family feature travel vanlife

Keeping a relationship on the road

June 19, 2019

Vanlife wouldn’t be the same without this guy. We’ve been together fifteen years now and our relationship has been a beautiful, constantly evolving creature from day one. Sometimes I can’t believe all the things we’ve created together – all the different ways in which our lives overlap & intertwine; all the highs & lows we’ve celebrated & weathered. We still talk incessantly & share & laugh like our early days. There are of course some times we get stuck & have to work hard to find a way forward, and it can take weeks, months … even years for certain things to resolve. The hardest bit is being aware when ego & control try to sneak their way in, or being prepared to be the one to change instead of expecting it of the other person. We are all so broken from being part of this crazy capitalist system that I think it’s a miracle anybody gets through a year intact, and to do it with another person’s hopes & dreams & shadows & expectations is doubly amazing & difficult. I realise a relationship isn’t about what the other can give you, but how you can hold space for each other to evolve & grow. It takes a lot of kindness, empathy & patience, and we both definitely had to learn so much about ourselves beforehand. We make a good team as we meander in our semi-planned loops around Europe. Living in a tiny space means we’ve had to better understand our own needs so we can communicate them, while also honing our listening skills. We’re also learning to dedicate ourselves to being the best people we can be, while supporting each other to do the same. It’s a process we both would have felt was ‘selfish’ in the past, but increasingly we’re coming to understand that to truly love someone is to firstly have self love so that you can support the other to grow & blossom as subtly, or fiercely, as is right for them, with love & without competing. And then sometimes, if you’re really lucky & patient, you find that the same person will continue to be all of the shapes that compliment all your new shapes, and more, as you evolve through life together.

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