By: Paulina Prazmo

 

It begins with a smile, a hello and then a “may I have your number?” Fast-forward to the first kiss, first fight, first time meeting the parents. First “I love you.” And then, for some, escalating to that first big trip you take together as a couple. How do you know when it’s the right time for you and your significant other to take a vacation together? Will it put a strain on your relationship? Or will it make it stronger?

McMaster couple Alex Holjevac and Kelsey Murray, both psychology majors, have been together for a year and offered to shed some light on this relationship milestone. The two of them recently took a horse-drive trip to Kananaskis, Alberta, located right outside of Banff National Park. This was no ordinary romantic “let’s fall in love again horseback riding into the sunset” trip. It involved pain from being on the horses for five hours a day, being thrown off the horse into horse waste and the potential of being trampled in a stampede. It included sleeping in tents, being drenched from the recent thunderstorm and completely losing it because the last meal they had was a granola bar six hours ago. It sounds downright frightening – especially when you look over to your travel buddy and it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend. Nevertheless, Alex and Kelsey both said with grins as big as horseshoes that it was the single greatest experience of their life.

They explained how such a trip out of the city to a more rural setting taught them something new about each other. Each of them got to see a different side of one another. Alex said it was a really good time to test their relationship and step outside of their comfort zone to see what they are like when taken away from everything that is familiar to them. It provided an opportunity to learn new things about each other and about their relationship. Alex learned that Kelsey is strongly driven and wants to succeed in everything that she does, even if there are obstacles in the way.  Kelsey learned that Alex has a lot more mental strength than she thought before. “I also learned how much he wants to be a cowboy,” she laughed. They both learned that they do not necessarily need to have everything in common between the two of them and it is definitely important to respect the other person and understand where they are coming from.

Alex and Kelsey recommended that if you are thinking of traveling with your significant other to make sure that both of you have been in a healthy and comfortable relationship for no less than seven months. They said it is a good idea to start off taking day trips together and working up to weekend trips to feel out the possibility of a longer trip. To those couples who are already thinking or planning a trip together, they advised to plan ahead and not to let the little things disrupt the exciting trip you two are going on together. “Relax and enjoy it. Don’t focus on the small things because in the end that doesn’t matter. What matters is having an adventure together,” said Alex. Kelsey also gave some insight about traveling with your significant other: “Try not to have too many expectations. You start looking for things that aren’t there. Have things fall where they should and let the memories make themselves.”

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