How to build (and not destroy) your relationship on tour
Day 36 of our Pacific Coast bicycle tour started off on the wrong foot. The previous day’s mileage had been cut short due to allergies, and we both went to bed cranky. The biting flies didn’t help put us in a better mood, either. While packing up the next morning, I could not for the life of me find my leg warmers. I just knew Matt had put them somewhere, and now they were lost. It was a cool, Pacific coast morning, and I didn’t want to ride with just my shorts. I had had it. This bicycle touring had quite suddenly become not fun. We were getting on each other’s nerves, and it was starting to show.
So, how do you maintain a good relationship while spending every waking minute (and all the sleeping ones) with another person?
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine. First off, you have to realize that it’s bound to be rocky sometimes. Even the best couples go through rough patches sometimes. Everyone only has so many nerves, and it’s easy to let little irritations become big ones.
Cut the other person some slack. Are you tired and sore from the previous day’s ride? Well, he probably is, too. Was your sleep interrupted by some rowdy campers? Guess what. He’s right there with you. Are you cranky because you had trouble breathing through your stuffy nose? News flash. He had to hear you snore all night. A little patience can go a long way.
Give yourselves some space. Sometimes, you just need to be alone. That’s perfectly normal, and will probably save you both some sanity. Just make sure to communicate what your plan is, so he doesn’t think you’re purposefully avoiding him. You’re riding together, eating together, sleeping together. Sometimes, too much together can be too much.
Enjoy the little moments. When it starts to feel like work, slow it down. Find an awesome spot to sit and enjoy the view for a minute. Breathe the fresh air. Give each other a hug. Remember your reason for embarking on this epic journey together.
It’s going to be tough sometimes. But it’s also going to be amazing. You’ll grow closer than you ever thought possible. Besides. Think of the stories you’ll be able to tell your grandkids. Oh, and day 36? It ended on such a high note, at a campsite with a beautiful patch of grass and a view of the Pacific Ocean. I couldn’t wait for the next day’s ride.