travel, together

Maria, Tulum, 2014

Austin and I love to travel together. This is a platitude. Of course we do. Nonetheless, I always marvel at the joy I experience exploring somewhere new with him by my side, how easy it all feels, and how uncomplicated it all is.

I’ve written before of my delight in solo travel. I’ve done a lot of solo adventuring in my young life, and travelling with others, too, but I never enjoyed trips with other people as much as ones taken on my own. Maybe this is selfishness of wanting to schedule my days exactly as I please. Maybe it’s my inherent and strong introversion coming to the fore, as it does. Maybe it’s the hilarity of sitting in a three Michelin-starred restaurant as a single 20-something women and having the wait staff not quite know what to make of me. Maybe it’s forcing myself to learn–how to navigate, how to speak to locals and follow custom respectfully, how to stay safe somewhere unfamiliar, and how all this makes me better. For all these reasons, I’ve relished being somewhere else, by myself.

And so I marvel that I enjoy travelling with Austin a million times more than I enjoy travelling alone. This is no small statement. When we met and began travelling together, I had deep apprehension. I’d taken trips with partners before him and would always need a break–solo days at museums, staggered return dates, lunches as one to escape. With a deep breath, we took one trip together. And another. And another, longer this time. And so forth. I discovered in short order that I never need a break or a pause from Austin’s company. In fact, our adventures revealed the contrary. The world is more beautiful, expansive, and full of possibility with his awe-filled face next to my own.

We’re very, very fortunate (we do not take this for granted!) to have jobs with generous vacation provisions, jobs that let us escape Toronto for nearly two months in sum each year. We make use of every single day. It’s not lost on either of us that this much time to spend on adventures together is a privilege to handle with care. And so we pepper in travels throughout the year, sometimes short excursions close to home and sometimes multi-week voyages across the world.

I read recently that the most important decision you will make in life is choosing the right partner to travel your roads with, both the literal and figurative ones. And maybe that’s why travel together is so easy. We have consciously decided to create adventures every day: in our kitchen, our neighbourhood, our city, and sometimes, somewhere far away.

I always marvel at how much I thought I knew, and how much I learn in the meanwhile. I sit for awhile with the arbitrary badges I wore proudly that no longer serve me. I never imagined I’d be anything but a reluctant co-traveller. Who knew I would want someone at my side for each adventure, to sweeten it? Yes, it is a platitude that I love to travel with my husband. It’s also a startling and beautiful revelation.

(Photo: me in Tulum, Mexico, February 2014. Taken by Austin.)

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