Before you get too far along in a courtship, travel with your beloved (a “vacation” doesn’t count, sipping Mai Tais at a beach resort will not really tell you what you need to know!) I guarantee this will be the best relationship advice you ever get, and will save you a fortune in self help books and therapy!
To test your compatibility, invest in a real trip, preferably with few set plans. If you have been dating someone for awhile, and are wondering if this is “the one”, traveling will answer that question, in 2 or 3 weeks, instead of years! The daily trials and tribulations – figuring out where to eat, where to sleep, and navigating, either in a rental car, or public transport, will test every skill you will ever need for a long relationship. You get to see how your mate behaves when they are tired, hungry, and frustrated. You see how they handle challenges, and what sort of problem solving skills they possess. It takes a whole lot of energy to hide the whiner, pessimist, blamer, control freak, for extended, uninterrupted periods. If these personality traits are lurking behind the curtain, they will be exposed. Better to find out now, than later!
You will also see what kind of team the two of you make. Are you both struggling to be the leader? Or do you fall into natural, comfortable roles? When one person is having an off day, does the other “step up”, or crumble at having to pick up the slack? Are your biorhythms in sync? Does one enjoy sharing food, while the other guards their plate? Travel is the best way to discover these important answers in a short period of time.
My husband David had not traveled internationally when he met me. (That seems hard to believe now!) After about nine months of dating, we rented a car and toured Italy. He drove and schlepped bags, I navigated and scouted pensiones. Our final test came in Florence, where a train strike thwarted our plans. Faced with missing our return flight from Milan to the U.S., David sprang into action. While I sat on the curb with our bags, he ran off to rent a car, again, then drove at break neck speed (not in his nature) on the autostrada to come screeching up to the curb at Malpensa, where we handed the keys to a porter and ran for our flight. We were stressed, but still laughing, and I was impressed by his ability to keep cool under pressure.
All travel has challenges, as do all relationships, but in three weeks we had learned more about each other than most people do in years. Fast forward 20 years, and we are still happily rockin’ down the hiway together! (He has learned to ignore me when I tell him how to drive) 🙂