At 27, and after about as many failed relationships, I married my travel buddy.
In less than 18 months, we transitioned from acquaintances to friends to lovers to spouses, much to the shock to those closest to us.
But we’ve traveled; and anyone who has traveled would attest to this:Journeys fold years in; compressing a whole heap of life lessons, couples therapy and really, really good sex in one convenient, zip-locked, fanny pack.
Travel, for me and my husband, is an Express Pass to what couples older than us celebrate Silver, Gold and Diamond years for.
Way before we started dating, we’ve already gone on road trips around New Zealand, where we met as Filipino migrants. When we moved to Australia, on our first year alone, we’ve covered from Brisbane in Queensland to Port Campbell in Victoria– a sizable chunk of the country’s East Coast.
Our partnership, as driver and navigator, and as pilot and co-pilot, is impeccable. When on the passenger seat, I never sleep. I take charge of the food and drink basket, music playlist, configure the GPS, read maps, and run to the petrol station till.
But nothing of what I do equals to how the love of my life mans up when driving. Jonat takes the wheel, fully knowing that my safety is his priority. The same sense of responsibility is carried over to our lives at home; just like on the road, I am in full confidence that I have someone I can entrust my whole life with.
Our first plane ride was to Brisbane, Australia in 2011. Just last month, we flew to Bali, Indonesia, the 8th country we’ve traveled to together in the 3 years we’ve been a tag team. Although we’ve only done coach and are yet to storm heavens to someday afford Business Class, we’ve flown with all sorts of airlines– from the butt-numbing budget airlines with impossible narrow seats, to the comfy and posh flag carriers with overflowing wine.
Anyone who have been in long-hauled flights would agree that the time spent/ spared/ wasted on a flight (ie., overcoming boredom, mastering sleeping/leaning positions, surviving the kind of talks you don’t normally discuss below 33,000 ft etc.), when spent/spared/wasted EFFECTIVELY with someone, that someone is well worth the while.
Everything in our household is strategically placed to be packing friendly. I can pack a bag, book tickets, arrange insurance and whip up itineraries better than any travel agent can. As for Jonat, he has mastered how to work the charging docks like a fifth limb, ensuring that no matter how much our baggage allowances are, we maintain our gadget-laden, digitalized lives. My husband and I, we cram in a synchronization so graceful, it can only be Yin and Yang.
Jonat proposed to me at the culmination of a month-long backpacking trip to Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines at the end of 2011. The decision to say yes, despite the disbelief many who knew my free-spirited nature, was not hard at all. Kneeling in front of me, haggard from all the weeks we’ve spent traveling, was the one boy who, like me, was just as wild to run with.
Since then, we’ve gone from uprooting ourselves from the comforts of Auckland, to starting married life with a couple of bags in the boot of a rental hatchback in Sydney.
I guess, our relationship works because we are used to working WELL under pressure , and under a variety of conditions. We compliment each other’s strengths and are forgiving of each other’s lapses. We know how to have fun, to take risks, to value rest and down-time and to save up for goals. We share an understanding of how, though dreams are limitless, we are mere dots on a big, beautiful world.
All of the above, we would not have otherwise learned, if not for our shared wanderlust.