So This Is What Makes Life Divine

by Nancy Bestor

When our younger daughter Sarah was first home as a new-born from the hospital, her sister Emily—then age 2—took to serenading her. She would put her face very close to Sarah’s and sing “So this is love, so this is love, Sarah. So this is what makes life divine.” I’d like to think she was singing about the love she saw between her two parents, however, the truth is, she was singing one of her favorite songs from Cinderella.

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But without getting too mushy here (I know this is a travel newsletter, not a newsletter for cupid.com), I would say that Bob’s and my relationship is indeed all about love. My world changed for the better the day I met Bob, and I am fairly certain he would say the same thing too. He’d better.

grandoleopryBill Murray, or Carl Spackler as he is known to golfers around the world, said if you have someone that you think is the one, don’t just make a date and get married.  First, travel around the world with them, and if you’re still in love after your travels, then get married at the airport. Bob and I may not have traveled the world before we got married, nor did we get married at the airport, but the first significant trip that we took together was a doozy—our extended five month long honeymoon around the United States in a Volkswagen bus.

We drove—slowly—from California to Florida, then up to New York and back across the northern states to Oregon. In our time puttering around the USA, we learned that we travel well together. Let’s face it, if you’re spending all day every day with a new spouse in a tiny Volkswagen pop top camper, you’re either going to decide you are good travelers, or you’re going to get a divorce.

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We gave up the VW Bus a long time ago, and now do most of our traveling by air. We haven’t been everywhere—far from it—but as Susan Sontag would say, it’s on our list. And almost twenty-four years later, we’re still traveling well together.

Just like in our marriage, we seem to have figured out how to be good traveling partners for each other. Bob helps me be more spontaneous and adventurous when we’re in a new place. He also helps me stay out later when I’m fighting jet lag and really want to crawl into a hotel bed at 6pm. I keep us organized and am the source of communication with our kids, work and family. Bob might tell you I am the source of too much communication, but I digress.

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We’ve traveled when nothing is planned out, and we are choosing hotels and restaurants on the fly, and we’ve traveled when everything is planned to a T. Our activities when we’re traveling together are not that different from our activities when we are home together. We enjoy eating, we enjoy walking and exploring, we enjoy bike riding, we enjoy drinking beer, and we enjoy listening to music, to name just a few things.

The truth is, I think what makes us such good traveling partners is that our traveling life is pretty similar to our real life. We each have our strengths and weaknesses (although I don’t really know what my weaknesses are), and we play to our strengths. When one of us is panicking about something—the time we didn’t have visas before an overnight stay near the airport in Australia comes to mind—the other of us is the port in a storm. We encourage each other to try new things, but also recognize that at times a person just needs to chill out in a hotel room and surf the internet. I’ll sit with Bob in a bar in a remote place in the world and watch the feed of an athletic event that is important to him, and he will tirelessly shop with me for the “right” gift for our daughters.

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We’re off this month to explore new places and experiences in Japan. And let’s face it. There’s no one I’d rather share these things with than Bob. This really is what makes life divine.

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