We’ve all been at that moment when we’re travelling with our spouses and everything’s going wrong, we’re hot and sweaty, no one speaks our language, we’re just about to lose it and one of you has been bitten by a monkey right? (Well, maybe not the monkey part!)
We’re thrilled to introduce you to The Wandering Wilsons on the blog today. These two have actually been in the scenario above (yes, monkey included) and are here today to share with us 4 things travelling the world has taught them about love and marriage.
We are honoured to share their story and are soaking up their advice on how to maintain a strong marriage and enjoy adventuring (even when things go awry!).
Without further ado, here it is!
We’re Maddy and Jeff Wilson, of Wandering Wilsons, and we’re newlyweds who fell in love in Barcelona and we’ve been wandering ever since. We’re firm believers that if we aren’t pushing out of our comfort zones every now and then, we aren’t really living, and we’ve got some stories to prove it.
We’re passionate about sharing adventurous firsts together and love telling stories of places we go and people we meet, documenting our memories and moments together along the way. We’re about keepin’ it real, and appreciating how awesome this life can really be when you do all of those things with someone you love.
We don’t have it all figured out by any means, but our travels have inspired us to strive to inspire other people and couples, to love each other better, and have really given us a clear purpose in our life and walk together.
Here are our Top 5 things that traveling together has taught us about love:
1. Knowing Each Other’s Strengths
This is a big one.
Throughout all of our adventures together, we’ve come to know that each of us has a distinct set of gifts that comes in really handy on the road. Jeff is an awesome planner – he does the research to make informed decisions about what areas we should explore, what places we should stay, what vendors to use and which to ignore. You name it, he’ll figure it out and know all of the details. When we picked our dive shop in Koh Tao, he did all of the dirty work to figure out which one would be best for us, and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
I, on the other hand, am all for a spontaneous adventure. (I probably would have just narrowed down to a few options and picked the cheaper one, and we’d have been eaten by a shark!) We’re sitting here writing this together and according to Jeff, I’m “fearless” when it comes to new challenges and opportunities. That makes me blush, but I suppose it’s accurate. I’m always game for a new challenge, whether it’s negotiating with a spammy tuk-tuk driver to just take us where we need to go (and stop trying to take advantage of us), trying a hike that weaves through random people’s backyards and rice fields because we don’t really have a trail, or hopping on the back of a stranger’s motorbike because it was the quickest and most efficient (although slightly terrifying and bumpy) way back to town.
It’s our differences in strengths that make us even more balanced and able to take on the world together, and we love how travel has made us appreciate those qualities. Teamwork really does make the dream work, friends.
2. You have to be okay with some rawness.
So much of what people (ourselves included a lot of the time) share on social media are these striking landscapes and beautiful things, but traveling in a non-luxurious, rugged way is NOT glamorous. Sometimes, it’s downright ugly.
We’ve gone days without showers, Jeff’s stolen my toothbrush after his fell in the already-questionable toilet water. I’ve had frizzy, fur ball hair and go without makeup. And there were multiple occasions where we had to use baby wipes to clean our feet because they smelled so sour after rain and sweat-soaked hiking that it was going to keep us from sleeping on trains.
See – I meant it when we said we like to keep it REAL!
But in all seriousness, there’s something so beautiful about being able to trust and know and love someone through all of that – and you really don’t experience things like that when you’re comfortable on your couch at home. Moments like that have only brought made us closer, and have given us quite a few belly-laughs.
3. Dependency Doesn’t Mean Weakness.
This word has such a negative connotation in our world today.
We think it’s mainly because so many of us are in such a hurry to be the smartest, most-driven, hard-working achievers that ever walked the earth, and there’s just no room for depending on other people in that mindset. But a healthy dependency can be an incredibly powerful thing in any relationship and especially in a marriage, and we’ve seen that come through in our travels.
When you sit across from someone and look them in the eye and tell them that you aren’t capable and you need their help, there are walls that break down and bring you so much closer together. Trust me – I am independent to a fault, and we are both really stubborn. But that’s not how love works.
When Jeff was bitten by a monkey in rural Thailand and we had to rush to find a hospital where no one spoke English, there was a little bit of fear for both of us. But we both were honest about that, leaned on each other to stay positive and calm, and recognized that sometimes, things go wrong and you just have to help each other out.
4. Constant Communication.
I know, I know. We see you guys rolling your eyes over there. But this list isn’t complete without it.
Communication is crucial, but we feel like traveling always makes it crystal clear for us. From booking flights, trains, home stays and excursions to navigating in cabs around new cities and everything in between – you just can’t have a good experience if you aren’t coming up with an action plan together.
For all of our travels, we make it a focus to do things we both want to do. Even though we usually agree on most things, we often have different bucket list items we want to tackle. We try to be open and honest about those things up front, so we make sure to make time for both of our priorities.
Jeff really wanted to SCUBA dive in Thailand on our honeymoon, and I couldn’t live without seeing an elephant sanctuary. Jeff also wanted to eat scorpions, I really wasn’t into that idea.
Setting those expectations with each other upfront makes sure you have the opportunity to talk them through, get on board, and make sure you’re both happy with the outcome, and this is just as true in normal life as it is on our adventures.
We’re so happy to be able to have had a few minutes of your day to share our story and lessons with you guys! Don’t be a stranger – we’d love to connect and chat about marriage, travel, and everything in between. Happy adventuring, friends!
There you have it, sweet friends, REAL-ationship advice from an adventurous couple who is navigating the world. Thank you Jeff and Maddy for sharing your story on our platform and spreading your seasoned advice to us and our audience. You two are the definition of “Wanderlust” and we love you two!
Tell us friends, have they hit these lessons on the head? We love hearing from you!
Make sure to check out what they’re up to below! (Hint: It’s amazing!)
Jeff and Madeline Wilson
We’re Jeff and Madeline Wilson. We’re newlyweds who fell in love in Barcelona, and we’ve been wandering and adventuring ever since. We’re firm believers that if we aren’t pushing out of our comfort zones every now and then, we aren’t really living, and we’ve got some stories to prove it. We’re storytellers, goofballs, puppy-lovers, and limit-pushers, and we’re so happy to have you along for the ride.