This guy. He’s my Valentine, and husband of 16 years (and counting). Hands down, he’s my #1 favorite travel partner. We went on plenty of trips together when we were first married: honeymooned in Hawaii, explored Belize, camped in the Black Hills, road-tripped to Banff, relaxed in Carmel.
We are a good match, travel-wise: we prefer active excursions, adventurous dining and live music. We visit museums, hike up mountains and swim in oceans.
When our son was born in 2002, our travel habits changed. We traveled less – and when we did, it became more common to go on trips with other people – and not each other. Childcare was the main reason. Traveling with kids is expensive and hard, we reasoned. We took turns going on brief “girls’ trips” and “guy’s trips” with our friends, which quickly became the norm. When we did travel with our kids, we were usually with our parents and siblings. Our oldest two kids took their first steps on a cruise ship in Alaska and on the streets of Washington, D.C. Our youngest, as a 3 month old, accompanied us to San Francisco to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (one of the few times he had us all to himself).
Those were all amazing trips – with many long-lasting memories for us, and some for our children as they got older.
In 2014, we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in Chicago. It was a quick getaway – Friday afternoon to Sunday – primarily to see Chromeo perform at the Riviera Theatre. My husband booked the hotel and flights . . . I secured the restaurant reservations . . . and the rest we would just play by ear.
On the plane, we realized something: We hadn’t taken a trip like this for years. We were alone; just the two of us – no kids, no friends, no family.
We had the BEST time. And not because of the things we did. Or that we got to sleep in and complete conversations without being interrupted.
But because – we realized together – we really enjoy each other’s company. In the absence of our kids, whom we love – and the people who have made us who we are. We have similar interests and want to experience those as a couple. After 15 years, he still makes me laugh. I am so lucky.
Every year, from now on, we will travel together – alone. And I will look forward to those trips the most.