Answered by Shae Pepper, blogger & photographer
We've discussed the need to be very intentional about our time, both together and separately. It can be easy to fall into a rhythm that is more of travel companions and roommates than that of a couple.
We aren't great at this aspect yet. We've worked together full-time in very stressful environments in the past, so we know we can do it. We've had a lot of years to work on our communication and other relationship elements before adding the stress of full-time travel and full-time â€œtogethernessâ€ into the mix. It's more that needing time apart becomes this pressing thing, rather than being planned in advance to avoid issues.
Stephen is the introvert. He's happy to do things on his own and is good at making time naturally for himself to be alone. I am an extroverted extrovert. I need the people, I crave the peopleâ€¦ just not always the people I have access to (cough Stephen). I'm used to having girl time away from him. I'm used to being able to call my mom to hang out.
That being said, I have a day about every 2-3 weeks where I just need to be left alone. I don't want to talk. Or go anywhere or do anything. I just want to curl up and read a book or watch a movie and be left alone. A lot of that comes from living with, and now traveling with, anxiety. I refuse to let my anxiety become so debilitating that I can't travel, but it definitely takes its toll.
We're working on setting date nights together- like we did before traveling. Times where we aren't reviewing the restaurant we are at. Where we don't talk about planning for the next state.
When I need time for myself, I take myself off with my camera to take pictures without worrying how long I'm taking or about what Truffles might be getting into. I also read, watch a show on Netflix or go for a run. I have planned meet-ups with various friends, acquaintances and Facebook friends to try and get some outside people in my life.
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