can bring out traits you haven’t known about each other before … it’s a learning curve. Always make joint decisions.
Izabella and Keith are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary and many years on the road together. Thank you for your input and kind advice.
Thank you Daniella & Roberto; Priscillah & Steve for sharing your stories with us.