The Most Important Trip of My Life
One of my married friends once told me the reason he and his wife travel so much is because they’re at their best when they are discovering somewhere new or going on a new journey together. He told this to me years ago, and it always stuck with me for three reasons:
The first reason was how he was able to pinpoint the exact thing that made he and his wife great together, besides sex. I thought that was dope.
The second reason was the thing itself, which was travel, was such an easy concept to grasp. I know he was only talking about him and his wife, and wasn’t doling that out as a piece of advice, but if I were writing a collection of great relationship advice, that would surely be included.
The third reason was “travel” could never really be that thing my partner and I enjoy together mostly because I am not much for traveling unless I absolutely have to for like weddings and funerals. I know that hasn’t been a sexy thing to say ever since the Wright Brothers figured out that whole flying thing. Every adult should have a driver’s license, a Costco card, and a passport, and I’ve read the profiles of enough single people to know that a desire to see the world is one of the most sought-after traits in a partner. But what can I say? I hate flying, therefore I don’t like to travel.
Gina is the complete opposite of me.
I don’t think we made it past our first date before I learned she is a girl who doesn’t need a funeral or a wedding to get on a plane. Whereas my idea of vacation is simply not having to use my subway pass to go into work, her idea of vacation is a boarding pass to some place in a different time zone. Once I realized Gina was the woman with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life (right after we said goodbye on our first date), I knew I would have to get over my fear of flying in order to keep up with her.
Fast forward to last Friday, my 33rd birthday.
Now in the weeks leading up to my birthday, I knew Gina was planning some sort of trip for us because she had to at least ask me if I could get certain days off. I assumed our destination would be somewhere we could drive to, like Atlantic City or even Toronto for a long road trip.
But as it turns out, Gina and I are getting on a plane to Austin, Texas on Friday.
As much as I openly expressed my fear of flying to Gina, I also expressed to her a bucket list of domestic cities I wanted to visit. Austin was at the top of my list because I’ve heard so much about all the great restaurants they have there and if I’m traveling anywhere, I want to eat well. She also knew if she asked my permission before booking this, I probably would have found a way out of it.
None of this is to say I don’t like Gina’s gift. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t have a more opposite feeling. From the moment I held the tickets in my hand, I’ve been planning things for her and I to do and places for us to eat. We have our reservations at Qui for our last night there. On Sunday morning, we’re going straight to Franklin barbecue, four hour line be damned! We’re also making plans to go to Barton Pool, stand up paddling, and of course, seeing some live bands on 6th Street.
But to say I’m not nervous about taking this first journey with her would be a lie. The title of this post is not hyperbole. I really feel like this is the most important trip of my life, and that isn’t tied to fear of what could go wrong. I have faith her and I will get there safely, enjoy our time there safely, and arrive back in New York City safely.
My anxiety has more to do with the fact that never before have I wanted things to be so perfect simply because I know how much travel means to Gina. Here, in New York City, where we have spent pretty much our entire relationship together, I can confidently say I have given Gina my best efforts as her man. But I also am in my element here, where I have lived for 10 years; one can call it a home field advantage. Now, I’m about to find out if my skill set can remain intact as her and I both take our love on the road and the stakes are high, and not only will this be our first trip together, this will be our first time ever visiting Austin as well. So it’s newness compounded.
I’m never one to imitate what other couples do in hopes that what works for them will also work in my own relationship, but I keep replaying what my boy said to me years ago about traveling with his wife. As Gina and I pack our bags, iron out some of our Austin itinerary tonight, and get ready to board that plane tomorrow, I hope that we discover something more than a new city, I hope we discover a new thing that makes us great.