It’s officially been 1 month since we packed up all of our belongings, said good-bye to our loved ones in LA and took off on our RTW honeymoon. Happy anniversary to us!
We’ve saved, planned and scrutinized over this trip for a long time. But one of the great things about travel is that you are always learning and you will never be 100% ready for what the road may throw at you. After 4 weeks of traveling from Europe to Africa to Asia with my new husband, here is what I’ve learned thus far:
1. Compromise is EVERYTHING
I probably don’t need to tell you this. Compromise is required in all aspects of our lives, from our friends, to our travel buddies, to our work colleagues and our parents. But I guess you never realize how much you have to compromise when what you really, really, REALLY want to do is the exact opposite of your partner’s wants and wishes. As far as marriage goes, this has been amazing practice. I can’t imagine NOT going on this trip, for fear that I would not have the compromising skills when Kevin or Sebrin Jr. pop out. That being said, it’s still very, very hard and that’s when number 2 comes in…
2. Take a Breather
Fights on the road have and will continue to happen. But when I say take a breather, I don’t necessarily mean in the middle of a fight (although that might also be helpful). I mean giving each other some space to have your own individuality.
Kevin and I almost never saw each other during wedding planning. I feel like we had completely opposite schedules for 3 months. So going from “BAAAAABBBBBEEE, spend more time with MEEEEE” to “Do you REALLY need to use the bathroom while I’m in the shower?” was a rough transition in a short amount of time. To get some breathing room, I’ll write in my journal in the lobby while Kev watches TV. Or Kevin will go the gym while I eat a million pastries in bed. We try to give each other at least 30 minutes a day (which-as I type this-sounds like no time at all). But something is better than nothing.
3. Know When to Stick to a Budget and When to Splurge
I have this insane obsession with trip planning, which is really weird for me. Ask anyone in my life and they will tell you I’m a HOT mess with a messy room, a messier car and the messiest hair. But when it came down to our honeymoon, I spent 6 months making spreadsheets, researching places to go, how to get from A to B and budgeting every single, little detail.
But what didn’t I account for? Spontaneous romance! Our honeymoon is all about drinking that extra coconut, rum thingy or paying for an upgrade because you want to “watch movies” in a beautiful setting. Of course, we didn’t want to splurge too much and come home early. One day is dedicated to budget food stalls and airbnbs, while the next day is treating yourselves to fancy bars and luxury resorts. It’s all about balance, which in my case means putting off your student loans a month or two for a hotel upgrade.
4. Listen to the Locals
Tripadvisor can only get you so far. You can research the hell out of something and find a tour company or restaurant that has rave reviews, only to find it was just so-so. Tonight, we went to the Ayana Resort Rock Bar and found it to be a bit of a let down ($100 USD for 4 cocktails and 2 apps and a less-than-spectacular sunset! No thanks). But you also don’t want to write off all of the “touristy” things that could possibly be fun. Rely on locals to tell you what’s best in the area. From tour guides to restaurants to nature hikes. Striking up a conversation could even gain you a new friend abroad.
5. The Company You Keep Determines Your Trip
This one really threw me for a loop. I always thought I was a bit of a wild adventurer. Almost falling out of windows or winding up in the murder capital of the world, alone. I guess reckless is a better word. And I thought I would always be this way. That it was part of my… charm.
Kevin, on the other hand, is quite the opposite traveler. Subdued, thrifty, careful and alert. I always knew this about him and thought we would have two different trips, struggling with our dual personalities. Turns out, we rub off on each other quite a bit and we actually compliment one another. I’ve really slowed things down. And well, this entire trip is outside of Kev’s comfort zone.
So no hospitals (so far) or waking up in a stranger’s home (yet). It’s a different perspective than I’m used to, but it’s pretty nice to not constantly worry where your wallet is.
6. Chill the Fuck Out
Remember when I said I plan a lot? Like, too much? That habit will be the death of me (and my relationship). For the sake of my health, if not my sanity, I have tweaked my plans and made sure to have one “Netflix and chill” night per week. One day in Berlin, our pedometer read 26,300 steps! THAT’S TWELVE AND A HALF MILES. It was absolutely necessary that we prop our poor feet up and zone out to Pixar movies for 6 hours. Sometimes, it’s healthy to do absolutely nothing.
7. Don’t Read the Internet
I suppose this works both on and off the road. But let me tell you, I got the gnarliest bug bite in Morocco. My forearm had swelled to the size of my calf. So what did I do to make sure I was ok? Check the Internet, duh. According to the first 5 results (which I skimmed hastily in panic), not only did I transmit malaria, but I also have cancer, IBS, jaundice and I was going to die. NBD. I had many sleepless nights wondering if I should go to the hospital and just pay for everything (only EVENTUALLY being reimbursed).
After about 3 days, I noticed the swelling had gone down and Kevin insisted I stop reading everything from WebMD and we wait a couple more days. Now, it’s a disgusting scab and I feel perfectly fine.
The moral of the story is: listen to your body! You know when something is not right and if you have even the slightest doubt, go to the doctor/pharmacy/hospital.
Have you learned anything about yourself or your travel style while on the road non-stop?