What I Learned While Traveling with My Partner

Asia

This post was contributed by Amanda Grace

Three years ago, my partner asked me to join him on a trip to South Korea. Hesitant at first (because the cost of the ticket damn near gave me a heart attack), I made my way to South Korea, and we haven’t stopped traveling together since.

We’ve had the opportunity to visit six states in the USA, South Korea, Thailand – and we’re pumped to embark on our upcoming trip to Spain and Portugal together. Here’s a list of some of the fun and questionable lessons I’ve learned during our travels:   

You Can’t Be “Poop-Shy!”

Some couples have this idea that their significant other doesn’t fart or poop, and we all know that just ain’t true!

Let me be upfront by saying: my boyfriend is lactose intolerant. To make it even worse, he loves eating dairy products, despite knowing the consequences. *Face palm*
One sunny day in South Korea, his best friend decided to take us out for a popular East Asian treat, known as bingsu.  Now, if you can’t already tell from the photo below, this dessert is made with loads of condensed milk.

It was so good I cried.

The rest of the day was a blast (for me at least).  After bingsu, we found ourselves in the middle of a day-party, teaching everyone how to “Milly Rock” and “Whip It.” This moment turned into Julian ending up on stage with a microphone rapping “Gold Digger” by Kanye West. 
We danced for hours until I became hangry, and we ended up eating dinner at a delicious South Korean BBQ restaurant. We took great pride in not burning ourselves on the blazing hot skillet. After we were finished stuffing our gullets, we hopped in a cab to go bar hopping along Haeundae Beach, but we never made it!

I remember sitting in the cab and looking over to notice Julian writhing and contorting his body in excruciating pain. He literally rolled down the window as if he was about to jump out of the cab, all while begging to stop the cab in the middle of a busy street. With regret on his face, he begged us to find a restroom before it was too late. By God’s grace, we stumbled upon a Starbucks that was closing in 5 minutes.  He made it in time! I don’t want to even imagine the relationship between his body and that toilet bowl. YUCK! From that point forward, he now pops Pepto-Bismol tablets like breath mints. He swears that no one is about to catch him slipping ever again.

Moral of the story is:

Do not travel with your partner if you’re embarrassed to poop with them around. It’s better to be honest and let it “all out” than to be constipated a few days later! When traveling abroad, understand that you may eat something that does not agree with you (it’s totally worth it 99% of the time). Sometimes the stomach is unforgiving and will sneak up on you with revenge when you least expect it. So, do not expect to travel and not see this side of your partner – it is bound to happen!

Sometimes Clichés Reflect the Truth, but He’s My Hero!

His muscular physique, and his perfect smile, and his genius brain make him look like an action figure! Looks fade, but I’ll definitely enjoy them for now!

Besides him being sexy, travel helped me to realize how brave he is. From casual cliff jumping into unknown waters to eating a live octopus as its tentacles clench to his throat, he always approaches the situation with a fearless outlook.

My favorite memory of him is riding a moped in Thailand. I kid you not, without any prior driving experience, he revved the engine and we were speeding on the road within 5 minutes. He immediately pulled out onto the wrong side of the road –– first mistake! Also, we thought it would be a good idea to go on an adventure through a mangrove forest – second mistake!  We didn’t take into account that driving on uneven terrain is completely different from driving on smooth roads. As we drove deeper into the forest, the harder it became to control the moped.  The ride became bumpier, the terrain became slicker, and we ultimately ended up losing complete control.

After swerving non-stop for what felt like forever, we flew off of the moped into a sea of mud. Have you ever tried washing mud out of curly hair? It’s not fun!

After making sure I was okay (which I was), he got right back up and drove us another 40 minutes back home as if we didn’t almost lose our lives. Don’t try this at home kids.

It’s Okay to Take Space for Yourself.

Just because you’re traveling together doesn’t mean you are required to be under each other 24/7. Don’t ever feel bad for taking time for yourself.  If your partner is a real one, they won’t take it personally.

We’ve even learned how to take space for ourselves while we’re in the same room.  On our second trip abroad together, we created “social media hour.”  During this hour (or two) we would decompress in our Airbnb and do our own thing, whether it was scrolling through social media on our phones, taking a nap, or whatever else.  We are currently living together and still practice “social media hour.” We’ve perfected the art of having our solitude while being together, and I am thankful for this.

Open Up That Mind… But, Seriously Though.

We like to take turns choosing some of the activities we will do each day. One of my choices during our Thailand trip was participating in a Thai cooking class. After the class, my boyfriend admitted he initially wasn’t thrilled about my activity choice but ended up having a blast.
TIP: Try something outside of both of your comfort zones, it may surprise you how much y’all actually enjoy it!

The Importance of Working Together as a Team

As time goes on, you both will learn your strengths and weaknesses as travelers. One person may be better at planning the logistics for your trip, while the other may be better with navigation, and so on. For example, my boyfriend knows better than to ever ask me for directions, even if I am using a GPS because I will still get us lost. But when it comes to logistics like lodging, getting around, and places for sightseeing… I’m your girl!  
Is that person behind us okay?

Accept that Everything Will Not (Almost Ever) Go According to Plan.

Don’t always feel like you have to plan ahead. Things will never go as you envisioned them every single time. Y‘all may get lost for hours trying to find a restaurant that closed down months ago, get a flat tire that causes you to miss the event you drove in town for, or have a canceled flight that leaves you stranded in another country for another night (all things that have happened to us).
Both of us used to become moody when unfortunate events like these would happen. He would become quiet and short while I would be quick to catch an attitude, which would ultimately ruin the rest of our day.  We used to need a “social media rest of the night,” but we’ve finally accepted that our life is an adventure. Try laughing instead of pouting and making the best of out of things, because things could always be worse.

On the other hand, some of our best days were when we would follow the mood and the flow of this city. We did not choose our activities, the city chose them for us! You’ll meet cool people, run into fun festivals, or maybe even pass by a delicious-smelling restaurant where you end up having the best meal of your life.  When you have everything pre-booked, you won’t really have the freedom to just sit back and let life happen.

Getting stranded = Free 5 star hotels

Traveling with your partner can be a blast when you have an open mind and an open heart.  Even the most frustrating experiences you all may encounter make for the best laughs in the future.  If you can make it through a trip without killing each other, surviving traveler’s diarrhea without judgment from your partner, and using teamwork to make the dream work, then you can make it through anything.

Amanda Grace is a new Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate who loves to travel! Travel pet peeve: people who stand as soon as the plane lands… the door isn’t even open yet, BRO! Stay updated with Amanda and her adventures at her blog, PTPassages. 

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