D and I almost broke up twice in the past 3 days. No joke.*
(*Ok.. maybe joking a little. Before anyone freaks out, we are now back on track on Operation LoveyDovey.)
It always happens something like this: I make some innocuous remark that D deems to be annoying (for example: are you sure we can eat here? It looks too fancy…). But instead of letting it just quietly blow over, the simple, stupid argument escalates and goes into all the ways in which we aggravate each other, until it seems like that the only solution is to just not be together anymore.
But really, it doesn’t matter so much how it happens, because this is always the culprit: it is really, really damn hot.
Even after a little over 2 years, including the last 4 months of spending almost every minute together, we are still learning new things about each other. There’s nothing like traveling together to uncover any last hidden parts of one’s personality. And one of the newest discoveries is that neither of us handle heat well. D either reverts back a couple of decades in age (at best case scenario), or is a fuse just waiting to blow (at worst). And my blood boils at the slightest sticky-skin-on-sticky-skin contact.
Clearly, we’re probably not the best summer travel buddies.
A combination of a blistering sun, dripping sweat, restless nights, and dehydration = a recipe for disaster. We get snappy with each other and our patience becomes embarrassingly low. A simple statement gets misread and becomes a catalyst for a full-blown fight. Everything is infinitely more annoying.
I’m not deluded enough to think that if the heat does not exist, everything is perfect otherwise. Neither of us are faultless, and I know I have a lot of room for improvement (ahem, my housekeeping skills and general fail at planning). But rather than rationally discussing these problems and finding solutions like civilized adults, we find ourselves hurling insults at each other in the middle of a gorgeous park.
Yep… handling it gracefully like grown-ups.
But once we concede that it’s really the heat doing the talking, we’ve definitely learned some lessons, such as:
- Always stay properly hydrated, or else you can go a little cray-cray.
- Avoid heavy exploring during the hottest peak hours of the day.
- And ummm.. never come back to Europe during summer again?!
I’m sharing this lest anyone ever accuse me of painting couples travel as forever prancing down a rainbow road on glittery unicorns. Because here’s the truth: traveling long-term as a couple is not all sunshine and sprinkles. On any given day, it can be from mildly annoying to downright frustrating. You see sides of each other you never want to see. You exhibit sides of yourself that you never want to show. And occasionally, all the unpleasantries we usually keep bottled up come spilling out the top. There are days we have to actively work hard to get along.
But then there are also days where being together is effortless. Days where we understand each other’s moods and are in sync, knowing that we are together pursuing one dream. Days made even more memorable by truly special moments, whether it be a stunning sunset or a delicious shared meal. And really, all these wonderful moments triumph over the few times we want to shove each other onto incoming traffic.
So… we’re currently working on being better partners. And the crisis has been easily fixed with the purchase of a nice big bottle of ice cold water, and a rest in the shades. But now, this question remains:
How in the world are we going to survive Southeast Asia??
Do you have any tips for traveling during hot weather? What kind of ridiculous fights do you get into when traveling as a couple? (Or are we just crazy?)