The travelling curse

Last updated 10:27 27/09/2012

If you're new to the blog then a) welcome, and b) by quick way of explanation... I've up and moved to Africa (Tanzania) to freelance as a journalist and follow around my charity-working boyfriend. I'm blogging to keep my sanity.

On planning the first portion of my new adventure, I had anticipated playing housewife for a few weeks before finding any work. As it transpired I landed my first freelance gig just the second week after arriving. The job is with Oxfam, producing videos and the like for their West Africa Food Crisis appeal, and filing a few news stories along the way.

That brings me to the present - holed up with my partner in a small "motel" in Mali (inverted commas because a motel in Africa is not the same as a motel in New Zealand), preparing for the next portion of the trip in Niger.

I've had an incredible time so far, and am always seeing things that make me reassess what I think I know about, well, everything. I've seen poverty I couldn't have prepared for, and met people whose resilience is mouth-open-wide astounding. I've seen Oxfam trying to do its bit, but knowing the shortfall of money means it will not stretch nearly far enough.

But what I wanted to bring to the table today is the tough road it can be travelling with a significant other.

(Note: from here on out my partner Matt would like to be referred to as Mystery Hunk.)

(Disclaimer: The name is completely his idea. He likes that it matches his initials... and, so he tells me, is the name given to unknown men in social pages who are spotted with good-looking women.)

So anyway, people had told Mystery Hunk and me before we left New Zealand that travelling is a true test of a relationship. I laughed it off, thinking that was a cliche repeated by people whose relationships had fallen apart, coincidentally, while travelling. Now just to be clear, Mystery Hunk and I are nowhere near the falling-apart stage - in fact it hasn't even crossed my mind. But if there's ever a time to become short tempered it's after a 15-hour cramped flight... followed by a taxi driver ripping you off... followed by a cockroach-infested "motel"... followed by the realisation there's only one single bed.

Leaving Mali

Me BEFORE we arrived... so bright-eyed, bushy tailed.

But the key, I reckon, though I'm quite aware after a month I'm no expert, is being able to laugh. To laugh at your situation or, in our case, at one of the 200 Family Guy episodes we bought before leaving. With another week to go before we head back to Tanzania, any tips (or stories of relationship-travelling success) are very much appreciated!

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