(To a husband, who loves to travel. From a wife, who tries to keep up with him.)
My dream has always been to travel the world, and I like the fact that I am pursuing it. But you must know that your version of traveling is on a whole different level – a level that I have been struggling to attain. With you, traveling is not some sweeping romantic escapade. Instead, it has become a rather rigid lifestyle. After exploring countless cities, towns, and islands with you for the last 7 years, here is my confession out in the open – the 10 Things I Hate About You When We Travel:
1. You want to see everything, and I mean “literally” everything the place has to offer.
If it’s a major attraction, there’s no way we won’t see it. It doesn’t even matter if we only have one or two days to spend at a certain destination. You would relentlessly find a way to squeeze them all in that airtight itinerary of yours.
2. You want to start sightseeing so early in the morning.
This is greatly connected to number 1 above. The fact that you know that I’m not a morning person doesn’t stop you at all. For example, when we were transiting all over Europe, you somehow scheduled MOST of our train departures at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. Seriously, the term “relaxing holiday” is found nowhere in your vocabulary!
3. You make me walk a lot (the entire day if it’s possible).
We can’t just sit and read a book in a cozy spot, can we? One snowy day during our trip to Japan, you convinced me to walk the 8-kilometer Nakasendo Trail while carrying my 12-kilo backpack. Some parts of the trail were covered with 7-inch snow and we weren’t even wearing proper footwear! Still, it surprised and amused you that I fell down on my bum four times.
4.You book flights to multiple destinations one year in advance.
I’m sure in that diabolical mind of yours, this idea is beyond brilliant. However, here is when my predicament arises – traveling with you can be so intense that I want a holiday from our holiday. But since all flights are booked and the credit card is charged, I have very little room to protest.
5. You nag me to do stuff that scares me.
Remember that stunning waterfall in Bolinao, Philippines? You managed to get me to stand on its edge. For about 20 minutes, you relentlessly urged me to jump from it despite my not-so-subtle show of resistance. I realized that the waterfall was only 12 feet tall, and I was wearing a lifejacket, and you were waiting for me in the water. Still, the thought of jumping scared the bejeezus out of me.
6. You laugh at my ‘non-existent’ sense of direction.
I know I’m not that good with maps and I can’t normally tell which direction is which – north or south. But instead of offering me some sympathy on this regard, you like laughing and teasing me about it. You even warn people not to follow me unless they want to get lost too.
7. Your stomach is weak, and it’s even weaker when we travel.
An example of this was in Bagan, Myanmar. Amidst the red-hued sandy plain peppered with majestic temples, your stomach just decided it couldn’t digest the chicken noodle soup we ate at a local stall. This very stomach was the reason why we had to go back to Yangon and physically search for a hotel at 3:00 in the morning.
8. You constantly ask me if “I have everything”.
Okay, I admit it; I do have a long history of forgetting valuables. But asking me the same question repeatedly (wherever we go) is more than a tad annoying. Plus, you insist on holding on to my passport.
9. You remain ridiculously calm even when “shit hits the fan”.
I’m talking about travel horror stories like getting stuck at a border crossing in Cambodia, having a heated argument with local touts, and wearing summer clothing while climbing Mount Bromo in less than 10-degree temperature. In those types of situations, I would understandably be ready to burst in anger and frustration. You, on the other hand, would keep it cool, calm, and collected. But this demeanor has not really helped me feel better… at all.
10.You have a way of roping me in.
Even if I try to resist your “brilliant” plans or decline one of your “thrilling” adventures, at the end of the day, you would always know the right words to say – when and how to say those, to lure me into the same trap over and over again.
There were times that I just wanted to walk away from you. And I literally did that one time at a mall in Bangkok. But I came back – partly because I didn’t know the mall exit but mostly because this travel dynamics that we have, though not quite smooth, works out in the end. I would have never been able to see half of the wonderful places I’ve seen if you haven’t crafted those insanely detailed itineraries. I would have never jumped from that waterfall or braved the snowy icy trail without your encouragement. Without you, I would have lost my way…and my passport. With you, I can laugh about my flaws and stupid mistakes. With you, I learn and I grow. And so the things that I hate about you when we travel – are the very same reasons why I respect and admire you as a traveler and as a person. They are the reasons why I would always choose to pack my clothes, walk those miles, and sit beside you on that early morning train.