The end of the year is a time for reflection. 2018 was the year I started my Travel Collecting blog, my one-year anniversary of becoming an American citizen, my 7th year of marriage, the 11th year living in New York, almost 28 years since I first left Australia to travel the world and 15 years since I first met Kevin and my solo travels became couples travel.
This is the first time that I’ve thought about that – I’ve spent more than half of my 27+ 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.
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.
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 our ziplining in Jodhpur, block printing workshop in Jaipur, India or learning to row a gondola in Venice (which Kevin was much better at than me).
I have brought my own sense of adventure and Kevin has eagerly and with great enthusiasm done sand tobogganing,
and even canyoneering for the first time since we met.
Another advantage of travelling together is that we bolster each other when travel throws difficult experiences at us (as it inevitably does). Plan thrown into disarray are much easier to handle when someone is with you to help.
Sometimes I feel hesitant to approach someone and Kevin will go right ahead, resulting in more meaningful interactions at times. And sometimes this means that I have to rescue him as speaks Italian to an Argentino – and have to use my terrible Spanish even though I wasn’t sure I could.
Traveling as a couple is also about traveling to see family and friends,
travels in your own town,
and the unexpected adventures that life throws at you.
So, I want to take this opportunity, at the end of the year I started this blog, to reflect on how travelling with my husband has made me a better traveler and has enriched my travel experiences by having him share them with me.
Thank you, Kevin.
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.