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Improve Your Relationships: Travel for a Day or More!

Ogunquit, Maine: Site of our most recent 24-hour travels!

Ogunquit, Maine: Site of our most recent 24-hour travels!

Want to improve your romantic, friendship, or family relationships?

Here’s an easy method that works, and is even backed up by science: Travel for a day trip or longer.

Why does travel enhance human connections? Expansion.

To elaborate on the research behind this, let’s draw from the excellent New York Times article, “The Happy Marriage is the ‘Me” Marriage.” In this article, Tara Parker-Pope pulls together a number of recent studies to explain that happier relationships are those in which each partner helps expand the other’s horizons.

We decided on Ogunquit by randomly looking at a map!

We decided on Ogunquit by randomly looking at a map!

Parker-Pope explains, “If you’re seeking self-growth and obtain it from your partner, then that puts your partner in a pretty important position, […] and being able to help your partner’s self-expansion would be pretty pleasing to yourself.”

The author continues, “The concept explains why people are delighted when dates treat them to new experiences, like a weekend away.”

It is certainly true for me that shared new travel experiences build stronger relationships! Here is how this played out with me and my fiance (who I met and got engaged to because of travel in the first place!) earlier this month. You see, we’re both teachers, and we often spend our weekends grading papers in our apartment. Unfortunately, when you repeatedly do the same thing in the same place, it starts to blur together. All I usually remember of a 48-hour Grading Weekend is black and white words flashing in front of my eyes above the same gray couch.

One of the great seaside views along Marginal Way in Ogunquit.

One of the great seaside views along Marginal Way in Ogunquit.

“We gotta travel somewhere else,” I exclaimed. “We can still work, but we need a change of scene.”

“Okay!” replied Colin. “Where?”

“Anywhere,” I sang. “How long are you willing to drive?” (Recall I can’t drive, myself.)

“One hour and thirty minutes,” declared Colin, “maximum.”

I pulled up Google Maps and did several driving directions searches to ascertain the radius we could geographically achieve with ninety minutes in a car. Like Sherlock Holmes, I sleuthed out several towns that fit the bill, plus seemed to be in pretty areas as judged by the “Terrain” view in Google Maps.

We ate a ridiculous amount of lobster at that Ogunquit restaurant.

We ate a ridiculous amount of lobster at that Ogunquit pier restaurant.

Next, I opened internet tabs for about fifteen different hotel booking sites and quested for an hour until I found a great price on a hotel in a thrilling place: Ogunquit, Maine. We’d never been to Ogunquit before, but had heard others rave about it.

It was 11:55pm on Friday when I made the booking, and by Saturday afternoon, we were packed, in the car, and on our way to the seaside!

We still got an epic amount of grading done, but it was infinitely better by the beach, breathing fresh air, devouring lobster. We even took a short break to walk along famous Marginal Way: the beautiful Maine equivalent of the Newport, RI Cliff Walk.

Ogunquit is not a bad place to grade papers, eh?

Ogunquit is not a bad place to grade papers, eh?

When we got back home, our relationship felt different: stronger and expanded.

We’d created fresh new memories together that wouldn’t have happened staying in Boston all weekend, and we felt happy and in love!

So what about YOU?

Have you also experienced how expanding horizons with a partner, friend, or family member boosts your relationship? Do you have plans to, now?

Do share!

Want to read about 9 other ways to become extremely productive in addition to doing work in new locations? Click here!

 

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Laura @laurawallendal

Saturday 1st of September 2012

I couldn't agree more! My boyfriend and I went for a weekend away from Boston to New Hampshire and hiked to the top of Mt Washington and our relationship really did feel different after. We are both excruciatingly busy with work (I am an entrepreneur and he's in his second year of residency) and it turns out that getting away allows us 'unplug' from the demands of our jobs more fully than if we were to stay around the city. Great post! :)

Lillie

Saturday 1st of September 2012

Love that! Thanks for commenting :) May our loving trips continue!

Jason Zou

Monday 18th of June 2012

I've never been to Maine, is it nice up there?

Lillie

Tuesday 19th of June 2012

See the photos and judge for yourself!

Alessandra A

Monday 18th of June 2012

I totally agree with the fact that travel can make a relationship/friendship stronger. It's probably one of the biggest reasons why I like to go far away places with my friends and family. When you're with someone you love for a long period of time in a place that you love then things are usually a lot more fun. And while you're having fun you're having fun with someone you care a lot about. :)

Christine Y.

Friday 15th of June 2012

Spending more time with a loved one always make the relationship better.

Jun Hao Lei

Friday 15th of June 2012

Is a getaway really all that good? I thought buying some things for your friends and family is the best thing to do.

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