What is one of the most memorable trips that you’ve taken together?
So far, I can say we had two very memorable trips. First, we went to Iceland for our honeymoon. Not quite the usual place to visit when being on a honeymoon. It is usually rather cold and highest temperatures were 16 degrees Celsius. Then we moved to our sailboat in 2016 and since then we live and sail together on our floating home.
What were some of the obstacles you encountered when planning your trips?
Loads, honestly. We planned to leave home and not coming back in the next years or if possible, never. Like that we needed to save a lot of money and work on the boat before leaving. We had to get rid of furniture, the TV, our cars, everything that wasn’t going to come along on the trip. It took over a year to plan this. Before leaving we didn’t go on big holidays if even to save money in advance. That was something I really struggled with as I was used to going skiing in winter, sailing in summer and hiking in autumn.
Do you or your partner struggle with sticking to a budget, and does money cause conflict when you travel?
Of course, we have to keep an eye on our budget. In the first months, we did spend a lot more money than we do now just because we felt like being on vacation. But then I started a list on our expenditures and since then we try to limit our budget. Luckily, we could rent out two flats at home and like this, we have a small income every month on top of our savings. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with shopping and I buy stuff that might not be necessary but I wanted to have it. That usually caused conflicts, because Alex wanted a good reason and made up one why really needed that bag. Of course, he understood that I made the reason up and started to argue until I admitted that there was no real reason except that the bag is beautiful. Now after two years I got a lot better in asking me if really need this or that and I am better in not buying these shoes or this skirt. Now I allow myself on some occasions to reward myself with little stuff. You can read my tips on saving money while traveling here.
What are some of the issues you’ve faced while traveling?
Well, living together in a more or less limited area comes with quite a lot of challenges that I describe in this article,
but still, the key to everything in a relationship is communication. We are both quite stubborn people and sometimes we have different opinions about how things should be done. Should we turn around because of three-meter waves smashing us from one side to the other or should we keep going? Alex usually votes for keep going, we can do it and I am usually the one sitting there shitting my pants. He is also the one who is very good with the maintenance of the electronics and the engine while I would like to learn, but he prefers to do it alone. As a feminist at heart, it was very hard for me to let go of the thought that I could do everything as good as a man, or my man. I was hard to let go and let him carry the heavy stuff, knowing I can do it also. I encountered that I like cooking, baking and that I think I have a monopoly on doing the laundry. When we meet other sailors soon we talk about the problems with the electric or the engine and Alex knows so much and soon they all love him. It took me quite a while to recognize my own strengths and values and my own standing. To feel enough is a big struggle of mine anyway and being faced with this issue forced me to work on my own problems. I learned that it doesn’t matter where you are, even at the most beautiful beach with a super romantic sunset, you always take your problems with you. I can’t escape my own issues and living so close together made me realize a lot of them.
Do you ever have conflict about sightseeing plans?
I wouldn’t say conflicts, exactly. We are both more nature people rather than city people. I like museums more than he does and I need more time to explore things. But we agreed that I can do things alone or with friends when I really want to see something that he doesn’t like. At the beginning, I used to stay when he didn’t want to go out and that made me very sad and unsatisfied. That led to discussions in the end that were completely senseless. So we agreed that it is better for us if I go alone.
Is one of you more laid back or more high maintenance?
Yep. I am a farmer and therefore a lot more laid back than Alex is. Especially when it comes to fixing stuff at the boat. Alex is a little perfectionist and I am quite like: “good enough”. After having loads of discussions about how things should be made (or: him criticizing my work and doing it all over again) and then both being mad at each other I try to do everything as perfect as somehow possible for me. And when I do stuff, Alex tries to let me do them the way I do it. Only when he sees that it is complete crap he interferes. But that process took us three years and we’re still working on it.
Do you have any tips for couples planning a trip?
I think the most important thing is communication. Tell your partner what is going on. The other can’t read your mind and helps both of you in the long run. And try your best to take your partner the way he or she is. Say thank you and please as if it was the first day and appreciate what the other did for you. Let him know that you saw and appreciated his work. Alex worked like crazy to make the boat perfect and I complained that we don’t have enough time for us as a couple and him not showing his love for me. Then he told me that everything he does on the boat is for me to feel comfortable and safe. His work on the boat and his obsession with it was his way of showing his love and I didn’t see it. Talk to each other about your feelings and your needs and try to let go of little unimportant stuff.