10 Ways My Husband And I Kept Our Spark Burning While Traveling
Four months ago, I quit my job, sold my car and set out for a trip around the world with my husband with no end in sight.
The idea of traveling from country to country sounded exciting, adventurous and most of all, romantic.
But with any type of travel, obstacles arise, and they can test even the strongest relationships.
Between communal hostels, not-so-private bathrooms, travel delays and unplanned illnesses, romance may take a backseat, making it difficult to keep your heart and libido ignited.
Plus, more time doesn't always equal quality time spent together.
So, as you fantasize about that picture-perfect trip, here are 10 tips to remember as you try to keep the spark alive while traveling:
1. Don't forget date night.
When one plans a vacation, it's easy to dream you'll be transported to “The Notebook,” and every night will be spent sipping champagne under the stars and rolling around in bed.
But after an eight-hour delay on your 12-hour flight, you learn travel time is not always quality time.
For the long-term traveler, days consist of penny-pinching, planning, dealing with jet lag, unexpected illnesses and close quarters.
Make sure to set aside time that's just for you two with no distractions.
Grab a bottle of wine, put on your best outfit and head to a nearby neighborhood restaurant. Enjoy a proper date night, and trade foot massages after a long day.
It's important to put your relationship first, and always feed that fire with love.
2. Go for walks together.
Whenever it's time to explore a city, go for a walk.
If it's time to reconnect with your honey, go for a walk.
Experiencing new scenery is not only good for the brain and the heart, but it's also good for your relationship.
As you walk side by side holding hands, you're able to connect with your partner in an open, loving manner, all while taking in the sights and sounds of a new city.
If you don't know what to do with your day, just start walking.
I promise things will get interesting.
As you travel, the days start to blur together.
As a couple, you must always remember the important days: the day of your first kiss, your wedding anniversary, birthdays and holidays.
Always take the time to rejoice in the importance of a day.
Celebrations don't have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as a card, a cupcake or a candle on top of pad Thai.
But, special days should always be celebrated on the road.
4. Have respect for space.
Let's face it: After being packed like sardines in a tight airplane and herded like cattle through customs, only to unpack in a studio hotel room, hostel or Airbnb, you begin yearning for personal space.
You love your partner, but space and privacy is a basic human need.
If possible, try to rent an Airbnb with multiple rooms so you can take time for yourself, go to a yoga class by yourself or take some quiet time to meditate.
One needs to recharge with alone time in order to make together time special.
5. Share the load.
Long-term travel means lots of decision-making, both good and bad.
Where are we going next? How are we getting there?
Where are we staying? Did you remember the passports?
Instead of little questions that can morph into a big argument, set relationship goals in the beginning.
I am in charge of hotel and Airbnb accommodations, while my husband is in charge of transportation.
Clearly defined roles will help you enjoy the destination and journey to get there.
6. Make time for love.
Let's be real: Sex is a cornerstone of every relationship.
If you're not having it, you're not happy and you're not feeling connected to your partner.
If you're sharing a hostel room, trekking across airports, crossing time zones and washing your underwear in the sink, it can take the romance out of a relationship.
No matter what time zone you're in or if you were soaked in sweat from that humid bus ride through Thailand, make the time to make love.
If you arrive sweaty, hot and tired, try freshening up together in the shower. That may be just the thing you both need to feel revitalized and reconnected.
7. Do something that scares you.
When setting off for our around-the-world trip, we faced one of our biggest fears.
We had to leave the safety of our home and set out for the unknown. Together, we created a plan and overcame a fear, which has bonded us immensely.
Working through a fear together has incredible bonding properties that strengthen, intensify and improve a relationship.
When in Zambia at Victoria Falls, we swam in the Devil's Pool, which is 103 meters high above the Zambezi River.
The encouragement and love he showed for me in that moment made me feel connected to him, which in turn strengthened our relationship.
8. Keep your independence.
Traveling is a time to bond, but it's also a time for self-reflection.
Some of my favorite times traveling have been when I go for a run by myself, or when my husband goes to a café to write by himself.
We return and can't wait to tell one another about what we've experienced.
Take the time to do things for yourself. It will make you a better partner.
9. Make sure to communicate.
Isn't this the root of all lovers' quarrels and stressors?
We think our partners have the magical powers to read our minds. Unfortunately, this isn't the movie "What Women Want," and we actually have to speak up about our wants and needs in a relationship.
Is wifey more of a lay-out-by-the-pool vacationer, while you want active action?
Communicate your wants, needs and goals for the relationship.
That way, you can avoid the knock-down, drawn-out fight when one person sets the alarm for 6 am to go canyoneering, while the other thought he or she was going to have a romantic morning cuddle.
10. Put down your phone.
Travel is a time to connect with people around the world, but it's also a time to disconnect from the world.
So, put down your phone and grab your partner's hand. Go for a walk, and watch the sunset together without Instagramming it.
Some memories are best kept in the privacy of your own relationship.