Ep73: Living abroad as a couple (without stabbing them in their sleep)

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In this episode, we reflect on how we’ve lived & worked together as a couple for almost 10 years, without having (too many) arguments.

We outline the 7 principles and hacks that ensure we stay sane and happy.

NOTE: This is following our new format of podcast episodes that are either about:

  • WHY you want to live & work abroad (last week)
  • HOW to live and work abroad (this one)
  • WHERE to live & work abroad (next week)

Let’s get stuck in. 

The roadmap we mention can guide you through the questions you need to ask before starting your own adventure.

Want to get involved? It’s completely free – just go to ASidewaysLife.com/roadmap.

As ever, get in touch on Instagram (@asidewayslife) or email asidewayslife@gmail.com. We genuinely would be thrilled to hear from you.

The Transcript

Note: This is automatically transcribed, so may not be 100% accurate!

[00:00:00.250] – Leanne
Woman in the shop who’s totally ripped you off and you’d got 20 hours down the road before you realise she completely shortchanged you. Hello and welcome back to a sideways life podcast, The Honest Guide to Living and Working Abroad, episode 73. And I am still Leanne and I’m still Al 73 episodes on and we’re still sending people out.

[00:00:25.310] – Al
I don’t know. I think in some ways we have grown.

[00:00:33.190] – Leanne
It’s an exciting week for us, isn’t it? A little celebration on Sunday, we have.

[00:00:40.330] – Al
Oh, yes, we have. Shit. Yes, we have. Yes, we have. It’s 15 years together since our first date on Sunday. Is that correct?

[00:00:49.040] – Leanne
It is my first and last date. My last first date was it, though.

[00:00:54.030] – Al
Do you not date anyone between when I was a bit knobbed and I just disappeared.

[00:00:58.270] – Leanne
I was loyal to my heart. I know you did.

[00:01:04.750] – Al
That’s not true. That’s not true. So 15 years since our very first date, of those 15 years, we have spent nine. We spent ten married.

[00:01:15.010] – Leanne
Almost September.

[00:01:16.810] – Al
Yeah, almost ten married. And nine of them living and working abroad. Is that right?

[00:01:22.320] – Leanne
Yes. No, we wouldn’t know how to not do that. What would that look like? I don’t know.

[00:01:27.540] – Al
That’s weird. That’s weird, man. So this is prescient because today’s episode is called What Leanne?

[00:01:34.170] – Leanne
How to Be a Couple Living and Working Abroad without Killing Each Other.

[00:01:39.200] – Al
It was one of the working titles without stabbing the other person in the heart when they slept.

[00:01:43.660] – Leanne
But we felt that was aggressive.

[00:01:46.780] – Al
Yeah. Let’s look at the positive side of it. And I think this is really important because a lot of people who are going to be living and working abroad are going to be living and working abroad with their significant other. It’s a minefield.

[00:02:01.130] – Leanne
It is. It’s a wonder we’re still married.

[00:02:05.270] – Al
Well, we say that, but actually we’ve had a lot of friends compliment us, which is very nice, saying, I don’t know how you do it because they go away on holiday for a week with their significant other and they’re like, oh, I want to kill them. But the difference is that we’ve had those moments, we’ve eased into this and probably the first couple of years were tough and then maybe year five was tough and maybe year seven was a little bit tougher. But over these last nine years, we’ve got lots and lots of lessons that we’ve learnt and we’d love to share with you. Not all of them going to work for you, but I’m hoping that some of them will.

[00:02:39.170] – Leanne
Yeah, exactly. Some things might work for you equally. If you have your own trips, tips, techniques to keep your relationship positive, then by all means let us know, because we are no experts. We’re just telling you what we’ve figured out so far.

[00:02:57.410] – Al
And I think it’s also worth noting that not only do we live and work abroad, but we live together and we work together and this is quite a recent thing over the last six months is that we’re now working together on the same business because we didn’t spend enough time together. So some of these things have come from the last six months of literally be working on the same product and service together, which, if you’re interested, is oblonghq.com. That’s our new consultancy. But we’re not here to post that to promote that, are we?

[00:03:29.470] – Leanne
No, I can’t imagine you give a shit. If you do, then that is what it’s called.

[00:03:34.740] – Al
Okay, so doing any preamble or should we just crack on with how many do you got there, Leanne?

[00:03:39.440] – Leanne
I’ve got four.

[00:03:41.630] – Al
I’m just counting up. I’ve got five because I’m greedy.

[00:03:44.610] – Leanne
So you go first and then we should even out. Right?

[00:03:47.060] – Al
Cool. Okay, so I’m going to start with the first one, which is a very odd term for it, but it’s asynchronous communication. Now, this comes from my nerdy background and also Leanne’s culture and background and management background, asynchronous communication tends to talk about rather than email as asynchronous in that you will send it and then you’ll wait for a reply. Whereas synchronous conversation tends to be like, hey, do you want a cup of tea? Yes, I would. Do you want sugar in it? Yes, I do. Do you want milk in it? Yes, I do. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So the synchronous is kind of like it’s a two way, basically, both from two way, but synchronous happens at the same time asynchronous happens separately. Now, the reason why I think this is important is because Leanne might be in the flow of her work, for example, and I’ll think, oh, I’ve just found a really good place to go for dinner on Friday. Or I might think in terms of work, oh, this would be a great idea. So rather than say, hey, look, you got a second to talk about something? What I’ll tend to do is I’ll email her or we’ve now started using Google Workspace, so we use chat or whatever.

[00:04:51.240] – Al
But I’ll email her. It’s like some stupid things. I’m sitting opposite her on the same table, but then it gives her time and also the ends and introvert. I’m more of an extrovert. It gives her more time to consider the thing, but also reply at her own time. And this, I think, sounds really nerdy, but it’s really important because you’ll be in different flows. And even if it’s about I might be out with a dog and I might send her a message saying, Defence are going to the pub on Friday or something. Then it gives her time. She either picks it up when she’s got time and also gives her time to think about it. So I think that this is the future of some parts of communication. What do you think?

[00:05:30.710] – Leanne
I agree. And I think it’s just not demanding somebody’s attention is a good lesson of life, whether you are living in your home country for a significant other or whether you work in an office environment. Don’t demand people’s attention. Who are you to demand someone’s attention? Be a bit considerate. I understand that you have thought you had an idea you need to get it out, and that’s where things like WhatsApp or email or spaces is a really great way of doing that.

[00:06:01.500] – Al
And also, I think if you’re aware of what kind of personality you have, if you’re an extrovert and you’re with an introvert, then it takes a long while to realise when you spend a lot of time with someone that when you say, do you fancy this? And they’re quiet for about 30 seconds, they’re actually thinking about it. There was an expert go, oh, yeah, or we could do this or we could do the other, blah, blah. And I think that’s probably quite important to identify whether you are intro or extra. Extra.

[00:06:27.770] – Leanne
You are extra.

[00:06:30.350] – Al
That’s my first one. What have you got there?

[00:06:31.900] – Leanne
And so my first one is a similar thing where it’s not demanding somebody’s attention. Boundaries. Setting boundaries. And I think I mentioned this in the podcast last week when we were talking to the lovely ladies from Smoothie about the why it’s just setting boundaries and making sure you agree what those boundaries are. So, for example, I have a cup of coffee in the morning. And until I finish that cup of coffee, I’ll know not to speak to me because I’ve only been awake for 30 minutes and I’m introverted. I have nothing to say to you. Nothing has happened in the last 30 minutes that I need to share. So leave me alone. Let me have a copy, and then I’ll engage similarly. I know. And again, this is a good tip, whether you’re abroad or whether you’re home country or ever. But I used to have a job that demands a lot of my it had to be an extrovert and it sucked my energy out. So I would get home the end of the day and genuinely just be so exhausted, mentally drained. And I’d walk in the door and because I was a sweet, I’d be like, hey, I love how did you do what you do?

[00:07:40.020] – Leanne
How do you go, oh, how am I that more have such and such. And I’ll be like, I need you to shut the fuck up. So we had a roll and we’re like, don’t assume that I do not want to talk to you for the first hour. I’m in the house after I get back from work. If that’s not the case, I’ll start a conversation with you. But please just give me that space because I’m going to end up being grumpy with you or say something horrible. I don’t mean to having those little boundaries. Similarly, I know that if Alex got his headphones in, then he probably doesn’t want to be disturbed. Equally, if he goes for some quiet time during the day. He doesn’t want me pocket and going, all right, okay, anything. He’s just gone for some quiet time. Leave him the fuck alone. Having these little boundaries, these little rules that you talk about, you agree. I think it just helps to have a positive, happy life.

[00:08:33.290] – Al
I think we should define because a quiet time seems to be something like a phrase we’ve come up with or something that’s very much your family. So what do you define by quiet time?

[00:08:47.810] – Leanne
If I had a sun on my face, it would say, do not disturb my notifications off. I’m in sleep mode. This is my quiet time.

[00:08:58.190] – Al
And this is important to understand that some people need quiet time, some people don’t. What’s interesting is that I was very much extrovert. Lyanna is very much introvert and we’ve kind of met a bit more in the middle. So I’m much more introverted than I used to be Viana’s much more extroverted than she used to be. And by the way, introvert doesn’t mean shy, it just means that you define it because you’re the psychologist.

[00:09:22.610] – Leanne
There’s lots of different definitions, but I think the simplest one to get it is that I enjoy socialising, but it’s not a situation that gives me energy, it’s a situation that uses my energy. Whereas being alone, being quiet, doing things by myself, whether it be reading, just not engaging with another person, that helps me rebuild my energy levels for my next extroverted interaction.

[00:09:48.490] – Al
So I think that it’s important that if you are, that you recognise that, first of all, there is such a quite thing as quiet time, which is, as an extrovert is quite difficult to recognise. And secondly, if someone decides to take themselves off, like into the bedroom or go and sit on the sofa with the headphones on or something like over lunch, I think. I imagine that we’d be sitting in a beautiful garden having a glass of wine, chatting about our day over lunch. That’s never happened. Because over lunch you put your headphones on and you watch Drag Race or whatever it is.

[00:10:16.090] – Leanne
Not on work days.

[00:10:17.180] – Al
No. I think that I’ve learnt now that you do need this little quiet time as a little. Aside from that, we quite often use our quiet time to watch our own separate box sets of things. I say box sets because it’s not really box anymore on Netflix or prime or anything like that, but we have our own sort of series going on. So I love Ozark and Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad and you have yours, which I don’t really know what they are, but they seem to be period dramas.

[00:10:44.450] – Leanne
You’re a fucking business.

[00:10:49.110] – Al
But that’s important as well, because if you sit down every night and go, Right, should we crack on with another thing at Game of Thrones, then it’s just that thing you’re doing together. And I think it’s really important to have that quiet time, a separate time. So is it me next?

[00:11:02.330] – Leanne
It is.

[00:11:04.050] – Al
Excuse me. So I’m going to talk about our dog, and I think what’s really useful about the dog is that he gets us out, he gets us meeting people independently. So we do take the dog for a walk together, maybe like three or four times a week down the beach or something. But when you’re on your own, you feel like the dog gives you a reason to get out of the house, I think is what I’m just realising this now. The dog gives you a reason to get out of the house if you’re not careful, if you’re working from the kitchen table, if you’re eating from the kitchen table, if the kitchen table is about 4ft away from your bed, which some Airbnb and visa is, if you’re not careful, you just got this, like cabin fever, where for you to say, I’m going out, the other person quite naturally might go, Where are you going? And then you go, none of your business where we’re going, et cetera, et cetera. So I think having that reason to go out, whether that’s hobbies, whether it’s a dog, whether you tell the person that every morning you go out for a 45 minutes walk, that kind of thing is really useful, I think.

[00:12:06.900] – Leanne
Absolutely. You actually did that when we were in Southeast Asia and we left Peanut with friends in the UK. You would still do the dog walking in very common every morning because you were used to having that time, that time to yourself. Yeah. It helps you have that again, that separation at different time, but also engaging in something else and something else. Get a dog.

[00:12:36.030] – Al
Yeah. Cats aren’t that keen on walking on a lead anyway.

[00:12:39.890] – Leanne

[00:12:41.310] – Al
So that’s me. What have you got?

[00:12:43.350] – Leanne
So my next one is communication, the cliche that every good marriage is built on, but really can’t stress enough how communication is everything and hyper communication, communicating things that you wouldn’t necessarily do. But when you’re spending pretty much 24 hours a day together communicating about how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, or that you don’t know how you feel and you don’t know what you think is really important, I will have days where I wake up and I’m just like, I feel a bit off, I just feel a bit blue, I feel a bit down, a bit disillusioned, and I’ll probably snap out. I think if I’d probably snap out of it by lunchtime, but I’m not feeling great today. So I just say to Al, I’m not feeling great today, I feel a bit blue. And the key thing is, Al doesn’t come in and go, what’s wrong? Dying? What’s happened? How can I fix it? He just goes, okay, I’m here if you want to talk about it. Okay, great. And it’s the same thing whether you’re angry, whether you’re frustrated and as well. It’s just that being able to turn to somebody and say, you did this.

[00:13:51.610] – Leanne
And it annoyed me because I’m not saying that was your intent, but just so you know, you did this and it annoyed me because I think one of the things and this might maybe slip into your next one, but one of the times I said to you, I just felt like we got into some weird kind of habit. It’s probably only about a week or something. We’re travelling quite frequently in Asia that you would change and go, oh, we should go here. And I’d be like, yeah. And then it’s almost like I have to make that happen, right? So I’m the one that has to look at the transport. I’m the one that has to look at hotels. And then when I said that to you, I just feel like you’re saying this is a dream. Make it happen, Leanne. And you’re like, I’m so sorry, that wasn’t the intention at all. I just thought you really liked to do that. But it’s just having that. And it’s not about creating an argument, it’s not about having beef. It’s just saying that you did this. And it made me feel like this because I think that’s a really cool thing that we can do.

[00:14:51.610] – Al
Yeah. And as a recipient of someone who answers that to you more often, I think then I say to her, when I first started, I used to go, oh, well, I’m sorry, it’s because of this. And now I’ve learned, I just go, okay, that really wasn’t my intention. I’m sorry. And she goes, that’s okay, I know it wasn’t. I just wanted to say it. I think that’s really important. And I think going on from this, as you said it, you’ve nicely segued into my next one, which is when you are out exploring, when you are in a different country and you see, like, you might see an advert for a wine festival, or there might be a party going on, or there might be a bar that someone says is really good on Facebook. Then we found that by creating a WhatsApp group for every city that we go to works really well because then you can go, oh, there’s an event on Friday. Rather than saying to the Anne at 02:00 on a Monday afternoon, do you want to go out to an event on Friday? I grabbed a link, I put it in the group for Split, which is where we are right now.

[00:15:52.000] – Al
I put it in the group and I post it and I just say, Fancy this sometime. And then when she’s in the mood, she knows to open up a Split app and there’ll be probably be a few message from me with different places we can go, restaurants, events, et cetera. And she can make her mind up then. And also on a Saturday morning, we sit there going, what are we going to do today? We can open up WhatsApp? And we’ve got a list of all the different things we’ve seen that we can potentially do. Sounds super nerdy but we have WhatsApp groups are just the two of us for almost everything we have. It for meals. Any recipe you’ve seen, you put in the WhatsApp group?

[00:16:23.780] – Leanne
Yeah, I do. And I think it’s a really cool thing to do and I think as well, when you have a life and there’s so much planning to be done and decision to be made, it’s either putting in a space where when somebody is in the right form of mind to be like, okay, I’m planning a decision making mode, then I’ve got everything I need there to help me do it but also just making a bit of fun of it and a bit of light of it. One of my favourite games that we play, particularly on a Friday night or a Saturday morning is like what we’re going to do this weekend and we’ll get some little Postits or piece of paper and we’ll write things that we’d like to do and it might be I’d like to go to this site or I would like to have a walk on the beach or I really want to go for tea here. It’s a whole herring thing. You can always include. I want 2 hours to myself shopping and then we open them all up. Anyone that match, we’re like, well that’s definitely happening this weekend.

[00:17:18.550] – Leanne
Any that don’t match, we say, okay, well let’s put them in the Navy pile and then basically use our little notes to plan our itinerary for the weekend. And usually it means that we’ll have some things that we both want to do and we’ll do them together. Other things that we think, yeah, that’s a great idea. Let’s do that. And other things that might go, well, why don’t you go and do this and I’ll go and do that.

[00:17:38.030] – Al
And I think what is interesting about, even if you imagine you were sitting there, you did that and you wrote down, you’ve got ten pieces of little tiny piece of paper, you wrote on all those things and nothing matched. Well, if you’re not careful, you go, oh God, what are we going to do? No one’s decided. No, what you’ve just discovered is that you want to do totally different things this weekend. So go and do them. Go and have your own space. I can’t think of anything worse than wandering around. I mean they call it a mall in Europe. I mean it’d be a shopping centre in the UK, shopping around, shopping centre, looking at shoes or jewellery or clothes or whatever.

[00:18:15.480] – Leanne
That’s exactly how I spent my morning last Saturday and it was glorious. Exactly.

[00:18:19.340] – Al
So just buying, allowing because that gives two things. First of allowing people to recharge how we recharge. Recharge is French and it gives each, all of us the chance to recharge. But secondly, it almost gives you something to talk about as well. Because if you’re not careful, then you go, how’s your day would you go? Well, you should fucking know, because I was with you from literally the moment you woke up until right now. So I think having your own space to do your own thing is such a great idea.

[00:18:51.620] – Leanne
I agree. What’s your next one now?

[00:18:55.480] – Al
Well, that was my next one space, but I’m going to talk about routine routines and more like jobs, I suppose. So assuming you’re both working and assuming you’re both doing the same things, let’s take the dog out equally, et cetera, et cetera, then there’s lots of tasks around the house that need to be done. And so we’ve found that generally I will do the washing, like the clothes washing, hang it up, put it away. I will generally also try and do the washing up more often than Leanne. But Leanne will also Cook much more often than I will. She will go shopping for all the food on a Friday she’ll organise with such nerds. We’ve got a Trello board with all our meals on it, so we just put them across. But also think about that. It means if Leanne plans a meal, she puts the Trello board together. And then I look up and I go, It’s 01:00 on a Tuesday, have a look on the Trello board. There’s a recipe and there’s mine face. I’m attached to that card. If you’re not seeing Trello, basically it’s like little mini post it notes, but online.

[00:20:04.810] – Al
And I’ll go, okay, not only do I know it’s my turn to make lunch, but I also know what I’m cooking, what I’m making. And I know that Leanne will have got all the ingredients in on the previous Friday or whatever. So I think stuff like that, just assigning these tasks, which is, I suppose, a little bit modern. And particularly when you go to some of the more European, more remote places in Europe, you might get odd looks as a man hanging out, washing. But it’s really important, I think, to separate because if you’re not careful, then especially if one of you has stayed at home and one of you has gone to work and now both of you are working, you had those established routines and tasks. What do you think?

[00:20:42.010] – Leanne
Definitely. And again, I think this is just something that works really well wherever your living and working situation is, but just making sure that things are fair and equitable. What I like about how we’ve structured things is that often I say to like, I feel like you do so much more than I do in terms of the house, just life admin. And then I’ll be like, to be honest, I feel like you do more when it’s fair and when it’s split. Well, then that’s the way it should feel. And I think as well, and it might sound like we’re micromanaging our life and to an extent we are. But when so much of living and working abroad is about unknowns, about new challenges, throwing out your decision to be made if you’re more transient or nomadic, there are so many things you have to think about on a daily basis. But just knowing that one part of your life is just done and it’s organised and it is the way it is, gives you this head space. You need to then make these bigger decisions and meet these bigger challenges.

[00:21:38.830] – Al
Absolutely. I think that there’s also things like the way we pack up, because at the moment we’re moving every sort of like two or three weeks. The way we pack up is that we have a set number of boxes that fit in the car, like the big perspex boxes that you’ve got a lid on them and handles set number of those that we know fit in the car. And so everything we own has to fit in the box. And so we have certain things labelled I know in the shoe box. I know that in the shoe box there’s probably about 10% of it is for my shoes and 90% of is it for your shoes. But in the Nerd box, then I’ve got an entire box. One of the biggest box we have, just full of all my stuff, like my camera, my keyboard, all my audio stuff, et cetera, et cetera. And so, as you said, with you moving around so much, with things being so variable, if you can stabilise and almost systematise those things, then everything else, there’s no argument about. What do you mean you can’t fit my shoes in because you’ve got a freaking 21 inch monitor.

[00:22:40.540] – Al
I keep shouting at me and hitting the microphone style.

[00:22:43.390] – Leanne
I don’t believe I’ve done it once.

[00:22:45.020] – Al
I just did it twice. But there’s no argument then like, oh, I can’t fit my shoes in. Why don’t you take your stupid monitor out? Because we’ve already agreed, okay? These are our spaces.

[00:22:54.730] – Leanne
Definitely just all the little things that bearing in mind this life can be stressful. This life can throw surprises at you. This life is a challenge, so that in itself is going to put strain your relationship. You don’t want mundane things like who’s cooking lunch, who’s doing the shopping or where does my laptop go to cause unnecessary friction and annoyance. There’s no need for it, it just takes a little bit of organisation, open communication agreement on who’s doing what. And then don’t sweat the small stuff left. Just figure out where we’re going to live next week. Right.

[00:23:31.750] – Al
And I think also that’s a good point about figuring out where to live. Leanne is very good at finding stuff on Airbnb that I never can.

[00:23:38.620] – Leanne
I do have an unusual talent for you.

[00:23:41.180] – Al
You do. So I generally will send two or three over to Leanne, knowing that she’s going to find six or seven better ones on Airbnb. But when we get there. My job is, and we’ve not really formalised. This doesn’t we’ve ever spoken about it. My job is generally to find out where the nearest dog park is, where we can walk the dog in terms of unpacking. So packing and unpacking, I pack the car, I’d take the boxes into the car and I take the boxes back into our Department. But when we get in there, Lean unpacks the kitchen and I unpack all the tech. So I set up our microphones for our thingy. I make sure that Leanne, there’s extension cables that Leanne’s laptop can be plugged in. I make sure that all the cameras are set up for a Zoom calls.

[00:24:24.150] – Leanne
There’s always a phone charge in exactly the right place and there to be a phone charge number of times. No problem. I sat on the phone, but he’s charged my phone. There it is. Hello.

[00:24:34.330] – Al
And it’s that division of tasks, which is really important because if you’re not careful, A, get onto each other’s feet and B, the start resentment sort of feels like if I came in, I was like, oh, brought all those boxes upstairs. We’re on the fifth floor in this apartment, bringing like ten.

[00:24:50.330] – Leanne
There was a lifter. To be clear, it wasn’t all for you.

[00:24:53.510] – Al
Can we just say all the lift did was take it from the bottom to the top floor? I still had taken from the bottom to the top anyway.

[00:25:00.910] – Leanne
You did, of course.

[00:25:05.030] – Al
But I might think, God, I’ve earned a beer, so I might sit down and have a beer while Leanne’s, like, unpacking the kitchen and setting things up. And that’s just not fair or equitable, as you use before, by the way, raise my glass to that word. So I come in and I’m like, okay, well, I’m going to set up the bathroom, I’m going to make sure that the tech set up, etc, etc.

[00:25:23.210] – Leanne
But I think I might be labouring my point a bit here is a good point to Labour. Cool.

[00:25:27.660] – Al
What else you got, Leanne?

[00:25:29.630] – Leanne
I think the final thing and extension of communication and boundaries. But if there’s one thing that you choose to develop in your why before you make this move, empathy. And more than that, emotional intelligence. And that is trainable. That is something you can improve on. And a big factor of emotional intelligence is empathy. And I think if there’s just one thing you try and do, be kind to yourself and be kind to the person you’re travelling with, be empathetic. And by empathetic, it’s not like, oh, poor baby, you have to carry all the boxes up the stairs. You want to be that sympathy. No one needs sympathy. It’s bullshit. What you need is empathy. You need someone to get in the hole with you. Right. And this is not just in terms of jobs, but also if you’re having a bad day or there’s some woman in the shop who’s totally ripped you off and you’ve got 20 hours down the road before you realise she completely short changed. You happened to me two weeks ago. I know. How many years Helen abroad. Still don’t learn. Oh, I’m right in the mood for you, Al.

[00:26:39.190] – Leanne
You will not believe what this woman is doing. Oh, my God. Proper full on ramp. The last thing you need when you’re in full ramp mode just won’t go well. But, you know, maybe she needs extra cash and you don’t know people’s circumstances and. Quite right, valid points to chat about after you’ve got in the hole with me and said, you’re right, that’s outrageous. I can’t believe you. That cheek. Who does she think you is like? I know, I know. And then I say, but you know, you don’t have 30 seconds. Get in the hole. If someone is outraged, be outraged with them. Don’t try and fix it straight away. Feel it with them. Show empathy. Did I make the point strong enough?

[00:27:19.170] – Al
You did. And I think that it’s important that people know when we say getting the hole. This is an allergy. What’s the word?

[00:27:28.570] – Leanne

[00:27:30.630] – Al
Analogy is the right word. And we got it from Samaritans. That’s where we met. We were both Samaritans and in the training, they talk about the difference between sympathy and empathy. Is a man or a woman or is just an androgynous person stuck in this hole. And so the sympathetic person will stand on the top of the hole and go, oh, my God, it must be awful down there. It’s terrible down there. How are you? You okay? Whereas the empathetic person will get a ladder, get down into the hole with them and go. So what’s it like down here?

[00:28:01.070] – Leanne
It’s dark.

[00:28:02.160] – Al
Yeah. And how did you get down here?

[00:28:05.300] – Leanne
How are you feeling about it?

[00:28:06.530] – Al
Exactly? And then generally that will help people to climb back out of the hole. So really important skill. And if you like that analogy, then maybe go and volunteer for the Samaritans because they are an amazing organisation.

[00:28:20.430] – Leanne
Amazing organisation skills that we have applied so much personally and professionally. An incredible organisation. But yes, empathy, moral intelligence, be aware. And as well, I think, self awareness. And we’ve talked about this, we talked about this a lot last week with smoothie. It’s being self aware of your own emotions, how you’re feeling, how that impacts somebody else. If you’re having a very negative day, then that’s not going to help them be positive. And, yeah, self awareness and empathy, I think makes sense.

[00:28:53.390] – Al
And replacing the toilet roll when it runs out.

[00:28:55.600] – Leanne
Oh, God, please. It’s just. No need not to. Come on now.

[00:29:01.230] – Al
So shall we run through these quickly again, recap them?

[00:29:04.660] – Leanne

[00:29:05.270] – Al

[00:29:13.210] – Leanne
My first one, boundaries. Set some boundaries, have that conversation. Yes, important.

[00:29:19.750] – Al
My second one was asynchronous communication. If you’ve got an idea or you want to chat about something, sometimes it’s a good idea just to send a WhatsApp message so the other person can read it at their own leisure and consider it communication.

[00:29:33.450] – Leanne
Both in terms of how you’re feeling and how somebody else has made you feel, not in a confrontational way. Do you know what this happened?

[00:29:39.960] – Al
Can we chat about it getting a dog or a hobby or something that’s going to get you out of the house? The temptation sometimes is when you get someone new is to not leave the house for a little bit because you’re a little bit scared. So there’s something that gets you out every single day is a great idea.

[00:29:57.250] – Leanne
Make the planning fun or make the planning automated. Have your things there that are already figured out. When it comes to making those bigger decisions, give people the space and resource they need to do it and also make it foreign. And if there are things that you want to do separately, go do them separately.

[00:30:14.320] – Al
That’s fine having a single place where you can send things you’ve seen. So we use WhatsApp groups. You might also want to use emails. Or if you’re a bit more nerdy, you can use, like trailer boards or whatever. But essentially, if you see something that you think that’s really cool, pop it in a WhatsApp group with the two of you in there, and then you can go and review it later.

[00:30:39.190] – Leanne
Work on improving your emotional intelligence. And if you can only do one thing, be empathetic, be kind to yourself, be kind to the person you’re travelling with.

[00:30:50.590] – Al
And the final one, I’ve actually got two left because I have one more is to give each other space. If one person wants if one person likes shopping and the other one doesn’t, fine. Let them go shopping on their own. Don’t think that’s bad. Then you’ve got an afternoon to sit and crack on with those breaking bands. You’ve been there, you’ve been putting off. And the final one I had here was to have some kind of defined responsibilities. I called it routine before. That’s not right. It’s defined responsibilities. So one of you is in charge of washing, one of you in charge of cooking, one of you is in charge of unpacking the tech one. He was in charge of going back in the kitchen, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:31:28.810] – Leanne
Nailed it.

[00:31:29.940] – Al
Cool. Okay. Well, that was one of our shortest episodes. We’ve done. I think I’m pleased with that.

[00:31:37.690] – Leanne
You should be. That was excellent. Really good. Very good points. And you made them very well.

[00:31:45.310] – Al
Cool. Okay. Right. Well, until next time, then, you’ll probably notice that we have a theme. Now. We’re talking about why you want to live and work abroad, how you want to live and work abroad, and where you want to live and work abroad. Last week’s was firmly into the why this week’s is into the house, how you live and work abroad as a couple, even if you’re not like a sort of partners if you’re living with a friend, how you live and work abroad as a couple. So next week we’re going to be talking more about where and have we decided on the actual episode title yet?

[00:32:19.720] – Leanne
We have. We thought we would chat you through in terms of the where. One of the big things is visas. There are top three or top three visa choices for people who want to live abroad in Europe.

[00:32:32.360] – Al
So look out for that one. If you’re not subscribed, then how’s wrong will you click that subscribe button and as ever.

[00:32:37.980] – Leanne
Ring that Bell annoys me so much that if you liked seeing always contact, click the like button, subscribe and ring that Bell.

[00:32:46.410] – Al
Do you know what annoys me when they say smash that like button? I’m like I’ll smash your face in a minute. Maybe anger management should be something here so subscribe and also go back. Yeah, if you want to and just maybe go back to a few episodes to go. I think we may be 67 68 69 where we went into great depth about the why, the how and the where.

[00:33:11.120] – Leanne
Indeed. You can also have a look at that roadmap on our website sidewayslife.com. And should you have any burning questions or topics you would like us to talk about in terms of why, how or where, let us know. You have influence here. This isn’t a dictatorship. You can tell us what to talk about and we will obey.

[00:33:31.670] – Al
We will. So either go to Instagram and search for a sidewayslife as we’re talking to Leanne or go to your email account, open up an email and send it to asidewayslife@gmail.com. The link to that roadmap is a sidewayslife.com roadmap and if you want to get involved, all the little button you can click in there and you can give us your email address and we’ll reply and we’ll chat to you about it. Nothing to sell you.

[00:33:55.990] – Leanne

[00:33:56.490] – Al
Just want to help you live and work abroad in 2020, team. All right, guys, see you soon. Bye.

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