I’m currently sitting in a hotel room on the European side of Istanbul. I stress the ‘European side’ because for the last two years Alesha and I have traversed across the vast expanse of Asia. From the beaches of Southern Thailand to the mountains of Northern Vietnam, we ventured into the Tibetan plateau, wandered through immense Chinese cities, hitched across the Mongolia steppe, bounced along the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, followed the Silk Road, charged over the Karakum Desert, sailed the Caspian Sea and finally moved into Turkey – the end of Asia.
I can’t even count the different modes of transport it took us to cross a continent. Far too many to list anyway.
It took us about 690 days to get to Europe. 300+ days longer than we first anticipated. For each kilometre of this amazing journey Alesha has been my side, and I have been by hers. We’ve supported each other through the good times and the bad, watched each other’s backs, encouraged and nurtured each other and comforted our souls when we needed it. I can’t imagine having done this journey without Alesha next to me, and I’m sure she feels the same. Two years constantly by each other’s side. Every step of the way.
Except today, I am sitting in Istanbul alone. And Alesha is back home in Australia.
We’ve been together for 7 years now, and have always had a solid relationship. Sure we’ve had our moments, the odd fight, but nothing that ever worried us. We’re meant to be together and want to spend the rest of our lives together. We even got engaged at the beginning of the year, inside the world’s biggest cave.
But at some point in China, we started bickering with each other. Even though we have sung China’s praises on this blog and social media, and saw some of the most incredible landscapes imaginable, the truth is we struggled there. China turned us into bad people. The pushing, the shoving, the pollution, the spitting, the lack of respect towards the environment and their fellow human beings, the oily food, the wasteful attitude that is now ingrained in their psyche, we could go on. In the end there was very little we liked about the entire country and its culture.
This is not to say we didn’t have great experiences and meet wonderful people, because we definitely did. It has perhaps the most diverse landscapes we have ever seen. But those moments were far less common for us. We hate being negative, and it may sound arrogant or pathetic, but that is the truth. We tried to love it – we spent four months exploring as much as possible, waiting for the moment where we would say, “Ok, this place isn’t too bad after all,” but it never came. We tried to laugh it off, but travelling in China got to us. And we started taking it out on each other.
At the same time as we were struggling in China, this little blog really started to take off. We began freelancing a lot more, working with more tour companies and brands, our social media followers grew and we started to earn a half decent income. While this was an unexpected (yet welcome) surprise, it also meant we suddenly had a larger workload. This resulted in us spending less time relaxing and exploring and more time sitting in hotel rooms or cafes trying to catch up on work. Don’t get us wrong, we are ecstatic about how things have turned out with NOMADasaurus. But coupled with the travel stress we were experiencing in China, we started to spend less time appreciating each other.
Alesha started to resent travel, and I started to become numb to it. Very few things excited us anymore. We kept saying it was simply one of our “curses of long term travel“, but in all honesty there was more to it. Worst of all, we neglected our relationship.
By the time we left China, we were exhausted. Mongolia was a welcome change, but still proved to be tough. Even though we got back to doing the things we love – camping, hiking, being in nature, hanging out with good friends, learning about new cultures and getting off-the-beaten-path – we never recovered emotionally. We would snap at each other over small things, and these minor arguments would turn into all-day affairs. Alesha would get angry at me over trivial matters, and I would retaliate. In the end I stopped being the caring partner that I should be. I neglected Alesha’s feelings and she would attack me for neglecting her. I continued to neglect her because I couldn’t stand being attacked. It was a vicious cycle.
We kept saying we needed a break, but we didn’t know how. We were in the middle of Asia with no easy way out. We could have thrown the towel in and bought a plane ticket to anywhere, but we knew that wasn’t really an option. We had a mission to complete, a goal to achieve. So we pushed on, never giving ourselves time to fix our relationship.
Even with the struggles we were experiencing though, we never seriously thought about parting ways permanently. We love each other completely, and will have a long and happy life together, this we are both sure of. But we needed to change something to bring us back to how we always have been.
Towards the end of Mongolia we sealed a work deal with the overland adventure tour company Dragoman to travel across Central Asia. This is a company we have always had huge respect for, and we were ecstatic to have the chance to work with them through the ‘Stans. Even though we are independent travellers, we were looking forward to leaving the logistics to someone else for the first time in our 6+ years of travelling the world. Sorting out visas, transport, accommodation, food, activities, all in countries where you don’t speak the language or know the customs, every day for two years, is not a simple task. Not impossible, and we consider ourselves to be experts at on-the-go logistics in foreign lands, but doesn’t mean it is easy.
We also never travel to an itinerary, but thought this would be a good change as well. If you think travelling spontaneously is nothing but fun and games, try and organise how to get across Northern Mongolia yourself…(A special thanks to our new friends Dave and Jordie who saved the day there by giving us a ride in their Unimog.)
Alesha and I thought this break from independence would be just the thing we needed to fix our relationship. Even though we were working with Dragoman on this journey, creating content as we went along, we knew having a set itinerary and our own transport would take away a lot of stress we are normally under.
Before we joined the tour we travelled through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan on our own. While we have nothing but amazing things to say about these places, our relationship continued to be under strain and it really affected our travels. Alesha was missing her family, and I was just wanting to disappear into the wilderness and run away from it all. Being away from friends and family for a long time is tough. Even though we have each other, we can still feel trapped and alone. In regions like Southeast Asia, Europe or Central America, where there is a huge backpacking community, there is always new friends to be made and people to hang out with. With some of the places that we travel to we routinely go days, or sometimes weeks, without seeing other travellers. Yes, being off-the-beaten-path is great, but not when you just need people your own age to go out and have a beer and a chat with.
Our diet had also taken a hit, and we felt completely unhealthy. We hadn’t done proper exercise for longer than we could remember, ate a lot of dodgy foods that had little nutritional value and put on weight. This just made us feel even more down. Lesh has always said that if your stomach is happy, you are happy. Well after the diet we experienced across China, Mongolia and Central Asia, our stomachs definitely weren’t happy.
At some point we sat down and realised that the best thing for us was to go our separate ways for a while. To give ourselves a break from each other.
From a small guesthouse in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Alesha booked a flight home for Christmas. With a few clicks on a computer we would now be apart for 5 weeks – the longest we have ever been apart since we first got together in 2008. It might not seem like a big deal to some people, but for us it was huge. It was an admission that something was wrong with us. But it was also a step towards making things better.
The Dragoman tour was just as epic as we had thought it would be, and having a break from organisation was a welcome relief. But we were still burnt out, still unenthused, still exhausted from travel. We knew that this upcoming break would be good for us, and that the time apart will help us appreciate each other.
On our social media we put on a brave face, continued on, put up lots of nice photos and talked about how great our experiences were. We would constantly receive emails and messages from people looking for advice on travelling as a couple, and we would impart our knowledge and wisdom. But deep down we were struggling. Even though we try to let our personalities shine through our writing and photography, we have never really let our real emotions out into the public. To us it is still strange that we now have thousands of people following our journey, commenting, encouraging, sharing kind words and supporting us. Thousands of people we have never met, watching what we do. We love the support and love our readers and followers! You guys are seriously awesome! But we were afraid to spill our hearts out. “No one wants to hear about our struggles when we’re travelling through some of the most amazing places on the planet.” First world problems after all.
Last week we crossed the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, and geographically entered Europe. This meant the end of an era for our journey, but also meant we were now about to part ways. On the 14th of December we went to the airport and I watched as Alesha stepped through immigration, headed back to her home in Australia. After almost a year of putting strain on our relationship, we are finally fixing it.
So why are we pouring our souls out on our blog for the first time? What exactly are we trying to get across?
People say if you can travel long-term with your partner, then you can get through anything together. We honestly believe this. 7 years travelling the world has proven it to us. We love our lifestyle, but it is stressful. Even though it appears we are “living the dream”, this dream is our lives. And just like you can lose your passion for a hobby when it becomes a job, we’re starting to become jaded with travel. We’re lucky enough to be able to choose to live this way and we are grateful for it. But that doesn’t mean every day is cocktails and pretty sunsets. We’ve been through a lot together, both positive and negative, and we have always come through it stronger than ever. We know this time will be no different.
We’re spilling our hearts out in this post, the most personal we have ever written, because we’ve recognised that it is ok to feel like this. But recognising the problem and fixing it are two different things. I guess we’re just showing you what it’s really like for us, behind the scenes. Giving a bit of insight into our personal battles while we take on this adventure. Revealing ourselves in a way we have never done before. Maybe no one really cares and no one will read this post. But maybe someone out there will read this and realise that relationship issues can happen to everyone, and that it’s ok to acknowledge this.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be bouncing between Turkey and Bulgaria while Alesha visits her friends and family in Australia. We both have a lot of thinking to do, about our relationship, our travels, but most importantly ourselves. When she returns to Istanbul on January 20th we need to make some big decisions on how we can continue to move forward positively, together. We have some ideas on what will help us with this, and we’ll be exploring lots of different options when we are back in Turkey. We still have every intention of making our way through Africa and to Cape Town by land, but it might take us longer than we thought.
Thank you to everyone who has followed us, supported us and encouraged us along the way. We’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing readers, and have even had the chance to meet a lot of you on the road. We appreciate every comment, message, email or reach out that we have received from you over the last two years. And if you’ve taken the time to read this article it means the world to us. We hope you don’t mind us opening up and revealing what it’s really like for us.
Our travels are not over, far from it. But we hope you’ll forgive us while we put things on hold and focus on ourselves. We’re looking forward to the next adventure together, and know that it will as epic as the last 7 years.
127 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes – It’s Time To Fix Ourselves”
Thank you for this article. I happened to google “advice for travelling long term,” feeling a little jaded and exhausted from travel, and came across this post through some hyperlinks. Your writing is inspirational for its honesty and for your incredible efforts to work on your relationship, both together and individually. In blog posts and social media, not many reveal their “behind-the-scenes” stories or the “–ing” stories of events in progress for the benefit (the likes, respect, monetary rewards, etc.) of sharing completed and achieved tales of glory. But neither travelling nor relationships are all-time glories and so, it is all the more touching and respectable to encounter a “real” story. I wish you two the best of luck with your relationship, travels, and lives! Love may not conquer all these days, but we can all live and die trying! I look forward to your updates.
Thank you for reading Angie. You are right, travel and relationships are not glories all the time. We thought it was important to talk about it and let people know it is ok to say you are not ok. There is many people out there feeling the same with long term travel but no one talks about it. Happy travels
This post is exactly what I wanted to read. I have been traveling for 2 years no-stop with the initial plan to get through all Latin America, but I only did Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador and a few months in Peru. I love to travel slow and I also have a freelance job (thank God) while I am working on my blog as well. When I arrived in Peru I totally broke down. I travel alone, which I love, but I started to stress out and I wasn’t enjoying exploring anymore. All I was looking for was a nice cafe’ witth good wifi! LOL. So I finally decided to interrupt my journey for a few months, fly back to Mexico (where I lived and where my friends are) and just focus on myself, my blog and my freelance job, but most of all enjoy my friends, the beach time in Tulum and the healthy eating, which became so difficult to stick to. When I read your post my first thought was: “I am not the only one who’s got the travel burnout” And I felt sort of excused for interrupting my journey, which will be resumed in a few months anyway, but with more energy and enthusiasm! Sorry for the long message, but it felt good to share it. Happy travels guys you are my inspiration!
Good Article, It’s refreshing to me that people can still be honest with themselves and others, regardless if it’s positive or not. Thank You for taking the time to write and share some of your personal life. To me this article will be something I will read 500 times in my lifetime, it will help me relate to others, and assist in keeping myself grounded. Your definitely not going this kind insight from a Frommers travel guide.
Going off topic here, I was surprised to learn that you have gained weight during your travels. Myself I always lose a few pounds and come back home afterwards being in decent shape. I guess everyone’s different.
Thank you so much for reading Stephen. It is ok to feel like this and we have learnt so much from this situation. Now we communicate much better and travel differently. Whether you are travelling with a partner, a friend or a family member tension will raise and knowing how to deal with it is important. We put on weight because we because lazy, not motivated, not wanting to explore or hike like we usually do. This was all because we were burnout and didn’t recognise it. 🙂
When I saw that you had been travelling for so long together the first thing that came to mind was whether you continued to like each other. Breaks apart are fundamental when travelling or working together. Whether at home or abroad. Though everyone is different. I travel extensively – to all the dodgy places around the world – and know full well that the dream and the reality can be very different. But that if you can still like the mundane stuff then you are doing pretty well. Because life is 99 percent preparation/ slog and one percent excitement. So if you can still like the slog/ tolerate it at times then you are pretty lucky.
Thank you for reading Hugh. We are lucky and are still together and married now. Realising we needed a break saved our relationship. We love still love travelling and to off the beaten track places. We just travel differently now and communicate better. Happy travels Hugh and keep living life to the fullest.
Sorry, I know this is an ancient post, but I can really relate. Travel can be exhausting and when you need a holiday from your holiday it’s hard to know what to do next! Sounds like you made the right move and you’re obviously still together, so I guess it worked!
Thanks for your comment Katie. It is crazy how many people can relate. It definitely doesn’t get talked about a lot. We are all good now. We communicate a lot better and know out limits. When travelling with someone, definitely communication is the key. 🙂
Most of us were raised in a different cultural background than the Chinese. They do not push and shove to gain an unfair advantage – they push and shove because that’s the way they were raised.
I’m sure some Chinese are horrified by western style toilets (way less hygienic and also less healthy). One could say that western restaurateurs and hotel owners are horrible people that implement the unsanitary sit-down toilets because they don’t care about foreigners. Or one could just understand that westerns grew up with this kind of toilets and feel that’s a perfectly acceptable choice.
Americans and Britains rarely ask people from work to meet their families in their own homes. Germans are usually not happy when people are late for appointments. Brazilians are usually not happy when people arrive early for appointments. Each of these attitudes can be seen as rude from different perspectives. In some places, eating with the wrong hand is more looked-down upon than evacuating in public. Yet most of us do it all the time.
My point, if it’s not clear by now, is that traveling to China may be difficult for a westerner, just like traveling to NY may be difficult to some Chinese, who may get yelled at in NY for not standing in line, which is literally a foreign concept for that person. Or will have to pay 10x what they think is the price of a meal to eat a (supposedly) healthy salad in LA.
Different cultures are different and what one views as appropriate behavior depends of one’s background.
On the environment:
Most developed countries never cared for the environment until most citizens became filthy rich by poor country standards. All the travel that many of us here take generates a much bigger carbon footprint than what is generated by the average Chinese living life. Throwing plastic away or yelling looks worse, but kills way less than damaging particles in the air. China does pollute more than any other country because it has more people than any other country, but per head their pollution is not as big and, more importantly, the damage done by the Chinese is mostly done by airborne particles, much like the US or the UK.
Pretty brave and refreshing to come out with this post – the honest behind-the-scenes of long-term travel. There will always be bumps on the road, so keep on going!
TL;DR We got soft. Now we are married. Don’t travel much. Same old boring couple trying to milk past glories.. Move on nothing to see here anymore.
Hahaha, if you say so mate. Feel free to have a look at what we’ve been up to since this two-year-old post 😉
I know this is an ancient post, but still, it’s refreshing to read it! While it must have been so hard for you, it’s so inspiring for us, those decisions aren’t easy to make! So thanks for sharing your most personal experiences!
Charlie and I have been together for 8 years and travelling for 8 months across SE Asia wasn’t without it’s struggles! When we came back to Europe last year, we decided to spend some time separately and have some quality time with our families and friends, me – back in Lithuania, Charlie – back in the UK. 4 weeks later we were refreshed and reunited in sunny Malta 🙂
Although I do most of my travel alone, rather than with a partner – I can still totally identify with these feelings.
I did a similar trip – from Northern Ireland to Singapore, and although it was tough – I loved (most) of it. Believe it or not, China is what broke me too! I was so relieved when I crossed the border into Vietnam. Suddenly I felt I could relax – and spent some time on an island to recover. Though, I never really got back the passion I had before China.
I’ll leave it there, or this comment will be as long as your blog post! (I might just write a blog post myself about my thoughts and feelings – inspired by this one!)
Wow! That was heartfelt. It felt like you guys are sitting next to me and sharing your problems (and joys). I can imagine things can get really tough over continuous workloads (especially with nomadic lifestyle). You have to find a new home every few weeks. There is no rest just a long going journey. I wish both of you all the best (with a big salute)! I realized the post is from a few years ago. So I am happy that things worked out nice for both of you!
Thank you for reading and your comment Nisha. We appreciate it. It was a real turning point for us and now we have decided to stop and settle more regularly to not let this happen ever again. We definitely are in better places now and married. 🙂 All the best.
Pretty brave and refreshing to come out with this post – the honest behind-the-scenes of long-term travel. There will always be bumps on the road, so keep on going!
Thank you for your comment Jay. 🙂
Wow. I forgot that I ‘saved’ this article and only just saw it now. So glad I did.
What an honest read.
I hope that the 5 weeks apart served its purpose and that you guys are doing well.
We often fight and it’s hard when you just miss your friends. Just want someone to talk to. Good on you two for doing what you needed to do and taking the step to have time apart.
Much respect for the honesty too.
We really enjoy following you guys- particularly your journey through the stans as that’s where we’d like to go next.
Much love. Oh and PLEASE go to Africa. We did Nairobi to Cape Town overland and it was the best. Africa gets inside your heart and never really leaves. It’s amazing.
Please take care of
Yourselves, and eachother xoxox
Thank you for such an honest insight. It is tough travelling long term with a partner, perhaps even more so than if you are apart for long stretches of time. It also sounds like you managed to keep level headed throughout the whole time which is no easy task. Safe travels!
Thanks so much for such a thoughtful post. I appreciate you sharing your experience. I’ve been traveling with my husband for 8 months now, and we certainly have our ups and downs. I hope you’re back in the same place soon!
My GF and I have been traveling on and of for five years together. 9 months ago we left on our first long term trip. We are nearing the end of trip and I can agree with you that travel has its bumps. These bumps can come between you and your partner. Especially when sleep deprived and malnourished. I’m glad you guys are taking the time to get back on tract. Get back to yourselves. That is needed at times. Great article my friend!
Hello Lesh and Jazza! Wishing you both the best as you pick up where you left off here in a few days. Stay safe and enjoy the ride.
Thank you for being so honest with respect to your relationship. Keep up the good work We are behind you all the way
Thanks, I’m really curious about what you mean by the extreme culture shock you experienced in China. Is it worse than India? I’ve also traveled extensively, so when a long term traveler talks of extremely culture shock I certainly find that interesting. I actually find complaints about a place a more valuable source of information, than the usual descriptions which there are a ton of. Of course one has to learn that the negatives are just one perspective, and the positives can outweigh them. The negatives are the nuances however, that you will have to deal with if visiting.
First of all, thank you for sharing bravely and vulnerably, Jazza and Lesha. The kind of travel that you two do sounds very challenging. You’re brave for taking on the journey, and braver for putting priority on your relationship, even above the journey you feel so committed to.
I have to also say that I relate to your feeling of traveling in China. There’s just something about China. India too can be very startling, but somehow China feels even more jarring. I think for me it’s the food. Even while India is throwing all kinds of new experiences and challenges at me, the food is delicious and feels like something anchoring. And it helps me feel like I can take all the sites in with wonder. China on the other hand offers all kinds of food that I am not familiar with, can’t rap my mind around, and can’t muster an appetite for. And it makes me feel a little stir crazy. I admit that some of that probably has to do with the fact that I’m more familiar with Indian food than I am REAL Chinese food. But in any case I can definitely relate with a feeling of anxiousness that seems to interrupt the wonder when traveling China.
Hi you both,
it is the first time I read your blogg and I need to tell you thank you for being honest.
Not even just that you have said it but I think it also takes the illusion that life is always easy, even if you live your dreams.
Blessings to your relationship, for that it will be even better after her coming back.
Perhaps a peep into China’s recent history will help to better understand the country.
Forget what you read China has the oldest civilization. Since 1949 China is run as communist dictatorship. New generations have been indoctrinated in communism, inherently alien to traditional values of Confucian heritage. People don’t enjoy freedom and democracy as modern people should.
In pursuit of material sufficiency people are turning into selfish, greedy and unsympathetic individuals. News of Chinese tourists behaving badly in foreign countries has been reported repeatedly. They are just being themselves, whether inside or outside their country.
I’ve traveled to China no less than seven times, each time getting more disillusioned by its people. You’re not alone.
Go visit Taiwan, the Chinese country not overrun by the communists. You will meet people who are courteous, kind and civic-minded. For once you won’t feel bad about yourselves- having to say bad things about your host country.
China turned you into bad people???
Now how does that make sense.
Same way Trump has turned sheep into hateful parrots. Brainwashing to hate. Living under an illusion knowing you can’t speak truth to power. Lies vs truth believing lies are true! Being told your neighbor is your enemy by the enemy of people at expense of society. The saying Dog eat dog , became so for good as still in places of desperation ending in cannibalism. Living under scrutiny, having no choice. Being surrounded and living with a society who are repressed and not able freedom of speech or living, if you call oppression vibes of survivalist, trusting no one as a way of life, was perhaps the explanation best describing a self imprisoned life not being able to speak against the government even if permitted to be there knowing the evil ,no one is permitted orspeaks of ,whether a guest or resident which could result in death for expressing displeasure to guests as well as citizens! History. Leaders of that nation lies to its people , even run them over with tanks and lie about it, thus being a guest knowing threat awaits those who offend the”host”.
Even mfp12 livesgere afraid to speak truth against China! You don’t like America? Are you being paid to have your baby in America for citizenship? Our government does not hold you against your will, unless you are from South America sadly under Trumpism.
Well nowadays seems everything can be blamed on China. I’m a Chinese living in the US, and I’m quite used to this.
The article is actually very well writen and felt sincere. It got my attention when reading the “vicious circle” part on a CNN story. My wife and I are having the similar circle after all the stress of having our first baby. So I feel somehow resonated. We are trying to work it out together. Living on a foreign land is definitely one of many factors. But I take it is OUR problem but not US the country causing them. So be a man, and leave China alone.
I’m not saying China is the perfect place. It does not, or anywhere else on this planet. I’m not a professional traveller like yours. But I had travelled in a dozen of countries of different cultures, and have lived in the US as foreigner for several years. My observation is human beings are essentially the same.
someone advised you to “realise that you have choices – just because you have contemplated and planned an overland trip through Africa does not mean that you have to do it right now”…..I would keep that in mind with everything. Even when it feels like you must continue with something and don’t have a choice, you ALWAYS have a choice. To say that you are doing something you don’t want to do doesn’t make sense, as you are the one in control of you. Writing this particular blog was courageous because it was so authentic and because its not within your norm. I suggest you continue to EXPLORE YOURSELVES not just the outside world, and as you are encountering so much authentic beauty in the outside world, get more clear on what you want – which changes over time – and love yourselves enough to speak your mind and go for your wants…even if they are the opposite of what they were yesterday! Just like you are doing now. This tuning in to yourselves and authenticity will get easier over time if you keep it up, until it becomes quite natural. And you will see relationships change as you grow. Some won’t like you anymore, and you will have a much closer relationship with others – because you know how real you can be with one another. Its awesome. I intentionally seek out authenticity everywhere I go and would only like to read an authentic blog. Thank you.
I really hope things work out for you, that you don’t spend too much time apart and you will continue your love of travel and the “simple” pleasures you were looking for when you began your journey.
I really liked this post. I would love to see a post about the details of the China trip. Looks like you are lot the only ones with similar experiences there and it would benefit tremendously those thinking on long term China travel.
I am also interested in the China details!
It would be great if you write a post on the negative sides of China! We want to hear your stories! Also, did you ever discuss what you observed with a Chinese person? I wonder what would be their view on said attitudes and behaviors.
Hmmm, just proves what I have been saying all alone. Travelling is one of THE MOST OVERRATED activities. It is way overrated. Anything over one month is in my opinion is too much travel. Life is such that, you WILL GET bored with anything in life, if you do it continuously. This is the sad truth about life.
I travelled around the world on a bicycle and can only imagine how difficult it would be with a partner so you should both be commended on being together for so long. I disagree with earlier advice that you should work out your problems together, we all need time alone. I think splitting up for a short while and then getting back together will work wonders.
By the way, I was also in China and completely agree with your comments. The scenery is amazing but the people’s lack of respect for each other and the environment were too difficult to ignore. I felt as if the people lived with blinders on, completely unaware, or unconcerned about anyone but themselves. I had to get out of the country too.
All the best on your getting back together.
Hi Lesh and Jazza,
There is no river on Bosphorus, Istanbul though. It is sea, not a river:)
Great read guys, it’s refreshing to see a traveling couple admit that it’s not always a fairytale, especially in challenging countries like China.
reading through your blog I never once got the impression you were actually human. Until now.
Solid, truthful piece. When Pork Belly and I travelled long-term together (many years ago now) we swiftly realised that spending time apart was key to our survival – even if only to make sure we had something new to talk about at the end of the day! Our experiences in China were awesome but, like you, we felt the pressure of being visibly different and thrown together by shared culture and language. I got sick there too and illness is the great leveller! If it’s any consolation we’re still together after 30 plus years and still travel – together and separately. Here’s wishing you both a wonderful 2016.
Guys thank you for writing this blog,this made me cry a lot. I had relationship with my x bf for 2 and half years, i can say it was good,not perfect but we always make out after a fight. Then one day we started travelling together,it wasnt easy at all, though we just travelled for few months in Asia,i thought it would help us to become a better couple. But things fall out, his feelings changed,he felt trapped.So there was a time we parted ways,i went home to the philippines and he went home to Australia. Thinking that everything will be better and it will be healthy for us,to make us more excited to see each other in china. But i was wrong,the parted ways made him realize he doesnt want to be with me and unfortunately it didnt work out for the both of us. Yeah it’s sad but life must go on.
I love that you shared this! It’s so important for couples (especially travel couples) to admit that not everything is perfect all of the time.
Your description of your time in China could be me writing. We experienced exactly the same thing. Exactly. Right down to the increase in bickering and the effects resonating for months after we left.
When our trip ended, Stephen had to leave straightaway for Europe so he could go teach a couple of month’s worth of yoga workshops. I headed home to stay with my parents for a few months. We love each other enormously, but it felt so wonderful to just spend time by myself as my own person, instead of being always a part of an oddball unit. It was amazing just to feel normal, to feel like I fit in, and to be able to talk to anyone I encountered!
(It also felt very weird to be separated from my other half.)
By the time you guys join together again, you’ll be excited to see each other and ready to move on to the next stage of your lives.
When you’re making your plans for what comes next though, I highly recommend some stability and normalcy. Time to sit and let your trip soak in.
Thanks so much for your honesty!
Straight from your heart! I love your post! We could share a similar story as my husband and I quit our jobs to travel about 12 years ago. Even though we never really went on one super long world trip, we travelled extensively for 3 years, and after a while we both had a feeling that we were not enjoying it that much anymore. That was an indication for us that it was time to settle down. My husband went back to work and I kept myself busy with a couple of projects at home. So when we went on our next big trip a year later, we appreciated it so much more. And that’s the way we have done it since – traveling one trip at a time. Now we have three children and continue to travel with them as much and as often as we can. We don’t live on the road, have a ‘regular’ life, the kids are at school, and we can only hit the road during the school holidays. But that way we can recharge every time, and we enjoy our vacations so much more.
As with everything in life, you have to find the middle, the solution that works for you. Often, less is more. I am sure you guys will figure it out! Success!
Beautiful Jurga! Glad you two have found a perfect solution. Really is inspiring for us. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
I think it would be foolish to think any kind of long term traveling is all fun and games. As an avid traveler myself, I have been to stressful sprawling cities, met unkind and disrespectful travellers, money grabbing locals, and crazy dilemmas that require split second decision making. So I completely understand where you are coming from and there is definitely no shame to tell the world what you and Alesha are really going through in your travels. In fact, I always enjoy your honesty and keeping it real on the road. Many of my friends and family think I stay in 5 star hotels and resorts and eat til I drop when I travel and it is always difficult to explain to others that traveling is not that “glamorous” and pictures almost always never do justice of the actual things you see and do on the road.
Nevertheless, thank you for sharing and spilling your guts. Best of luck in the new year and I hope you guys will be able to work it out this coming year.
I’ve been spending three months in China every summer for the past ten years, and I have yet to encounter the issues that you’re discussing. Your wording suggests that China is for the most part, filled with rude and disrespectful people who could give two shits about the state of the environment, and I implore everyone who is reading this who have not had a chance to travel to China to remain open. I understand and do not expect for you to love or enjoy every place you travel to, but please at least consider the possibility that your description of China comes across as slightly discriminatory — I certainly do not think this is what you intended.
Hi Raina, we’re very glad to hear that you are yet to experience the same problems that we did during our extensive travels of China. That gives other people hope that maybe they will have a better time there then we did. We just commented on our own experiences, which unfortunately were overwhelmingly negative, and unlike anywhere we have ever travelled before or since. Thanks for taking the time to read our article though, and happy travels to you 🙂
I am very disappointed to hear your harsh characterization of China. To blame a country for your problems “China turned us into bad people” and make such vast generalizations about an entire country is incredibly dangerous in the world’s current state and not to mention hurtful. What could have been a very insightful message was overshadowed by your xenophobic remarks. There is a way to express your opinion and discuss your experiences without being rude.
Sorry that we may have come across as being rude Victoria, but that was our experiences during our extensive travels in China (and unfortunately we have heard hundreds of similar stories from other travellers in the nation). And while we try to be diplomatic in our reporting, we also reserve the right to write the truth about our experiences on our blog. We also said that we met incredible people there, and saw some mesmerising landscapes, which we did. Thanks for reading though, and happy travels 🙂
Such a refreshing & honest post. No doubt travelling is picture-perfect but it is also mostly perfect only in pictures and very, very stressful. I wish you guys all the luck in the world. Accepting that you have a problem is where you have won half the battle already. I am sure you will find your way back to each other soon and will be back to travelling together. Good luck 🙂
I rarely comment on blogs (even though I read a lot of them) but I must say I absolutely admire you guys! I really hope things will work out for you two and we’ll continue to enjoy your adventures.
Thanks for taking the time to not only read, but comment on our our article Steffi. It is much appreciated. We’re confident we’ll work things out and be back on our way to crazy adventures in 2016. Happy travels 🙂
romantic couple, best wishes for better life
Thank you very much 🙂
A really good travel blog just got even better because it got REAL. For those at home who dream of long term travel, it looks like it is all adventure and sunsets. But for those who have traveled for extended periods know there are annoyances as well as adventures. I always recommend a parting of ways whether you travel with a friend or lover. My favorite travel quote is a gift penned by Augustine de Hippo,
“People travel to wonder
at the height of the mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas,
at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean,
at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves
Traveling independently allows the luxury of self-reflection. I hope you both relish the opportunity and find refreshment in your reunion.
I take 1-2 months away from my life partner every year. We’ve found it intensifies our communication when we are apart because those moments when we connect on Skype are focused and meaningful, not caught up in the mundane chatter of our daily life together. After 9 years together, these breaks have proven to be a reliable touchstone to our selves and fosters growth in our relationship.
One final note, I valued your shared experience of China. I’m glad I went there, but it was hard for the same reasons you noted. I have sometimes doubted my worthiness as a traveler based on my reactions to China, but your experience reminds me that our travel experiences are uniquely subjective and skilled travel is not how we perceive a place, but how well we navigate that place despite the difficulties.
Very honest post, thank you for sharing. My wife and I have only been traveling full time for about 2 years and haven’t reached the point yet where we need a break, but we can see it coming. Typically we only see each other for months at a time and small things, silly things, build up. It’s good to know it’s not just us.
Two years is a long time to be travelling Tim. Well done on surviving this long 🙂 Let us know how things go with you, and if you do end up taking a short break. Happy travels buddy, and thanks so much for taking the time to read our article 🙂
This post was amazing! It’s so nice to see the “real” side of traveling as a couple and that its not all rainbows and unicorns as everyone seems to think. I’m a newer reader but absolutely fell in love with your blog. Best wishes over the holidays and I can’t wait to see you what have in store for us in 2016!!
Thanks very much Tamara! Glad you are liking our blog, and cheers for taking the time to read our article. Happy travels 🙂
Great post, it shows that even while living the dream life there can always be downsides. The thruth is that there are rough times and not every blogger as the guts to say it outloud. You… Have guts. And it’s fine it shows a humane side to the dream life a lot of people dream of and think its impossible to feel that way while seeing the most beautiful places. I’ve had some rough times on the road too, but it does not stop me from wanting to see more. You guys will find ways to make it all work even if it means changing some aspects on your travaling style. Once again great post.
Really appreciate you taking the time to read our article Normand. It was hard to publish this piece, but we thought it was important to talk about how things really have been for us. We’ll work out the best things that need to be done to help us sort these problems out, even if it means changing our travel style. Happy travels, and thanks again 🙂
Aw, guys! As someone who’s friends always make fun of her for refusing to even share a hotel room when we are in the same place for the same reason, I have always admired couples who can hold it together traveling full time. I appreciate this post because you are being so honest and open and it is refreshing to read human beings traveling the world, and not a guide book writer wanna be.
I am glad to read you plan to meet back up! I wish you both the best.
Thanks so much for reading Jennifer! Travelling with friends is also hard! We’ve tried it and nearly lost friendships because of it! Cheers for the kind words! Happy travels 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing such honest and deep thoughts. I think it is essential for readers to get to see the stressful side of traveling aside from the more commonly known fun part of it.
As a full time backpacking couple for almost one year, we have been through ugly times of misunderstanding and agony too. At first, we tended to enjoy the bliss of ignorance until conflicts started piling up into a stressful mess. We found out that constantly talking about issues as they arise in a calm yet straight-forward manner work out really well for us.
You guys have been with each other for so long. Even though this break time is going to be tough, I believe you will solve all problems and venture out on an amazing lifetime journey together! We love to see you on the road together. May all the best be with you two!
Thank you so much for reading Norah, and cheers for the advice. We’re sure things will work out for us. This break is exactly what we need. Happy travels 🙂
As a fellow friend, who’s part of a traveling couple that runs a blog, I hear ya. China was also hard on us too, it is a very difficult country to travel in- we found it harder than India, truth be told. Being nomadic puts so many strains on a relationship with the change of culture, scenery and the constant need to just fend for yourselves (no couches to veg on, etc), not to mention running a full time online business on the road with sketchy wifi. You two have done well and there is nothing wrong with and no shame in taking a break for yourselves and as a couple. The key is coming up with a balance that works for you both and a way to recharge when you are traveling so the difficult moments aren’t so bad. It’s hard, I know. You have a friend in us if you ever need to talk/vent. We’re here for ya!! 🙂
Thanks so much Lina! Interesting to hear that China was harder for you guys than India. You two are an inspiration with how you manage to travel so much and be successful. Cheers for taking the time to read our post, and super kind of you to offer us a shoulder to lean on! You are awesome 🙂 Happy travels!
Great post and really refreshing to read. I think it’s so true that travel is not always glamorous and can be frustrating, exhausting, lonely and incredibly stressful. What makes it worse is that you then get angry with yourself and think “this is my dream, why aren’t I enjoying it! Am I ungrateful?” But the truth is exactly as you see. You need to accept that it’s not all sunsets and selfies and that there will be bad days, weeks, months. Thanks for posting, good to know there are friends who experience the same ups and downs in the travel community! Take care and safe travels!
Thanks so much for reading our post Ben. We felt the same, always thinking “it shouldn’t be like this”, but not knowing how to fix it. We thought we were just burnt out, but I believe it is more now. Happy travels Ben! Hope we cross paths one day 🙂
I love this post. I have read some of your posts while preparing our Asia trip this year, but this post is just the best.
I love how you are opening up about the issues and problems that can occur when traveling together. I think in this world of Social Media it is important to realize, that the people behind the posts are still humans and have problems, too. So that when I, as the reader, am facing some problems I know that its normal to have those and nothing can be “sunshine everyday”. Thanks for opening up and showing the world that every country, every travel, everything has good and bad points to it.
From my experience, some time apart will change a lot between you guys. Wish you all the best for the next years to come!!
Thanks so much for reading Lisa. It definitely is normal to face these struggles on the road, and even though it was hard for us to hit publish on this piece we think it was important for us to do so. Appreciate the kind words 🙂
Hi Jazza & Lesh,
Yes, traveling long term as a couple is challenging, as you are together 24/7, which isn’t the case “back home”. I remember that this was actually the most difficult part of long term travel. We had to go different ways on several occasions, and that was very good for both of us and for the relationship. So I can fully understand what you are sharing with us. I hope this “time off” will enable you start being positive again and reach your goal.
Very courageous of you to tell the truth about your experience (difficulty in China, which I can fully understand, China is really difficult to travel; difficulty in your relationship; travel burn out; …). No, it’s not a walk on the beach every day 😉
It has definitely had its challenges, us being together 24/7 during this time. I think this break will be a good thing for us. Thanks so much for reading Gilles! We really appreciate it. Hope to see you in 2016 🙂
Relationships are like a journey too filled with unexpected turns and fun surprises! Thanks for your honesty and for being so real with your post. Sounds like you have a really strong bond. Hope you both have a very happy holiday!
Thanks for reading Erin! Relationships to take unexpected turns, that’s for sure. Appreciate the kind words. Happy travels 🙂
Your adventures sound incredibly challenging so it’s only normal that not all days will be rosy. Personally, I’ve found traveling 3-4 months at a time works best for me. It gives me 8-9 months a year to build a home, friendships, and routines that give me security. And I think that security helps me be a better person and a better girlfriend. You made the right choice taking some time off to breathe. And you’ll make better choices afterwards because of it. Good luck and lots of strength with everything that lies ahead!
That sounds like a really solid idea, splitting up your time like that. Maybe we need to set up more of a “travelling schedule” to help keep us healthy and motivated to keep travelling. Thanks so much for reading and for the kind words Edwina. Happy travels 🙂
Beautiful and inspiring post, but I honestly dislike this fake image you (and also other travel bloggers) created on social media. This has been really frustrating me, so let me share my opinion on that here. If you were unhappy and struggling, why would you put on a brave face and keep putting up lots of nice photos and talk about how great your experiences were? Was it an illusion? Were you scared of losing your audience or sponsors (if there were any)? I wonder why…
I’ve been travel blogging for over 4 years myself and I know one thing: you should stay true and honest with your audience (followers and readers). They trust you. If you didn’t like something on the road or your travel experiences weren’t that good, just admit that instead of creating a picture perfect travel lifestyle. People follow you and believe that travelling is all about having fun and collecting the best memories ever. They believe that quitting their jobs to travel the world is going to change their life. They believe that travels make your relationship much stronger. But sometimes it’s not true. Travelling is also full of struggles, locals can be mean, food can be unhealthy and you can feel down. You may end up being single, burned out, miserable and exhausted.
If you are having a bad moment or experience, don’t share it on your blog or social media. You could reflect on it and keep in for yourself if you feel like it could affect your audience in a negative way. But don’t lie to people that the trip you went on was fantastic if it wasn’t, don’t share pictures of food you found unhealthy and greasy saying these were your best meals…
I strongly believe that travel bloggers should be trust worthy, objective and honest. Only in this way we can inspire others to travel, by showing them both sides – the good one as well as the bad one.
Well done for opening up about your struggles. I hope you will fix your problems soon and hit the road again! TOGETHER! 🙂
I know what you’re saying Agness, but I would hardly say we have created a “fake image” of our travels. In our articles on China we have talked about the problems we encountered, such as the lack of environmental care in Zhangjiajie and the Disney-esque design of Lijiang, stripping history to cater for a saturated domestic market. We also wrote about the destruction of Vietnam’s first national park, and the exploitation of elephants in Cambodia. But you’re right that we didn’t fill our social media daily with negative anecdotes over every small thing we encountered that frustrated us. Just because we didn’t like something doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t love it. At no point did we ever say there was nothing wrong with China, and we told people so in our comments, we just chose to leave out a lot of the bad shit we saw (like people literally shitting in the streets) from our page. We never lied about an experience, saying it was good when it wasn’t.
As for discussing our relationship on our page, we are not a Dr Phil episode. We chose to talk about it now because it has gotten to a point where we need to make a change. But we weren’t going to put a post on FB saying, “so we’re fighting again. Don’t travel with your partner” every time we had an argument. That’s not what our brand is about. We don’t write about blogging (not our market), we don’t write about relationships (we’re not experts), we write about travel.
Maybe we waited too long to discuss it on our page, but I think we waited ’til the right time – When we actually had something to talk about.
Definitely agree that too many bloggers make their travels out to be 100% perfect though, which is not always the case. We all need to be honest, and besides us not continuously badmouthing China every single day, I think we did a pretty good job at being honest to our readers. Thanks for reading Agness! Hope to bump into you on the road. 🙂
I appreciate your honesty and I think that this kind of post should be made at your discretion when you are ready to talk about it. It was very enlightening and eye-opening to hear about the behind the scenes. However, I don’t appreciate the fact that you are badmouthing China like it was the worst place on Earth. It really pisses me off that you have to emphasis that you are on the European side of the world, because Asia is equivalent to the toilet of the world. I don’t disagree that everything you saw was terrible; however, to place blame on the fact that seeing people literally taking a dump on the road,your diet (a personal choice unless you were force fed by the locals), or disregard for nature was the reason that your relationship started to fall apart seems extremely unfair. However, I can’t imagine that you were being held against your will to stay in China and you could have left when it was really getting to you. To me, it’s like saying the situation is terrible and instead of removing myself from the situation, I’m going to be an ever bigger a-hole to show the situation that I can be more extreme. Maybe I’m being biased because I am Asian and find that you’re basically telling the world that all Asian people are rude, money-greedy, inconsiderate people.
Thanks for reading our article Jennifer. We emphasised the European side because it took us two years to cross Asia, not because we hated Asia. And just to clarify, we never said we didn’t like *Asia* or *Asian people* – We said China. We absolutely loved the rest of Asia that we travelled in. Vietnam is our favourite country in the world, Mongolia was absolutely beautiful, Hong Kong was gorgeous, Central Asia blew our minds, and we will be returning to SE Asia soon enough. Hell we’ll probably end up moving to somewhere in Asia after our travels, we love it that much. We would never say we hate Africa because we had a bad experience in Egypt. Keep them separate please. As for diet, if you have ever travelled extensively in China you would know that the use of MSG in everything, the huge amounts of processed meats and oils they use, etc, means it is hard to be healthy. Lack of fruit and vegetables in Mongolia as well (a byproduct of the nation’s location) helped add to this. Happy travels Jennifer. 🙂
I lived in China for 8 months and while I met amazing people and was lucky to have the experience, I’m still recovering from the food, pollution and stress. The other day I asked my hairdresser why my hair is so frizzy at the moment and she told me that around a year ago (when I was in China) I lost a lot of hair and now it’s just growing back.
I’ve been pretty honest on my blog about what it was like living in China, and I can totally relate to the spitting, rudeness etc. We travel to see different places and we don’t need to fall in love with every place- some of my friends can’t get enough of China and have been living there for 5 years, while I’ve lived in Thailand twice and am contemplating a third.
I also think there’s a huge difference between being completely negative about a country and having nothing nice to say, and looking for the good in every situation. If there’s one thing that travel has taught me it’s to be positive, and while small things may not be a big deal at the time (the amount of men taking pictures of me, videoing me and pissing on the side of the street), they can add up until you just snap.
I hope you guys have a good break and can find a good balance between traveling and relaxing!
Honest post! 😀 Take all the time you need! 😀
It’s very true; travelling is stressful. And it comes with a lot of angles and sometimes, struggles. When you travel 24h on 24 with someone, it shows another reality! (Same here!)
Merry Christmas to both of you!
Thanks so much Melissa! Appreciate the understanding. Merry Christmas to you as well 🙂
Been absolutely awesome reading your adventures.
Really hope this break gives you both the recharge you need.
Thanks very much Meg! Appreciate it 🙂
Thanks for this post, and for showing to the world that you are human! I had no doubts about that. I know only too well that traveling long terms is not always fun and games. I like to think of myself as an experienced travelers (not nearly as experienced as you guys) and I have understood that the minute I lose enthusiasm, I don’t gasp in amazement when I see a place, everything gets on my nerves, then it is time to take a break and go home.
I also appreciate the fact that your different personalities come through this post. Readers may forget that there’s two of you behind NOMADasaurus, each with his or her own need, interests, fears and ambitions. Some of them are well shared, some others are personal and that is perfectly ok.
I am one of those who commented on your journey along the way – because really, it is epic. And I don’t mind one bit that you didn’t share what was going on between you two with us. Knowing that you have been going through a rough patch doesn’t affect my appreciation for you. Quite the opposite indeed.
You have all my respect. I can’t wait to read more of your journeys!
Thanks so much for the kind words Claudia. Means a lot to us! Long term travel is definitely not a perfect lifestyle, although we are happy we have chosen this path. It was tough to hit publish on this one, but hearing feedback from people like you makes us think we made the right decision to go public with our struggles. Thanks for following us on our adventures! Hope we get to meet up in 2016 🙂
You guys are awesome! It takes a lot of courage to spill your guts to the internet like that. I know all too well what China can do to people. We’ve experienced it first-hand. It’s a really tough place to travel. If you’re not used to it it really can break you. Our Chinese New Year trip we took in southern Yunnan earlier this year broke us and that was after already living and traveling in China for over 4 years. We also know how much strain independent travel can put on a relationship. There were points in our gap year where I really questioned what I was doing with my life….I’m sure my now husband did too. It’s good that you recognize you need a break and I have no doubt you’ll both come back happy and stronger than before!
Thanks Rachel! It was definitely a little strange for us to open up like this, but it was the right thing to do in the end I think. China was really tough on us, and I have so much admiration for you guys in how you could handle it for so long. You are much tougher people than we are! Long term travel is tough, but it also brings out the best in us. Thanks so much for reading dude! Hope we get to see you guys again in 2016!
I’m not surprised Jarad. You guys are doing an ambitious and epic journey and I’ve had a few relationship struggles on long-term adventures. Just got back from Spain, which was a struggle.
It sounds like this post might have been a bit overdue to. I think people like to hear about the ‘not so pretty’ side to travel. Keeps it real, people relate and reminds us we aren’t perfect. So I’d love to hear more about that from time to time.
As for you guys, I really hope things work out. Sounds like they will. I’ll keep travelling vicariously through you while you adjust your pace and catch a breath.
Hope to catch you in OZ some time!
Thanks for the comment Andy! Perhaps it has been a bit overdue. I think now we finally have something to discuss about our relationship. and it was the correct time to put it out on our blog. Really appreciate you reading, and hope that our paths cross one day. Happy travels buddy!
Thank goodness ur normal. and true, i was beginning to wonder. i dont believe we are meant to be with each other 24 hours a day, we need time to grow to do different things apart, have something to talk about that the other person didnt experience with u. the most important thing is even after some troubles u want to be together and lets face it whatever u do in life is not without stress just different situations. china is difficult travel and your comments are similar to my thoughts and to some others i have met traveling, their culture and attitude is quite different. I remember reading sometimes you can only really enjoy a place once u have left. to u and lesh dont think to much about the incidents or regularity of ur arguments or bickering. when life is tough we get overwhelmed and cant think straight, that is what causes the problem not actually the other person. evaluate it and see if there were things u can try differently on the next adventure but when i met u, u seemed considerate and loving towards each other. during my travels its been hard work and my breaks during the more difficult places have become more regular which is most out of character for me and rather hard to accept. what next is the most exciting bit. enjoy the time apart hope it all goes well, best wishes.
Haha, we are definitely human. You are right too about needing some time apart. I feel like it’s quite healthy for us. It will help us see things clearly again. Happy travels!
Wow! So refreshing to read some honesty about the downsides of long term travel, especially as a couple! It’s also comforting to know that other people with the same lifestyle have similar issues. It can be hard to talk about these things with friends and family who can’t really relate and do think we live a dream lifestyle and not sound like you are moaning or complaining.
Thanks for sharing guys and hope it all works out for ye. x
Thanks so much for Noelle, and refreshing to hear you can relate to it as well. It can seem a bit selfish complaining about this lifestyle when so many people happily trade places in a heart beat. A lot of our friends from back home are caring, but don’t really understand what it’s like. Funny how travellers always seek comfort in other travellers, haha. Thanks for reading, and happy travels 🙂
Wow. What a beautifully written and honest post. Thank you for sharing. You two have definitely been one of my favorite couples to follow on your travels, and I look forward to continuing following after you spend some time apart during the holidays and reunite in January.
Thanks so much for reading, and we love you following along on our journey Dave. Really appreciate the kind words. We’ll figure out what our next steps are over the next few weeks and hit the ground running hopefully 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing. It definitely helps other travellers to hear this as we all have issues and should share them otherwise our lives look perfect on social media and our blogs when it’s simply not true. I’m struggling with my relationship at the moment too but it’s because we have been spending too much time apart as I am currently on a one year trip and my fiance stayed home. I’m seeing him in 4 days so I’m really hoping that will help me feel better about it. But maybe it won’t, and that makes me really sad
We do need to be open about these kind of things I think. Like you said, it is important for other travellers to know how it can be out there. It’s not just all pretty pictures like on IG or FB. That would definitely be hard spending one year apart travelling the world. The complete opposite of us, but with very serious implications as well. I hope no matter what happens in 4 days, you both find happiness 🙂
What a courageous and emotional post. Written from the hear,t as always, and with the usual thread of common sense running through it – that is your style and the reason so many people love reading your posts. Time will fly by and you will be on your way together again, keeping so many people entertained as you both go!
Best wishes for the Christmas Season, New Year and many more to come. Oh, and what a stunning engagement photo. Crikey, you know how to do things!
Thanks so much Jane. It took a bit to convince us hitting “publish” was the right thing to do, but now we believe it was. Really appreciate the kind words too. Yea we’ll be back together soon enough, and we’re sure everything will be a lot better when we do hit the road running. Happy travels! (And yea, we’re pretty proud of that engagement photo, haha.)
Lesh and Jazza, I always see travel blogging as an interesting thing – we mostly focus on the positives and rarely show the negative side of travel, and particularly long term travel.
I am pleased to hear that you are both taking some time out to reflect on where you are and where you want to go, both with your relationship and with your travel blogging.
And realise that you have choices – just because you have contemplated and planned an overland trip through Africa does not mean that you have to do it right now – in fact, after you have described some of the hassles you have encountered and issues I can’t see how launching into a trip of that magnitude is necessarily the right course of action.
I wish you all the best and hope that you reach a meeting of the minds on the way forward.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting Anne! Blogging is a strange industry that’s for sure. I often wonder if people actually want to see the bad side of travel, but ultimately it is a part of our nomadic lifestyles and shouldn’t be hidden. I think you’re right about Africa too. We are still 100% keen on travelling overland through Africa, but perhaps we should hold off for a while. Really appreciate your input Anne. Happy travels 🙂
We don’t know each other very well, but this post definitely caught my attention. My advice is to take a break from travel. In fact, take frequent breaks from travel. Your relationship is MUCH more important. I honestly don’t know how full-time nomadic couples can do it. Mary & I want/need/crave time off the road to work, to rest, to relax, to catch up with family and friends. Travel is always there, always beckoning. But time away from the road works wonders. Best of luck!
That is some real solid advice Bret. I think you’re absolutely right. We’ve always been nomadic, but it’s only been the last two years where we’ve decided to keep a blog. With the success of this has brought about a lot more stress than we have ever had on the road, and I think that has contributed to this much-needed break. Perhaps taking a few months off really is the best thing for us. Recharge the batteries, get healthy, and hit the ground running again. Thanks so much for taking the time to read mate. I know you are a busy guy. Happy travels 🙂
Hey guys! This post is so amazing, how brave of you to share this with us all.
I’ve been on a couple of long, long independent trips with my fella and for sure things get strained. I’m not the easiest person to live with at the best of times (moodswings, hormonal depression to mention a few of my foibles) and things have got really REALLY stretched sometimes.
Travel can amplify issues too, especially when you are in each others company entirely and overwhelmingly.
We had a blow out in China, I won’t go into details but it was really hard, and heartbreaking. Fortunately we pushed through it and came out stronger.
It’s not all that normal to live like this, most people living the ‘normal’ life have jobs and social lives that provide space and other interests. I bet a lot of married couples would find 690 days of continual company while overlanding the globe a massive challenge to their relationships.
We have been living in each others pockets for 4 years now in our truck and it’s a confined space when tensions get frayed. I definitely think it’s good to spend some time apart, I had five weeks last winter doing a solo trip to northern europe. It was good for me to have some space and rediscover my independent side, we met up again for Christmas, and I’m not going to pretend that it was all rosy. I actually found it a bit hard for a week or two to be back being ‘two people’ after just having to look after myself for those few weeks. Things soon returned to normal though.
Occasionally we double book house sits and that gives us again a bit of space too: me in one house, he in another. It’s fun skyping our days, sharing what our dog/cat/hen wards have been up to!
We’ve been together for 15 years, so we must be doing something right!
I sure things will work out for you both, you are such amazing, inspiring people!
It sounds like you have been through exactly what we have been dealing with, over a longer period. It is refreshing to hear your experiences as well, and know that we’re not the only ones having issues with this. We kept saying that we need to go back to solo travel for a while, but when we were in China, Mongolia and Central Asia it wasn’t exactly the best places to say, “Ok, you go off your way for a while, and I’ll go off my way.” I think Europe will be a much better option for us to do that.
Thanks so much for reading, and taking the time to comment Rachel. We really appreciate it. 🙂
You are most welcome! I just wanted to let you know you are most definitely not alone with this xx
I’m off again for a month in Jan, to Finland. I’m super excited about it. It’s definitely an easy option for solo travel, not a challenging country! I don’t think I’d have been quite so confident and up for it in China that’s for sure!
Happy holidays xxx
Enjoy Finland! Must be a pretty interesting place in January, that’s for sure. Happy travels Rachel 🙂
I love that idea of double booking housesitting gigs! How do you get your housesitting assignments? We would like to do more of them. We have been traveling together for 3.5 years, 43 countries and 22 states so far (at 68 years old). I sometimes call us The Bickerson’s and that makes us laugh. I sure have learned to tell my husband the truth, even if it’s “You’re getting on my nerves now.” What a blessing to have a partner to travel the world with.
You guys are awesome! It’s totally normal to have relationship struggles on the road, and it’s also quite cleansing to get it out there in public on the blog (we did, and felt much better for it). It’s also good for others to see what’s really happening – like you said, it’s so easy to see the happy social media posts and think that your life is full of smiles and rainbows. Thanks for opening up, and best of luck with moving into the next stage – looking forward to reading more in the months (years!) to come 🙂
Thanks Petra, you guys are awesome! It definitely felt good to put it all out here on the blog. Didn’t know how it would go over at first, but the response has been overwhelming. And while we’re not going to turn NOMADasaurus into one long massive personal diary, I think we’ll put a few more personal posts up in the future. Thanks so much for reading dude 🙂
Thanks for sharing, appreciate you taking out the time to share a personal story like this. Some to to refresh, recharge and reconnect is so important when you are living as epically as you are. Looking forward to more inspiration from you guys if the future.
Thanks very much Jeremy! We’re looking forward to recharging the batteries. Hopefully see you soon mate!
Lesh and Jazza, I really deeply appreciate this post, and for your being brave enough to share this status of your emotional journey with the world. I’ve found that frequently an emotional journey intersects very well with big travel journeys and I hope you both take this rest time apart-together well… 🙂
Thanks so much for taking the time to read it Lucia. This time apart will be good for us. Long journeys definitely bring out the best, and sometimes worst, in people emotionally. Happy travels 🙂
Awesome post guys! Totally agree with you on so many points. We have only been traveling for 16 months and we get on each others nerves 😉 Working out is key, whenever we have a chance to work out again we always feel better, but it’s a huge struggle on the road.
Definitely looking forward to doing some running, yoga, martial arts and stuff again somewhere down the line. That’s exactly what we need to get our bodies back on track! Thanks so much for reading Shelly 🙂
Hi Lesh and Jazza! Thanks for sharing this story from the heart. I’m sure you guys will find your way 🙂 For now, enjoy the holidays and your well-deserved break from travel and blogging! Still hope to meet you on the road some day! Love, Manouk
Thanks very much Manouk! We’ll be fine after our break, no doubt. The time apart will be good for us. We’ll cross paths eventually, it’s bound to happen when we wander the world aimlessly! Happy travels dude 🙂
I think what you’re really doing by writing this is asking for advice. I have two pieces of advice. First, I don’t know anyone that has healed their relationship by spending extended times apart. Relationships are not nurtured by “time outs”, and I have learned that lesson the hard way in life, repeatedly. Second, you were under so much pressure with money and your jobs to continue this hard journey, I think you were both afraid to pull the plug and go home together and take the pressure off yourselves. At some point, you should have just realized that your lives needed a break from the pressure of traveling. Go home, do nothing, let your minds relax, then talk about getting back on the road. Sounds hard, but look at your situation now – apart, and carrying resentment of each other. Get back together.
Thanks very much for the advice Fazsha. Will take it on board 🙂