Traveling As A Partnership

Vacationing for couples often results in a leader-follower relationship. One person plans the agenda, keeps the documents, and has the knowledge necessary to direct the daily activities. That's fine for a weekend or maybe even a few weeks abroad ... but for a lifetime?

For us, traveling has become a partnership. And like any good partnership, we're most successful when we accept and adapt to the strengths and weaknesses the other party brings to the relationship. It's the and weaknesses part that trips us up, because let's face it: It's hard to be honest about our own limitations. 


As an example, let's examine my navigational skills. Prior to this trip, I've always been relatively confident I could get around pretty well. With the exception of one cursed time on Grand Avenue in Phoenix -- the only diagonal road in a grid-dominated city -- I've always managed get where I was going without wandering too far afield. Yes, I can read a map, even though I prefer to turn it the way I'm headed rather than keeping north at the top like some other person I won't mention

Where I haven't had much experience is navigating transit systems. Yes, I've ridden light rails, busses, and subways, but I've always been with someone with local knowledge who gets us on and off at the right places. And as great as interactive apps like Waze are, they don't lend themselves well to study. My brain needs to process all the information before making a decision, a real problem when we're driving at-speed or have only moments to determine if the train in front of us right now will get us to the right destination.

But Evo is good at making those split-second decisions and quickly filtering out -- sometimes a little too good -- unimportant data. Here his impatience is a Good Thing, having developed into excellent "triage" skills that allow him to focus just on the problem at hand. He's also great at translating between static/interactive maps and the world around us. For as forgetful as he is, he has a solid location-based memory.

Just don't ask him to plan an itinerary. Because he hates it. And he isn't good at it. Luckily for us, I am. I spent almost a decade as a travel agent. Sure, that was almost two decades ago and so much has changed, but it's a skill for which I was trained. While all those options are way too much for him to process, they slot nicely into possibilities in my mind. I still seek his help/advice sometimes figuring out what sites to use (new sites crop up all the time, and he always seems to know about them) and what type of travel we should consider (it's not always about speed to location any longer). But where a couple hours researching would make him a basket case, I enjoy it. 

There are plenty of other examples of how we play off each others strengths and weaknesses. Evo's the writer, and I'm the photographer. The podcast is mostly Evo's work, but the One Minute Memories are all mine. I take care of most of the communication with our hosts, and Evo handles our media strategy. As we keep traveling -- because why would we stop? -- we'll find more areas where we can support one another, and keep traveling as a partnership.