10 Things We’ve Learned About Love As A Full-Time Travel Couple

Today, Jeremy and I are celebrating 10 years together. A solid decade.

I almost can’t quite believe it: in some ways, it feels like yesterday that we met on our first day of an afterschool job in high school (Fazoli’s–basically a fast food Italian place), that we started awkwardly flirting with each other in the way that only shy high school kids can, that we had our first date at a terrible movie that we talked all the way through (Step Up 2: The Streets), that we attended my junior prom together.

However, when I think of all the things we have done and accomplished together in these 10 years, from mundane things like graduating high school and heading off to Oklahoma State University, to life-changing things like getting married at just 21 & 22 and then uprooting our lives a few short years later to go travel the world, I almost can’t believe it in a different way: I can’t believe how much life and love we’ve squeezed into just one decade.

To celebrate our relationship milestone, here are 10 things we have learned about love and relationships from almost two years of full-time travel as a couple (that is, almost two years of virtually never being more than eight feet apart).

Prague or Budapest: Fisherman's Bastion

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Being around each other 24/7 is surprisingly easy, but we still need time to unwind.

Jeremy and I are both introverts, so naturally, we worried before we started traveling that we would drive each other crazy by never having a way to get away and be alone (many of the hotel rooms we’ve stayed in could easily pass for oversized walk-in closets back home, adding to the challenge).

The worries ended up being unfounded: we find it incredibly easy to be around each other 24/7, as long as we respect The Bubble.

Where once time alone to relax and disappear into our own mental spaces meant being physically apart, now it just means that we watch separate Netflix while one of us wears headphones.

Couple Cooking Class Tuscany

Learning & experiencing new things together helps our relationship continue to grow.

One of the best things about traveling for us, in general, is the chance to experience new things, test our boundaries, and grow by putting ourselves into different situations.

As it turns out, adding a partner to that is even better: not only are we getting to know ourselves better every day, we’re getting to know each other better as well. This is absolutely one of the best things about backpacking as a couple–it never gets old.

Chasing goals (and waterfalls) keeps us always looking in the same direction.

We’ve always been big believers in chasing our goals together, whether it was a house downpayment, a trip, or anything else–but full-time travel has bumped that up to a new level.

Every single day, we are working toward new goals together: new regions, new cities, new languages, new foods, new countries. There’s constantly something to learn and work toward, and being able to inspire and motivate each other to continue seeking out these experiences makes life so much fun.

Couple on Playa Blanca, Isla Baru, Colombia

Travel challenges test (and improve) our communication.

Virtually every incident of bickering we have during our full-time travels can be traced back to one of three things: we’re hungry, we’re tired, and/or we’re lost/insecure about where we’re going.

The bad news is that when traveling, every one of those things is inevitable.

The good news is that with so much practice, we have gotten close to perfecting the art of managing those stressors: while we were never big fighters, it’s undeniable that we get along even better now than we did at the beginning of our trip–mostly because we know exactly where most of our disagreements come from, and how to effectively address them.

It is so exciting to watch each other grow.

Watching each other try out a new language on a waiter or taxi driver, or accomplish a hike that we knew would be challenging, or take on an adventure activity we feared, or negotiate a solid price for a trinket makes our hearts just about burst with pride.

It is incredibly gratifying to watch each other grow into even better, more self-assured, and interesting people every day.

Our travels have pushed us out of our comfort zones over, and over, and over again–and the results are so much fun to watch in each other.

[instagram url=https://www.instagram.com/p/BegDa3xBKkT/?taken-by=ourescapeclause]

New information is still important to keep a relationship fresh.

There’s a danger in never being more than a few feet apart: you see all of the same things, experience all of the same things, and have all of the same stories to tell.

That’s a problem… because no matter where you are in the world, introducing new information into a relationship is vital to keeping it interesting.

We counteract this effect of always being together by bringing different kinds of knowledge to the table: we make a point of reading books and articles, of learning new skills, and of bouncing ideas off of each other.

After almost two years of being attached at the hip, we still constantly find new things to talk about.

We’ve learned to rely on each other even more than “usual”, as we’re often each other’s only (physically) close emotional support.

Phone calls, texting, social media, email… all of it is invaluable for keeping in touch with loved ones back home, but it can’t quite replace the feeling of having someone physically right there with you.

When traveling long-term as a couple, that pretty easily translates into your partner being an even bigger piece of your emotional support network than they already were: tired, grumpy, sad, disappointed? It’s your partner who’s there to pick up the pieces.

We’ve gotten into a great rhythm over the last two years, but it’s definitely different than when we were living in one spot and could always reach out to a friend or family member for a meetup.

Volcano Acatenango, Guatemala

Seeing places through each other’s eyes is often as exciting as seeing it ourselves.

As exhilarating as it is to check destinations, sights, and experiences off of our informal (and constantly growing) bucket lists, it’s often even more fun to watch each other do the same.

As incredible as it was to play with elephants in Chiang Mai, for example, it was just as exciting to watch Jeremy practically explode with excitement when we landed in Mexico City for the first time.

In addition to being a blast to watch each other have their dreams come true, there’s another exciting and unintended benefit to this: because we’re always traveling together, we end up doubling our own lists of desired experiences and finding unexpected favorites–I was the one determined to play with elephants in Thailand, but Jeremy loved it so much that he still talks about it to this day.

Read Next: How to Ethically Visit Elephants in Thailand

We’ve become weirdly in tune with each other’s moods.

Even as a “normal” couple with 9-5 jobs, we, of course, prided ourselves (like most couples) on knowing each other better than anyone else… but 24/7 contact for a couple of years has kicked that up to an even higher level.

The slightest facial twitch can let us know when the other person is tired, hungry, sleepy, or excited… would we still know each other quite this well without travel?

It’s hard to say–after all, we have had another two years in a relationship since we started to travel full-time–but somehow, we doubt it.

Travel Couple in Bangkok, Thailand

Nothing is more gratifying than teamwork.

I handle booking flights, he handles buses.

I handle setting a budget, he handles finding great deals on the ground.

I find hotels, he negotiates with taxi drivers.

Hats off to all the awesome solo travelers out there, because we’re spoiled rotten: we each only have to do half the work while we’re traveling, and we love it that way.

Acting as travel partners as well as life partners 24/7 has caused us to rely on each other in ways that we never did before and has produced a fluidity to our teamwork and division of responsibilities that builds us up every day.

Read Next: We Married Young & Are Still Traveling the World

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    About Kate Storm
    Image of the author, Kate Storm

    In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

    18 thoughts on “10 Things We’ve Learned About Love As A Full-Time Travel Couple”

    1. Congratulations on 10 years together! Traveling together full time is tough, separate Netflix time and respect for the bubble are great strategies for alone time. You have such a great relationship!

    2. What an accomplishment! Congrats on the 10 years! It’s always fun to look back at a starting point and see how far along you’ve come. I love your ideas of how bringing new information to the relationship keeps things fresh and interesting. Although I’m single, I believe the same for friendships and travel companions. Love it!

      • Thanks! It’s definitely lots of fun looking back–I can only imagine how it will feel another 10 years down the line!

    3. Many congratulations on hitting the 10 year mark! I agree about being a team. It’s really important to work together, especially when travelling. Knowing each other’s moods is also a top one!

    4. Very beautifully written post! I am so happy to see that you guys have been together for over a decade and have only grown together, not apart. In this day and age, seeing relationships work out so wonderfully is rare and it’s very pleasing to see that you guys are working hard at it and that means, making sure you’re giving each other space when required and finding ways to keep the interest going in the relationship. I wish you both all the very best for the coming years too, hope you travel the world together and it’s truly inspiring to see two people so much in love. Cheers.

    5. Oh wow, congratulations on your 10th anniversary guys!
      I loved reading your post, it really moved me, especially reading about the great pride in watching each other grow every day. All the best!! x

    6. 10 years wow that is really awesome, congrats! Loved this post it was very honest and I think everyone can relate to more than one thing you mentioned here. Just think of all the amazing stories you guys can both tell, I hope you have many many more memories together! Happy travels.

    7. Congratulations on being together for a decade and wish you many more. As someone who has been married a decade, (while not being constantly on the road as you seem to be) I can testify to everything you wrote. It’s good advice for anyone who reads this post.

      • Thanks, Denny! That’s good to hear from someone with 10+ years of marriage behind them–I’m sure our 10th wedding anniversary will feel like it gets here in the blink of an eye!

    8. Congratulations on your 10 years guys! You two seemingly make great travel-partners as well. I can relate to some ‘issues’ one can encounter on couple travels ;).
      Keep it up and keep smiling together – always!!


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