A ROAD TRIP THROUGH EUROPE IS THE ULTIMATE TEST
"We'd been dating for three challenging months, but the possibility that we'd share the trip of a lifetime—and fall madly in love on an island somewhere—was enticing."
By Molly Steele
"Travel with a partner can make or break a relationship," is the age-old adage we've all heard countless times. This summer, I decided to put the dictum to the test with an open-ended vacation through Europe, full of what I hoped would be a strengthening of bonds between me and my beau. We'd been dating for three challenging months, but the possibility that we'd share the trip of a lifetime—and fall madly in love on an island somewhere—was enticing.
However, our modes of living (and especially traveling) couldn’t have posed more of a problem. While I thrive off research and planning, he prefers spontaneity; discovering things by happening upon them. Could I spend the rest of my life with someone who approached things so fundamentally different from me? I needed to find out, and with our relationship on the fritz just days before taking off, the itinerary rested on things working out between us.
Traveling with anyone—be it a friend, family member or romantic partner—has always put me in a vulnerable place. I’m suddenly relying on someone to be a constant in a world of variables, and starting our two-month trip in London, my boyfriend and I arrived to a sort of “I thought you were doing the planning” face-off. But despite who neglected what, it seemed neither of us could agree on how to prioritize the endless list of options available to us.
Eventually we found ourselves on the coast of Northern Spain in San Sebastian. Like a storybook turbulent relationship, we spent our first few days swinging from fighting in public to holding hands, walking along the picture-perfect La Concha beach, which brought us back down to neutral.