Love and Travel – How to travel with your lover…

…and not look for places to bury a body.

Ok. So that is a little gruesome.

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Travel is stressful, but its not that stressful. Travel is at its worst, lost in Bangkok on an excruciatingly long walk from Siam Center to Rajadamnern stadium with a map that was utterly useless in probably the least scenic area of Bangkok. Just sick to death of shady taxi and tuk tuk drivers. Oh, and its miserably hot. Hotter than the inside of an oven…inside another oven. This situation and other situations like it are a natural breeding ground for violent disagreements between couples. Everyone who has traveled with a significant other dreads these moments and many of those moments do not end well.

Ringside

Ringside

As I stated on the main page for Love and Travel, I’d like to provide a different perspective, two perspectives really, on that element of travel. I’m not going to pretend that I have got it all figured out and I know what’s best or that if you get into a fight with your lover during a trip that it will be alright. It probably wont. High stress situations bring out the very best or the very worst in people. If you blow up in front of anyone it may change their opinion of you for good.

Our stories are here only to give you a way to reflect on your own experience and make up your own mind when you get into that situation if its worth being legitimately mad about. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. I hope these stories can provide insight for other couples out there and help them work through difficult problems that come up while traveling. At the very least, I hope you’ll find them entertaining.

Love and Travel is a set of journal and travel entries that my wife and I will write in two parts. Same story, two viewpoints.

However, I do want to start with a story that doesn’t include my wife but one that I think that deserves telling.

There was a girl who I thought had ruined travel. She was a Bulgarian citizen. She lived in Germany but was planning on coming to the states to earn the rest of her B.A.(she was halfway finished at a German university). I had scheduled a trip to visit Europe and then she would come back to the states with me after our trip was over.

I found out, after a few days of touring Germany with her, that she did not have her passport. This was a bit of a problem as I had non-refundable tickets for both of us to go to fly Greece, Italy and France. She had requested a German passport to replace her Bulgarian one (the legal ramifications of which were important to her coming the US to finish college). She had just happened to have picked the least opportune time to get it done.

Furious does not even begin to describe how I felt. I went through feelings of betrayal, seething rage and despondence over what looked like at least $1000 in airfare that was going to go to waste. Of course, I didn’t say any thing at first. Her passport was supposed to arrive the day before our flight left but we wouldn’t be able to get it at her apartment until the day of the flight. I thought to myself, its not really worth being this angry about if the passport shows up on time. Even if the passport didn’t show up I would just go enjoy Rome, Florence and all the other destinations on my own (which is sort of what happened anyway).

Trying really, really, really hard not to say anything about 4 hours before the flight

Trying really, really, really hard not to say anything about 4 hours before the flight

3 hours before our flight and the mail arrives. Her passport is in there. Blind luck would conspire to keep us together for the better part of 4 weeks.

She was the absolute worst travel partner. She refused to get up early, had a giant suitcase on wheels instead of a backpack, was more interested in broodily smoking at all night Italian clubs than seeing the Fora Romana or famous works of art, possessed a generally sour disposition if we weren’t laying out in the sun not doing anything and held some severely misguided opinions about American culture.

The question I have asked my self after many other successful trips both foreign and domestic is would my luck have been better if her passport had just not shown up. Was it her who was just unbelievably difficult to deal with? Was it me and my never having officially voiced my disappointment in her timing with the passport switch, her contempt for common sense and her insulting America? Maybe. I’ll never know. The last time we spoke was the train station in Paris where she was on her way back to Germany to pack her things up and move to the US.

This story is most certainly not the inspiration for this collection of journal entries and stories. My previously mentioned, miserably long walk through Bangkok is. I tell this story about the passport and bad travel partner because it almost kept me from wanting to travel ever again. Then I went to Thailand with my girlfriend, now wife. Which by many, including myself, would be considered a risky proposition.

Shana and I in Ashland, OR

Shana and I in Ashland, OR

And it was a risky proposition but it worked. I found my love for travel again and a great travel partner. After Thailand I always wanted to have two perspectives. Even if I’m right and they are most certainly wrong. I’m not going to offer any advice on what to do or what to say. These stories are just what happened and how we felt, so that you may compare and contrast them to your own situation whether its a weekend getaway or a year abroad. Love and Travel is here to give two perspectives of the good and the bad, the fun and the stressful and the ride from beginning to end.

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