We get asked many questions as a nomadic couple most of them questioning our lifestyle of perpetual travel: ”Why?”, “How?”, “When will you stop and settle down?”, “How do you spend all your time together and not want to kill each other? (The answers to which would be “Because we can,”, “We make it work,”, “Who knows?” and “Who says we don’t want to kill each other?”)
But the question I have found hardest to answer is: ”How do you decide where to go next?”
It’s not because it’s a hard question to answer, it’s because it’s a very personal question to us. More personal than perhaps it should be as it’s a constant compromise of our personal and joint desires in life. I suppose it’s like asking a couple who doesn’t travel: “Why did you buy this house?” “Why did you go with that type of car?” or “Why do you drink that brand of tea bags?”. They’re not really questions you ask all the time.
However, I have been asked this question many times so I thought I’d take a little time to answer it today because I appreciate it may be interesting to some people.
How we decide where to go next – and we’re in the process of planning our next stop – is a three-step process made up of Crazy, Considerations, and Compromise.
This is the fun part. This is when we go “crazy” and throw the names of places we’ve always wanted to go to around when we first start thinking about a new destination.
Sometimes these names never see the light of day again because they fail on the Considerations and Compromise steps – like “the moon”, which was one of my boyfriend’s least helpful suggestions – but more often than not we can make them happen. It was a dream of mine for a long time to go to Lapland and we made it happen early this year. And when we knew we’d have to be back in the UK this year it was assumed to us both that we’d rent a small apartment in London but a moment of “crazy” made me suggest Brighton, and here we are.
We take the following considerations very seriously. I don’t work to travel, I am pursuing serious careers we love and so am effectively running two businesses on the road. It’s crucial to me that I can keep growing them while I travel. While I may indulge my “crazy” by coming up with ideas, it is in answering these questions that many of the suggestions get taken seriously.
* Can we work from the location?
There are many questions that follow from this: Is the internet reliable and readily available? How difficult will the time zone make communication? Will we be able to afford a comfortable place with a desk and space for us both to work? While a destination doesn’t have to pass every question with flying colors, it does help when we know it’s going to be easy to work from there.
* What kind of work/life balance will there be?
One of the reasons we keep going back to Thailand is that we know our work/life balance will always be fantastic. We know that if we want to, we can take a day or an afternoon off and lie on a beach relatively easily. In other places, this isn’t so obvious so we do research to find out what the weather will be like, what sort of nightlife and culture the place has on offer and we look for destinations that offer us more than just a comfortable place to work. It’s important to us that there are places we can go for walks or cycling and nice restaurants to eat at.
* What value for money is there?
We left London because we found our money didn’t go very far there and this sort of serves as a benchmark for future destinations. We always try to stay in places where the cost of living is lower than what it was in London; admittedly that leaves a lot of places ripe for picking!
* How easy is it to find accommodation and get around?
A quick internet search will answer this question. One of the reasons we didn’t stay in the south of France despite nearly six months of talking about it, was how difficult it was to find a short-term let. Sometimes a place isn’t ready for our lifestyle even if we are ready to stay there!
As with every decision in a relationship, there is a healthy dose of compromise thrown in when we are looking at where to go next. While one person may want to go to a destination more than another, there has to be something in it for the other person because there’s only so long someone can stay somewhere they don’t really want to be. This happened with Lapland, I was really pushing to head there but my partner was less so, however, he is a very keen snowboarder so we turned the trip into a snowboarding trip and he had an incentive too. As it happened he fell in love with the snow-covered trees and other-worldly scenery almost immediately so it turned into a dream trip for us both. A similar thing happened in Morocco, I wanted to stay in Medina but my boyfriend found an amazing villa on the outskirts and he encouraged me to take advantage of the remoteness to finish writing my short story collection. Although I hate admitting it now, I have to admit he was absolutely right and I self-published the first story while we were there.
So tell me, how do you and your partner pick your next holiday or travel destination?