Daniel and I are planning a vacation.
We’ve been dating for a year or so and this is our first real vacation together, so it’s likely that it will be an opportunity for unprecedented intimacy. This is exactly what worries me.
Vacations are just like real lifeâ€” conducted in a pressure cooker. All my values, priorities, fears and pet peeves are condensed into a short period of time in a strange location and in close proximity to someone who can’t get away from me, no matter how much they might like to. Food, shelter, money, safety and a memorable experience must all be acquired in unfamiliar surroundings while balancing luggage, reading a map and suffering bouts of occasional indigestion.
A further complication is that I like to travel a little off the beaten track. I like to see out-of-the-way places with fewer conveniences. Daniel likes to go camping, so I figured this sort of travel shouldn’t pose too great a challenge for us, but we shall see.
When Daniel and I went camping together he was somewhat taken aback when he learned that I planned to cook a proper meal (in a pot, no less) for dinner. His assumption was that anyone could easily survive in the wilderness for up to a week on candy bars and beef jerky. While I suppose this is technically true, he was surprised to learn that I had no interest in trying.
I did cook a meal (in a pot) and Daniel seemed to enjoy it at least as much as a package of beef jerky, so I would say the camping experience was a success.
I once read a story about a young couple that appeared to be perfect for one another. They were so compatible that they decided, early on, to take a vacation together. They picked the location and were filled with eager anticipation. But then she learned that he planned to pack a travel iron. He learned that she planned to rinse out her underwear in the sink. The vacation (and the relationship) were quietly canceled.
I completely understand this. A travel iron would probably signal the end of a relationship for me. I traveled for two months with two pair of underwear, my computer, and an electric toothbrush. I understand that traveling together can make small, endearing eccentricities seem a lot bigger and a lot less endearing.
Further complicating the usual concerns about manual versus electric toothbrushes and the appropriate number of underwear is the fact that Daniel has done no overseas travel before and we are going overseas. It is a testament to the sort of person Daniel is that I suggested we go to Belize on Thursday and we had a flight booked on Friday. We are going to Belize because Daniel wanted to go somewhere I had never been and I have never been to Belize. I thought it was a perfect destination because, not only have I not been there, I know virtually nothing about Belize. I had never given the country a serious thought until two days ago when we decided to go.
I suppose there are a lot of folks who might suggest that this is a bit ambitious. Perhaps we could have chosen a trip with a few less variables and a lesser likelihood of food-borne illness for our maiden voyage. But Daniel says we should do whatever we can to get to know each other better. That way, he figures, if we break up, we do it for the right reasons.
That makes sense to me.
Till next time,