Travel is the ULTIMATE Relationship Test

Travel is the ULTIMATE Relationship Test

Thinking of tying the knot? Wait. Don’t do it before you travel together. A word of caution: it can make or break your relationship. It will give you a much needed reality check to see if it’s going to work at all. Of course you’ve heard the age old proverb “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. In the case of your relationship, it can make it rock solid. Here’s why:

See the worst of each other: While on the road, you’re with your partner 24/7 and there’s no way to hide who you really are. You get a glimpse of what is beyond their best side. Traveling puts people out of their comfort zones and brings out the worst in them. Everyone has their own set of peculiarities which can be endearing or downright annoying.  Ask yourself if you can deal with their idiosyncrasies for the rest of your life.

It’s all about Reactions: In most cases, something DOES go wrong while traveling. It could be a bus delay, losing valuables or getting lost in a new country. Notice how your partner reacts in these situations. Are they problem solvers, are they too proud to ask for your help, do they end up making you miserable by whining about the situation or do they just laugh about it and turn it into a big joke? It’s important to figure out the reaction that you can live with.

A photo posted by DrifterPlanet (@drifterplanet) on

Teamwork is the key: Couple Traveling requires teamwork. So does marriage. The responsibilities get divided based on who can do what better. Figure out if you both operate in unison or not. Any successful long term relationship is a result of good teamwork. Being a good team is not just working together but is also supporting each other through thick and thin. If you suck at it the first few times, then let it teach you how to be a better team.

San and I covered in mud after climbing in the rain. Location - Phra Nang Cave Beach in Railay.

San and I covered in mud after climbing in the rain. Location – Phra Nang Cave Beach in Railay.

Space and trust issues: Everyone needs a little space in their relationship; however, not everyone lets their partner have that space. This could be because of trust issues or insecurities. Traveling gives you a sense of what is in store for you concerning space and trust. A few years back, traveling with my potential life partner made me realize that he was never going to let me indulge in a little “me” time. It happened when I decided to pamper myself with a back massage after hours of walking around with a heavy backpack. He barged in during that massage and stood towering over my head all through my “me” time. He later mentioned it was because of a “male” masseur.

Conversations or confrontations: Long conversations are inevitable while traveling and certain unresolved issues have a way of resurfacing. Some matters remain unresolved because they are not addressed and may worsen with time. Traveling provides an opportunity to indulge in such discussions because you’re away from work, free of stress and are in a different surrounding. Every couple fights but is every one of your conversations turning into a confrontation?

Compromise: Even if you have similar interests, traveling will force you to give and take in many situations. From simple things such as agreeing on a restaurant to something as big as how to spend your day – many circumstances demand a compromise. This will give you an idea of what kind of compromises you need to make if you decide to spend a lifetime together. If you learn to compromise, only then you should take your relationship to the next level.

I met my husband while backpacking and we ended up traveling together to many places very early in our relationship. After two failed relationships where traveling together was usually a painful event, this finally felt like the real thing and we decided to tie the knot.  Each of the above points is based on my real experience and I hope you find them useful. Click here to read how we met.

The ULTIMATE Relationship Test by Drifter Planet(Travel is the ULTIMATE relationship test. Pin to save for later)

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This post was also published on The Huffington Post. Click here to view.

A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sonal Kwatra Paladini

My Travel Hangover Made Me Meet My Soul Mate

My Travel Hangover Made Me Meet My Soul Mate

Have you ever experienced a travel hangover?

I did back in November 2013. This happened right after I came back home (India) from a backpacking trip in Thailand with my travel buddy Rosh.


My Travel Hangover made me meet my soulmate

Travel Hangover is that disgusting feeling when you come back home after traveling and feel your life will end if you don’t go back. Go back where? Back to traveling!

Anyway, we had just returned back home, had just about unpacked and couldn’t stop talking about Thailand. Three hours and three drinks later, we decided to book our tickets to go back to Thailand! (Blame it on our favorite Thai Rum – Sangsom). Needless to say, our friends and families were a little worried because they believed we had absolutely lost our minds. To tell you the truth, they were kind of right…

Being broke as hell did not stop us at all. In fact, we were confident of our ability to travel at a fraction of the cost of our previous budget. We never really got a chance to unpack and a few weeks later we were ready to go. We said bye to Delhi’s bleak winter and boarded a flight to Thailand. No words can describe the euphoria which we felt as our flight took off, because, in our minds, we were ready to conquer the world!

Khao San Pad Thai

Khao San Pad Thai – My Travel Hangover Made me meet my Soul Mate

Upon landing in Bangkok, we boarded a train and headed directly to Khao San road. We had 2 hours to kill before our Lomprayah Bus so we decided to indulge in a delicious road side meal of Pad Thai. Lomprayah has a bunch of high-speed catamarans and a few comfortable air conditioned buses.  It’s easy to book a bus + boat ticket through them online. There are many other services such as Songserm and Seatran Discovery but I find Lomprayah’s website the easiest to navigate.

A few words of advice to anyone before boarding Lomprayah coaches: please carry warm clothes when you have to travel in Lomprayah coaches else you will freeze. Having forgotten our previous journey, Rosh and I almost froze to death till a fellow backpacker Dan gave us his extra blanket. I love making friends on the road and some of these friendships have lasted a long time. In this instance, Dan became our friend.

Rosh, Dan and I

Rosh, Dan and I

A few hours of conversations revealed that Dan had recently finished school in Germany and was taking a year off before starting college. He had spent many months traveling all over Asia and to our surprise, had seen more of our country than we had back then. Shame on us! He was actually headed to Koh Tao but he decided to join us in Koh Phangan instead. The three of us spent a few days in Koh Phangan exploring the island for the second time, eating some delicious food, indulging in some Thai massages and spending a few evenings in Ban Tai’s parties. You can read about my Koh Phangan experience here. A few days in Phangan were enough for us and we decided to head to Koh Tao. Our main reason to head to Koh Tao was to attend a 4-day long PsyTrance festival – The Experience Festival of Koh Tao, which occurs around the NYE.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao

We introduced Dan to PsyTrance and ended up having an amazing time. The spectacle of colors and amazing UV decor is a visual delight at this festival. You can read my post about the Experience festival here.

Sunrise and fresh morning air by Digital Thangka

The Experience Festival – Sunrise and fresh morning air by Digital Thangka

However, it was the third morning of the festival when Rosh and I returned back to our room in our “festival high” that I got the bad news. Somewhere between December 31, 2013 and January 1, 2014 while I was celebrating the New Year’s Eve, my good friend Pratap had passed away. He was traveling in Kerala (India) to celebrate New Year’s Eve with his friend but ended up in a deadly motorcycle accident. The shock engulfed me because our friendship had developed quickly and I had spent many evenings on his terrace discussing music and travel. It pained me to remember how excited he was about traveling in Kerala.. which ended up being fatal.

My friend Pratap

My friend Pratap

I decided to stay in my room but thankfully Rosh dragged me out to the festival.  I decided to get a little drunk to keep my mind away from the loss of my friend. I did not want to speak to anyone so I sat in my hammock, sipped my Sangsom and tried not to think about my friend. It was not easy to control my thoughts and before I realized, I had tears rolling down my face. I was well hidden with rocks all around me but after a few minutes I realized there was another hammock behind me with a person on it.  I gazed back at him but never got to know if he saw my tears or not.

A little while later, we started talking. Thankfully our lighthearted coversation distracted my mind and I felt better. We spent the entire night talking but did not exchange names and said goodbye at the end of the night.  The next day, I realized my eyes were searching for him at the festival. Shit, I didn’t even know his name, his country – was I ever going to find him again? Strangely at that moment, I saw Pratap’s face in my mind who gave me a knowing smile. Just at that moment, to my delight, I saw him walking to me.  We spent the entire evening dancing, talking and exchanging our travel stories. Soon it was time to say goodbye to him and Thailand.

Can you spot San and me? :)

San and I are in right in front, can you spot us? 🙂

On our flight back to India, my friend Rosh asked me if I was ever going to meet him again. “Probably not” is what I answered. That’s the thing about travel romances – you never know if you’re ever meeting again. Moreover, I wasn’t even sure if ours was a “travel romance” because nothing really happened, except I felt a deep connection on a mental level. Did he feel the same? I did not know at that time but I was about to find out!

I got my answer as soon as I landed in Delhi and switched on my phone. There was a message from him and he was thinking of booking a ticket to India. Whoa!

Well, I don’t think I need to say more. From here on, things were on a roller-coaster ride.  He spent a few months in India; we traveled together within India and got to know each other better. We realized we had the same passion for travel, adventure and music with a carefree outlook towards life. We wanted to explore more and experience different cultures together.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that we are soul mates. We fell in love and he asked me to marry him. We traveled back to same place where we had met exactly after one year. This is us in Koh Tao where we clicked our “Save The Date”.

My Travel Hangover Made Me Meet My Soul (1)


Have you ever fallen in love while traveling? Let me know in the comments!

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