Sharon and I don’t usually get to spend that much time together. Between work schedules and other obligations, it’s typically only about once a week that we get to spend most of the day with each other. We try to do something fun but most of the time we’re fixing the house or doing other not fun things (a.k.a. “adulting”). So when we get to spend time with each other, it’s a treat.
It was after the second-longest stretch of “togetherness” we’ve had since we’ve known each other, spending 24-7 besides one another for almost two whole weeks, that I noticed the signs we were really meant for each other. I think they’re pretty universal.
- You’re still together by the end of the trip. Really, next to hanging wallpaper or installing flooring (we’ve done both), a long trip will show the strength of your relationship. If the first thing you want to do when you get home is to be alone, well, umm…let’s move on.
- The little things. The times you do things for each other without asking (Yes, we drink Starbucks on vacation). One morning I walked to Starbucks to get coffee. When I returned to the room, Sharon asked if I read the text she sent me. I didn’t hear my phone ding, so I said I hadn’t. She looked disappointed, so I looked at the message and it said: “Don’t forget the straw!” At that point, I pulled a straw out of the bag. I knew she’d want one. That’s love right there (even if I think drinking coffee with a straw is weird).
- You’re willing to do things you’re not really crazy about. Well, up to a point. During the said trip, we went hiking at the Grand Canyon. Not actually hiking, but we did walk for 3/4 of a mile along a finished path between two viewing points. We could have taken the shuttle bus, but I wanted to walk. She did it with me, even though I know she didn’t want to. On the other hand, I’m willing to stand and wait for her to look through all the shops at the places we visit. She knows I hate it so she doesn’t take long, but I don’t put up a fuss.
- You give away the things you want. You may have read that one of my biggest travel complaints is that hotel rooms with two beds usually only have one nightstand.We stayed at two hotels during a past trip where I didn’t have any table, shelf or even a plug. When we got to our 5th hotel of the trip, Sharon offered to sleep on the other side of the bed so I’d have the table. This offer really touched me because you have no idea what a big deal this is – she REALLY likes having a nightstand. I couldn’t think of a gift that would mean as much as this sacrifice, she was willing to make for me. I felt bad when she tried to rest her phone on the headboard and it fell off, almost hitting her on the head (that’s when she resorted to leaving her phone on the floor). I’m enjoying getting the table because I don’t think getting the one nightstand in the room will happen again for a while.
It was shortly after this trip that Sharon purchased the mDesign Bedside Caddy for me.
It took years before I was actually able to use it and it took a global pandemic and staying at an Airbnb cabin for that to happen.
Of course, some things don’t change, no matter how perfect you are together. For example, we have separate bathrooms at home (Note from Sharon: I planned it that way. I was NOT going to fight that battle) and with that comes certain bathroom habits. I tend to leave my bathroom a bit of a mess and then the whole leaving the toilet seat down thing comes into play. I try to be good when we are traveling together; I really do. However, there are times where I forget to raise or lower the seat or I use up all the paper and not put out the new roll (Note from Sharon: Or splash water all over the vanity when you’re brushing your teeth and don’t clean it up. Or when you adjust the shower head so it’ll hit you in the chest and don’t move it back to a position where it won’t hit me in the head when you know I can’t reach the shower nozzle. Or…). Sharon forgives me for these slip-ups, albeit with some proper scolding for my bad behavior. That’s OK…I scold her for spending too much time on the computer when we’re away when I’ve spent all this time planning the trip, so it all evens out.
Besides being a heck of a lot of fun, travel is also stressful. There are lots of things that you have to worry about that you normally don’t give a second thought to, like “Where is the room key?” “What time is the flight?” and “Where is my deodorant?” It’s easy to spot couples who are giving in to the stress, as they’re the ones arguing over which corner the bus will arrive. If you’re traveling and feel this happening to you, take a step back and remember that this is the trip you both WANTED to go on and were looking forward to for months. If you’ve NEVER had this happen to you, then I’d say that you are both VERY LUCKY and should be thankful for what you have together. Happy trails!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary