One thing we’ve never really discussed on this blog is something very personal, but something completely relevant as we look back on two years – the effect of all this travel on our marriage. If you ask us the one thing that surprised us the most about our RTW, we’ll both quickly say the amount of together time. It’s a lot. A whole lot. I’ll never forget when we did our Tobias Index: South America stats and realized that in nine months the longest we’d been apart was three hours. I’ll give you a second to let that sink in. Three hours.
So yes, being together so much was hard. Sometimes really hard and there were those times it was really, really hard. But to be honest, I wouldn’t trade a day of traveling with my husband for a day of traveling without. It was an incredible test of our relationship. I have an incredible amount of respect for people who travel solo, but I know it’s not for me. Sure we got closer than a couple ever should (thanks to many bare thin bathroom walls), but living together in confined spaces and without the luxury of long-term friends has strengthened our relationship.
My Dad likes to say he and my mother were married at the same day, same place, but they attended different weddings. His memories from the day are very different from hers. She remembers the flowers, he remembers the band, she remembers a toast, he the advice of a friend. The point is we can share experiences and yet have completely different memories. We can be together and yet not.
I thought our trip would be similar, but we never really mastered it. Sure there are things that stick out in my mind that don’t stick out in his, but for the most part the meaningful experiences for me were also the same for him. It’s great to have someone else take off those rose colored glasses when the truth fades and a romantic memory of a place remains. It’s also great to have someone to provide prospective in the moment, to remind you that hey, this is a really incredible experience.
Before this gets too sappy let me remind you that traveling together was hard. It was brutal. Danny probably knows more about me than I care to admit, he sees my behaviors and patterns better than I do and I can do the same for him. We’ve somehow lived a lifetime together in two short years. The ups, the downs the ebbs and flows. Our marriage is probably stronger now than it ever would have been at home. We’ve overcome so many challenges together and faced more unknowns than couples do in a lifetime. It’s been tough, but coming out the other side with the “afterlife” before us, I know I wouldn’t trade for a day without him.
So we joke and say that the last two years of marriage count for double. That much time together has to count for something tangible right? Instead of celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this year, between us we’ll be celebrating our “seventh.”
It just depends on the way you count.