It's Vacay Time! Traveling as a Couple Without Bickering Like Children
I have an affliction my friends affectionately call "Yogi Wanderlust". As long as I can remember, I have loved to travel. I take that back, I love vacations. Vacations have allowed me to escape the cold Wisconsin winters, visit college friends, see historical landmarks and expand my understanding of different cultures and geographical regions.
Even more than the trip itself, I find exhilaration in planning for all of the places, events and landmarks to be seen. I enjoy connecting with people on social media to find out where they stayed and what are their "must do's." I like reading the reviews for places to stay and to eat, while celebrating small ways I have been able to save money by booking things early (or late!). It is like I have a travel addiction--a cycle of feeling an itch in the seat of my pants, researching interesting places to go, identifying the dates to travel, planning the entire event and finally... enjoying the intended destination. After about three months back at home, the cycle begins again.
Apparently, I am not alone in this. According to a 2010 psychological study about the connection between anticipation and happiness, just planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually taking it. The visions of beach sand and cocktails with umbrellas dancing in our
heads! What I did not anticipate however was what it would be like being on vacation with my husband.
When we met I was exhilarated to plan our first adventure together. After deciding on a common location, an all inclusive beach resort in Mexico, I dove in. I packed books, swimsuits, flip flops and created "naps on the beach" playlists. I was ready for major relaxation with a couple of excursions thrown in for fun. I looked forward to sleeping in without an alarm while living in my stretchy pants so I could enjoy the endless buffet. Heavenly bliss... all with the love of my life.
The first morning, I woke to my partner staring at me at about 7:30 am and asked:
"Are you awake yet?" "I am now," I replied.
At breakfast I explained that my hope for this trip was to be able to RELAX and this meant sleeping in until my eyes opened naturally. He apologized and as a morning person, agreed to let me sleep in. Then he went on to tell me that he had already scheduled several excursions, made reservations and plans that would fill the majority of our days with things to see and do, oh and, oops, tomorrow's bus is picking us up at 6 am--could you possibly sleep in the next day?
My hubby's expectations for vacations were completely different than mine and I found this out the hard way.
As a morning person, he got up to watch the sunrise and grab coffee. In anticipation of never returning to our destination, he wanted to fill every minute of each day so that he could see/do EVERYTHING he thought he may regret missing. Relax? Relaxing was done while grabbing a snack or sitting in the cab on the way to the next place. Sleep was what you did to prepare for more activity the next day!
After several arguments over different expectations of how our vacations would go while being there, I came to the realization that we needed to compromise in order to both enjoy the time on the road.
These expectations needed to be discussed before and during the planning process and not while one of us is melting down at the end of the day like a tired toddler (okay, I own it).
Now, I make sure we have a rental condo or a hotel suite with a bedroom door so I can sleep in and he can enjoy coming and going as he pleases. We agree to start adventures mid-morning so that relaxation or at least a nap can happen in the afternoon. We identify the things we most want to do while there and plan accordingly so no one feels that their wishes landed on the back seat. And most importantly, my husband, who self-admittedly struggled with the word relaxation, has started enjoying crossword puzzles in order to sit with me while I sip on fruity umbrella drinks, sing loudly to Copacabana, and soak up the sun.
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