To travel together or not to travel together

Traveling was something we`d talked about for almost as long as we`ve been together - not always of going together but both of having a passion to see some of this amazing world in which we live. We`d been living together for a year, renting a pokey little flat and paying well over the odds, when we decided that we needed to move apart to save some money. Whether that money would buy us our first house or a round the world ticket was yet to be decided.

So after 18 months of coming home to each other ever night, Danny and I moved back to our home towns. A very hard decision for me as I`m not a big believer in long distance relationships, but one that had to be acted upon.

Back home in Luton, I moved in with my friend Vicky, and Danny moved home to his parents in Essex. For 18 months, we paid low rent and went from living with each other, to a weekend-only relationship. Every Friday after work, I`d hop into my little car and plunge head first into M25 rush hour traffic, spend the weekend watching Danny play rugby and out with his friends and family, then head home again on a Monday morning ready for a week of work.

Don`t get me wrong, I`m making it sound as though this was an easy situation to throw ourselves into. Far from it. The decision to move apart was hard enough, but needs must. As graduates with five years work experience under our belts, who want to do a bit of traveling before growing up and getting a mortgage, sacrifices needed to made.

On top of this, the decision to go away for a year together was a tough one - so many people we know, friends, friends of friends, who went away with other halves have ended up splitting up either whilst they`ve been away or soon after returning home. Obviously, I`m quite fond of Danny and this really was the last thing I wanted so was a bit apprehensive about booking the ticket. When you hear so many negative stories, you`re going to be a little concerned.

To then maintain a relationship around the M25, where you`re used to seeing each other every day took effort from both of us. We agreed that if it ever got to the stage where we both though "I can`t be bothered to see Laura/Danny this weekend" then things weren`t worth the effort and there was a problem. Luckily, it never got to that stage and the one morning my alarm clock didn`t see snooze, was Friday.

We booked our ticket in June 2004 with our leaving date on 1 st February 2005. It was all suddenly real, we were going! It was so exciting - there was an end in site and the living apart had all been worth it. So the next seven months were fiddled with planning, weekends spent trawling around London for all the things we needed, discussion of little else.

Three months into the trip I can honestly say it`s very different to how I expected it be, spending all this time with Danny again. When we lived together, we got up, went to work and came home to each other - now we`re together pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I thought it would be easy to fall back into being together all the time but the first few weeks took a bit of getting used to.

What I didn`t consider was that if you had a bad day at work, it generally cheered us up to come home to each other and we didn`t want to argue so almost tiptoed around small things that bothered us. Now we were together all the time, these things were unavoidable - everyone needs to snap or blow sometimes and because we were so reliant on each other, we blew at each other! It took a while to realize it wasn`t personal and we would inevitably take our moods out on each other.

Making friends and being with other people most of the time certainly makes it easier - spending all day every day with someone, no matter how much you love them is going to be tough, so meeting other people is great. You just have to realize that you`re there together, experiencing so many amazing things that you will remember for the rest of your lives. Just live for the moment and enjoy every experience the trip throws at you.

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