Climbers Kyle Dempster and Jewell Lund were climbing partners long before they were actual partners. As awesome as having a shared passion can be, it can also complicate a relationship when travels take them away from each other to very cool and covetable destinations.
And having conflicting needs and desires on a trip they’re taking together can be just as challenging. As a couple, they’ve learned a few things about keeping things copacetic on the home front, even when this means open bivvying when only one person wants to sleep without the tent.
Their tips are well told in the short film, 5 Ways to Love In the Outdoors. Here’s what they learned (as well as a few extra tips, courtesy of Semi-Rad.com creator, Brendan Leonard).
Be psyched on each other’s endeavors
This is a biggie. When the going-on-an-adventure shoe is on the other foot and you’re holding down the fort, while they have fun. Be excited for them, because nothing kills infectious excitement like trip jealousy. After all, isn’t the eighth commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy lover’s trip to Moab?”
Enjoy the time you have apart
Absence makes the heart grow stronger (and all that). And, beyond that, it gives you a whole lot of time to get into big projects that are aided by uninterrupted swaths of time.
Personally, on my own homefront that means doing a deep dive on a spring cleaning of the garage that was neglected after many winter weekends in the mountains. I also tuned up the fleet of bikes.
With both of these tasks, I streamlined the path to make future adventures easier. And that time also provided me ample opportunity to get long bike rides in — pedals that were longer than we would’ve done together.
Make the most of your time together
This is sometimes easier said than done. Clear the decks and make sure you both have time for each other. And put down the phone. Because hashbrowns for two is way better than hashtags for one.
Enjoy it all! Even when it gets rough
There ain’t no highs without the lows. There are no Nirvana songs without the occasional Nickelback tune. Whatever your spiritual/metaphysical/bumper-sticker philosophy is, the real work is applying it … Even when they really said they wanted to go on a bike ride and end up complaining about it the entire time.
Celebrate your summits
Yeah! You hit a peak. Enjoy it. Savor it. And if you really must, Instagram it. Because those apexes are temporary. Substandard kisses might be imminent (you’ll have to watch the video to get that joke). But a peak is a peak.
Be present for it before it disappears. Paradoxically, sometimes those summits should be celebrated after the fact, like when you convince your significant other to do something that kicks their ass, like a massive hill climb. In cases like that, a post-ride toast is often a better move.
Whether you’ve already mastered all five or you just don’t want this how-to to end, here’s a few more. They’re from Semi-Rad.com creator, Brendan Leonard.
He lived out of his van for three years and recently bought a condo with his girlfriend and adventure partner. He was also an associate producer of 5 Ways to Love in the Mountains. He told us these during a recent chat.
1. Always pack more food than you think you need because that helps everybody’s morale
He admits it’s not deep or profound (deep shmeep), but at a very minimum, it makes everyone a little happier. And it just may ensure that you don’t witness a hangry meltdown, or go through one yourself … far from home.
2. Going all-out should be reserved for solo trips or trips with friends
“It’s better to do something you’re both comfortable with rather than doing something that’s going to push someone to their max mentally,” says Leonard
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