Chicago Part 1: Tandem Traveling

Firstly, Dan and I went to Chicago for a few days which will provide the fodder for the next few blog posts.

Secondly, it was an AWESOME trip.

Thirdly, onto this post…

We didn’t exactly jump on a bicycle built for two and ride from Austin to Chicago (as this post’s title might imply), but we definitely experienced the adventure that is traveling as a pair.

Dan and I have both traveled individually. Each of us grew up in places and moved away for school and jobs. We’ve visited sites with family members, and independently visited friends in different places/cities/locales. But this time we were together.

Maybe you think I’m paying this more attention than it merits – “yeah, you took a trip together, so what?”
But traveling as a pair can pose both pros and cons…

We vs. Me
When you’re traveling solo you can do whatever you want, whenever you want.
Want to go backpacking on a nearby mountain ridge all day? Do it. Want to eat five black and white cookies for dinner? Do it. Want to hang by the hotel pool? Do it. Want to hit as many landmarks and places of historical register as possible within 12 hours? Do it.

But with a partner, there are two sets of interests and two sets of needs. This is where the art of negotiation/compromise can come into play. “I’ll go with you to the Museum of Weaponry if you’ll spend two hours deep sea fishing, etc.”

Dan and I have some different interests/methods when it comes to traveling. I like museums/zoos/art, while Dan prefers just wandering around neighborhoods and people watching/meeting. While neither of us take our health for granted, I’m more inclined towards letting my tastes rule my palette while vacationing (re: desserts!), while Dan likes to keep a closer watch on calories consumed, read restaurant reviews, etc.

However, we also have some similar interests/methods:
— We worked together to plan out trip logistics (flights, transportation, accommodations, etc.) before heading out.
— When given the choice, we both preferred the cheaper option (i.e., public transit over taxi), but were willing to make concessions when time was a factor (i.e., taking a car from the suburbs to the City area, vs. a bus and two subways which would’ve taken twice as much time).
— We wanted to spend some time dancing together.
— We both enjoy theatre and agreed on a few plays to see and bought tickets ahead of time.
— We wanted to eat food/try things that we were less likely to find at home.

But despite the similarities there were those moments of slight annoyance:
— When Dan would want to practice a dance move just one more time and I was feeling tired.
— When it was dark and wet, and I read the map wrong, causing us to spend more time walking around downtown in the cold rain.

One thing that I think helped us immensely, was having multiple conversations about the trip well before getting on the plane. The initial conversations were about where to travel to, and secondary conversations helped us determine what the trip would look like and what was important to each of us. For instance, Dan was interested in Swing City Chicago, meeting up with his friend Shawn and catching plays. I was interested in the Morton Arboretum, swimming in the hotel pool, visiting a site or two (Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium), and catching plays. We were able to schedule in Swing City, the Arboretum, spending time with Shawn, and a few plays. I also snuck in a short stint in the hotel pool.

Anyway…we were flexible in that we tried to accommodate as much of each others’ desires as we could with the time we had- but having those conversations and fleshing out the logistical details BEFORE getting on the ground in the Windy City helped in two ways:
1) it allowed us both to have a running/accessible itinerary in our heads of what was happening when, and where each of us would be
2) it meant that neither of us carried expectations into the trip that went unmet — which meant we left the trip with a very positive feeling of togetherness and fulfillment, vs. a feeling of disappointment

Luckily, Dan and I both went into this trip with the same overarching objective: enjoy and spend as much quality time together as possible. And so, while we both compromised and made concessions at certain points, our end goal was the same, and truthfully, I think each of us had a really wonderful time with each other. (Plus, let’s be honest, how incredible is it to share something new and fun with the person you love?)

More to come on our trip in subsequent posts. 🙂

What about you – what travel experiences (positive or negative) have you shared with a partner?

Thanks for reading,
S

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About regulardaze

Hi, I'm Sarah. I enjoy photography, dancing, travel, theatre, delicious food, and learning (constantly, about almost everything imaginable). I currently live in Austin, TX. Thanks for sharing in my thoughts and adventures! :)

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  1. September Reflections « regulardaze - September 25, 2012

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