Couples Role Playing

Couples Role Playing

Admit it, you clicked on this post with a little bit of curiosity and intrigue, what kind of role playing is she talking about?  I know they packed light, but maybe she saved a little room in her backpack for a French maid’s outfit for “special occasions.”  Alright, so maybe I took it a little too far… I hate to disappoint, but I am talking about role playing in a purely functional way and in respect to the dynamics of traveling as a couple.

Before we left one of the questions we were asked all the time was; are you going to travel together the whole time?  Quickly followed with aren’t you going to get sick of each other?  Many people we knew that have been married far longer than the short year and a half that we’ve been calling each other husband and wife admitted in front of their spouse that they would never survive spending all their time together.  Not to mention that much of that time would be in undoubtedly unfamiliar and sometimes difficult circumstances.  Blame it on us being newlyweds, but we never shared their concerns about all the time we would be spending in close quarters.  In fact we were looking forward to it.

Traveling as a couple is admittedly not always easy and we are only one month in, there is a lot of time left to get sick of each other.  The key to successful travel together is playing on each others strength’s and weaknesses, don’t worry I am not going to turn this into a boring couples travel self help guide. Instead here are a few examples of the roles we find ourselves taking turns playing:


We spend a lot of our time on the road trying to figure things out, signs, menus, what we just ate and what that person just said- were they talking to us?  thinkCHUA’s strengths lie in putting together all the context clues and asking the right questions.  I tend to lend support in background knowledge due to my addiction to guidebooks, travel blogs and online travel forums.  There is of course the occasional “case” that eludes us and that’s when one of us has to take on the next role.

Comedy Relief

We are both pretty good at being able to both laugh at ourselves and our situation,  which is a much needed skill for those times you realize you ordered a cold stuffed squid for lunch or got scammed into buying a worthless map when you were lost.  The key to  playing the comedy relief role is that you do so objectively, try to avoid providing comic relief at your partners expense- especially if they don’t find it funny.  Instead maybe you want to try the next role in the case that comedy is not the answer.


This role is essential during extended travel, so regardless of how you felt about cheerleaders in high school, you’ll want to memorize a few cheers for the road.  Keep on Truckin’ is a good one, perhaps you remember it from high school football games? T-T-R-U whoo hoo T-R-U-C-K keep on truckin’ all the way.  Okay, so cheering may attract unwanted attention, but a few encouraging words when carrying heavy backpacks through a new city in 90 degree heat can prove to be very helpful for everyone in order to keep morale up.  Once you have settled in to a new city the next role is a great one to try.

Tour Guide

We take turns playing this role as we both enjoy it. thinkCHUA is best at navigating  and map reading while I often enjoy imparting my new found knowledge from the last guidebook, blog or forum I read.  If our self guided tour requires transportation, thinkCHUA also typically doubles as the driver.

Thus far whatever role we find ourselves playing we seem to have created a great travel partnership…knock on wood.

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» Donna :
Jan 25, 2011

I wonder if you really will get tired of each other? My sense is that you won’t … but if you do, you’ve certainly touched on some key issues to keep it all together in spite of that. I think some of that goes back to what you said in an earlier article … you need to go with the flow! I can’t tell you how many times I got lost driving around Europe on my last two trips … and in doing so, discovering some little gem I wouldn’t have seen had I been on the right road. The only time it might have stressed me out was if I was rushing to get the rental car back or catch a ferry. Otherwise, it just added to the flavor of the experiences of that particular trip. And at some point you might want to each take a day on your own … you know what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder! In any event, the time you are spending together in all these fantastic adventures will only help to cement your relationship even stronger than it already is. I love traveling alone … but I’ve had some fantastic times traveling with friends too … including the Anderson family! Oops … sorry to get so serious! Just really enjoy reading your posts! Donna

LOCAVORista Reply:

Donna, I hope we won’t get sick of each other, but we have already taken some time for ourselves to see things that we are specifically interested in and the other is not. I think as we travel more we will take more time apart as we get a feel for what each of us enjoys most and there will just be things that we want to do alone. Either way I think this trip will create a stronger bond between us.

» dad :
Jan 25, 2011

good stuff, of course, i take credit for all of the fine attributes you have shared……don’t i wish and or dream!… your mom said weeks ago, you and her have similar analytical/reading skills and i am more like matt with the intuitiive stuff, less the map reading skills… to see additional comments, you 2 certainly have some well traveled/experienced friends providing “boots on the ground” information……be safe….love dad

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, take credit where it is due, both Matt and I learned a lot about relationships from watching our parents. Regarding well traveled friends, we have been blessed and continue to tap our network for travel tips.

» Mom A :
Jan 25, 2011

Have you developed any tricks to settling in, packing up so you don’t leave anything behind, and keeping things safe? Or do you have so few things that it isn’t hard to keep track! I am starting to try to think ahead to a bit of traveling with you at the end of the year and what my 3 pair of pants, 4 tops, and bare necessities will be!

» Tom McDowell :
Jan 25, 2011

Erica and Matt,
Enjoying your blog. Realizing that your “extraordinary togetherness” may create challenges along the way is a big part of minimizing them when they do occur. You’re prepared. It was a long time ago…but there were several times when Judy and I were glad to be on bikes, separated by a mile or so of open road….when we needed a little space.
Have you had a garage sale yet….to lighten your load of things that you have decide you won’t need?
Take care!

LOCAVORista Reply:

Tom, so glad that you are enjoying the blog we are having a lot of fun with it as you can see from this playful yet practical post. I was thinking of both you and Judy as I wrote this post and appreciate the helpful tips you provided about traveling together. We aren’t on bikes everyday, but we enjoy going our separated ways every now and then. Regarding lightening our load, we have been happy to gift a few items here and there to hosts or other fellow travelers. Hope all is well back in the frozen tundra.

» Shruti :
Jan 26, 2011

T-TRU-WOO WOO WOO is our favorite cheer too! I never thought of it of a motivational thing (I usually use it to run someone off the edge of the couch or bed), but maybe we will have to use it that way soon! In July we are embarking on a month-long camping/hiking/road trip and then moving to Germany this fall. I am nervous, but your blog is actually really helpful…if you can do it, then it doesn’t matter that my German lessons just don’t seem to stick. Danke!

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.


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