What You Need To Travel As A Couple

As of today, Shelby and I have been traveling together for 3 months and 4 days. While we’d traveled a decent amount before this, both together and separately, this is the longest either of us have ever traveled. And since a majority of our relationship has been long distance, this is by far the most amount of time we’ve continuously spent together in such close proximity. But even if you aren’t accustomed to a long distance arrangement, or you’ve been with someone for 5, 10 or 50 years, there are a number of things that extended travel with a partner, even if it’s just with a friend, will require.

Aside from the obvious packing skills, the portable chargers, the overstuffed backpacks, the camera gear and the constantly referenced abilities to compromise or go with the flow, theres 1 thing in particular that jumps out at me as to why the past 3 months have worked (and occasionally not worked) so well.

P a t i e n c e.

That’s right, patience. Not the latest travel hack or the sleek, new gadgets and gizmos. It’s that little virtue your grandmother probably told you about when you were 4 years old and couldn’t wait for the cookies to finish baking (or in my case, her special meatballs and red sauce). Sure, the devices are pretty useful and can make traveling a lot simpler and much more enjoyable, but at some point they won’t work quite how you expect them to. Having patience in those moments can save you a lot of headaches. This is even true if you’re just in a relationship, or just traveling alone. But if you’re like me and you’re traveling with someone else for 4 or 5 months, it’s practically impossible to do without patience. Let me show you what I mean.

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As you’re well aware by now, Shelby and I take and post a lot of travel photos. Being the photographer and videographer in the relationship, I’m typically the one behind the camera. This could mean taking pictures or shooting video, but it also means framing shots that I’ll be in front of the lens for. That’s where Shelby comes in. She’ll be the first one to tell you that she’s not a photographer, but she still ends up taking a lot of awesome photos and video for us.

So how does she do this without having much training with a camera? Patience. Not only on her end, but also from myself. When I have a specific image in my head that I’m a part of, it often involves taking a few test shots and showing Shelby how to reproduce a similar one with all the right lighting and other settings that go into it. For someone that isn’t as interested in cameras as I am, this can become a fairly underwhelming process. For someone that is as comfortable with a camera as I am, I can feel like a broken record at times. But what I’ve noticed is that when Shelby’s patient enough to listen to the instructions I’m giving and I’m patient enough to effectively communicate all of the steps that are necessary, the entire process is much smoother and we end up having fun with it.

Need another example? Maybe one that applies to the people that don’t really care about pictures and just want to travel and enjoy the world with their significant others? Don’t worry they definitely need patience too.

Yesterday morning Shelby and I went to a cafe in Ubud called Mudra (quickly becoming a new favorite; we’ll have another post about it soon enough). The plan was to have a banging breakfast and finish up some work while I learned how to make a cinemagraph. Wasn’t supposed to take more than an hour or so and then we were going to enjoy the nice weather before working out with a friend in the afternoon. Fast forward 6 hours later and we’d eaten 2 meals there and Shelby had finished a blog post and listened to a podcast while I’d stumbled through a slew of software errors and tutorials so that I could produce 1 measly cinemagraph.

If Shelby had been upset or annoyed with me for taking so long on such a beautiful day, I would have had absolutely no excuse. But she wasn’t. She was actually quite the opposite. Even when she’d run out of things to do at the table, Shelby was still patient with me because she knew that learning this skill was important to me.

The result? On top of finally learning how to make cinemagraphs well enough that I was able to make another one in less than 10 minutes this morning, we ended up eating one of the best curries either of us have ever tried. If Shelby hadn’t have been patient with me while I was being patient with the learning process, we wouldn’t have stuck around for lunch and we probably wouldn’t have ever tried the curry that we enjoyed so much.

So that’s really it. That’s our big secret. Just be patient with whoever you’re traveling with and whatever situations are presented to you. I know it’s not always our first instinct, and it’s easy enough to slip up at times, but the more you can practice being patient while you’re traveling with someone else, the more you can both focus on enjoying all of the amazing things you get to experience together, instead of pulling each others hair out.

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