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.
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.
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.