“Sometimes I think a soulmate is the person who can make you the most “you” that you could possibly be.”
Though I have already written about “Travel Alone VS Travel As Two,” a recent email conversation with a fellow bike tourer sparked me to go a little more in depth about this subject. My friend, a fellow bike tourer who decided to continue his journey with a special girl after cycling around the world for over three years alone, wrote this about his experiences which I thought I would share because I couldn’t have said it better myself.
“But for me this trip is probably one of the biggest and hardest challenges ever in my life – actually the 24/7 together. It might would have been easier if we would have started cycling together from zero? I had my experience and knew what works for myself. But that doesn’t mean that the same works for her or us together. So things which are easy and clear for me, can be incomprehensible or impossible for her and vice versa. So I’m learing so much about myself… it’s really not easy, but it’s great and with all up and downs we’re enjoying it as much as possible and just try to make the best out of it.”
In all honesty the first few months for Kevin and I were rough. He was sick (typhoid fever among things) and I was frustrated that we weren’t going anywhere. I was also use to living very cheap, and though he too enjoys the simplistic lifestyle, he expected a little more comfort (like not eating pasta seven days a week, understandable I guess) than I was use to but I stubbornly didn’t want to adjust. India was also a difficult test in itself for any couple since we were often frustrated or angry given the hardships of traveling through the chaotic country. All in all it boiled down to me not wanting to compromise since I still considered the journey to be “my trip” instead of “our trip.”
With his patience and my slowly ebbing stubbornness, this trip is now turning into “our trip,” and because if this, we are both now so much happier. I now truly want him to be here with me instead of selfishly (and unconsciously) resenting the fact that I no longer have total freedom. I loved my time cycling alone and feel that it is something everyone should experience at some point, but I now realize I have turned a new and wonderful page of life wherein I am able to travel with someone I can share my journey and life with.
This transition was especially difficult because, as my friend pointed out, I already knew what worked for me and had a hard time adapting when that didn’t work for “us.” That being said, traveling with someone 24/7 (especially while cycling) is difficult in and of itself because there will inevitably be disagreements about what to eat, where to sleep, or when to take a break.
Of course, we still occasionally bicker (anyone who doesn’t after spending 24/7 together is crazy) but at least now I can honestly say we are happy to be cycling together!
The lessons you mentioned are applicable in life in general as well. Being married myself, I experienced the same things with my wife. For all the (metaphorical) minor bumps and occasional falls, we get up and continue with the journey.
Yes, I would imagine that is sort of how the first year of marriage is – learning to compromise, learning what works for the team instead of the individual…
I’m struggling with the same things. I haven’t had my chance to travel solo yet, and I can’t imagine letting that dream of mine slip away. I am engaged now, but I’m having trouble turning ‘me’ into ‘we’ especially when it comes to travel. I absolutely want to share many travel experiences with him, but I still want to do a solo trip myself at least once and he has a hard time understanding that. But I guess it’s all about compromise now! Anyways, thanks for this post. GOod lessons
Yes, I am very happy I got my solo travel chance, but even so, it is a hard transition. But hopefully you guys can each take a trip alone, and meet up after a month… That way you get the best of both worlds.