If you've ever taken a trip with close friends or a significant other, you've probably discovered that traveling can test even the strongest relationships. This is especially true when traveling on a budget, since you may be sacrificing a bit of sleep and comfort in order to make your trip a reality.
A few years ago, three close friends and I studied abroad at Oxford and took a trip to Paris and Munich together during a school break. Our trip was filled with amazing memories, lots of laughs, and cultural experiences that I wouldn't trade it for anything. However, we also spent an uncomfortable night traveling by train in a crowded compartment; walked through two cities until our shoes bore holes; and tried desperately to understand the German being spoken around us during a confusing train-related situation (a story for another day, perhaps). As a result, we found ourselves annoyed by things that would normally be no big deal - things like being too perky in the morning and speaking with sub-par French accents (c'est vrai!). Luckily, my friends are patient and forgiving, and there was nothing that an afternoon nap in the park and some ice cream couldn't fix. We returned to Oxford in good spirits and with our friendships not only in tact, but even stronger than before.
Having traveled with friends in college, I knew that this trip with Shane would present the same type of trials that come with spending extended periods of time in close proximity to another human being. And I was correct: even though Shane and I have known each other for ten years and have been a couple for five, there are new challenges that arise from traveling together long-term. Sometimes we are tired, hungry, and grumpy. Sometimes we both are all three at the same time, and also lost in a forest. Sometimes, I want nothing more than to curl up with a hot cup of coffee and a good book and to sink into the warmth of a soft couch, but I can't, because the only free chair is a lumpy stump, and it's damp and covered with bugs, and the sky is darkening and we need to keep walking, and I'm definitely not at my best. We are not at our bests.
And yet, like the trip with my friends in college, this trip has given Shane and me so much already, including many opportunities to be patient, loving, and kind to one another. So here is a list inspired by this trip - hope you enjoy!
How You Know He Loves You: Camping Edition
1. He walks ahead of you on the trail to clear away the spider webs.
2. He holds branches out of your way so they don't smack you in the face (very chivalrous!).
3. He accompanies you to the bathroom in the middle of the night when it's especially cold and spooky and you don't want to go alone.
4. He holds you close during a nighttime thunderstorm, even though you smell like you haven't showered for a few days, because you haven't.
5. He makes you coffee in the morning or seeks it out to help start your day more brightly.
6. He sets up the entire tent by himself to give you some much-needed time for yourself.
7. He checks regularly to make sure that you're still behind him on the trail and that you haven't gotten secretly mauled by a cougar.
8. He makes up songs with your name in them and sings them to you on extra long hikes.
9. He makes you laugh by pulling off to the side of a very long gravel road to ask the only other creatures around - the cows - for directions.
10. He tells you he loves you as you watch the sun rise together over a crystal lake.
Thanks for reading! Hope everyone has a great week! <3