Over the summer Franceska and I honoured a long-held dream of travelling around the South Island, visiting the different places where we each grew up as well as some places we hadn’t seen. That was her dream, my dream was to do the road tour in a motor home. Somehow I prevailed and we travelled around in the biggest motorhome we could rent.
28 days, 3000km, 17 river bank picnics, hundreds of photos, countless cafes and restaurants of varying quality, disputed number of fine days, 10 visits to dump transfer stations, 6 marriage-threatening rows (apparently they’re called divorce wagons) resulted in an unshakeable vow to never set foot in a motorhome ever again.
Fast forward to a date night conversation about fun and adventure. One of the things we’re practicing is open-ended questions. These are questions where you’re not trying to lead the other or persuade or in fact do anything but learn what they think or feel about something. For example, “How do you feel about that?” is a great open-ended question, as is “Under what circumstances would you…?”
From a relationship perspective, these questions are intended to enable you to learn more about your partner. You might think you know everything about them twice over, but you don’t even know everything about yourself, let alone someone else. It’s a very interesting process which is quite challenging, both in finding the questions and giving honest answers, because there is a high risk of a supplementary question “That’s interesting, can you tell me some more about that?”
What did we learn on this particular date night? We didn’t want to sleep on a boat. We didn’t want to be tied down to a set regime of a weekend away every 2 months. We didn’t want to do long trips. We wanted to take our dog. We like picnics in comfort. We liked the pottering around that goes with “glamping” – nothing too primitive but requiring a bit of honest work. We wanted the flexibility of going away for a weekend without the drama of finding a recommended place to stay. We liked a moderate amount of the unexpected and a little of the familiar.
Which led to the question, under what circumstances would we consider owning a motorhome? If it was shorter, more parkable and customized to our needs.
Three days later we were at the Motorhome show (the fourth largest expo at the Showgrounds). Next day we bought a second-hand 6.22m motorhome (only 8000k on the clock, fully fitted out) which arrived on my birthday. We bought lunch at our local café, took the motorhome to a local beach and chilled out in our new motorhome with big smiles on our faces. Then we threw the crockery we’d used into the bin and Franceska started planning the new look.
Open-ended questions. The places they’ll take you…