1. Make Enemies
Having an outside enemy can help dispel the tension that inevitably builds up during travel and prevent you from snapping at your beloved travel partner. No matter how well you get along, it’s possible to get snippy with person you’re spending every day with, usually for really nonsensical reasons. Picking on an outside scapegoat helps vent that frustration. Here in the Propane Kitchen, we’re against people who use hiking poles on paved trails, Vibram 5-Finger shoes and a certain radio DJ. The more absurd your scapegoats, the better. The point isn’t to genuinely dislike people; the point is to laugh a bit and remind yourselves you’re on the same team.
2. Get a Job
Not a real job, of course, but a Trip Job, a task which you own and take responsibility for every day, something along the lines of cleaning the sink, reading the map or preparing snacks. Divide what needs to be done to give your leisure days a little structure. Easy, right? Now comes the tricky part – don’t comment on how your travel companion does his/her jobs. The right way isn’t always your way. Just shut up, let them do their work and be grateful it’s done.
3. Find a Way to be Alone
There are big ways and small ways of being alone. Big ways are obvious things like taking solo hikes or spending a few days apart. On this trip, I’ve found it’s harder to come by the small moments of alone time that happen easily when you have a house with multiple rooms and separate routines. Whether by putting on headphones or diving into a book, it’s important to snatch a few moments of privacy and find a way to be alone even when you are sitting right next to another person. This is where plucking my eyebrows comes in – it’s an excuse to shut the bathroom door and do my own little thing for 15 minutes. I emerge well groomed and more content.
4. Take a Break
Oh, another stunning vista? Yeah, wake me for the next one.
You know how the first bite of a ripe peach is so incredible, but by the end of summer a ripe peach just isn’t as special any more? The same thing happens with scenery. Over-saturation with sight-seeing and constant active appreciation can dull your senses. Yet, on any kind of vacation, the urge is to constantly See! Do! Experience! Building regular breaks into your travel schedule allows you to more fully take in that next National Park or historic site. Contrast natural beauty with a few days in a city. Active days with lazy ones. At least one full day off every two weeks has worked well for us.
5. Indulge in the Ridiculous
Also known as, keep yourself entertained. Though hard to imagine, a long-term trip is not constantly exciting. When you’re cooped up inside on the third rainy day in a row, talking exclusively in fake Southern accents keeps things lively.
Y’all be sure to come back now and read about more of our adventures, ya hear?
Funny. The other way to gain some alone time? Do a marathon drive. We were together no joke for 5 1/2 days parting only to go to the bathroom and Forrest looked at me yesterday and said, “I feel like I haven’t seen you.” Gah.
Nevermind, don’t put that in ways to have alone time. Put it in reasons to avoid the interstate.
Any tips on figuring out when to pluck your eye brows (wax your upper lip, shave your legs, etc. etc.) when you don’t have a bathroom?!? I’m kidding. Sorta. It’s a bit hard sometimes.
The outside rear view mirrors 🙂 Not sure how tall a Sprinter van is, but on the Minnie the exterior mirrors are the perfect height for primping. Ha!