Baecation: Oneika & Robert
In our newest series, we hear from couples who turned their honeymoon into a permanent voyage. This week, Oneika and Robert take us along for their whirlwind ride. Are you on a baecation? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Baecation.
The best part of exploring the world is being open to all the unexpected moments life can bring. That’s why seven years ago when Oneika Raymond met Robert Brauns at a Halloween night Oktoberfest event held in Hong Kong, where she was living at the time, she seized the moment to make a fun (and cute!) new friend. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, nearly two years of marriage later, Oneika, 33, and Robert, 35, are exploring the world and marriage together on their own terms.
JETmag.com caught up with Oneika, who is currently based in Hong Kong (Robert is in NYC), to find out how they use travel to keep their marriage strong and prove that love truly knows no boundaries…or time zones!
JET: What was your first vacation together? How many countries have you been to together?
Oneika: Our first international vacation together was to Taiwan, about two months after meeting. I’ve lost track of the exact number, but we’ve been to well over 40 countries together.
JET: You and Robert have a unique relationship, not only do you travel together, you currently live on opposite sides of the world. How do you make your marriage work? What are some challenges?
Oneika: We’ve been long distance for a good amount of our relationship: I’m currently working in Hong Kong and he’s based in New York City for his job. Previous to this, I was in Hong Kong while he was working in London. This setup is doable for us because we are working towards very clear financial goals that require us to be in jobs on opposite sides of the world–we’re basically grinding now in our respective locales so we can reap the rewards later.
With that said, we are lucky in that we are really good at communicating: we stay connected many times a day via Skype, phone calls, and WhatsApp. We also use long distance as an excuse to travel, making the commitment to see each other at least every 6-8 weeks. For example, in February, we met up in South Africa, and then travelled together through Botswana and Zambia. In April we met up in Russia for 10 days. There are definitely challenges (sometimes it’s difficult to Skype because of the time zone difference) but overall we have managed long distance really well!
JET: You’re of Jamaican and Canadian descent, and Robert is German, how do you incorporate your different cultures into your marriage and travels?
Oneika: Because we both have a huge interest in travel and learning about different cultures it has been pretty seamless. I have been very eager to learn about German culture and language, so I have spent a good amount of time with Rob’s family in Berlin. Likewise, Rob has been to visit my family in Toronto multiple times, and last year, he travelled with my family and I to Jamaica. It has always been important to us to see and understand where the other is from.
JET: What have some of the challenges of traveling together been?
Oneika: Honestly, he’s been the best travel partner I’ve ever had, so the challenges are really few and far between. If anything, our different rhythms are sometimes an issue–I’m often late and he’s always on time! Also, my travel style is a lot more relaxed and fluid than his. He is a planner and super organized, whereas I like to go with the flow.
JET: How has travel strengthened your relationship?
Oneika: Travel is something we’re both passionate about, so we connect on that level. Travelling together has also really cemented us as a team.
JET: What’s your most memorable travel experience together? What’s your worst?
Oneika: We’ve had so many great travel experiences that it’s difficult to pinpoint just one! However, travelling through the Uyuni Salt Plains in Bolivia was very cool since the scenery was so stunning. As for the worst– I got mugged when we went to Egypt together, which was a fairly harrowing experience.
JET: You’ve been to over 80 countries, how do you handle Robert wanting to travel to places you’ve already been?
Oneika: To be honest, this isn’t really that big of a deal as I like to revisit places. Moreover I feel like your experience in a place you’ve been to before can be entirely different based on who you go with. So I really don’t mind! Rob has also travelled pretty extensively, so when we travel together we actively try to find destinations neither one of us has been to before.
JET: What destination is on your baecation wish list?
Oneika: Rob and I do a lot of adventure travel, so I would love to go somewhere luxurious and romantic together like Santorini in Greece or Mauritius and the Seychelles. Basically somewhere relaxing, gorgeous and surrounded by water!
JET: What advice do you have for traveling as a couple?
Oneika: Be flexible!
JET: Where do you two see your travel journey taking you five years from now?
Oneika: Our plan is to start a family soon, so I see a lot of road trips with the kiddies in our future! We would love to instill the love of travel into our children.
JET: Describe your permanent baecation in three words.
Oneika: Exciting. Fulfilling. Fun.
Danielle T. Pointdujour is a Brooklynite living the passport life to the fullest. With over 70 countries under her belt, you can always find Danielle traveling the globe in search of new experiences and the hottest luxury hotels. You can follow her writing, musings and global adventures on her blog Hotel Whisperer and on Twitter and Instagram.