If you're in a relationship (or not) and you haven't seen the video of Bill Murray dispensing the most valuable piece of relationship advice ever, stop what you're doing and watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBFvU0YbKTI
This video came out just months before Brandon and I left on this trip. It was funny because we both sort of chuckled at it, but knew deep down, anything we already didn't know about each other would reveal itself as we cast ourselves into a life lived out of a backpack.
Bill says, if you're with a person, travel the world with them. Go to places that are hard to get to, and hard to get out of, and if at the end of the trip, you still love them, marry them at the airport. I knew the second I heard it, he was right. It was part of why I was taking this trip in the first place, but the reality and how much that sentiment has actually played out is really incredible.
So let's back up. Prior to leaving, Brandon and I had been talking about taking an extended trip since he got back from his last trip to Thailand two years ago. It was something Brandon was adamant about; even going so far to say he'd do it without me. For some people, that would've scared them, but I understood. This was a bucket list thing, and he knew I could do it too, I just had to make the decision for myself.
180 days out, we started to plan. We bickered about budget, and timing, and how guilty I felt about leaving my job. But something unexpected rose from the process: for one of the first times in our relationship, we had a serious, complete, very real goal. A line in the sand; a deadline that we were going to reach together.
Then to top it off, Brandon proposed right before we left. It was an incredible moment together; surrounded by family and friends and just days from our departure. It was a place we knew we'd reach at some point, but until it happened just didn't seem real. Not that I didn't already feel fully connected and committed to this wonderful man, but it made the whole thing come full circle; we were engaged, and leaving on an adventure most people don't even dream of.
The thing about traveling is that it brings out sides of people they don't reveal often in their normal life (for better or for worse). You see vulnerability, and open-mindedness. You see stubbornness and frustration. You see joy and childlike qualities emerge when taking in new experiences. It's all part of taking a person out of their everyday life and placing them in a foreign environment; it's wild.
Mr. Murray is a smart man. His point is that when a person is out of their element, their true nature will show through. A month and a half into our trip, and I'm so happy with what I see. Brandon rarely limits his emotions for anyone, but what traveling long term has shown me is that he is his whole, true self 99% of the time. The same fever for life and fun I see at home is launched into everything we do here.
The most important thing I've learned about my husband-to-be is that he makes me do the things I think I cannot. I may not seem it all the time, but I live my life hovering between a 6 and 9 on the worry scale. I just lean toward caution as a general rule. Brandon has reminded me of the side of myself that doesn't want to live that way. As we move forward on this trip, it's solidifying our commitment to keep reminding each other that we want more from life. We don't need to be scared, because we know we are doing what we love with the person we love, and frankly, I don't think there's more to life than that.
So here's my challenge for you all: take someone you care about on a trip. Could be a weekend, could be a year, just go. Learn about each other. You will fight and you will bicker, but that rarely lasts long when you're experiencing something new; something fresh that awakens the soul. And maybe the person you need to learn about is yourself, so head out on your own.
What is most important to remember, no matter the scenario, travel will always help you to find new parts of old friends.