While some romantic partners make good travel buddies, most don’t, muses Morris Kiruga.
I prefer to travel alone, but that’s hardly ever the case. I have had several travel partners; friends that I can comfortably travel with at the drop of a hat, or those that make me apprehensive when I realise we are headed on the same trip. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find it hard to travel with someone I’m in a romantic relationship with. Perhaps this is an occupational hazard, because a holiday is never really just a holiday if you’re also trying to get more colour for your stories. The love manual however says that you should travel together; there are irreplaceable experiences to be shared out in the wild, on a cruise or even backpacking. In polls, people often say they prefer to travel with their significant others, but that’s only because it’s the right thing to say.
Travelling with your partner is not as simple as it sounds, whether that’s a weekend away in Laikipia or a three month trip across Africa. Simple things like seeing your partner using slow internet can tell you a lot about them. Perhaps all those things you like about them will become a source of constant turmoil and you will end up on the bus back not talking to each other at all.
How do you define a holiday, for instance? Is it a time to do everything listed on the travel blog you found, or wake up at 11:00am and groggily walk to the breakfast table in your pyjamas? The problem isn’t just that formality often dampens spontaneity, it is that we define holidays differently. Some people want to explore while other prefer to relax with a drink watching the mountain ranges.
There is also the fact that you will spend almost every waking minute together. Even in this time of constant texting throughout the day, being around someone that much can dim all the things you like about them. Like being woken up at 6:00am on a holiday because there are things to do, standing there with an awkward smile as she makes friends with perfect strangers or taking a whole hour to decide which Instagram filter to use.
Most people only think of the itinerary and budget when planning a trip together, but they never plan for each other. I know a guy, a downright introvert, who went on a one-week trip with his girlfriend. It was a spontaneous trip, which was her first win, but as he got drained during the week, he started sulking. Their relationship survived, but they now travel independently.
The first time I ever travelled with someone, we backpacked around the Aberdares exploring the towns that surround the ranges. We hopped into a matatu to Nakuru for a night, then on to Nyahururu for another night where we almost froze in a room that had a draft whose entry point I couldn’t find. We then did Nyeri where we slept over at a friend’s house. There were little incidences, like a time when I had to grab her hand in Nyeri because we overheard a group of women talking about her short dress. History and good sense told me the next thing wouldn’t be pretty, so we navigated through as fast as we could. When we got home, we went our separate ways until the next trip.
Thing is, not all romantic partners make good travel buddies. A true travel buddy stays true to themselves first and knows to let you be if you want to sleep in or go for a bush walk. Sometimes, however, some things might start to feel like an obligation.
Get yourself a true travel buddy. If they happen to be the same person your heart beats for, lucky you. If not, may good fortune lead you to the right person, platonic or otherwise.