Three years ago this week, after a year and change of shuttling back and forth between Seattle and Vancouver for weekend trips to visit my long-distance boyfriend, I got on a Bolt Bus with a one-way ticket to Canada (metaphorically, anyway; they mightn’t have let me in if I hadn’t actually booked a return ticket). We spent a few days in the basement bedroom of a not-so-comfy sharehouse he had called home for the first year of his Canadian working holiday visa and then we moved into our first apartment together on West Broadway, a small but cute, retro-looking one-bedroom with mint green walls and close proximity to the many breweries of the False Creek industrial area (all the important stuff).
It was definitely a big adjustment; it was my first time moving in with a significant other and it was our first time spending more than a week in the same place in over a year. “Closing the distance” was obviously so exciting but also nerve-wracking in some ways. There’s a lot of advice out there about how to “survive” LDR (long distance relationships) and being apart from your SO, but as wonderful as closing the distance is, it brings its own set of challenges.
However, after almost three years of living together (aside from another three-month stint of LDR before we moved to New Zealand), I feel like I have a pretty good idea of the important things to remember in order to successfully close the distance.
Picking the ideal copilots for an extended road trip is important. Whether it’s your partner or your BFFs, you want people with whom you can spend hours in a car without wanting to kill them. Choose the perfect travel companions and your trip will be an incredible bonding experience, full of amazing adventures and special time spent together. Well, 95% of the time it will be. The other 5% of the time you’ll be tired and hangry and whoever’s driving will have just made the fourth wrong turn of the day and you’ll be all-out shouting at each other over the hellfire-and-brimstone religious radio station you’re being forced to listen to because someone forgot to charge the phone with the music. That’s just how it is. But there are some important steps you can take to ensure that percentage stays at 5% and that you still all love each other when you reach your destination.
Get out of the car
On our road trip, we tried to limit our driving time each day to five or six hours, but some days we had to spend nine or more hours in the car and on those days we definitely got more antsy and more argumentative. Obviously the conditions of your road trip may dictate how long you have to drive each day—if you’re trying to make it across the country in a week as opposed to our 2+ months you’re going to be forced to have much longer days on the road—but even if you know you’re going to be driving 12 hours don’t be tempted to try to push through without pitstops. Even 15 minutes’ break outside the car to stretch and get some fresh air and explore a town or a nature area makes such a difference in everyone’s temperaments.