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Travel to Strengthen your Relationship

Travel to Deepen your Relationship

>> Over the years I noticed travelling had an immensely positive impact on me. Especially solo travel can push us out of our comfort zone and teach us many aspects of our personalities. It highlights our strengths and weaknesses and helps us develop tools to live a richer & more fulfilling life. I knew I wasn’t the only one who reaped the benefits of travelling for personal development.

This guest post series introduces you to others who have, in one way or another, travelled for personal development: be it to learn a new language, to mend a broken heart or to overcome an anxiety. Hopefully it will encourage you to travel more yourself and perhaps even help you to overcome barriers. <<

Meet Julie who runs the blog Drive on the Left, together with her husband, who set off to leave America to travel the world long-term. They are now based in London. Read how travelling has strengthened their relationship. I promise you, you’ll want to read more – Julie’s narrative is simply beautiful! 🙂

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Travel to Deepen your Relationship

New Year’s Day 2011, 4am. Backpacks bulging, my husband and I slowly made our way through the center of Portland, Maine, to the bus depot. It had been an epic winter so far, near record snowfall, with two more months of freezing temperatures and endless shovelling in sight. We were more than ready to get out of there.

Travel to deepen your Relationship (Travel for Personal Development) - meet Julie & Drew, the Bloggers behind 'Drive on the Left', who have left their life in the States behind to travel long-term. They are now based in London. Click on the Pin to read how long-term travelling has strengthened their relationship.

We were about to embark on a journey around Southeast Asia. There, I hoped, we would reconnect, push beyond our comfort zone, and unearth all the hopes and dreams that day-to-day life tends to bury below laundry and groceries and friends and pets and errands and work.

There’s nothing like the start of a new year to open a brand new chapter of self-discovery.

Travel to deepen your Relationship

The trip was also a test of endurance. I had a dream of traveling long-term and my partner in life was not quite convinced. I saw the Asia adventure as a way of convincing him that yes, in fact, we could stand to be in each other’s company 24/7 and yes, the goal of long-term travel is worth the years of savings and sacrifice.

Two months in Asia is a long time and it isn’t.

Travel to deepen your Relationship

We spent our weeks traveling at breakneck speed, too excited to slow down. We gaped at horizons filled with more skyscrapers than we had ever seen (thank you Hong Kong!), and explored the backroads of Vietnam filled with villages and rice paddies and free roaming animals. We spent a blissful day at a place called Rabbit Island off the coast of Kep, Cambodia, where I made a note in my journal that life, in that moment, was perfect.

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We also had our share of challenges, including one horrible travel day when we were trying to go to the train station in Saigon and ended up at the airport. Our non-refundable train tickets sweaty in our hands, we made the universal signs of choo-choo and frantically hauled ass across town once again to the waiting train, collapsing in our seats mere moments before departure.

I’m still in awe of the scrappy dogs we saw along the way, those that look both ways before crossing the street and who defy death daily. We frequently joked that our pup, back home in the care of a friend, was probably wearing a coat outside in the snow while someone shovelled a path for him around the yard.

Travel to deepen your Relationship

Before long, we were on the long trip home, to the laundry and groceries and friends and pets and errands and work. Our photos graced every clear surface but the memories quickly started to blur and fade.

So, what of my grand ambitions for clarity and connection? Of pushing beyond our comfort zone?

As is often the case, it wasn’t until years later that I saw the impact of our travels in Southeast Asia on my life. Upon arriving home to lingering snow, we slowly put plans in place to move to New York City, which then led to London where we are now. My husband started down the very long path to understanding that his chosen career wasn’t an ideal fit and today, five years after the fact, his work is location-independent and fully mobile.

Travel to deepen your Relationship

It’s crystal clear to me now that our short time in Southeast Asia was pivotal in so many ways.

Growth and development can be an arduously slow process, and the steps from A to B to C are not always clear and obvious. The seeds that are planted may take many seasons to germinate. Just because we can’t always see growth doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

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These days, we are still growing into the vision that we created in Asia. By all accounts, our current lifestyle of traveling frequently and freely around Europe is charmed and idyllic. The links to that first journey are all but forgotten. But they are there. Those seeds have taken root.

Travel to deepen your Relationship

heart-blueWhat about you? Do you think travelling would strengthen your relationship? I would love to read your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

About Julie

Heart IconJulie Smith is an American expat living in London with her husband Drew. Together, they travel the world and write about it on their site, Drive on the Left. When the suitcases are put away, you can find them binge watching British dramas on the BBC (so good!) or having a pint at their local pub.

Connect with Julie on: Facebook and on Pinterest.

 

Pin it for later!

 

Travel to deepen your Relationship (Travel for Personal Development) - meet Julie & Drew, the Bloggers behind 'Drive on the Left', who have left their life in the States behind to travel long-term. They are now based in London. Click on the Pin to read how long-term travelling has strengthened their relationship.

 Travel to deepen your Relationship (Travel for Personal Development) - meet Julie & Drew, the Bloggers behind 'Drive on the Left', who have left their life in the States behind to travel long-term. They are now based in London. Click on the Pin to read how long-term travelling has strengthened their relationship.

 

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31 Comments

  • Rhonda

    04.04.2016 at 08:22 Reply

    Great post! Very inspiring .

  • Andi

    09.04.2016 at 11:54 Reply

    I do think travel can bring couples together. It certainly does for my husband and I. We both love to travel and so planning trips and what we will do on trips and what we will eat, brings us closer together. That is not to say there aren’t arguments, because I think that is normal. My hubby and I are currently exploring the US for the year of 2016 in an RV and that means 24×7 togetherness. Sometimes we take a break and my hubby will go off for the day and I will stay home and write on my blog!
    Andi recently posted…Weekly Wanderings #12 – Capitol ReefMy Profile

    • Drew Seaman

      17.04.2016 at 00:08 Reply

      A whole year in an RV, now that is a test! Congrats on undertaking that adventure.

  • MariaAbroad

    09.04.2016 at 15:01 Reply

    What a lovely story. I absolutely believe that travel can strongly influence a couple’s decision throughout life. A couple that hasn’t traveled is much less likely to move abroad. Traveling together is also a compromise and you will learn a lot from each other’s travel preferences.

    • Drew Seaman

      17.04.2016 at 00:09 Reply

      Our frequent travels (and our ability to travel well together) led to our decision to seek a life abroad. Certainly something we don’t regret!
      Drew Seaman recently posted…Eating In Rome in 36 HoursMy Profile

  • Monika

    09.04.2016 at 17:40 Reply

    Very inspiring post – so nice to read about the good impact the travel has on our lives – not just while travelling, but long after!
    Monika recently posted…There are no boring places, it’s only a traveller who might be boringMy Profile

    • Julie

      25.04.2016 at 05:23 Reply

      Travel can be quite divisive for couples, but we work hard to make travel something that brings us together. Plus, we get to both happily see and explore more places, together.
      Julie recently posted…Won’t Win a Photo ContestMy Profile

  • Bernard Tan

    09.04.2016 at 22:24 Reply

    Awesome post, Travelling would allow you to see another side of yourself.

  • Fiona Maclean

    10.04.2016 at 02:44 Reply

    As a committed singleton, this is something I’ve never experienced. In fact when I DID travel with a partner, we always argued and split up! So, you must be with the right person!

    Look forward to bumping into you sometime in London 😉

    • Drew Seaman

      17.04.2016 at 00:11 Reply

      Those who travel well together, tend to stay together, or at least that’s what I hear. I think we both picked well!
      Drew Seaman recently posted…Eating In Rome in 36 HoursMy Profile

  • Christina Wagar

    10.04.2016 at 21:15 Reply

    Beautifully written! I definitely agree that travel can make a relationship stronger. For us, our family is definitely stronger as we have learned to work as a team to overcome the obstacles that have been thrown at us while traveling.

  • Laura Lynch

    10.04.2016 at 22:29 Reply

    It’s great to read about your experiences and how you’ve managed to become closer through travel. I absolutely agree that it’s a really great way to grow together. We are so close when we travel, because we have to work together as a team to get things done – it’s hard traveling sometimes. It’s not always just fun and laughter. It brings you closer for sure.

    • Julie

      17.04.2016 at 00:14 Reply

      That is exactly why traveling together is such a test! You do have to rely on each other for a lot of things while on the road, and the more you travel together, the more you learn about each other’s wants and needs, especially when stressed out or frustrated.
      Julie recently posted…Eating In Rome in 36 HoursMy Profile

  • Mags

    10.04.2016 at 23:22 Reply

    Travel can make or break a relationship, but it’s a very important test. You don’t want to be with someone you can’t travel with!

  • Lindsay Nieminen

    11.04.2016 at 18:12 Reply

    WOW! this is amazing! with two little kids in tow, this is where i wish we were right now, but a home and stability is where my husband is focused. i am hoping, that by taking little steps, and small trips, we will become more location independent and closer to each other!
    Lindsay Nieminen recently posted…How to get your Child into Legoland for Free!My Profile

    • Julie

      25.04.2016 at 05:25 Reply

      You certainly don’t have to jump straight to long term travel. Taking quick one night trips or short weekend journeys can be just as impactful, and especially with two kids, an easier first step.
      Julie recently posted…Won’t Win a Photo ContestMy Profile

  • Courtney

    12.04.2016 at 09:02 Reply

    Lovely! I believe travel can either bring people together or separate them, as they learn about themselves and each other. Living (and soon traveling) together with my husband in an Airstream trailer has already strengthened our relationship. I do wonder what seeds we are planting right now that will blossom later and I love that analogy as we are all continuing to grow. Thank you for the thoughtful post.

    • Julie

      25.04.2016 at 05:27 Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Living and traveling together in an Airstream is certain “next level” couples travel, that’s for sure! Adding cramped confines to life on the road is difficult, so kudos to you for making it work!
      Julie recently posted…Won’t Win a Photo ContestMy Profile

  • Uncover Your Caribbean

    13.04.2016 at 09:24 Reply

    Travel can add so much to a relationship, intimate or otherwise. A wonderful wonderful story!

  • LeAnna

    16.04.2016 at 10:15 Reply

    I’m blessed to say that I’ve always had a strong relationship. However, since traveling has become a major priority in our lives (have moved to Europe, also done a 2 month backpacking trip through SE Asia, etc) our marriage has blossomed, strengthened and grown unlike anything I could have imagined (and I strongly believe would not have gotten to this level had it not been for the experiences, trials, frustrations, memories and more from traveling together)
    LeAnna recently posted…Cesky Krumlov: A Village You Can’t Help But Fall In Love WithMy Profile

    • Julie

      25.04.2016 at 07:05 Reply

      So great to hear! Traveling can certainly test a relationship, and making it through the tough times together in a foreign environment, certainly can strengthen it.

    • Julie

      29.04.2016 at 09:35 Reply

      Wow – it sounds like we have had similar paths! Travel certainly puts a relationship under the microscope in a new way, for both good and bad. Thanks for sharing!

  • The Adventure Ahead

    16.04.2016 at 10:25 Reply

    We have found that travelling has brought our entire family closer together – the concentrated family time that travel creates allows us to really get to know each other. Blend that with shared experiences and you have a recipe for closeness. Also, we find technology (texting friends, playing games, etc) is put to the side when we travel, which is awesome.

  • Lotte

    17.04.2016 at 08:03 Reply

    Great post and I very much believe travel can bring you closer together as a couple. I traveled around New Zealand and Southeast Asia with my husband and spending 24hours together (in a little campervan in NZ!) we got to know each other even better. Having been together more than 13 years this says a lot about the power of travel;-)

  • Karrla

    17.04.2016 at 10:41 Reply

    My boyfriend and I learned a lot about each other while traveling. There are some people that you can get along with in their comfort zones but once removed from that—- it becomes hard to live with them. Travel really allows you to get to know each other better. I agree —travelling strengthens relationships.

    • Julie

      25.04.2016 at 07:09 Reply

      You definitely see the best and worst of each other. There is no where to hide when on the road, traveling with each other, day in, day out. Luckily, we have been honest with each other, and made decisions together. Of course, there has always been a level of compromise, which is essential for long-term happiness.
      Julie recently posted…Won’t Win a Photo ContestMy Profile

  • Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

    17.04.2016 at 15:28 Reply

    That’s such a great story. I love how you say plans sometimes are slow to happen. The seeds you plant end up being useful along the way. I think you’re absolutely right. It’s just sometimes difficult to be patient. But if you’re committed to one another, then it’s important to not rush things and to arrive together at each new phase of life.
    Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie recently posted…5 Ways to Save Money at the National ParksMy Profile

  • Jenna

    18.04.2016 at 00:11 Reply

    Love this, and totally agree! I think travel can make or break a relationship and when it works out, it will definitely deepen your relationship. Traveling with someone and sharing the highs, lows and everything in between can create such a strong bond. My husband and I travel together and even though it isn’t always easy, it has made us closer and has been so great for us! Great topic!
    Jenna recently posted…Camping in an oTENTik at Thousand Islands National ParkMy Profile

  • Mar Pages

    18.04.2016 at 00:13 Reply

    Traveling with a partner definitely reveals much about a relationship! Not all experiences may be ideal, but when it works it strengthens a bond beautifully. Happy for your wonderful journey together 🙂

  • Elaine Masters

    18.04.2016 at 22:58 Reply

    If you are with the right person, husband or no, travel will deepen your connection and challenge it. There’s nothing like being vulnerable, in hard situations and still loved or loving back. Harder to do that in the day to day world.

  • Megan

    23.04.2016 at 11:38 Reply

    I definitely think travel can deepen any relationship, not just the romantic ones. I’ve had some great bonding time with my sister on the road too. Thanks for the insights

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