A few years ago, I bought a book by Mary-Lou Weisman called “Traveling While Married”. The book’s title piqued my interest because I know that traveling with someone can either make or break a relationship. Two different people with different interests, values, beliefs, and even cultural practices can put an extra strain on the relationship.
“Just deciding where to go on vacation can often test the marriage’s flexibility. Our partner wants to do something physical and adventurous, like trying to outrun molten lava down a volcano; the other prefers something more restful, even spiritual, like raking gravel in a Buddhist monastery.” – Mary-Lou Weisman, Traveling While Married
So I was laughing every time I turned a page because I knew a lot of couples who can totally relate. Suffice it to say, being the same old couple in a new, unfamiliar place can be a disorienting experience.
Since it’s February and people consider this time as the Month of Love, I decided to ask some of the travel couples I know who have been traveling for awhile. Staying in love while on the road is a magical thing, and it is inspiring to read the stories of people who have experienced it.
Here are four travel couples in Cebu with their inspiring love stories and how they manage their differences when traveling.
Gian and Sheila
I call them #TeamSweetie. They are the amazing couple and award-winning bloggers behind adrenalineromance.com. I’ve been following them for a long time now and their love for adventure is one of the things that motivates me to climb more mountains. And perhaps, be able to love again (like theirs) one day. Hahaha!
Gian: Well, it was a funny thing. You see, in 2008, I experienced a devastating breakup. It was four long years before I deemed myself ready for another relationship. I did it the modern way; I posted a “girlfriend wanted” ad in my FB. I meant it as a half-joke, but a friend took it seriously. She introduced me to Sheila during a rock climbing session in Cantabaco. Sheila and I clicked, and the rest is history.
I’ve become a traveler and adventurer since my 2008 breakup. It was one of my ways to cope up and move on. Strangely, that breakup brought the best in me. I went to the gym, took care of myself, became stronger, became more confident, and more. Travel and adventure bound everything together. Since then, I fell in love with visiting places and doing outdoor adventures.
Sheila and I exercise teamwork when we go traveling, so we don’t exactly argue a lot. Minor fights usually stem from our different personalities. I’m particularly wacky and easy going while Sheila is quiet and serious. She gets upset when I tease her while she’s tired or in the middle of doing something.
I’m more in control of my emotions than she is. In the rare times that we argue, I diffuse the situation by apologizing, hugging her, or buying (or personally preparing) her favorite food. When I calm down, she calms down as well.
Sheila: I broke up with my partner in 2010. The good thing about it is that I have my daughter Alexa with me. Having her in my life was enough to make me happy, so having a new partner didn’t really cross my mind. Then one day, my friend Faye asked me to come with her to a rock climbing session in Cantabaco. There, I met Gian, who I thought was a hot guy. We discovered we have a lot of similar interests, so naturally, we clicked.
In college, I joined a lot of outreach programs in mountain communities and far-flung villages. Of course, I fell in love with the natural beauty, the highland culture, and the adventure that travel entails. Gian and I share a mutual fascination with travel, adventure, and the outdoors. This mutual passion is one of the primary factors that continue igniting our love for each other.
I don’t like it when Gian tries to make me laugh and lighten up when I’m tired, sick, or doing something. Sometimes, he’s frustratingly annoying. But that’s just about it, and we usually resolve our differences in just a short while.
Thankfully, we don’t argue that much. So Gian doesn’t have to work hard to win me back. Hahaha! Just let him put his arms around my shoulder or cook me my favorite omelette, and I’ll be all right.
Pam and Raphael
Follow them on Instagram: @heymsadventures
I met Pam two years ago during a trip somewhere in South Cebu. We are in the same blogging community and we also blog mostly about the same thing – travel. She blogs at heymissadventures.com where she talks about unconventional living. I admire Pam and Raphael on how they see the world and how they are trying to raise their two children. I can’t imagine traveling with kids in tow, that is why I became an instant fan especially when they went backpacking in Mindanao for 21 days! Now that’s what you call #FamilyGoals.
Pam: My partner and I have a common friend – that person was my childhood friend and he was my classmate in college. Our college batchmates held this annual island hopping every summer and our common friend’s barkada (including the future partner LOL) would tag along. We met during these times but never really “met”. Haha. There was one year when I tagged my ex-boyfriend and we had this photo of the three of us (the ex-boyfriend and I in the foreground and the partner in the background). Looking back, it’s hilarious! Anyway, the partner and I also share a love for music…he “met” me during the Visayan Music Festival while I really started hanging out with him during the Summer Sunscream back in 2011.
The first time we traveled together as a “couple” was in Bohol, with some of my college friends. The next…we already had a 6-month baby in tow – we camped in Kalanggaman Island, can you believe that?
We never really argue that much when we are out. Or I guess he just really gets annoyed when I pick the same old food I’m familiar with, no matter where we are. Imagine eating Jollibee in all corners of the Philippines – that’s me, the picky eater. He has his own strengths, I have mine. When we went backpacking for 21 days in Mindanao, he did all the budgeting and I did all the money-making. I tell him when our cash was coming next and then he’d tell me how much he’d spent and what we’d need and how he planned to budget our money until the next pay. LOL. It was definitely the perfect training for living on our own which happened half a year later. He’d sometimes go for comfort – because…the kids! – and sometimes I do too because…the stress! We usually never counter argue when that happens. Haha.
There was one time though that we had an argument during that trip. I couldn’t remember what exactly happened that night. We had just come off a 15-hour-ish bus ride from Cateel to Surigao and we went to the nearest mall to look for dinner. I got pissed along the way and went out of the mall…but I remembered I had no cash with me – he was the finance manager. So there I was, waiting for him outside. We may have argued a bit in public and had no choice but to endure being with the other person. Haha! Or else I’d be left in Surigao (we planned to go back to Cebu the next day)!
As in all couple arguments, the best way to resolve things is to wait out until the tension has subsided. This is applicable whether you’re on the road or not. Then you talk it out and you make sure you never go to bed being mad at the other person.
Roneth and Hernan
Went to Samal Island and I had a funny encounter with foreigners. On my way to the comfort room, a girl was asking for help because her friend was really drunk and needed to go to the confort room. While holding her drunk friend, she asked “Are you married?” I answered no. She followed “Are you with someone?” I said yes. She said “Oh! Because my friend here is single.” She was talking about the drunk guy. She asked again “Is he waiting for you.” I just smiled and answered yes…. because he is actually waiting for me in a different island.”
Follow Roneth on Instagram: @theficklefeet
Follow Hernan on Instagram: @hernanpalang
I met Roneth and Hernan last year when I organized a trip to Bacalla Woods Campsite with our blogger friends. I would definitely agree with Roneth when she said that they are two opposite people. Roneth is bubbly and expressive while Hernan is more serious and reserved. They are one of the travel couples I follow and admire which is why I got really curious how they address their differences when traveling.
Roneth: We met at a College Congress in Cebu City, where he was one of the organizers and I was a participant. We’ve been friends for 3 years before we were in a relationship.
I have always been curious, and travel made my perspective and curiosity wider. He likes history and languages, which made him more interested in different cultures. He can speak Spanish, Portuguese, and can read Arabic and Alibata to name a few. We were very different in terms of passion, personality, and travel. Now, I can tell that opposites do attract.
We travel within and outside the Philippines together. We always make sure to meet halfway. I like to go to parties, he likes to go to museums. He likes food trips and I like adrenaline adventures. We also had a lot of misunderstanding and arguments during our trip. Mostly about taking photos which is really important to me because I have a website and photos are my only remembrance of my adventures. I always make sure that I won’t waste a lot of time taking a photo as long as he will get it nicely. To avoid petty fights, communication is everything! Lucky for us, we always say what we want and we don’t want, and it makes every situation easy.
We are currently into free diving and he convinced me to try this sport, and I love it!
This 2018, we want to meet different tribes in the Philippines and to trace our ancestors. He thinks I’m a Mandaya – a tribe located in Davao Occidental and some parts in Surigao del Sur, so we will dig deeper about that!
He taught me a lot of things, but I want to share with you these words from him. “Through travel, we appreciate other places and we appreciate more where we come from.
Wendy and Lawin
Follow them on Instagram: @wendzclaire and @lakbay_lawin
I’ve never met Wendy personally and I’ve only met Lawin once. However, I’ve been following them on social media for a while now. As someone who loves climbing mountains, I instantly became a fan whenever I see them climbing mountains together. I got curious as to how they met and I am so thankful that they shared their cute love story to me. I am so excited for them too because, in a few months time, they will soon welcome a new member to their team – a baby girl! Congratulations to you two and I hope one day, your baby girl will go on hikes with you too.
Wendy: We met last November 2016. It was a rainy night while camping in Mt. Naupa. I was invited by my high school classmate and it was my first time to camp. I knew that there were other people joining us, but I had no idea who they were. We later found out they were Lawin and Kevin. My high school classmate and I thought that they have already set up their tents, but upon arriving there, we found out that they were having a hard time pitching their tents because of the heavy wind and rain. They ended up looking for shelter in a nearby hut, along with other campers. Since it was raining hard, we decided to descend from the mountain and settled in one of the local’s small hut in Mt. Naupa. I was the only woman in the group. It was a hilarious incident and that night, we ended up talking about a lot of things and planning for future hikes. After that night, we started going out on hikes, camps, and dinners regularly. Then one night in a group hike in Budlaan to Sirao Peak, our circle of friends told us that it would be better if we finally label our relationship. Those months, we considered ourselves as just close friends, but then right after that hike, we had a serious talk and we both decided that we are finally dating exclusively.
One of the challenges that we face is traveling on a budget. This is because Lawin is still a student and he has to save a lot from his allowance in order to travel. I, on the other hand, is on a tight budget since we all know how frustratingly low nurses are paid in the country. So we try to do some adjustments and follow a budget-friendly travel. And when we are traveling together, we do our best to find ways to enjoy it without spending that much.