Sunday, 29 May 2016

Six Reasons to Travel with your Ex-Boyfriend.

Round-the-world Adventure.

Every now and then I get asked who is Matthew? Yup, Matthew, that tall blonde haired young man that ventured with me through South America and Italy. The simple answer is that he has been my best friend for the past five years since we met at Sixth Form. The answer that evokes the weirdest looks, however, is that he is my ex-boyfriend. We dated for a while in Sixth Form, but ever since then, other than when I've been travelling solo, in the last three years there probably haven't been more than five days consecutively that I haven't seen him as we go to the same university and have the same friends both at home and at university. 

Isn't that awkward? I hear you ask. Most people recoil at the thought of spending 8 weeks with an ex, especially when we bicker like an old-married couple. However, as I said, we get along well still (I say 'well', we have our moments!), and honestly, there's many things to love about travelling with an ex. 
  1. They can pretend to be your boyfriend when it suits you, and it seems very believable because as everyone you meet will always tells you, we bicker like an old married couple. A creep coming onto you at the hostel bar? "Oh Matthew, I love youuuuuu, you're so cute sometimes!" (Pah, if only). 
  2. Voice it. Yup. That weird or awkward thing that's happening - from stomach upset to period pains, just voice all the strange and gross things that come to your mind and remember they've probably heard it all before. It comes in handy when you have to explain why you'd rather not get on that 32-hour bus journey or why you're feeling particularly moody and hangry.
  3. Unlike travelling with a friend, they've seen you naked before. It's thus fine to sleep however you like. More conveniently for me, however, it came in handy in the hospital when I wasn't allowed to put my arm in the shower due to the drip but needed to wash vomit out of my hair... He leaned in the shower and shampooed my hair for me. Similarly, at the hot springs in the Atacama, I was able to help dry him/ prep all of his clothes to avoid him dying from the cold!
  4. Unlike travelling with a boyfriend, you don't have the pressure to keep the relationship going - Breaking up with a boyfriend, or seriously falling out, feels a hell of a lot worse than a tiff with your best friend. This can be a downside though, as it also means you can outright tell them when they're pissing you off without worrying about the consequences. Certainly, there have been a few times where I was going to leave him behind and go on by myself!
  5. You don't have to worry about finding private space to 'woohooo' (to borrow the phrase from the Sims), because none of that goes on. Also don't have to worry about offending people with too much PDA - some of the couples you see out and about travelling sicken me! Pleaseeeee.
  6. They already know everything about you - what annoys you, what food you do and don't like, what channel you'd rather watch etc. When they're popping to the shops and you're fast asleep, you know they can still bring you back something you might want to eat! (I mean, unlikely, but sometimes nice gestures do happen)
I mean, be warned though, it's not all fun and games! On the one hand, who knows, you could always re-kindle a lost flame! However, one thing I can guarantee you is that you will argue. In fact, in our situation, the little things we argued over made me realise why we broke-up in the first place, and why perhaps we weren't the most compatible. He may also turn out to be more of a dick than you remember in the first place! 

Also, and whether you're together or not, travelling with the opposite gender, especially when you bicker so much, people will undoubtedly assume you are. Be prepared for all the "but you make such a good couple" comments! I mean, while it's generally not a problem, when there's a hot guy in the dorm you've had your eye on, or he sees a girl he likes in a club, it becomes a highly frustrating scenario! 

Overall though, it was a enjoyable experience, and I'd say the advantages certainly outweighed the disadvantages in my situation. I wanted to travel South America but was worried about my safety solo, and so sought a male companion. Next time you're wondering who to invite travelling, don't forget that person that once knew everything about you and whom you spent a significant portion of your time with. Yup, your ex-boyfriend! 

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