This post is part of 30 Ways in 30 days to Redesign Your Life and Travel the World. This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps you need to take to get from wherever you are, to exactly where you want to be– traveling the world and living the lifestyle you want.
Some couples are naturals at sharing their love of travel. For others, it can be a source of tension when one person can’t wait to go, and the other is perfectly happy to stay. Even if you both love traveling, you can have very different ideas of what that means.
My husband and I worked through finding a travel balance that works for us, but it takes time and compromise on both sides. Before you throw in the towel on convincing your wander-averse partner, here are some things to try:
Wet their appetite
In this case, Flickr is your friend. Often when I’m proposing a new destination, say Cypress, I’ll dig up the best photos I can find. A photo is often much more powerful in conveying why you should visit than any travel guide. If you can toss in some details about the amazing food or nightlife or sites to be seen, (especially if they are related to your partner’s interests) this can help too.
Give ‘em a taste
Planning a short vacation, traveling in the style you imagine your long term trip to be like, may help your partner better understand and appreciate what you’re proposing. For my husband and I it was a week riding a vespa around Bermuda. Unlike our previous trips, we had no plan, no maps, no set destination. We found hidden beaches, tiny restaurant shacks, met locals and just enjoyed the island breeze as we zipped around. A really great vacation that illustrates the beauty of spontaneous travel can get them craving more.
Compromise on the mode of travel
After I quit my job, we didn’t just sling on our backpacks and head out the door. I had an apartment rented and waiting for us in Madrid for the summer. While I took short trips out to Dublin, Paris, and Lisbon, he stayed behind and enjoyed easing into travel at his own pace. By the end of the summer, he couldn’t wait to travel more with me. If your partner is balking at backpacking around, the idea of renting a villa in Italy for the summer might be more palatable.
Be willing to handle all of the details
In the beginning, this meant not only taking care of all the travel plans, but being willing to explain how it will all work. If your partner is hesitant, they may be feeling some anxiety about everything that could go wrong. Addressing this proactively will take some of the energy out of the resistance. The good news is that with travel experience, your partner will become more and more comfortable with the often ambiguous nature of travel– my husband had no problem backpacking last spring with me through Central America with little more than a LP and a vague notion of heading north.
Assuage their fears
Are they concerned about safety? Getting sick from the water? The expenses being more than you can afford? This is where doing the research (with documentable, reliable sources) can help. Last summer, my husband was worried about me traveling to Croatia, but a couple of US travel advisories (there are no “stay away” warnings for Croatia) eliminated that concern. Give them the reliable information they need to be convinced.
If they can’t, you still can
Last fall, my husband was helping his dad with his house, so he couldn’t travel. Instead of sulking around the house, we decided to send me to Central America for Spanish lessons. If you’re unable to convince your partner, or they just can’t go with you, it is okay to travel alone. In fact, you’ll find it to be a completely different experience from traveling as a couple– you’ll make tons more friends, locals are more likely to approach you and there’s a value to being able to travel 100% independently. You’re likely to learn a lot about yourself and return happier and refreshed.
Finally, be patient
It’s a big decision to travel long term. Some folks take a while to warm up to the idea. That doesn’t mean they won’t ever travel or that you’ll be doing it solo forever. If you’re loving it, your partner is bound to want to share that with you, eventually.
Pic: Henry Grey