He Said/She Said: All-Time Togetherness

He Said/She Said: All-Time Togetherness

Can you imagine spending 0ver 7,000 hours with another person?  With the exception of an eight-hour cooking class, we have spent almost every moment, over the past 316 days together.  It has been an amazing learning experience for each of us about the other.  Here are the things we learned about each other by spending all our time together.




In a normal life, a husband and wife would spend about eight waking hours a day together.  Work and other obligations would keep the pair separate for at least eight hours a day.  While working isn’t exactly a vacation, that time apart gives each other space to have their own life, to have space and if needed cool off.  We have no such luxury, while traveling together we are together an inordinate amount of time.  Not only are we together, but we are in a wide array of stressful situations, moments that call for spontaneous decisions, often while extremely worn out from days of travel.  Sharing each moment, square foot and decision, for months on end, has been a life’s worth of lessons about my wife, the lovely LOCAVORista.

Having been together for eight years before we set off on this journey, living together for the three years prior, I noticed something that explains a lot about LOCAVORista: she’s cheap.  I don’t almost mean this in a nice way, like “she’s frugal” or “wants to save money”, I mean it in a “I haven’t showered in two days, I’d really like a hotel with hot showers…” and she has to think about it kind of way.  I realize I am more expensive, but I swear I need extra calories and caffeine to drive, manage directions and chase her around the world.  Powering me costs money, which she is never hesitant to point out that I cost two dollars more per day than she does.

I first realized this a couple of years ago in Nordstrom’s Rack.  A designer friend and I decided it was time for her to get some new clothes and we would help.  She had a major find, a designer pea coat, that fit her perfectly, marked down to less than $20 from over $150.  She hemmed and hawed about getting it when we both said it was a no-brainer, of course she should get it.  It took her almost an hour to decide after we both offered up the money to buy it.  This may seem like a minor annoyance when debating the merits of designer pea coats, but when traveling can become obnoxious, as life itself hangs in the balance.  “Do we really need air-conditioning?” she asked after getting off a weeklong motorcycle trip in 90-degree temperatures with humidity that could drown a dolphin.   “Can’t we take the public bus instead of the mini-van?” she considered in Palawan.  The mini-van was air-conditioned and took five hours less over unpaved road.  I say yes, she says no, I say why, why, why?

This is just one of the many things I’ve learned and realized I am bound to live with.  While we said before we left for this trip, the thing we would learn most about while traveling is each other and our relationship, I didn’t realize how true it would be.  Try spending a few months, day and night with your loved one, then travel wake up early to get a ferry, then a taxi, airplane, and overnight bus that is not conducive to sleep, then try to make decisions about what to do next.  That’s when you’ll learn a lot about each other.




This past year has taught me many things about my wonderful husband, thinkCHUA as well as how we interact.  As he mentioned above we were no strangers when we left on this trip, but being in a myriad of uncomfortable, often stressful and always confusing situations, our understanding of each other has grown immensely.  In the course of any typical marriage I highly doubt that couples would ever encounter many of the situations we have.  That’s certainly not to say other situations wouldn’t cause trials and tribulations, but a year in the developing world has given us a unique perspective on our relationship.

I have always been keenly aware of my husband’s strong right-brain characteristics, he loves textbooks for pleasure reading and creates excel spreadsheets for everything. I also know that I operate with mostly just the left-brain.  However, his analytical and objective take on the world has always been a compliment to my random, subjective nature.  For the most part, the odd order in which I did things and the way I kept my things (un)organized didn’t affect him too much.  However, since we both live out of just two backpacks and do everything together the way we do each little thing affects the other person.

When approaching trip planning for a day of sightseeing or for the next week or even month our styles are very different.  I immediately get excited and start creating romantic visions in my head of what we’re going to see with whom and where we’re going to eat and stay. As I’m daydreaming, thinkCHUA is crunching numbers to see how much it will cost and how long it will take.  After he has made his analysis he delivers the facts with no feeling.  I had never realized how completely objective he can be with no emotional tie to the places or the people that we see and meet.  Not to mention how emotional and spontaneous I can be in response.

We run into the same right brain, left brain issues when it comes to packing and creating routines.  I pack everything into the bag so that it fits and don’t pay too much attention as to what is where.  For thinkCHUA everything has it’s place and what goes in which bag should be carefully decided rather than thrown in haphazardly.  Same goes for daily routines, things should not be decided on a whim, but calculated and planned to maximize our time.  So, while we don’t “wing it” as much as I normally would this trip has taught me a lot about my husband and how I can use his right brain powers to my advantage.

Before you hit the road for long-term travel you want to make sure your traveling companion is a compatible partner.  You will be spending every moment together with little personal space and there are so many aspects of travel you can’t predict that no matter how well you know someone there are bound to be surprises. Spending 24/7 with anyone is quite a learning experience despite which side of your brain you use.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tags: , , ,


» Donna :
Nov 30, 2011

Yeh, this really hits home with me. Whether traveling with a spouse or with a good friend, spending that amount of time together can make or break a relationship/friendship. It’s very sad when it does break up a good friendship … and it’s very fun when you find someone you can travel with and come out of it still friends. And go on to do more trips together. While I’m still a staunch advocate of solo travel, as I age, I see the advantage to traveling with someone on certain trips too. Who knows, I might even someday go on a tour. Well … maybe not in the very near future … :-))


LOCAVORista Reply:

Donna, traveling solo has lots of benefits, but I agree that when you find someone you an travel with and come out still friends it’s pretty awesome. We’re doing pretty well almost a year in :)

» Bka :
Dec 7, 2011

Oh boy where might I begin with this one…..first, your mother and I probably travel together better, than live together, but we could not do the 24/7 thing, me thinks……..admitedly I am the difficult one here……secondly, your approaches to life were pretty apparent to me from day 1 and am pleasantly surprised to see the marriage/relationship work at so many levels……being more like my daughter, leaves me to ponder would/will Matt and I become the ultimate traveling duo…..I guess time will tell when we meet”downunder”…….peace……bka

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, it’s hard to say if we travel together or live together better, but it seems what we are doing is kind of an extreme hybrid of the two. We haven’t killed each other yet and we are at the 12 month mark, so that’s good. Hopefully you and Matt will be the ultimate traveling duo as traveling with the parents/in-laws will bring a whole new set of challenges to our adventure. Looking forward to seeing you down under.

» The World of Deej :
Dec 11, 2011

Wow this is an awesome post. My wife and I have given a lot of thought lately to long term travel, and no doubt we would encounter these same things. Nice thing about our travel now is when I need alone time, I can venture off and we can meet up later. That may not always be possible on the road. Awesome stuff!

LOCAVORista Reply:

Deej, spending time apart is always a good idea for a little while even if it’s just to check your email or go for a stroll alone. Glad to hear that the post was helpful.

» bristol :
Sep 26, 2012

This is hilarious! You two sound like polar opposites. It must be nice to travel with your best friend and significant other.

LOCAVORista Reply:

Bristol, you know the old adage: opposites attract! It’s worked for us, but spending every minute of everyday together does test our relationship from time to time.

3 Trackback(s)

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.


Abu DhabiAjanta and ElloraPalolemColombia HighlightsCuencaSapaThree Passes TrekMadidi National Park (Amazon Rainforest)Ephesus & Bergama





Get traveling today with lessons from our travels to 50+ countries on all 7 continents. Bump along in buses, hike the hills, and swim the seas with us to discover the world's best destinations.

Like LivingIF to start living your IF today!

Press ¨Esc¨ key to close this window.