Kevin and I have been together for over a decade. That’s two graduations, five jobs, a mortgage, two homes, a New York city proposal, a destination wedding and a once in a lifetime honeymoon. Through all of life’s changes however there has been one constant. Our love of travel.

My own incessant need to explore was nurtured by the adventures of my grandparents. Originally from England, as newlyweds they came to Canada to start a new life. In their retirement years however they returned to Europe. Growing up my closet was full of souvenirs from far away lands. A stuffed camel from Tunisia, dolls from Turkey and Croatia, a ceramic mask from Venice and the list goes on and on. At thirteen the opportunity to start my own travel adventures presented itself and after three weeks in Quebec I was hooked.

When Kevin and I first met we didn’t realize we were about to find the perfect travel partner in each other. Our excursions started out small with weekend getaways to the mountains but soon after expanded into extended backpacking trips and global romps. Today, we have been to three continents, fifteen countries and over fifty different cities.

What we’ve learned along the way is that travel shapes who we are and who we will be. It allows our relationship to grow and makes us a stronger couple. For these reasons and more we believe all couples should travel early on and as often as possible. Couples that are able to travel together are more likely to stay together. Check out some of the top things that travel has taught us over the years:

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How to grow together

Travelling changes you. It challenges you to see things differently and alters your perspective. By broadening your mind, it encourages you to grow. When you travel with your partner you bare witness to these changes and can appreciate how you evolve together. This joint transformation keeps you connected and continuously choosing each other through each new experience.

How to communicate, overcome challenges and be a better team

Exploring somewhere new is exciting. It can also be stressful, overwhelming and emotional. Travelling moves you beyond your comfort zone and exposes the different and unexpected ways that people react. We see our partners at their absolute best but also sometimes at their absolute worst. Understanding how your partner deals with various situations allows you to complement their strengths and provide support to their weaknesses.

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I am notorious for struggling with google maps, hand me a phone and I am guaranteed to get us lost. Knowing this, Kevin ensures that I carry a paper map and he takes care of our digital directions. Kevin, on the other hand, loves to wait until the last second to pack. So, to ensure we don’t forget anything we have travel specific bags with pre packed items that can be added quickly to our luggage.

Unfamiliar situations force you to build patience and understand each other’s limitations. It asks you to communicate with one another and rely on each other’s different strengths to overcome challenges. The more a couple travels the more they develop compromises and become a better team.

How to live in the moment

Life today is chaotic. Between busy jobs, maintaining a home and family obligations we rarely find a moment to breathe. Weeks fly by and we consistently find ourselves wondering, where did the time go? Travel however leaves you with no choice but to slow down and enjoy the moment. Leaving behind the pressures of every day life the only thing left to focus on is the trip at hand. Couples that travel together learn how to enjoy these moments and make the most of them.

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Kevin and I never feel more like ourselves then when we are travelling. Despite the challenges that unfamiliar destinations bring we feel more connected with one another. From years of travel we have also learned the value of no cellphone experiences. In 2012 we backpacked Europe without any digital devices (shocking for members of the millennial generation). At the end of it though we were proud to have navigated nine countries on our own. We didn’t miss the incessant need to check Facebook or respond to a text message and ultimately we were able to fully live in every moment of our trip.

How to laugh together

We will never forget our first B&B experience. We arrived in Nice (France) late by train and following our hosts directions made our way to an old apartment building. Locating the main entrance down a dark side street we punched in the entry code and moved inside. This is where we first learned that the main floor in Europe is considered level 0 (not level 1 like in North America).

Directing us to climb to the third floor we made our way up but when we arrived there was no sign of the B&B. Standing on the landing we debated what to do when suddenly the lights went out and we were left in complete darkness. I couldn’t help it, I screamed and in a whispered panic told Kevin that we needed to find a new place to stay. Frantic, I started to move back down the stairs when the lights came back on. With the ability to see again, Kevin quickly ran up one more set of stairs to check the next floor up and taped to one of the doors he found a tiny business card with the name of the B&B we had booked.

Later that evening, as we lay in our french riviera apartment, we couldn’t help but laugh. Our irrational fears had been the result of motion censored lights and miscounting steps.

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How to build future goals

Couples who travel together already share one very important goal, a desire to see the world. With each new adventure, we draw from our experiences to understand what is truly important in life. Travel helps us to develop a perspective on what we value and how we want to fulfill our lives. For Kevin and I, travel has taught us that moments and experiences mean more to us then material objectives. This knowledge helps us to share a common vision and shape our goals for the future.

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We believe that our relationship has only strengthened because of travel. It has taught us to be patient, to trust each other, and to work together in any situation, good or bad. Travel is so much more than experiencing other parts of the world, it allows you to grasp a better understanding of yourself and the ones you love, and opens your mind to new, endless possibilities. We could speak endlessly on what we have learned over the years however our greatest advice now is to book your next trip and go!