How to stay in love (and connected) while abroad
I would like to start this article by saying that I am, in no way, a relationship expert. I’ve had two “serious” relationships in my life, and one of them was a high school sweetheart who I swore I would marry some day. Clearly I was wrong about that one. The point is, I have experience with keeping a relationship going while traveling, but I am absolutely not the authority on the matter.
I met my boyfriend while I was living in Australia. We started dating shortly after meeting, and a few months later we were working together at a camp in Michigan. I was lucky enough to find someone interested in traveling (almost) as much as I am, but not everyone is like that. Here are a few tips on how to keep your relationship going while you travel:
1) Communication is key
Okay, obviously this is a huge part of dating in general, but when you’re traveling it is extra important. Talk about boundaries to keep you both comfortable and happy. If you want to go out to a night club but your significant other is feeling nervous about that, come up with a compromise. Maybe go for two hours instead of the planned entire night. Maybe only have two drinks. Do what works for you.
I am a huge fan of Skype. I think it is potentially the greatest thing technology has given us. I use it all the time, to chat with my sister in Florida or my friends in other countries. Skype is great for checking in with your significant other while you are traveling, whether you decide to do that daily or weekly — it’s up to you! Skype is a great way to stay connected and see that face you like so much.
3) Send postcards
Email is fun, Facebook wall posts are cute, and Skype is awesome, but can anything really beat getting something via snail mail? If you are going to be on your excursion for an extended period of time, why not send your love a care package with goodies from the place you are staying? If you are there for a shorter period of time, why not send a cute postcard? Even if it gets to them after you do, they will appreciate knowing that you were thinking about them.
4) Do not give into temptation
We have all had a few too many drinks. We have all felt the temptation to maybe get a bit too flirty with a stranger. I am telling you right now, kissing a random person at the bar is not going to be worth ending your relationship over. A good way to combat getting into that situation is mentioning that you have a boyfriend/girlfriend fairly early on in the evening to whoever you are talking to. A lot of the time, that will deter them from trying anything with you. Also, ALWAYS make sure to keep your wits about you. Don’t drink too much, and make sure to pay close attention to your drinks. If you are out with a group of friends, designate someone before the night begins who is willing to stay sober and keep an eye on everyone…just make sure it’s not the same friend every time you go out.
5) Take them with you!
One of the best moments of my current relationship was when my boyfriend got home from work and I said to him “Flights to Fiji are on sale for $350! That’s so cheap!” and he said “Okay, if you want to go to Fiji then let’s go”. It was the moment that I thought to myself “Yep, this guy.” If your significant other is adventurous and is interested in going somewhere with you, go together! Traveling together is a great bonding experience, and a good test run for living together (now you know how long they take getting ready in the morning!). If you find yourself wanting to get away from them after a week together, maybe it is just not meant to be. After all, do you want to stop traveling? If you are like me and you plan on traveling forever, and your current person is not a good travel companion, the odds are good that they will not be a good life companion.