This post is also available in: Kreyol
One of the best ways to test your bond with someone is to travel together. If you’re still on speaking terms by the end of the trip, you’d have proven that the bond between you is strong.
Travelling takes you outside of your comfort zone. It’ll test you in ways you never thought you could be tested. Navigating a space you’re not familiar with can be challenging. Not being able to speak a language, feeling vulnerable, getting lost are all things that can rattle us. And because we’re humans, we don’t always keep our emotions in check. And sometimes drama quickly ensues.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s some wisdom resulting of 11+ years of road trips, weekend getaways, trips to foreign countries and everything in between.
Knowing what makes you tick as well as what ticks you off is ever so important while on the road.
If, like me, you have a hard time controlling your emotions when you’re hungry, keep that in check. Don’t let your hunger turn into anger. Carry snacks or plan your day so that you can eat on time. Don’t let Bae deal with mean-hungry-you.
If there’s a particular activity that really isn’t for you but Bae wants to do it, opt to sit that one out. There’s no need to ruin his/her fun. This may be the perfect occasion for some solo time. More on this later.
Know thy lover
Knowing your significant other well is also a good thing. We all have flaws and shortcomings, knowing his/hers may save you from unnecessary frustrations.
Can Bae read a map or follow direction from the GPS? (Yes, some people just can’t.) If the answer is no, don’t put them in charge of that. If both of you can’t, you’re probably used to getting lost together already. Keep up the good work!
Is Bae friendlier than you? If so, let them be in charge of making new friends. Does Bae have a short fuse? Do you know how to calm him/her down? Are your prepared to deescalate situations quickly?
Let’s be clear. You’re neither their babysitter nor their keeper, but you’re partners. Be kind and understanding. And keep them out of trouble if you can.
Think about the other
Planning activities that you will both enjoy is easy. If you’re together, chances are you have common interests—(or am I reaching here?) The hard part is to partake in an activity that you don’t particularly like, but that your significant other loves. Trust me, it’s worth it.
I married a Haitian man who loves football (some call it soccer). I knew this from the get-go. What I didn’t know was that I would be talking and learning so much about football. Don’t get me wrong, I like the sport. I enjoy a good game here and there, and I keep a list of all the cute players. But what I’m talking about is planning trips around tournaments, visiting stadiums and going to games. This is some tifosi* level stuff.
Yet, I’ll gladly go to stadiums, games and museums. Sure, I’d much rather go to some art exhibit or a history museum. But I always choose to witness his excitement. And there’s no other place I’d rather be than behind the camera taking a photo of him and papier-mâché Messi.
Do your own thing
Remember that you’re not attached at the hip. Unless it’s a weekend getaway (and even at that!), spend time on your own. Too much togetherness can be overwhelming.
Honestly, no matter how much you love bae—and I know you do!—you need to spend time on your own, if only to gather your thoughts or rest.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going your separate ways for a few hours. If you’re not sure what to do with yourself, sitting at a café with a book is a good place to start. Then you can pretend to read and discreetly do some people watching. If you keep a journal or blog, this could be the ideal time to write. If you like to take a stroll, do that.
One thing though… Be clear about the time and place you’ll meet up. You don’t want to create unnecessary frustrations by being late or by going to the wrong location.
Be merry and silly
Focus on having fun together. Pose for selfies. Sing or dance in the streets. Be an annoying tourist. Find your inner child (not the tantrum-throwing one!) and let it loose. Stay within the realms of the acceptable and obey the law, but have fun.
If not with him/her, then with whom?
Looking for somewhere romantic to go this Valentine’s Day?
- La Vallée de Jacmel. The place is a hidden gem. Hubby and I went there in 2005 for part 2 of our honeymoon. We stayed with a friend. I’ve heard good things about Auberge du Mont Saint-Jean.
- Cap Haïtien (including Milot). Because walking down history lane is romantic. Pick any hotel in the region. Be sure to visit Palais Sans-Souci and the Citadelle.
*tifosi: fan, in Italian. In my circle, it’s used to describe a higher level of fandom.