Travelling is of course something that is on many people’s bucket lists in one way or another. For some luxury all inclusive breaks in the carribean are perhaps more appealing than a backpacking trip around Asia, however, we still find people in awe of the things that we get up to and questioning how we are “living our dream”. Well – here’s 5 common misconceptions about the wonders of travelling – particularly when you’re doing it as a couple.
1. “You guys must be loaded”
As much as I would like to agree with this comment, the truth is far from it. A trip like ours has taken some planning, a lot of budgeting and even more saving. It’s not an obscene amount of money, but it just depends what you save for. Rather than taking trips to the pub on the regular and going out for meals, we saved our pennies and opted for Asda pizza and Netflix. We worked every hour possible leading up to the trip, and there’s no doubt we will work every hour possible when we return in order to get ourselves back on our feet! We’ve been incredibly lucky to have the support of our families leading up to and during our adventure too – but pretty much anyone can afford to travel if only you set your mind to it and make it a priority.
2. “You’re just on one long holiday!”
Holiday: noun – An extended period of leisure or recreation.
It’s true that we often forget what day it is, and we aren’t always completely sure what time zone we are in, but 6 months of trawling a 12kg backpack around isn’t the holiday you might imagine. It’s exhausting both mentally and physically, it’s constantly being on your toes, it’s being prepared to repack your bag every few days after you’ve thrown it on the floor looking for something at the bottom and it’s forever researching and planning your next move. It’s not easy, and it’s far from a leisurely lifestyle and one perhaps not for those looking for blissful relaxation time.
3. “Your life is so glamorous!”
Just no. Yes my life is currently very exciting – but it is far from glamorous. Apart from living off packet pasta and cheap noodles to save pennies (see point 1), not many days go by where I’m not dripping in sweat and covered in filth. Nice right? We stay in a variety of rooms filled with bunkbeds and sometimes selfishly loud people that keep you up all night and of course – we are living out of a backpack. We’ve been wearing the same clothes for 6 months now and naturally some are looking a little worse for wear. A lot of the time, the clothes we wear aren’t even clean (if we’re smart we rinsed them in the shower last time they got terribly stinky). I’ve forgotten how to apply makeup and my hair hasn’t felt heat other than the sun since I left home and now resembles some sort of straw wig.
Aside from all that, it’s important to remember that often people only share their happy times on social media. Of course through this blog I’ve shared some of the lows, but no one sees the tears, the frustration, the fear or the arguments (see point 5) that all happen on a near weekly basis. Social media is a great way of hiding your real life and only showing the world what you want it to see.
4. “It must be so romantic being away just the two of you!”
Romantic is not a word I would use to describe the situation that you end up in when you spend every ounce of your time with someone for a prolonged period – let alone under the stresses that can come with travelling! For James and I, we lived together before, so many barriers were already broken and we were quite comfortable in each other’s company. If we weren’t – we certainly were after a 48hour stint of travellers sickness sharing and fighting over one bathroom (the door of which didn’t close). You’re welcome for the mental imagery. Ah, who said romance was dead?
5. “You must be so happy together”
Leading on from the previous point, spending such a large amount of time with just one person to share everything with is dangerously close to a recipe for disaster. I don’t care how perfect you think your relationship is – everybody argues. If you can argue over ridiculous things like emptying the bin and whose turn it is to make the tea just imagine the arguments you can have over who last had the passports and where all our money went?! I couldn’t count the tiffs we have had since we have been away! Nor the amount of times bits of hatred have bubbled inside of me just listening to him breathe. I know I speak for us both when I say that sometimes, you just need some time to talk to someone else! Never have I found myself so excited to talk to a random elderly stranger at a bar just to get away from dulcet Brummy tones.. I challenge you to spend 6 months with only one other person and not go a little stir crazy – and if you manage it I’ll send you mine over to see if you can manage with him too!
All that said, and all the myths and comical truths aside – I wouldn’t change any of it. I’ve loved every sweaty walk with a heavy backpack, every sleepless night on a bus, every laundry trip where clothes appear to come out dirtier than before the wash and every single amazing day we have been lucky enough to spend together on the other side of the world. Travelling as a couple is certainly hard, and it’s tested us to the very max – but I’m 100% sure that if I had my time over I wouldn’t have wanted to have such a crazy, wonderful adventure with anyone else.