“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”  Mark Twain.  If that’s the case, then what we’ve found out in 10 years of travel is that we actually do like each other.  The secret sauce to a good vacation is, in fact, love.

This post is sappy, but I don’t care.  (Hey, it’s my anniversary!)  To me, love is what makes traveling the world together so sweet.  When I say love, I mean more than a feeling (cue Boston). I mean more than just the love you “fall” into and it just sort of happens to you.  I mean the kind of love that is built over a lifetime of choosing the other person when you don’t feel like it.  The kind of love that makes you wake up early so the other person can smell the coffee brewing and want to get out of bed.  The kind of love that lets you use the only clean towel in the house while they “drip dry.”  The kind of love that chooses the other person when it’s not convenient or easy.  The kind of love that’s sacrificial and giving.  That’s the love that has made our travels so good.

I think of love in tandem with travel because traveling can bring out the best and the worst of a person. Imagine this: you’ve arrived at your destination after 37 hours of travel; only 4 of those hours you’ve slept.  And when you slept, you were sitting straight up so both your legs fell asleep.  The last thing you ate was a bag of 4 tiny Rold Gold pretzels about 10 hours ago.  You’re hungry, tired and irritable.  Now, it’s time to get into a rental car with no cell or internet service and try to navigate the roads with words that you don’t understand because they’re in a different language.  The person sitting next to you has also endured the same thing you have.  So you have to try to work together.  You both express your concerns, your anger and your hostility.  In the end, something has to give.  You learn to run on fumes, and try to help the other person through this rough patch, while they try to help you.  You survive together.  You see their worst.  They see yours.  Yet, you’re off on an adventure and you have to make the most of it.

On the other hand, imagine this: you’ve spent the day learning new things, smelling new things, and tasting new things.  Your eyes are filled with the wonders of nature.  Your brain is filled with new and interesting facts about people and this planet.  You’ve had a chance to rest at the hotel, change and get ready for dinner.  You sit down and take in the view of the sunset while reminiscing over your shared, and even individual experiences, of the day.  You see the best of each other in this moment.  The excitement for life; watching each other be willing to be uncomfortable in order to try something new.  It’s a shared moment that sticks with you.  You see the best of them.  They see the best of you.

You learn a lot about someone when you travel with them.  You learn what excites them, and what bores them.  You learn what they do and say when they’re uncomfortable.  You get to see someone really enjoy themselves.  You learn their breaking points, and their late-night slap happy points.

As I went through our pictures, I loved seeing the love.  I loved seeing us enjoy being together all over the world.  We don’t tend to take the pictures of us upset, although I do have a few of those because those are also accurate.  But today’s post is about love.

Ten years of traveling together has strengthened our love for one another.  It’s strengthened our relationship in some of the best ways possible;  through overcoming challenges and sharing experiences.  I am so thankful for these moments, and I’m looking forward to what moments this next decade will bring.

I hope you enjoyed this super sappy, nausea-inducing post.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back to posting traveling tips and destination guides soon enough.

Kiss me

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Nina Thomas

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