travels for two

The end of the year is a time for reflection. 

2022 was four years since I started my Travel Collecting blog, my four-year anniversary of becoming an American citizen, my 11th year of marriage, the 15th year living in New York, 32 years since I first left Australia to travel the world, and 19 years since I first met Kevin and my solo travels became couples travel.

Our wedding in NYC
Our wedding in NYC: we went on a sailing trip in New York Harbor after the ceremony

It’s kind of amazing – I’ve spent almost two thirds of my 32+ years of travel travelling with Kevin. 

Those 13 years spent travelling around the world by myself were formative years.  Indeed, travel was such an integral part of my identity that I even got a tattoo of the Japanese kanji character for ‘journey’ or ‘man with direction’. 

Travelling alone has lots of benefits and I loved it.  I could do exactly what I wanted, when I wanted and it was easier to meet people.   Living a nomadic lifestyle and travelling for long periods of time also gave me a lot of flexibility to make and change plans on a dime (and live on not much more!).

However, the years since meeting Kevin and ‘settling down’ have seen different kinds of travel and different ways of travelling that have been all the richer for sharing them with someone I love. 

Travel is now for shorter periods of time, but the intensity of each travel experience makes me appreciate them all the more.  Travelling with someone else has also enriched me and my travel experiences in ways I had never expected.

Cerro Torre hike near El Chalten in Patagonia
Sharing our adventures: Cerro Torre hike in Patagonia

Bringing our interests to our shared travels

For one thing, we bring each other’s interests to our travels.  Kevin is an architect, so I see more historic homes than I used to – but I also have a much richer understanding of what I am seeing and the historic context around the architecture.

Hancock Shaker Village
I would never have thought about visiting a Shaker village before meeting Kevin, but it was fascinating
Me Skansen Stockholm
Learning Swedish history at Skansen in Stockholm, one of Kevin’s all-time favorite places

He is also really great at finding amazing, unique places to stay.

Mill house Norway
This historic watermill was a super cool place to stay in Norway

I have brought my own sense of adventure and Kevin has eagerly and with great enthusiasm …

done sand tobogganing,

sand tobogganing in Australia
Up for an adventure: sand tobogganing in Australia

hiked on glaciers,

hiking on a Glacier in the Canadian Rockies
Satisfying an adventurous spirit: hiking on a glacier in the Canadian Rockies
Glacier Walking Norway
And hiking on a glacier in Norway, 19 years later!

gone horseback riding,

Horse riding in Los Angeles
Riding to see the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Who knew this was even possible?

been white water rafting several times,

White water rafting near Voss in Norway

and even tried canyoneering (more than once) since we met.

Canyoneering in Zion NP
Kevin would never have thought about trying this before we met, but after his initial fear, loved canyoneering in Zion National Park

And bringing interests we share

Kevin has the same sense of curiosity and willingness to try new things that I have, and we have used this to take more classes and have more structured cultural experiences that the shorter time of our travels requires, such as …

ziplining in Jodhpur, India

Zipline Jodhpur Flying Fox Jodhpur start

baking cinnamon buns in Sweden,

Making cinnamon buns Vaxholm Sweden
Combining Kevin’s love of cardamom and baking

learning to make mosaic tiles in Marrakech,

This private workshop in making zelig mosaic tiles was a highlight of our trip to Morocco

taking several cooking classes,

One of two cooking classes we did in Guatemala

and learning to row a gondola in Venice (which Kevin was much better at than me).

Learning Venetian gondola rowing us
Rowing a gondola was one of those travel experiences that was much harder in reality than I expected

Being there for each other

Another advantage of travelling together is that we bolster each other when travel throws difficult experiences at us (as it inevitably does).  Plans thrown into disarray are much easier to handle when someone is with you to help.

unhappy in Broken Hill
Travelling with someone means that they are to help you through the hard moments – Kevin was not happy about a rental car situation in our trip to Broken Hill (it was resolved in the end !) And can I tell you how much I love this picture?!

And, of course, it’s great to have someone to take care of you if you get sick on the road.

Roasting Marshmallows Volcano Guatemala
Roasting marshmallows on a lava field of an active volcano in Guatemala, the day before I got really sick. I was lucky to have Kevin take care of me for the next 3 days while I was in bed feeling sorry for myself.

Bringing out the best in each other

Our balanced strengths also help bring out the best in each other. Sometimes I feel hesitant to approach someone and Kevin will go right ahead, resulting in more meaningful interactions at times. 

Shopping in Morocco
Kevin has lots of conversations when shopping (in Morocco in this photo) – and I help him bargain (a little)

And sometimes this means that I have to rescue him as he speaks Italian to an Argentinean – and I have to use my terrible Spanish even when I’m not sure I can.

Kevin also draws me out into joining in some adventures I’m a little shy to participate in.

Midsummer Stockholm
I was initially hesitant, but soon enjoyed dancing around the maypole during Sweden’s midsummer festivities at Skansen

There are all (and more) kinds of ‘travels’

Traveling as a couple is also about traveling to see family and friends,

visiting my family in Brisbane
Travel isn’t always to exotic places – visiting my family in Brisbane

travels in your own town,

Brooklyn Bridge
Travelling in your own city or town is just as rewarding as going to other places: playing tourists in NYC

and the unexpected adventures that life throws at you.

our new car
There are all kinds of adventures: getting our first car (we hated it – it was a manual/ shift stick and neither of us could drive the stupid thing – we changed it for an automatic two months later and have never looked back)


Our travels are also a way we reconnect and revitalize our relationship. Away from the day-to-day grind, when we are often tired and caught up in the everyday events, traveling is a chance for us to be ‘us’ and share adventures together and reconnect, renew, and refresh.

It is us at our best and we use it to connect not only with the new places and people that we’re visiting, but also with each other.

Hiking in Mount Rainier National Park
Hiking in Mount Rainier National Park


So, I want to take this opportunity, at the end of another year, to reflect on how travelling with my husband has made me a better traveler and has continued to enrich my travel experiences by having him share them with me.

The adventures continue

In the four years since I started my travel blog, our travel adventures have continued, from hiking in Norway …

Hiking Norway
We did this hike in Jotenheimen National Park because it started at our hotel – we had to climb up using ropes at some points, but it was totally worth it for the amazing views

to exploring the cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park …

Cliff dwellings Mesa Verde
Climbing down the original footholds used by native Americans to descend to the cliff dwellings

and cycling in Stockholm …

Cycling Stockholm
Not all travel experiences need to have a huge wow factor to be memorable. This day’s cycling through Stockholm was a highlight of our trip there.

As our travels continue, they continue to bring out the best in each other as individuals and as a couple.

Thank you, Kevin.

Death Valley
Our shared travels have taken us to many places, including Death Valley


James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents.  He is passionate about experiential travel, i.e. meaningful travel that actively engages with the environment and culture.  He helps people have similar experiences that involve active participation in activities and festivals; engaging with the local food and handicrafts through lessons and food tours; and interacting positively with environment by hiking, riding, rowing, diving and low/no impact animal encounters. 

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