Prev Next

Married Travel


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Married Travel | A Practical Wedding

First off, I’d like to thank everyone for letting me take what felt like a two week sabbatical. I know. Other then the lack of my wry prattle on Twitter, you probably didn’t notice much, did you? That is because of the amazing APW Team: Lauren D., Kate, and Alyssa handling the content side, Emily handling the business side, and Liz and Lauren W. moderating. Those ladies are amazing, so a huge thanks to them.

But I’m back. I’ve taken a lot of naps, written a lot in my on-paper journal, stared into space quite a bit, read some books, spent time with my husband, done some serious exploring, and taken eight flights. It’s been epic. Specifically, I’ve visited three countries, two continents, and three islands in ten days. I know. So let’s back up and talk about travel.

I didn’t leave the state of California till I was 14 years old. It’s a big state, and we didn’t have a ton of money. I lived in a poor area in Southern California where the fact that I’d been to Northern California several times was considered relatively fancy. My parents had both grown up in the military, so they’d already traveled and lived all over the world, and no one else I knew went much of anywhere. Poverty is isolating enough that I knew someone in his early twenties who had never left the city limits of our hometown.

When I was 21, I went to South Africa, thanks to a highly subsidized honors trip I got into at Tisch, the arts school I attended (PS. The cover image on the Tisch website is from a class I was physically in. Odd, yes?). By the time David and I got together, that was the sum total of all the travel I had done. And more to the point, I felt like travel wasn’t accessible to me. It seemed like there was some magical skill set that the kids I went to college with—who’d cut their eye teeth on trips to Europe—had that I didn’t have. I thought I didn’t have enough money; I didn’t have the skills. I wanted to see the world, but I wasn’t sure it was possible.

David disagreed.

Married Travel | A Practical Wedding

At that point, we were pretty broke (artist class, as we used to call it). I made about $27,000 a year, living in New York City, which, suffice to say, is a little tricky. So when David announced his plan to take me to Europe for the first time, I thought he had lost his ever-loving-mind. I told him there was no possible way I could afford it, so he did what he always does when he has to convince me: he researched. He built spreadsheets proving how much it would cost, and how much I had to save to go. He arranged for us to stay with my family in England. He talked his parents into donating some frequent flyer miles to the cause. He figured out the most affordable time of year to go (hint: American Thanksgiving). And he would not give up until I came around.

Needless to say, it was amazing.

So when we got married and were decidedly less broke (even with one income), we decided that as part of consciously thinking about the lives we wanted to build together, we were going to prioritize travel. We knew that meant we would buy a house later, but in the world of six figure down payments, that wasn’t the hardest pill to swallow. We knew we’d have to figure out how to travel affordably, and with limited vacation time, but we figured we could do it. So starting with our honeymoon, we dove in.

And as always happens when I dive into something, I went whole hog. At the end of this week, I made a list for myself of the cities I’d been to in the past two years, and started laughing, as it read like someone in the middle of a manic episode, or on the run from the law: London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, New York, Rome, Positano, Florence, Venice, New Orleans, Cancun (environs), New York, London, Athens, Mykonos, Oia, Istanbul. (Clearly, I’m rather fond of London.)

Married Travel | A Practical Wedding

And what I’ve learned has been epic. I’ve learned things like:

  • America looks different from the outside than it does from the inside.
  • You don’t have to be a certain kind of person, with certain life experiences and wealth to travel. If you can save enough to buy a ticket, sleep somewhere, and eat, that’s really enough.
  • American’s don’t travel internationally a lot (other than college kids, honeymooners, and retirees), but much of the rest of the world jumps borders without too much fuss.
  • I am objectively rather terrible at travel. I’m so terrified of flying that I have to be drugged up half the time; I sink into a pit of despondency whenever I arrive in a new place; my dyslexia makes it nearly impossible for me to learn new languages. But even in spite of that, I travel well. I’m super friendly, I love eating new foods, and I’m crack at translating a guidebook (hip = yes, trendy = no).
  • You don’t always like what you think you’ll like. I’m not half as fond of Paris as I thought I would be, but was shocked by my love of London. You never know.
  • I think better when I’m away from home.
  • I know my husband in a different way after traveling with him than I did before.
  • I want to live abroad for a few years.
  • Being excited to come home is life changing.

For me, travel has been empowering. Could I have learned as much staying home and having new experiences right here? Probably. But for me travel was reaching for something I didn’t think I could have, and grabbing it. It was shaping the family life we wanted, together with my partner. It was doing something so far outside of the norm of where and how I grew up, that it shattered my world view, and put it back together in a new and interesting way.

And after the most recent trip, I came home feeling satisfied. I still wanted to see things, but the crazy urge to PUT ALL THE COUNTRIES IN MY MOUTH AT ONCE had been satiated a bit.

But then yesterday David suggested we pick up a travel book for Morocco. Or Paris. Or Trinidad. And I didn’t object. So really, you never know.

Pictures: Personal from our trip, for A Practical Wedding

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

More in Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • andrea

    you MUST do trinidad, and not the touristy part. go into the mountains, they’re beautiful! there’s a great bird watching conservancy up there that offers to die for peeping experience. and the street food! omg jamacian meets indian, NOM.

    • Agirl

      Is there a touristy part to Trinidad? As a Trinidadian, I’m genuinely curious, cause to me it doesn’t really seem so. (At least in comparison to other Caribbean islands.)

    • Danielle

      I spent some time in Trinidad during college and I wholeheartedly agree! There’s not as much tourism as there was in a few other countries, but the birdwatching sanctuary was beautiful. And is there any better breakfast anywhere than doubles?

      • Ari

        I’m not sure there is a touristy part, as others have commented….Nevertheless, Trinidad is spectacular. I recently went with my fiance for our friends’ wedding and it had some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve been to with no more than a dozen people in the water. And the street food? Goodness gracious. I had my fill of doubles and bake and shark while I was there. During our trip we also went to Tobago, which is also fantastic. It’s less industrial than Trinidad (which sometimes was an inconvenient thing) and the wildlife and beaches are phenomenal. Overall, I found the whole week long trip to T&T to be extremely affordable in general and apparently, a direct flight from NY to Tobago is in the works (at the time of the wedding, it didn’t exist yet but it was announced to be running shortly).

  • http://twitter.com/#!/harri_cole Harri

    you were in London and you didn’t tell us so we could show you all the locals’ secret things?!

    • meg

      I was there for 24 hours. And I was being shown the local’s secret things ;)

  • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

    I love travelling, everything about it. I am 100 % a globe-trotter and I have always been :)

    • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

      Oh and BTW, children do not need to stop the travelling! We travel with our 3 year old twins! Just thought I would share this in case someone was scared that this was the case.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        This is good to know!

      • http://asubnormalcalling.wordpress.com/ Stephanova

        Could you write a Reclaiming Motherhood post about that? Please?

      • http://www.lillianandleonard.blogspot.com cara @ lillian and leonard

        Yes, I need to hear more about this please! We’re travelling with our 10 month old twins just now and it’s EXHAUSTING. And we’re at my husband’s parent’s house, so it’s about 100 times less exhausting that proper travelling would be. I need reassured that we can travel to places where there are no relatives to help us look after our girlies.

  • Caroline

    Welcome back!

    We got back from vacation this week too, our first non-family trip since our honeymoon (which will also be our last non-family trip before our Feb. baby). Travel is also keeping us from a downpayment, but keeping us sane. I went through a minor breakdown when I thought we wouldn’t get to go on a vacation before the kid comes. But we scaled down ambitions, opened up our options, and took apartment handouts where we could. I don’t think travel is ever easy to prioritize, when the pressure to consume other things (houses, 1,000 euro prams, etc) is so strong. You have to choose it, and keep choosing it. But MAN is it worth it.

    It’s also nice to hear about someone else who did not love Paris like they expected to (we just went last week). But what I lost in love, I gained in pastries, so it was cool.

    • meg

      Indeed. When we were having a chat about why American’s appear to travel less (at least young… we’re always one of the few young American couples), David pointed out a lot of reasons: we’re farther from other countries, deeply shitty vacation policies (seriously, those have to be fixed), and the huge pressure to consume. That may be true in other places too, but it’s FOR SURE true here. You don’t just need a house, you need a BIG HOUSE. You don’t just need clothes, you need LOTS of NICE clothes. Add all that up, and you can’t really spend on travel. So, if you have discretionary income (or not… we’ve traveled without much ;), it can be an interesting exercise to choose spend it on travel, because of what you’re picking, and what you’re not picking.

      And yeah, I need to try Paris again. But I found it a little chilly, emotionally.

      • morgan

        Also, student loans. In Canada, I don’t know anyone who graduated with more than 40k of loans, and most people with far, far less. Everyone I know paid them off by 30, and they were rarely so burdomsom thay travel was out.

        • meg

          Ahhhh….. VERY good point. So many people here are under crushing student loan debt. When you look at the charts, it’s more manageable for those of us around 30 (statistically), and it’s gotten horrible in the last 10 years.

        • Aims

          Unless of course, you’re a Canadian that can’t get into a Canadian med school. Then you go to Oz or Ireland where student loans far exceed $40k, but at least you get to travel at the same time. ;)

        • Cassandra

          I wish I was one of the Canadians you know! My loans (and those of most normal middle class and lower people that I know) definitely exceed that much…

          • http://www.hibouphoto.com kandise

            Yup, me too. Definitely not going to be paying these off by 30. By 60, maybe.

          • http://highdivingboard.com Morgan

            Oh, I grew upper lower middle class at best, as did most everyone I know. It probably helped that most of us stayed in province, which helped with cost. I didn’t know almost anyone rich enough to go away for school. It helped.

      • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

        Amen to not needing the big house. AMEN. We’ve done some priority shifting, focusing mainly on US travel as we struggled financially through my time in grad school and now focusing our money into paying down our debts on house/student loans. (I recognize that our location changes the situation pretty drastically from most APW readers but this makes the most sense to us.) But travel we do, mostly 1,000 mile weekends through rural America but it’s awesome anyway.

        Meg, I related sooo much to your story of David convincing you that you could go to Europe. I feel so lucky Forrest convinced me that we could throw everything we own in storage and roam the country for nearly two months, from Oregon, to Texas, to Key West, to Maine, and back to Oregon. It was a tough time for us in some ways but it totally cemented us to each other. Traveling is good for our relationship, as it sounds like it’s good for yours.

      • http://arduousblog.blogspot.com ruchi

        Re: Paris, unfortunately, Paris is one of those places that I think is hard to get to know, emotionally, if you don’t know the language. Even though everyone speaks English, I found that Parisians really only open up to you when you speak French. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be good French. Mine isn’t. But just the fact that you are trying seems to warm them up considerably.

        There’s still lots to appreciate about Paris without knowing the language: the food, the culture, the art museums. But the emotional chill thing is hard to pierce without speaking French.

        • meg

          To be fair, everyone in Paris was very kind to us. We always started in our horrible French, and they would really quickly say, “Let’s talk in English, shall we?” Let’s be fair though, I’m a charming pretty girl ;), and Parisian men seem to respond well to that. Achem.

          Anyway, so everyone was very kind, but it just were not terribly WARM. We’d come right from London, which I find to be a city where everyone is very warm, so there is that.

          • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

            The next time you go to Paris, drop me a line and I’ll write down a few special places for you and enlist some friends to show you around if they are there. I love Paris with all my heart and I would love everyone to love it too. Then again, I must disclose that I am pretty much a Francophile.:)

        • Celeste

          I agree with Ruchi. Also, Paris is not a city I would do in a few days. I had 2 weeks and I miss her ;)

      • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

        Yes re: the consumption (uh, not the disease), and also a second to David’s point about geographic differences. My home state is about the size of himself’s home country, so for me to travel 500 miles to a different part of the States would be the equivalent of himself crossing maybe four or five countries, and a handful of different languages to boot. Coupled with the fact that traveling within the States is cheaper (if you live in the States, of course), and you don’t have to deal with a language barrier (dialects and attitudes and cultures, yes, but language, no), I can totally understand why more people don’t travel internationally.

        Now. Is it traveling internationally worthit, in my humble opinion? Uh. Fo’ shizzle, hands down, without a doubt. But I understand why many people don’t.

      • Umpteenth Sarah

        I think one of the things with Paris is that expectations are so high for so many people (most beautiful city in the world! city of love! best food ever! best museums ever!) whereas I feel like you’re less likely to hear people waxing poetic about London, so the feelings each city engenders are stacked against the different expectations. I’m with you, I love love love London and only love Paris.

        • meg

          My dad lived in London right after the war, so I’d heard horrible things about London all my life. Apparently it wasn’t at it’s very BEST eight years after being bombed to smithereens, and has improved since then. Who knew? So my expectations were very easy to surpass… but I still love it more than almost anywhere, and I’m picky.

      • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

        We bought an apartment and not a big house, and lead a very frugal life in order to be able to travel. It is a matter of choices, you are right, at least to a point.

      • Kayakgirl73

        Crap vacation policies are our biggest issue. Also true on the distance from other countries things. We just got back from California, it was my first visit there. It’s a 4 hour flight for us to CA, folks in Europe would fly over several countries in that time frame. Also trains in Europe are a more viable option.

        • Lauren

          Australians travel a lot, and we are much more isolated that the States (24 hour flight to London, anyone?). Looking from the outside in, I’d say the consumption culture is a big part of it.

          Also, I went to the States at the end of my year long, round the world trip, and a lot of people were shocked that I had been traveling for so long. When I asked why they hadn’t traveled, I got s lot of responses along the lines of ‘why bother? This is the greatest country in the world!’. (I was in DC and NYC, if that makes a difference). I don’t for a second think all Americans think this way, but there definitely are a few :)

          • meg

            Erm, I would say *most* Americans are that way, actually (ducks with shame).

            And yes, that’s a good point. almost everyone we saw on this vacation was Australian (Australians love Greece?). I said “Oh, it’s because it’s close” and David pointed out that I was out of my mind ;)

      • Class of 1980

        Yeah, David nailed it on the reasons it’s harder for Americans to travel. I work with some wholesalers out of Europe and they ALL take off for a solid month in the summer.

        When it took me longer than usual to place an order this summer, they said they thought we were on a long holiday. Uh … noooooooo.

        Bummer.

      • jenna

        i think geography is a HUGE factor! if each state in the u.s. was a different country with a different language spoken, as is functionally the case in europe, americans would be overwhelmingly more well traveled, and speak more languages. money is also a big issue – you can easily buy a ticket from paris to berlin, dublin to vienna, etc. for under 150 euro, while a ticket from north america to pretty much anywhere else in the world is $600 absolute minimum – more like $1200. if travel between countries was more feasible geographically and economically, i’m convinced that americans would be just as travel-savvy as anyone else in the world.

  • http://smittenimmigrant.wordpress.com Pluis

    Travel is such an enriching experience indeed, and having a partner who encourages it, is awesome :)

    I’m finding out that the US looks different from the inside than from the outside too, but the other way around. After never having crossed an ocean before, the last two years have found me in NYC, D.C. Pittsburgh (PA), Richmond (VA), Petoskey (MI), Denver (CO), Boulder(CO) and Rawlings (WY). The next few months will take me to Portland (WA), San Francisco (CA) and more Denver/ Boulder.

    Having your worldview shattered is an exhilarating experience!

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

    I am glad David “forced” you / convinced you into integrating travel in your lives and that you made it possible, it is just a matter of wanting something bad enough and fighting hard for it. And I am so happy of all the learning that comes with it.
    I love travel. I want to see the world, and I can’t get enough of it. This is the case of the boy as well (we met flying after all ;p) and it is definitely going to be a part of our lives together. We have this project of getting a huuge map (1.80 m wide) and put it over our couch and just set on new adventures all the time. It is eye opening, it is amazing to see other people, other cultures, other everyday’s life. I love how we are all much more alike than we are different, and how it is all connected. I am very happy for you. And can we comment on how lovely you look in that photo of you in Istanbul?

    • morgan

      I have one of those maps in our dining room! We have white pins where I have been, blue pins for him and red pins for us. (Soon we’ll have to have to get a new pin colour for us and baby, because while a baby probably ends our 3 week jaunts to Europe for a while, it doesn’t mean we can’t travel in places closer to home.)

      The map is so inspiring! We’re always planning new adventyires because of it.

      • meg

        I’m not sure though! We were talking about how we couldn’t move around like we have been with a baby, but we could get an apartment in London or Paris or wherever for three weeks, and explore close to home, with a few day trips. They have baby bassinets on international flights… just saying… :)

        • http://highdivingboard.com Morgan

          You know, that actually somehow had never really occurred to me. Probably because that’s so different to the kind of travel we do. And small babies on planes can be just so … unpleasant. But yes. Food for thought!

        • http://www.thequestionnowbecomes.blogspot.com Alicia

          We live in London, I’m from California… he’s from market-town-in-southern-england. wherever we live in the future, if we have some babes as we hope, there will be some long-haul flights with babies.

          London is awesome for babies, kids, drunken weekends, but also I was in Istanbul recently and kept noticing how many European visitors there were traveling with small children. I’d pick my locations to more child-friendly countries (I noticed turkey definitely was, we were in sweden a couple of years ago, also massively child-friendly and a super fun potential place to rent a flat or cottage). ALSO, if you live someplace lovely like san fran, you could look at doing a house-exchange or rent your place out at the same time…

      • Umpteenth Sarah

        Our neighbors moved their 2-year old toddler to China with them for 8 weeks while the dad was on field work — and not a one of them spoke Chinese. Kids are super resiliant, and they said she did great on the flights. So, it is possible!

        • mimi

          Gotta be easier with a baby/young child than it would with kids who are in school…

          • Erica

            Not at all to the school thing. My family moved to southern Belize for 6 months when I was fourteen and sisters were 11, 9 and 6 respectively. Although I missed the second half of the school year, what I gained in life experience proved wayyyy more important than a few classes, which I probably wouldn’t have remembered anyways. My parents enrolled us all in local schools, which as you can imagine are nothing like American schools.

            Incidentally there’s a really good article in the NYTimes Magazine about a family who put their kids in a local school in Russia:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/my-familys-experiment-in-extreme-schooling.html?ref=magazine

        • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along The Way

          Erica, thank you for sharing that article. It was wonderful!

      • Mary

        @Morgan We have one of those maps, too! With different colored pins for him, me and us.

        My husband reminds me of Meg, and David sounds like me. Neither of our families traveled much and we both went to school with lots of ppl who’d been all over the world. Rather than my approach of “MUST FIND A WAY”, he developed sort of a defensiveness about it with an attitude of “why travel abroad when there are so many places I haven’t been here?”

        I finally managed to drag him to South America and it changed him. Now he has the bug as badly as I do. After our last trip, about two minutes after we put our suitcases down, he jumped up excitedly to put new pins in the travel map. Meg’s statement about wanting to “PUT ALL THE COUNTRIES IN MY MOUTH AT ONCE”, now that’s how we both feel every day.

      • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

        We have travelled quite extensively with our 3 year old twins (Belgrade (3 times), Brindisi, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Zaragoza), and in one month we will be travelling all the way to Argentina ( I live in Cyprus). I would recommend this website, it has great ideas for travelling with babies and kids: http://deliciousbaby.com, and you can always drop me a line if you need advice. It can be done!

      • http://www.shinyprettybits.com kc

        We have one of these too! I am inspired to hear of so many of you with kids or soon to be with kids who are still prioritizing travel.

    • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

      Maps on the wall definitely get you talking about where to go. (And we’ve probably gone slightly overboard with the maps…but it’s lovely.)

      • morgan

        We call our living room The Map Room, because a) jokey prentention makes me laugh and b) we have at least a dozen maps hanging, both from our travels and cut from old atlas.

        • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

          My whole house looks like a USGS explosion. The giant state maps. (1:500,000…with topo lines!). Everywhere.

          One day, when Forrest has his shop we’re making a giant collage of them. (That’s only $500 worth of maps…eek.)

          • FawMo

            Our entire apartment is map themed. Real, stylized, globes: maps everywhere!

        • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

          Instead of a guest book at our wedding, we put a large map on an easel, and everyone signed that. We LOVE that being on display in our home . . . it’s a double love of the map!

  • Agirl

    TRINIDAD! You absolutely MUST. (Duh.)

    Also, ‘living abroad’ = ‘moving to LONDON’, right? Right!

    • meg

      Right.

  • http://arielgraphy.blogspot.com/ Ariel

    I find that we are our best versions of ourselves when we travel. Pete and I met in the middle of an expedition across eastern Africa. We fell in love with the travel persona of each other. Luckily, the domestic personas like each other quite a bit as well.
    I think one’s true personality comes out when travelling. Kudos to you for keeping at it.
    On a side note, we got engaged in Istanbul by the fountain between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia. It was one of my favourite cities before, but it’s extra special now.

    • meg

      Oh, beautiful…. I know. It’s a mindblowing city right? I feel like it’s also one people tend not to have been to, and I want to alert the world that they MUST DROP EVERYTHING AND GO RIGHT NOW.

      • Celeste

        OMG I am in 5 days – we’re going to Turkey and Greece for our honeymoon and I can’t freaking wait! I always get major nerves before traveling, but as soon as I get to my destination it’s exploring time! Can’t wait to explore Istanbul, Cappadocia, Santorini…..even the names are beautiful.

  • http://workoflove.wordpress.com Shaelyn

    My husband and I have taken exactly one vacation together in the five years we’ve been together – 2 if you count our honeymoon, which was really just going 45 minutes down the road and sleeping for 4 days, which I guess counts.

    We’re currently booking a winter trip to Mexico (thank you, small-but-meaningful new slice of disposable income!), and I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. To get out and see how the rest of the world lives, to explore places that are new to us but old to the planet, to have our share of misadventures — I can’t wait to see how we’re challenged and excited, and the ways we grow on this trip.

    We have sort of come to terms with the fact that we probably won’t ever own a house (hello, student loans and cost of living in NYC), but it’s mostly okay because we would rather earn the education that comes with travelling than with home ownership (I say, as I wait patiently for my super to come fix my bathroom sink ;) ).

  • Rachel

    “America looks different from the outside than it does from the inside. ” – This is my new favorite quote! So true. I just got married and next month we’re moving to Beijing. Traveling abroad is always exciting but China tends to bring “foreign” to a whole new level. Here’s hoping it’s an adventure… in a good way.

  • http://sarahsurgeon.blogspot.com/ sarah

    i couldn’t agree with this post more. my husband is you meg and i am your husband. i have successfully instilled in him a love of travel and our adventures around the world are some of our best times together. there is something very unifying about navigating the unknown together and exploring a place that was previously only there in your mind.

    welcome home.

    • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

      My husband and I are the reverse as well. I traveled a lot in my early twenties and he had only traveled domestically prior to us getting together. We just took a vacation to the UK and he officially got bitten by the travel bug. It is one of my dreams to live abroad at some point, and I have always made that known. Now that B has traveled and fallen in love with it he wants to live abroad too at some point. How that will look only time will tell. I don’t care if we live somewhere full time or spend part of the year there. I just want to be there in a local way and not as a visitor. I really miss that.

  • Lakelady

    Just want to say that I totally agree with London being one million percent awesome and Paris not wowing as much as expected. Happy travels!

  • Amy

    Travel is truly eye-opening in terms of your relationship with your spouse. My husband and I actually don’t travel all that well together (though I like to think we’re getting better). I travel more than he does for work, have a ‘system’, and tend to get cranky when hungry/stressed. Learning to chill out and let him take control of certain things was an excellent lesson in marital harmony.
    One of the most awesome perks of my current job is the travel – it can be exhausting at times – but its awesome to be able to say I’ve seen three countries I wouldn’t have otherwise as well as about a dozen states I’d never visited before.

    • Amandover

      Just want to say, all of your comment describes me & my husband! Yay for making travel a priority in work and marriage!

  • http://www.fancynotion.blogspot.com/ Kerry

    That picture from Instanbul is amazing. Just amazing. I vote for it in the imaginary “new APW profile pic” contest.

    Also, I feel the closest and most in love with my husband when we travel (internationally, but even visitng a new US city that we don’t know). Something about being a team, figuring out the maps together, being “others” together, it all makes me feel a bond that I sometimes lose the comfort of when we’re in a familiar place. It’s delicious.

    • http://www.shinyprettybits.com kc

      I love this comment. It perfectly sums up how I feel about traveling with my husband.

  • http://www.northof59thstreet.com Katie Jane

    Welcome back! I’m glad you had an incredible time!

    I think one of the most important things in my marriage is our shared love of travel. It’s always been so important to me, so when my then-boyfriend and I took a trip to Paris and London a year and a half into our relationship, I knew it was going to be a little bit of a test. I wanted to see who he was as a traveler. I wanted us to be good at traveling together. The serious boyfriend I’d had before him hated to travel. (I moved to Ireland in the middle of our relationship and when he visited, he literally wanted to sit in the house I lived in all day. Even though all of Ireland was RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR.)

    When we got to Paris, I was so happy to find that we are an incredible traveling team. He was curious and up for days of planned adventures as well as days of just wandering around and seeing what we found. And honestly, it was one of those times when I thought, “Yeah, I really want to marry this guy.” You see such a different side to someone when you travel with them, and I think it’s either really good or really bad. I feel like my husband and I are our best selves in a lot of ways when we’re off exploring the world together.

  • Meredith

    I LOVE to travel and hope to make it more of a priority in my life.

    Luckily I have the vacation time and disposable income to gradually do it. My partner, however, does not (vacation-wise, income wise he can). Which is a bit of a bummer, but also an opportunity. In 2 days I’m going to Mexico. Alone. for 5 days. And I am crazy excited.

    I can’t look at my partner’s very limited travel opportunities (because of vacation time) as an excuse to not travel. I try to travel with him when possible, but if the scheduling doesn’t work out, then I’m going to go alone or with a friend. Some people think I’m a little nuts (like my mom and grandma). But I think it’d be nuts for me NOT to travel simply because no one can go with me!

    • meg

      Ohhh you should totally write a post about traveling ALONE while married. It could be the ‘solitude’ version of this post. I only travel domestically alone (mostly for work or family).

      And vacation time in this country is bullshit. We need to FIX THAT SHIT.

      • http://alessprocessedlife.com Susan

        I would love to read a post about traveling alone while married. Though my husband and I have thus far traveled together, I definitely have a bigger case of wanderlust than does he, and I have a feeling that if I want to see more of the world, it will require me going myself or traveling with girlfriends instead. (Particularly since he’d like to run a small farm someday, which is definitely not conducive to extensive travel!)

        • k

          Just before we got married (a month ago), my husband asked me, “We’re still going to do our own trips, right?” and I told him, “well, *I* am, and I assume you will too!” Long before I met him I had backpacked around Europe for six months and lived out of my car for a year and half rock climbing, and taken lots and lots of four to six weeks trips alone. He’s traveled a lot to climb as well and while we took a six week trip to South America to climb a couple of years ago, all our climbing goals are not compatible; plus, when you get married in your mid forties you already have travel and climbing partners that you don’t necessarily want to give up! I went to Central America for a month last year with a girlfriend and I’m sure he’ll go to the Himalaya sometime without me. I wouldn’t want to miss out on travel alone, with friends, or with my sweetie. They’re all fantastic in different ways.

        • FawMo

          Travelling alone or with girlfriends is like the “Going Dancing” post on steroids. It’s so awesome. I spend five days in NY with my bestie last December and it was so energizing.

      • Caroline

        I agree. Traveling alone is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’d love to hear your experiences travelling alone.
        Lack of vacation time is why my partner and I have done no travel together. Neither of us have ever had a single day paid vacation, and vacation is twice as expensive if you have to pay for a flight, food (even cheap food), possibly a place to stay, rent on your apartment back home, AND you lose a week or two’s income.

        • meg

          We actually expected for David to take this one unpaid (it’s a new job for god’s sake), and were just going to suck it up. What the hell… we lived on one income till now, we could skip an income for two weeks. In the end we didn’t have to, but we still would have gone otherwise.

      • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

        Absolutely!!! B and I went on vacation to the UK a couple of weeks ago. A girlfriend who is from there showed us around and we stayed with her aunt and uncle. One night at dinner we were talking about traveling and her aunt asked us how long we were staying. We were only staying abroad for a total of five days as that was all the vacation time we had available having used up our other five days for other things. She said, I couldn’t imagine coming all this way for only five days. If I were to go to America, I wouldn’t go for less than two weeks. When I mentioned that two weeks was my total vacation time her jaw dropped and her eyes bugged out. She had five weeks every year before she retired and that is how much my friend Katie gets too. It is crazy how little time we get.

        • meg

          It’s BULLSHIT how little time we get.

          • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

            It seriously makes me angry how little time Americans are given for both sick and vacation days.

      • Englyn

        I could cheerfully co-write a post about travelling alone (while engaged, anyway). I just came back from 4 months of it. I am not your typical traveller, either, which probably just goes to show that you don’t have to be an x kind of person to do it. I’m just not sure I have that much to say on my own without rambling.

      • http://thislittlejourney.blogspot.com Miss C

        I’m not married yet (3 months to go!), but the majority of travelling I’ve done since I met my fiance has been alone or with a friend.
        I did Eastern Europe alone, and New York with a friend. I’m Australian.

        This post is perfectly timed for me, we were just last night talking about packing up for 5 months from August next year and training it around Europe, instead of buying a house straight away. I’m terrified, but I think it would just be such an amazing experience. And he’s Irish, so we’d have a “home” to come back to if we needed it.

    • Lynn

      I have always traveled alone, albeit in the States. I decided 15 years ago that if I was going to wait for someone to go with me, there was going to be a whole lot that I missed out on. My fiance is terrified of flying, so I’m not sure how much traveling we will do together. I tell him all the time that I want him to go with me, but if he can’t or won’t come along, then I’m going without him.

      • meg

        *I’m* terrified of flying. I still do it about once a month. Tell him to suck it up, and get drugs if he needs them! But yes to traveling alone.

        • Lynn

          No one in his family is a flyer. His 31 year old brother has never been on a plane; neither has his 51 year old mother. I think part of it for him is a fear of the unknown and part of it is that he would be a “passenger of size” and is embarrassed about it. I also don’t think that he’s found a good enough reason to need to get on a plane. A month ago when my best friend’s husband was in a terrible accident in CA (we live in MS), he told me that if I needed to go and I needed him to go with me, he’d do it.

          It will happen eventually, I know it…but I won’t miss opportunities in the meantime.

    • Sarah P

      I spent a week in England (Lincoln specifically) without the husband this summer. I wasn’t technically alone because it was this big choir trip and my family was there and I was rooming with another friend, but it was incredibly bizarre to be so far away (from Canada) doing all these amazing things without the husband.

      By the end of the week I was cranky and ready for him to arrive (we continued on to London and Paris with my family). And I’m still kind of bummed that he missed the amazing time we had a in Lincoln (we were there to sing in the cathedral for a week).

  • http://laurenmcglynnphotography.blogspot.com Lauren

    Yay Meg’s back! I’m with AGIRL, London is for lovers.

  • http://realizingself.wordpress.com Krista

    I relate to this so, so much. I also grew up in a family that was rather poor. We only ever went on one family vacation when I was younger, and that was up north to a cottage for a week. My fiance however comes from a family with hard-earned money and they like to spend it on travelling. I had never been out of the province, let alone country, prior to meeting my fiance. But he took me first to Montreal (outside of my province), then to Italy, then to Aruba, then we have gone on a bunch of family trips with his parents.

    Truly,you do learn a lot about a person by travelling with them. When people are in an entirely new environment, with new experiences and stressors, another side does come out (usually good! My fiancé apparently has an internal compass). I do, however, feel the great divide between having money to spend and not having any, especially when I go away with his parents and I leave mine behind. For me, sometimes it’s hard to reconcile the guilt I feel that I’m taking all these family trips with my fiance’s family, and yet none with my own. I think they feel guilty as well for not being able to give my brother and I the same experiences that my fiance’s family could afford to, and I definitely don’t want them to.

    • meg

      We always took the same vacation as kids too.

      Oh, the guilt. I can’t believe I didn’t write about the guilt. I meant to, but that might be a whole different post. This was the first trip that I shook it.

      • http://www.fancynotion.blogspot.com/ Kerry

        I would LOVE to hear a post about the travel guilt. I have it in relation to my family, even thought I do my best to stuff it down and hush it up.

        • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

          I’d love a post like that as well! J. and I come from *very* disparate economic backgrounds and while it’s usually not an issue, family travel is a place where it definitely shows.

          • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

            I was going to pipe up and suggest that someone write a post about when family says “Oh what a once in a lifetime adventure” and you sort of scrunch up your face and think “What? We want to do that all the time!” And then I figured I should probably give writing the “We have very different core values than our families” a shot.

    • andthebeautyis

      I know what you mean about the parental-income divide.
      I’m sure you know that feeling guilty about your opportunities to travel is something to try and let go of, since everyone is happy for you and wants you to enjoy it. But, I try to think of the giant-family-immersed-in-love experiences or homemade craftytimes my less-traveled family offers.
      I also am a great proponent of dirt-cheap travel, and maybe you can use the exploring aptitude you’ve gained from traveling with in-laws to have an adventure with your parents near where they live. All you need to do is get lost in a place you’ve never been before (bonus if people speak/dress differently than you do). That place could be a different neighborhood, or a state park. And I find a camera can help you see things you might not have noticed before (even if the pictures don’t turn out). But the point is to get that thrill of discovery, and you don’t have to get on a plane to do it.

    • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

      Totally feel you on the travel guilt. I’m one of 5 kids and my parents are teachers. We never went to a vacation destination we couldn’t drive to and camp at (to save money on hotels, not because we liked camping). My now-fiance and I went to California for a week last summer and had an amazing time. Staying at nice hotels and eating at nice restaurants in California made me feel a little bad, though. It’s kind of the same guilt I feel about spending money on our wedding. Just like when I travel, I want to create a fun, memorable experience. Sometimes, those fun, memorable experiences cost money. Unlike when I was younger and reliant on my parents, I can afford to spend money on nice things. I’m learning that in creating a baby family, that family will have a different dynamic than our “birth families.” In my baby family, we like to spend our hard-earned money on fun experiences. It’s been a process, but I’m learning to let go of the guilt associated with doing that.

  • Sarah P

    One of the very, very best things I did this year was spend 4 days in Oia sitting on a balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea doing pretty much nothing but eating strawberries and chocolate chip cookies from the grocery store next door. It was heaven.

    • meg

      See, I found Santorini… boring. Lovely, but boring. Because TOTALLY, the best thing to do is sit on your balcony (or go to Atlantis books, obviously.)

      • Other Katelyn

        I loved Atlantis Books! And Santorini, but because it was a peaceful interlude in an otherwise whirlwind winter expedition through Turkey and Greece.

        • meg

          It’s co-owned by one of my dear college friends brothers, so, that was a plug. But it’s AMAZING, no??

      • Sarah P

        Well we went there after a whirlwind 10 days in England and Italy so sitting on the balcony and doing nothing was exactly what we wanted to do. Also exploring. I’m a big fan of water and climbing on rocks and we got to do that too!

      • melissa

        I agree! Yeah, Santorini was pretty but I never need to go back. I enjoyed two days of laying on a lounge chair on our own patio staring at the caldera and doing little else. Maybe stirring to eat occasionally, or to call the pool bar and ask them to bring me food. It was the relaxing interlude between the historical sites in Athens and the action-filled, wonderful, best days of my life exploring on the island of Naxos. Now that’s somewhere I would go back.

      • http://www.shinyprettybits.com kc

        You know, I don’t think we spent much time sitting on our balcony in Oia. We spent most of our days exploring, hiking and swimming in and around Oia and other parts of the island.

        This post has given me the travel bug again and we don’t have another trip planned till December. Boo.

        • meg

          December is soon! And yes, the swimming and beaches were pretty interesting… but still. I don’t know. Give me the Amalfi Coast…

          • http://magdalenamadrid.blogspot.com/ Jessica

            Loved this post. One of my favorites especially since travel and learning a foreign language are priority numero 1 right now (live in Spain). Also – trying to plan a december trip to greece and croatia. Curious – which islands/places in greece you did enjoy since it sounds like Santorini didn’t hit the spot?

  • Jen M

    Me and the FH (hahaha! I get to call him that now, we got engaged on Saturday, SQUEEEE!!!) have made it a point to travel since we’ve been together. We don’t always go someplace fancy, but roadtrips are really fantastic. In 4.5 years we’ve eaten our way through Mexico City, Niagara Falls, Maine, Connecticut, DC, NYC, Charleston SC, Philly, Baltimore…It is a beautiful thing to travel with the one you love.

    • http://www.fancynotion.blogspot.com/ Kerry

      Congrats!

    • meg

      Yay!

    • Claire

      Congratulations!

  • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

    “I felt like travel wasn’t accessible to me. It seemed like there was some magical skill set that the kids I went to college with—who’d cut their eye teeth on trips to Europe—had that I didn’t have”

    This is how I feel and I don’t know if I realized it until I read it. I’ve always thought of vacations as possible. My mom is a travel agent and we were able to take more trips to carribean resorts than we would have been able to afford otherwise, but REAL travel, “see the world, navigate new city, learn new language” travel seems so far from my Chicago theatre “artist class” life. If Meg can do it while paying NYC rent though, I can certainly do it from Chicago.

    • meg

      Yes.

    • Amandover

      Yes! I grew up in a Chicago theater “artist class” family, and the decision I made to travel in Europe on my own when I was 21 was one of the best I’ve ever made. If you have an adventurous spirit and the determination to save for airfare (or charm and connections with frequent-flyer miles), you can live on $50/day in hostels while exploring all day long. If you can find a job and stay somewhere for a while, even better.

    • Amy

      You can totally travel on your own without much money. Seriously – the most expensive part about international travel is the plane tickets. Food in most countries (especially the delicious local food/street food) is usually pretty cheap, and there are always hostels.

      • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

        I traveled all throughout college during spring breaks and summers on very little money. I was a member of student universe so the flights were cheaper and I stayed in hostels and didn’t spend much when I arrived. I never really brought back souvenirs and ate at cheap but tasty places. Even if you aren’t a student, if you go in off-season the tickets will be less than traveling during high season. Like Amy said, the most expensive thing is the ticket itself. A girlfriend of mine traveled through the UK couchsurfing, which is free. She highly recommends it. So there are definitely ways around spending a lot of money while traveling. Not to mention there are tons of resources online and in book form available for traveling on a limited budget. Rick Steves has a line of travel books for budget traveling. His website has a forum where travelers post their tips and tricks. Lonely Planet is another one to check out.

        • k

          Also, all the comments here seem to be about travelling to Europe, but if you’re short of money and want to broaden your horizons travelling in developing countries is way cheaper and really makes you take a much closer look at your assumptions about what’s necessary to live your life. Plus there are many ways to combine such trips with work on projects (such as for Engineers without Borders etc.) if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

          • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

            This. Most of my travel has been in developing countries, and the flight is always the most expensive part. Plus, totally, you come back with a whole new appreciation for what you have, not to mention a whole new hunger for social justice (I hope!).

    • LBD

      Me too. I’ve got some kind of huge mental block when it comes to international travel. I’ve been all around the US, because I grew up with roadtrips and camping and staying with friends, so it feels like those are the skills I have and know.

  • Abby C.

    I’m going to print this post and put it on my fridge, seriously! This is exactly how we want to handle travel in our marriage.

    Granted, travel is almost a given when your in-laws all live abroad, but that makes for great trips to visit the fam! I think for us, the difficulty will be going places where we don’t have family – being “selfish” and using our limited savings and skimpy American work vacation time to go somewhere other than family.

  • Amanda

    Hy husband and I just returned from a trip to Italy – first time to Europe for the both of us. During our trip, he mentioned more than once how this “traveling abroad” made him feel more mature, more wise, somehow. And it got me thinking about how seeing the world through eyes not your own (and not your own country) is good for the soul. It’s good for really understanding the vastness of humanity. And it somehow made us closer, if that is even possible. I understand now why some people have travel so high on their priority list; I didn’t understand before this trip. I do believe it’s moving up our own list.

  • Marie

    Wow. This is such a reminder to make travel a priority! My fiance and I are also both from a fairly poor area, where international travel is basically unheard of. I’ve been lucky to have a few chances to travel abroad when I was younger through school related activities, but my fiance has never been out of the country. We have a list of places we would love to go…and money is not the problem, and we already have a freakin’ house. I think its just making the decision to DO IT, to make it a priority, something we put our time and money into.

    I’d say time is our excuse right now. We live far from our families (and friends who are like family), and we are very close with all of them. Literally all of our vacation time goes towards visiting them on holidays and going to weddings, other special events. (or taking time off when they visit us!) I wonder if we are doing something wrong here, and how to make a change…

    APW always sparks the best conversation topics with my fiance. :)

    • Amanda

      Marie –

      I find that I have the same feelings regarding how to travel without spending all our travel time/money visiting with the people we love so much (and, like you, they are all far away). So what we do which works so far for us is we travel on our own to celebrate special events/days. Hubby just wrapped up a major project at work? Going away for a long weekend just the two of us to reconnect and celebrate. Anniversary coming up? Going away to celebrate our first year of marriage. It’s hard having to juggle both family and personal travel, but it’s important to be able to do both, without feeling guilty. I hope you can find a good compromise, and perhaps others in a similar situation have other ideas how to handle this??

    • meg

      Do it. And I know. I think of the people I grew up with (and my family) David and I are the only one’s we know with passports. It’s a whole thing, when no one you know does it. It’s HARD. Or it seems really hard, until you realize it’s just a series of simple decisions and purchases. Start with the guide books, then the tickets. Then do the rest.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      I hear ya — navigating the family time (and friends time!) while trying to steal some travel time alone?? Hard as rocks.

  • http://www.thesassykathy.com the sassy kathy

    welcome back! also i am totally on the same page re. not being good at travel. i also despise flying and get super anxious and worked up the whole time. and ALSO sink into a pit of despondency when i arrive in a new place. usually the first day is kind of awful and i’m thinking wtf did i waste all this money on. it’s the same as being anywhere. what am i going to DO here for a week? and then i wake up the next morning and go ahhhhhhhhhhhh let’s get this vacation started!

  • Erica

    Meg, you are awesome and inspiring. I was lucky enough to travel a ton when I was a kid (and I second whoever said that kiddos should not stopping from traveling) but since the FH and I got together our finances have not allowed us to do any big trips together. I’m actually super jealous of an ex-girlfriend of his who got to go with him to Thailand for a MONTH. We’ve got the house now, so I’m hoping that we can re-prioritize and make travel more a part of our life together.

    Anyone have any thoughts on doing a honeymoon before the actual wedding? We’re getting hitched next October and while I will have my MA by then, if all goes according to plan, he’ll still be a student, meaning we probably won’t be able to get more than a week off for the wedding. But we’ll have loads of time, if not a lot of money, next summer. Alternately we could delay the honeymoon until Christmas break or thereabouts…

    • Marina

      I am totally in favor of a honeymoon before the actual wedding. But do make sure you schedule in a vacation immediately after the wedding too, even if it’s three days at home with the phones turned off. Having a set time where all you focus on is each other is, I think, hugely important after a big event like a wedding.

      • LBD

        This. We only went to an island town less than a 2 hour drive away for our honeymoon for three nights, but I can’t tell you how essential having some time for just us immediately after the wedding was. We were exhausted and worn out after the wedding, and we’re both introverts so were totally needed the time to recharge and reconnect. I didn’t realize how necessary that time was until the wedding was over and we were doing it. I’d been kind of ambivalent about the whole honeymoon thing until it was time!

        • Erica

          Yeeeeah, that’s what I’m worried about a little, that we’ll need some serious us time after a weekend of family shenanigans. We’ll just have to make it happen one way or another!

    • Englyn

      We did it and it was fantastic. Since we were already overseas, we took 2 weeks honeymoon before the wedding in New York State and DC. And as I knew would happen if we were overseas for our honeymoon, we wanted to rush around seeing everything. Great, but exhausting. We took another week after the wedding and stayed in the countryside in the same place our semi-destination wedding was, 2.5hrs drive from our home city. And did almost nothing. It was fabulous.
      Highly recommended!!

    • meg

      Yes to what everyone else said. I would have had a total meltdown without the post wedding honeymoon. I *needed* time to bliss out and figure things out, just the two of us. Vacations are lovely, but honeymoons are their own thing (and are pretty dependent on weddings).

      • Blaire

        So reading all of these lovely posts has gotten me kinda worried.
        My fiance and I decided that we really wanted a fall wedding (midwest, beautiful trees, amazing weather, etc.) and that we did not want to be engaged for long. This, along with other factors, led us to plan our wedding for this October 1 but with our honeymoon not happening until next summer. We will be going to Florida a few weeks after the wedding… but I’m dreading having to go right back into teaching the following Monday. Now all these what-ifs are creeping in…

  • http://hartandsolphoto@gmail.com Maddie

    When Michael graduated college and got his first “real” job, the first thing we did was book a trip abroad. While I had traveled a bit thanks to school subsidized trips and some very bittersweet family events that allowed me to visit some cool locations, Michael didn’t even have a passport until a few weeks before we left for France.

    And as much as I knew it would be a great trip, I don’t think I could have anticipated just how much stupid fun it could be to stay in a tiny hotel with two twin beds in a questionable part of Paris with Michael. (Seriously questionable. The taxi driver insisted on dropping us off three blocks away from the hotel).

    There are practically no pictures of our trip, and I sort of like it this way. We were just a couple of kids with enough money and gumption to go to a new place, try new things, and meet new friends. It’s the adventures like this (and they don’t have to be Paris, it can be a 5 hour car ride to VT) that remind me why it’s worth it to have a partner in your life.

    • meg

      I think you stayed in the same hotel in Paris as me ;) We really do need to go back, now that we could afford something different!

    • http://thislittlejourney.blogspot.com Miss C

      OMG! I think we stayed in this hotel in Paris, too!

  • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

    I’m the only person in my (blood-related) family who travels. I live far(ish) from where I grew up, I think nothing of scrimping together some moolah and booking a flight (or packing the car for a road trip), I would travel the world over if I had the money to do so. Because my family has never been that way, I don’t think they understand why I have such an inclination to do so . . . I feel freer when I travel; more open to new things. Himself comes from a family who hops borders as easily as they step over cracks in the sidewalk. Travel has always been a part of our lives together, and due to our location, that probably will continue. But traveling is also part of our relationship, and is high on our list of priorities. I hope that it always will be.

  • Manya

    Meg–
    We totally missed you! Welcome back!

    And YES–discovery travel with your spouse is AWESOME! Relaxation on the beach veg out and eat delicious stuff travel with your spouse is great too (can we say Vacation Sex? YUM). but somehow adventure/discovery travel helps to bring new things into your relationship and see your partner in a new way. Brian and I travel really well together, and it’s something that I am really looking forward to enjoying with him more when our kids get older and we are a little less encumbered.

    And now, since we have started talking about sex on APW, I think I’m going to sign off and write a post on vacation sex.

    • meg

      Hahahaha.

  • Anne

    London is definitely at least one million times better than Paris, which is actually one of my least favorite places — I’ve been three times now, and while the last time was the best, it still doesn’t do it for me. London, on the other hand…we’ve been living in Cambridge for the past year, while I did my master’s degree, and one of the best parts about it was being 50 minutes away from London. I’d love to live there someday (you know, if we can ever afford it).

    Plus, we got engaged in London (which is also where my other half bought my engagement ring). So it’ll always be one of my favorite places.

    If you’re making a list, put Berlin on it. There’s a city I never expected to fall in love with. I ended up doing research there for a summer in college, completely randomly, and wow — it’s just extraordinary.

    • meg

      Right? Right. Ok, Berlin, noted.

      • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

        And if you’re going to Germany, you must do Munich! They built it back the same style after WWII, and it’s so gorgeous.

        • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

          I second Munich. I was really surprised at how much I liked it.

          Also. If you can time it for Oktoberfest??? Thousands of people from all over the world singing and drinking together in one place? Yeah, I don’t think I need to say any more.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I really liked Berlin too. (Though I was only there about 4 days.)

    • Anna

      Yes Berlin! Amazing amazing city. I’ve visited a few times and plan to return. I want to shout at all the tourists SKIP PARIS GO TO BERLIN!
      & Munich. & Hamburg….
      well Germany in general. Go.

    • morgan

      Berlin kind of blew my mind. We did a couple of historical walking tours, and they were traumatizing in the most mind opening way. I took a lot of history in university, and come from a German family, and it was still cracked me open to sit on a bullet ridden street listening to the Rape of Berlin and realizing the extent of the horror my grandmother had lived though.

      Uh, plus fun shopping, easy travel, fun people, great beer and truely excellent museums.

      • meg

        Yes. Well. I will say that we’ve sort of been avoiding Germany as Jews. There is the horrible hovering question of, “Do you visit the camps or not?” hanging over the whole expedition like a black cloud. It’s complicated. Differently for me as a convert than for David, but really complicated for both of us.

        • Gigi

          I was taken to Dachau as a junior high student (father stationed in Germany). It sounds very weird and “out there”, but it was the trip that made me believe in ghosts. I saw them everywhere I turned. It’s a heavy thing to walk in a camp and know what happened. Not a bad thing, but very heavy. As for Germany in general – GO. Wonderful food, wonderful people, beautiful towns.

          • Umpteenth Sarah

            wow, we posted at the same time and both referenced ghosts. Ghosts = real. Proof positive.

        • Umpteenth Sarah

          I find visiting sites of tragedy to be complicated regardless of the commonality I share with the victims of said tragedy. Seeing one of the camps outside of Berlin made me belive in ghosts, and I cried, a lot. I can only imagine what that area is for people who share a strong sense of identity with the victims.

          • Gigi

            Great minds think alike….

        • http://www.shinyprettybits.com kc

          I visited Dachau when I was 18. It was…heartbreaking? I can’t even come up with the right words, and I’m not Jewish. I still think about that trip. I found Germany over all to be beautiful, though, and the people very warm and welcoming, unlike other parts of Eastern Europe (*cough* Prague *cough*) Of course I was 18, and there was lots of beer involved. :)

        • http://highdivingboard.com Morgan

          My grandfather spend a few years in a labour camp in Siberia. I did not go to the any of the camps in Germany. I just… couldn’t. And while the Russian forced labour camps =/= German death camps, the survival rate was still only about 5%, and the horror is so similar. And some things are just too raw and horrifying and hit way too close. So much horror that I can only barely wrap my mind around.

          I can very much understand your ambivalence about Germany.

        • Anne

          I can’t speak to that (not being Jewish and not having visited the camps), but one of the most striking things in Berlin, actually, is the holocaust memorial. It’s completely unassuming from the outside, but it just floors you when you go in (I guess you might describe it as interactive, in that you walk around inside it). It’s like no memorial I’ve ever seen before, and it’s really moving.

        • http://contradictorylife.wordpress.com Barbra

          I had this same issue, then I ended up going to Munich for a few days as part of a backpacking trip. I felt like I couldn’t go to Germany without visiting a camp–it would feel like I was ignoring what had happened there.
          There were a few weird parts to being Jewish in Germany (nothing like being woken up for a nap on the train by a German uniformed man asking sharply for passports), but I did really like Munich. The best advice that I got was to go to the camp on the last day. Definitely do that, if you go. After I visited, I needed to get out of Germany like, right that very moment.

    • http://www.actsofbeauty.co.uk/wordpress ActsofBeauty

      European person here, and yes, I haven’t been to Berlin, but everyone who goes falls in love – it’s where all the trendy people live, lots of fresh things happening.

      I’d be really interested to learn why people love London so much (living in the UK you take it for granted).

      My favourite cities: BARCELONA seriously the best – it’s beautiful, hot, with beach, amazing artwork and museums and architecture, great street life and is basically perfect.
      GO TO BARCELONA.

      Also, Amsterdam – canals, trams, bikes, I’d go back just for the lack of cars.

      • Amy

        I was only in Amsterdam for four days but I looooved it. The food was so good, the people were friendly and lovely, and hey any city that is still gorgeous in mid-December drizzle must be pretty freaking amazing.

      • meg

        Barcelona huh? Noted. How is the vegetarian food? My husband’s worries about what he will EAT have been holding us back on that ;)

        London is just… good. I lived in New York a long time, so it’s got the big city thing going on (with slightly better weather), and it’s beautiful. For us, I think the real crux of it is the political climate. The difference is so huge, and you feel it right away. I feel like I get off the plane and relax. For us, to suddenly be fairly moderate is so profoundly relaxing that it changes everything. Plus I find the people to be warm, I can get good tea everywhere, I have friends I love nearby, and we have great family close. So, it’s kind of… perfect for us. And you get BBC! All the time! Brillant. Please, thanks.

        • http://magdalenamadrid.blogspot.com/ Jessica

          I would say Barcelona has more veggie food than Madrid does. It’s a little more modern and progressive. There are always pitta shops with falafel and hummus although that can get old (I know, I’m a vegetarian living in Spain – eating out here can get hard so honestly we almost never do it). There’s always tortilla de patatas (it’s like a potato/egg dense cake like omolet thing. :)

        • A Team

          Meg — go to Vietnam. Veggie food there is awesome and there’s tons to see and do. And it’s super affordable once you get past the cost of the plane ticket. (hint: sign up for a credit card with an awesome frequent flier miles promo, and your tickets will be free ;)

      • North Star

        I second Barcelona! Fabulous city!

      • Another Thea

        Lived in Holland for 6 years, and visited Germany and Belgium while I was there (I was young, so we didn’t do a whole lot of extended travel.) Spend lots of time bicycling around, especially in the south–the country is beautiful, and I remember loving Leiden and Utrecht and Maastricht. Up north is great too–go to the North Sea islands so that you can *walk across* the Waddenzee at low tide. It’s fantastic. Also, if you like engineering marvels, there are the great delta systems in Zeeland.

      • Kendra

        I fell in love with Amsterdam during a brief trip last year and was just sad that I had to be stuck inside at a conference all weekend. It made me want to drop everything, move overseas, and throw out everything that couldn’t fit in a houseboat. Even books!

    • http://thislittlejourney.blogspot.com Miss C

      Berlin is the most amazing city in the world. I’d live there in an instant.

  • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com/ Koru Kate

    I have wanderlust now! I consider myself lucky to have traveled extensively throughout the good old USA, plus Mexico & Canada. But I NEED to expand my horizons!!! I have to talk to my hubs & make this a higher priority for us.

  • Lindsey

    Oh I want to travel so much! I am lucky in that I have been to a few different countries and even spent two weeks in Beijing a couple years ago. However, my husband is not into traveling and does not get near as excited as I do. I am trying to convince him that we will have a great time but he gets very worried about not knowing a language, culture, etc. Any tips for if only one person likes to travel? Money is an issue too, but if we had a trip in mind I think we could save up for it.
    We are taking a weekend trip to San Francisco in November (he has a conference there – we live in Chicago) so any advice on what to see/where to eat would be appreciated!

    • Amy

      I find guidebooks (we like the eyewitness travel ones) are hugely helpful in allowing you to get a “lay of the land” before you go. I personally like to know how good (or not good) the public transit situation is, where our hotel is in relation to major sights we want to see, and get an idea of what the “must see” things are in any given city. Then we prioritize – I love art museums, my husband can handle two or three per trip, tops. But, he loves natural history museums and gardens. So, we compromise, and make sure to build in time for rest/food/relaxing. Maybe its just us, but we’d both be very sad if a trip didn’t include time to find a cool new bar or restaurant and hang out for a while.

    • Kathryn in VT

      Ooh! My husband and I spent a weekend in San Francisco in April. We were only there for a few days, and folks who live there are much more qualified to chime in, but things we did that we loved: Borrowing bicycles and cycling through neighborhoods and the Golden Gate Park; EATING (Tartine for breakfast — or for anytime, really — is to die for); farmers’ markets. We were too cheap to pay admission at the California Academy of Science, but I hear great things. If you have access to a car, or would consider renting one for a few hours or a day, I really loved getting out of the city. We headed up to the Muir Woods, ambled along a rocky beach, and then had a fun meal at Fish in Sausalito.

      Have fun!

    • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

      We were in San Francisco for a whopping day…but we walked a ton. We had lunch in Chinatown (yummy and cheap) plus poked around the markets. We walked through Little Italy and promised ourselves to eat there next time. The cable car museum is pretty cool (and it’s free). We walked through Golden Gate Park.

    • meg

      THE MISSION. That’s where it’s happening. The end.

      • Anne

        Come on — there are other good neighborhoods in San Francisco :-)

        But it’s hard not to second that suggestion. Especially if it includes ice cream at Bi-Rite or tacos from La Taqueria.

  • http://cubicalmouse.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I have never really traveled, even when I had the money to travel a few years back. And unfortunately, I think cruises will have to be our main form of travel – FI has an ear problem that causes excruciating pain when we change altitudes. Taking off in an airplane would be terrible for him, and no country we cannot reach by boat or car is worth that!! We will have fun cruising to Hawaii, Mexico, and Alaska, and driving everywhere in Canada & the US.

    I just wish traveling by train was cheaper and more accessible. I would love to take the train up the West Coast to Canada – without it costing hundreds of dollars.

    • http://realizingself.wordpress.com Krista

      You can pretty much cruise anywhere in the world nowadays! So you guys have plenty of places to visit, and cruising itself is such a fun experience.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Ugh. The lack of handy, affordable train options in the U.S. is absolutely effing ridiculous. I actually enjoy traveling via train, too!

  • http://www.fieldandfallow.com amy

    I find it weird when people gush about London, especially on days like today when it took me 2 1/2 hours to get to work. But then before I lived here I guess I did the same.

    I do love Paris though, but not the touristy bits. Although the rest of France kicks it’s ass somewhat.

    We’re going to Morocco in a fortnight and I CAN’T WAIT!

    • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

      I’ll join you in the minority here. I did love Paris. And the rest of France is marvelous.

      • Kate

        I loved living in London but still absolutely love Paris and would easily move there if I could. And now in San Francisco I have a 20 minute walk to work and I don’t miss those horrendous days in London where a 4 mile jourmey takes an hour and a half because of a tube breakdown etc.!

        • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

          Haha, I loved living in London, and much preferred it as a city to where I now live (San Francisco)… but in London I had a 15 minute walking commute and in San Francisco I have a forty minute commute via Muni and BART!

          But count me in as one of those who loves Paris. I really want to live there, if I could ever find a job….

          • Kate

            I dont know if I would say I actually prefer one city over the other, they are both great and I feel lucky to have lived in both.

            After 6 years in London I was ready for a change and am enjoying the shorter commute and no transport necessary, larger flat and the fact that I can get across the city in a cab for less than a small fortune. And I don’t miss the days where the tube would break down, the busses were too full to get on and I would end up walking home from Chancery Lane to Notting Hill!

            But we are still new enough to the city that we can explore a lot and I am sure that I will start missing London and wouldn’t be surprised if we moved back in a few years!

      • jenna

        Yeah, I have to say, I loved Paris and got a weird, bad vibe from London. My family is Irish (I’m first generation), though, so I don’t have much sympathy for British anything, which definitely colored my experience. It was difficult not to imagine how my immediate ancestors (even going back 30-40 years) would have been treated in London for their accents alone. Hard not to feel unnerved with that hulking colonial legacy looming.

        It might be an unpopular sentiment on this blog, but I don’t think it’s something that most Americans without ties to colonized nations consider re: London. Still wrangling with this one.

    • meg

      Well, I mean, I lived in New York for a decade and would go back in a heartbeat. So big cities and long commutes are something I understand, and mostly adore. I mean, I don’t adore the commute, but I find that it’s worth it. And I loved New York more when I lived there than when I visited, so I’m not at all scared of London.

      • http://www.thequestionnowbecomes.blogspot.com Alicia

        Having lived in London, bay area and NY (and Barcelona as it happens, but I promise I’m not as much of a randomly obnoxious jet setter as this sounds) there’s many many many things I love most about living in London – the diversity of neighborhoods, people, food (also true in NY but more street-by-street diverse/integrated here than NY I find). Plus there’s general british quality of life stuff I’d really miss, though it sounds weird to say.

        HOWEVER, the ridiculous travel times are absolutely nothing to be sniffed at, even in comparison to NY. It takes insanely long to get anywhere here, NY I was used to (45 minutes is a long time there), here to get to friends’ houses it’s easily 1.5 sometimes – each way. We try not to let the north-south thing bother us too much but it does get you down and limit what you do sometimes.

        Anyhow, off to take my ‘Life in the UK’ citizenship test in 2 hours!

    • DanEllie

      Morocco is an amazing country – I went while I was in college and travelled a number of places within the country. Being in the Magreb was unlike anything I’ve experienced before or since. The one thing that was odd for me was the amount of notice my group received as a bunch of American women. This was back in early 2001 (before September 11) so it was mostly positive, but still unexpected.

      What is your travel plan?

  • katieprue

    Today, it is going to take every ounce of willpower that I posses to not: 1.) Spend all day looking at travel websites or 2.) go straight home after work, pack the car, kidnap my fiance, and take off. (Okay, I can’t really take option #2. Hey, a girl can dream.) I haven’t even realized how hard we’ve been working lately, but I’ve definitely felt the need for time off and a change of scenery lately.

    We didn’t really travel together until we took a trip for our four-year dating anniversary. I fell for him all over again. Hard. I turned into a grinning, blushing, silly, lovesick fool. We should have done that sooner. ;) Of course he drives me crazy (in a good way. Or bad way! ha.) every day, but vacation has that oomph factor. Seeing him in a different place just makes me melt and go weak in the knees.

    Here’s an interesting thing we’ve noticed–when we go to a restaurant at home, most of the time the waiter will ask if the checks are together or separate. Away, never. They always hand it to him. Is that a cultural thing, or a vibes-we’re-giving-off thing? Are we the only ones?

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      That’s funny — I’ve never had a waiter as us if the checks are going to be together or separate here, in the U.S., or abroad. May I ask where “home” is?

      • katieprue

        Isn’t it so strange? But, we are in Kansas. In a college town.

  • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

    “Being excited to come home is life changing.”

    *Yes, this*

    I moved around a bit during my teens, and for a long, long time I never felt a sense of “home” anywhere. Until one time, after living in this city for a few years now, my husband and I traveled, and for the first time, that pang of excitement about going back someplace wasn’t directed towards a long-gone childhood place, but *my city*. It changed everything. The moment I connected, really viscerally connected, with the place I called home, I became a much more content person.

    I love travel. And I love feeling some connection with the place I call home, too, through that.

  • Lana

    As a resident of Holland where leaving the country consists of driving for an hour and a half, it is hard for me to grasp never leaving your country. I know living in a country the size of a continent changes things.

    Still, before my honeymoon I had never left Europe. Well I crossed the bosporus when I was in Istanbul (yay Istanbul, go there now!) so that means i’ve been on the Asian continent but I don’t feel that counts.

    For our honeymoon we decided that it was time for both me and my husband to embrace our new life and include intercontinental travel in our married excistance. So 17 days on the island of Bali later I decided that travel should be more of an issue in our lives.

    Don’t forget that I am saying this as a European because I have thought for many of my adult years that one did not have to leave Europe to see the world. Maby not surprising if you grow up visiting among others: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switserland and Belgium. I mean, we drove there in a crappy car while being raised by a single mom on whelfare.
    I wholehartedly disagree with myself now and look forward to flying around the world with my man and my soon to be born son.

    Don’t get me wrong, I will be traveling around Europe all my life, mostly because of cost. I mean It takes me four hours to drive to Paris. Six to Denmark this is loads cheaper than flying anywhere but I will make it a priority to at least plan for longer trips.

    Maby I’ll even come and look at the United States from the inside, I hear it looks different :P

    • meg

      It probably does look different. Though I’d be interested to know how.

      Think of how much huger California is than your whole country. It takes about 16 hours to drive it end to end. I’ve still never been to the top of it…

      • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

        This is also one thing I am trying to prioritize … getting to the top of my own state! I am desperate to travel but with work schedules, one international trip a year is about as ambitious as we can get. BUT, I live in California, which is absolutely beautiful! So we’ve been trying to do more small side trips to Russian River, Tahoe, San Luis Obispo, etc. I haven’t been to Yosemite in about fifteen years and I’ve never been to Big Sur. I feel like interspersing minibreaks in between the big trips is a good way to partially quench the travel bug.

        • Kayakgirl73

          Big Sur is spectacular, we just visited there. So Beautiful. Pieffer Beach and McVay Falls in Julia Pieffer Burns State Park. Point Lobos State Preserve near Carmel is beautiful as well.

        • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

          Minibreaks are essential. We did a three day 1,000 mile bit through Eastern Oregon earlier this summer. A couple nights camping and a night in a clean but very retro motel in Fossil. It was actually quite amazing. Travel abroad or across the country is incredible but with money being tight plus the awful vacation policies in the US (mentioned all over these comments) they are really important.

  • Kate

    We just moved from London to San Francisco in the last two months. I has been living in London for nearly 6 years and my fiancee is a Brit – and while we transferred with our company we made it a big priority to take three months off and travel around South America. It was expensive but totally woth every penny and I wouldn’t change a thing. It was also where he decided he for sure wanted to marry me and propose, which was awesome. We are lucky to work somwhere in the US that offers us a minimum of 5 weeks of vacation so we won’t have to stop travelling now that we are here but our trips will likely look different than they did from London, but travel is something that I don’t think we could ever stop doing.

    Also – Morocco is AWESOME but I would also recommend considering Argentine, particularly the region around Salta, it was beyond amazing and nothing at all like I expected.

    • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

      Ooh, we’re moving to London at the end of the year, with company transfers as well! Would love to know what tips you have from 6 years there.

      • Kate

        More than happy to share tips or answer any questions – you can email me at katherine dot nichols at gmail

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Uh, we’re taking some time off and hitting up South America in a couple of months. You and I? Should chat. Email me! (ETA: Oh wait, I see your comment above. Expect an email from me!)

  • Edelweiss

    I grew up in foster care, but was sent to France for a summer in high school as part of an exchange program – and that gave me the travel bug. Any of you in contact with low-income high school kids – there are a TON of scholarship programs for sending high schoolers abroad. If I hadn’t had someone push me into it as a teenager, I might have turned into a competely different person.

    Another cheap and amazing trip is Iceland in the winter. That was the first time Walrus left the country (hello, travel trial by fire). We had to learn to adapt to our travel selves, but being in such an isolated country at an isolating time really shaped how we travel and appreciate small, important details now.

    I’ve also learned that he needs to rest each day when traveling (he takes in so much, he needs to be somewhere stable like our hotel room for an hour or two to refocus). “Wasting” time on things like sleep when traveling drives me crazy. So I plan jogs, trips, reflecting time at coffee shops for those moments, and it works out marvelously.

    We manage our budget by planning an overseas trip every other year and a domestic road trip the other year.

    LAST TIP: While I get the coldness of Paris referenced in the comments – for those that haven’t been to France – don’t write off the country. Lyon, for example, is cheaper and wonderful. It’s a really interesting city with lots of recent and older history and near some beautiful country-side.

    • meg

      God yes, I need downtime when traveling too, or I MELT THE FUCK DOWN. David has learned.

      Yes, if we do Paris again (which I still want to love, I adore big cities), we’d see the countryside as well.

      • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

        Take the train to Tours. Rent bicycles. Ride the Loire River Valley trail (La Loire a velo”) through medieval towns and around horse pastures and past chateaux. Cheap and fun.

      • Anne

        I currently live in Strasbourg with my French boyfriend (I’m Australian) and it is pretty much my favourite city that I’ve ever visited ( I’ve travelled to more than 40 countries). I highly highly recommend this often-overlooked gem!

    • http://bringitinheavy.tumblr.com Genevieve

      Lyon was absolutely my favorite place in France. <3

  • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

    I love married travel. Before we were married, all our trips involved visiting family. Sometimes we’d break out to do something alone in the vicinity of our destination, but that’s not quite the same, y’know? Our honeymoon actually made me fearful for our traveling future, because he was terribly sick the whole time, and I secretly thought, well, this is it. We’ll never go anywhere again. BUT last winter, we planned a trip out west, just the two of us, with explorations galore. And it was the most fun I’ve had traveling/exploring ever ever. And now, he wants to go EVERYWHERE, which is a huge change from when we were dating, when he decided European travel was too cliche ;) So here’s to tons of adventures and good stories for all of us!

  • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com meghan

    Travel was something that was taught to me early in life. I am so grateful for my grandmother and my parents for showing me slices of the world. I so look forward to showing my daughter the wonders outside of her backyard.

    • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

      Same here. Reading all of these comments make me realize just how lucky I’ve been in terms of being able to travel from a young age. Not that my family was particularly wealthy, it’s just that we’ve always had the approach that Meg describes above – if you can pay for a ticket, food, and a bed, you’re good! We were also really lucky to always have family abroad, so in many cases it was just a matter of a flight.

      Travel is now a huge component of my job, so it will obviously feature hugely in our relationship (ie, international moves every few years). It’ll be interesting (and challenging – my profession has a HIGH divorce rate) to navigate the lifestyle, but I’m looking forward to it, and we have very frequent discussions about our expectations, fears, hopes, and plans.

  • http://badassurl.blogspot.com Amanda

    “so he did what he always does when he has to convince me: he researched. He built spreadsheets”

    THIS! I do this so hard. It’s how I convinced my now-husband that weddings cost more than he wanted them to (at least, if you want to invite as many guests as we did), and that paying for a venue can be the same price as getting a venue for free but paying for a tent in case it rains all over your free venue.

    • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

      Spreadsheets are truly wonderful things. I think nearly every decision in our marriage, from what we need from the supermarket, to what to negotiate on a big job offer happens on a spreadsheet. Our marriage would look very different without excel… :)

      • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

        I cry and say we can’t afford it. And then we bust out the spreadsheets and decide if we can or what we can trim to make it so that we can. Google Docs FTW.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along The Way

        Haha, I have a grocery store spreadsheet list too. :) But it makes it so easy to track what I need to buy and then find it in the store (you know, because it is in order of the layout of the store.) :)

  • Marina

    Travel within the US changed how I look at the country, too. Especially growing up in California–you’re totally right when you say how big the state is, it’s easy to never leave the state and feel like you’ve seen a lot of the country. (The best way I can think of to explain it is that a lot of states have half-joking rivalries with neighboring states–California has rivalry between the north half and the south half.) But taking a 3 month Greyhound bus trip through pretty much everything west of the Mississippi completely changed how I look at my country. I think it’s especially important to spend some time in rural areas and suburbs as well as cities–couchsurfing and staying with friends of friends is great for this. Plus, if you’re a US citizen, you can travel within the US for a long time for really cheap by getting odd jobs for a week or two wherever you go!

    • Kathryn in VT

      Yes, this! I grew up in a military family, so for me traveling and moving (sometimes internationally) has never seemed like an especially big deal. When I hit college, I spent a semester in Germany, and happily hoofed around Germany. I’ve been lucky to take several great international trips, and they’ve shaped the way I view my life, my choices, my country.

      HOWEVER! It becomes so, so easy to think of “travel” as having to take place on the other side of the world. I realized I’d begun to equate my idea of “adventure” with “international.” There is so much to see and do in North America. Plus, there’s the added bonus of speaking the language. This isn’t just a practical concern (if I could travel around China by myself with not a word of Chinese, I’m convinced anyone can go just about anywhere). I’ve found travel so enriched by having the opportunity to talk to locals, to sit down at someone’s kitchen table and hear about their life.

    • meg

      God yes. I loved driving across the US (I’d like to do it again, but slower), and I adore the South. And New Orleans practically *is* a different country, if you ask me. In an awesome way.

    • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

      Yes to this! I’m a member of the no-family-vacations-as-a-kid club, and LOVE traveling the US. There are still pockets of culture that surprise and astonish me — Hello, no-rules Southwest with your big skies and gorgeous vistas, I’m an Easterner, and I’d like to know why there are no safety rails around your canyons. Can I get closer please?

      • http://www.courtneykhailstationery.com Courtney

        We actually JUST got back from a 6 week long cross country road trip and I can’t recommend it enough. I love Europe (lived in Italy and it will always be special to me) but we (as in Americans) have such a beautiful and diverse country RIGHT HERE that deserves to be seen too! Although I’d visited a lot of different U.S. cities before, there was just something so special and eye opening about actually driving THROUGH it. You see our country in such a new light. It takes some planning, but it’s well worth it! (oh and p.s. our national park system is amazing. if you ever have the opportunity to visit some of them go. like right now :) )

  • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

    My husband and I just spent three and a half months in the USA, primarily for his work but we travelled every weekend and squeezed in as much as we could. (I second what someone said above about America also looking different from the inside..)

    What I love so much is discovering that we don’t seem yet to have a limit to the amount of time we are happy to spend with each other. 95% of the last three months it was just the two of us. And that was fine. Wonderful even. It bodes well as we have a big move coming up (new country again) and it’s comforting knowing that even in those early few weeks and months of not knowing anyone, we’ll have each other and hopefully won’t start to piss each other off for a bit longer ;)

  • anonymous

    Married travel is both harder and easier.

    Harder because I traveled a lot by myself before I traveled with my now-husband, and if you are a woman traveling alone locals must engage with you if they want to communicate with you or you need to communicate with them, so you get used to a level of engagement and respect that you’d get back home. With my husband (or when we traveled together before marriage) it was a big issue for me that suddenly I would have experiences where I was COMPLETELY IGNORED – someone wants or needs to talk to us? They talk to my husband as though I don’t exist. They ask what he’d like or if he wants to do something or go somewhere without any thought to what *we* want or what I might be thinking, and certainly an assumption that he was in charge of the trip (which is usually exactly the opposite. I traveled a lot before, so I have the planning skills – usually I’m the one these people, always men, need to be talking to). It happened in the Philippines – I spoke up and started answering questions anyway – it happened in India when the guy who helped us book some boutique hotels shook my husband’s hand and not mine despite the fact that I had arranged everything (and he was clearly not the sort of super conservative person who would have a religious objection to shaking a woman’s hand)…it happened in Indonesia and a few times in Turkey (mostly dealing with restaurant checks which is no big deal).

    I’m still not used to it or OK with it, but now I anticipate it and have strategies to deal with it. My husband, bless his heart, will firmly say “I don’t know, talk to my wife, she’s the brains of this whole thing” if someone is talking to him who SHOULD be talking to me.

    It’s easier too, though, because two people can split up tough tasks. If I am exhausted and the thought of asking one more person for directions makes me want to stab myself in the eye, he can do it. If he’s totally out of it and needs me to fumble with the phrasebook to get us some dinner, I can do that. We know he’s better at researching and knowing what to do to get from the airport/bus/train station to our hotel in a new city with just a map and an idea (I’m terrible at it and always took taxis before – with him we can take airport shuttles and such) so he does that. I’m better at language and communicating as well as itineraries so I handle that aspect.

    Also, I hate to say it but it’s so true – traveling with my husband, I haven’t been sexually harassed once. I dealt with more than my fair share (any woman’s fair share!) of gropes, sneers and looks in some places (India, I love you, but I am looking at you right now) but traveling as a couple, it just does not happen. It’s really sad, what that says about the status of women in many parts of the world, but true.

    • k

      I have been sexually harrassed multiple times while travelling with an old boyfriend: in Italy, in Morocco, in India just off the top of my head. In India a guy riding by on a motorcycle actually grabbed my ass while I walking down the street HOLDING HANDS with my boyfriend. The bf was certainly one of the least threatening guys I’ve ever known, but still, while I definitely agree that there is less hassle in many countries if you’re with a man, it may happen to you anyway. But it could happen to you even if you never leave home as well.

  • Claire

    “It was doing something so far outside of the norm of where and how I grew up, that it shattered my world view, and put it back together in a new and interesting way.” Love this. Wow.

    This post meant a lot to me as travel is something I’ve been longing to experience with my husband. I grew up abroad and have either lived in or visited seventeen countries, and I feel these experiences helped shape me in ways I can’t clearly articulate. My husband, on the other hand, has never been outside the U.S. and his travel has so far been limited to a few long weekends we’ve taken together out of state before we were married. (I took him to LA to see a Leonard Cohen concert for one of our relatively early dates :)

    As we planned our marriage, we talked a lot about prioritizing travel together and even set up automatic deposits to a dedicated “travel fund”. But. Then our grand plans were put on hold indefinitely when we sorta “inherited” my two young nieces (ages one and four) due to a family crisis. Due to the delicate situation (rules around guardianship agreements, etc.), we can’t leave the girls with anyone and can’t take them anywhere. So we’re stuck. For now.

    Of course, I love the girls fiercely and am thrilled to have them, but it does mean that travel is one dream that we’ll just have to wait for. Cue wistful waiting.

  • april

    Envious of your travels, Meg ~ Istanbul and Greece have been on me and the Mister’s travel list for a while now.

    And Paris ~ *sigh*. Je t’adore Paris. I’m obsessed with it. Mainly because I met my husband there, but I traveled to the City of Light years before I met him and I just fell head over heels in love with everything about the place. Probably helps I’m a quarter French and I speak enough of the language to get by. Hoping you have another opportunity to visit France, and experience the countryside. The Loire Valley is wondeful (Amboise in particular is so charming); and Provence is to-die-for!

    Living in another country is an amazing goal and such a unique experience. The two years I lived in Spain will always ALWAYS be with me. I learned so much about myself: how to drive a stick-shift vehicle…in a round-about…. with goats on the road… all at once. Yeah. FUN! How to speak a new language, navigate a city entirely on my own and travel on trains… how to pack light and buy things on the go if I needed it. How to live and eat more simply and appreciate the kindness of strangers. New foods. New places and people. All of that just created a huge shift in how I viewed the world and made me more relaxed, more open, more trusting and more giving as well.

    Now that the Mister and I have a car / mortgage / jobs, etc. our travels are a bit more limited to places we can drive or train to in California. But the spirit of discovery and thrill of adventure still exists in those journeys. And in 2013, we plan to move to Singapore!

    • meg

      I, um, wouldn’t recommend Greece as a top pick of mine. It was fine, but it wouldn’t rank in a list of places I’ve been. I know, that sounds awful, but. We did really like Athens (though everyone told us to rush through it because it wasn’t great, but they were wrong). The Islands were more beautiful than interesting… I feel like the pictures trick you into going, and then they are the best part. If we go back, I’d do the less touristy, more difficult to get to Islands.

      • Meg1113

        We were just in Greece in June and unfortunately in Athens two days after the riots and I wasn’t blown away by it either. I had these grand expectations and we left feeling decidedly underwhelmed but I wondered if that was because all of the unrest. Someday we’ll probably give it another try but I much preferred our time in Turkey.

        • meg

          Agreed, totally agreed. Though I liked Athens more than most people seem to.

      • melissa

        Yeah, Santorini was a disappointment and I’ve heard the same of Mykonos. Definitely do less “trendy” islands if you make it back. :)

      • Agirl

        BTW, when I told the boy which islands you went to, he wasn’t surprised by your reaction to them.

        • meg

          Yeah… it was a time issue. The ferries are such a mess (allegedly), that to to the less populous more interesting islands you need a time buffer. So, on one hand I’d like to go back. On the other hand, I’m rather profoundly a big city girl. So part of it was realizing that “THIS IS A TINY ISLAND, oh crap now I’m bored.”

          I want to do the Princes Islands off Istanbul, on what will clearly be our return trip to Turkey though.

          • http://www.thequestionnowbecomes.blogspot.com Alicia

            Do this, it’s totally fabulous – one of the highlights of our turkey trip (renting bikes on Buyukada, trying to find Trotsky’s house)

      • jenna

        As a former Athenian resident (lived there for 6 mos), I have to chime in. There are plenty of beautiful, non heavily touristed islands within easy reach of the mainland, 1-3 hours from athens’s main port (piraeus), and not at all difficult to get to. Try Paros, Hydra, Aegina, Sifnos, Chios. I wouldn’t touch Santorini or Mykonos with a ten foot pole, especially during the spring/summer season.

        If you’re going to Greece, I wholeheartedly recommend spending at least a few days in the Peleponnese, as well – Mani, Mavrovouni, Mystras, Monemvasia are stunning. The cliffs and monasteries at Meteora are also jaw-dropping.

        • Sarahkay

          Greece stands out in my mind as one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

  • Caitlin L

    I love this post! Its funny because I am fairly young to be married, 23, and a friend had posted somewhere his idea that people our age who were married and having kids ( we dont have any) are not “experiencing life” and then it I read this and it makes we want to sit down with my husband and write a married bucket list, like I would love to travel outside of the country before we have kids. Or road trip across the country, or, or, or. I also grew up in poverty and havent seen much. Trips though school mostly and our honeymoon, all in the country. I love the inspiration I get from this sight, even after we got married. :)

    • meg

      Our married bucket list is KEY. Do it.

    • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

      I’ve heard of people doing this. They call it a “cradle list.”

  • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

    Love, love, love this post. One of the things I love most about being married to Jason is that he values and wants to prioritize travel as much as I do. I’m so glad that we took a couple “big” trips in this past first year of marriage (Hawaii! Italy! Barcelona!) because it’s really filled us both with the sense of possibility for a life filled with travel together (as well as reinforced how well we travel together, hurrah!). We’re no longer people who “are going to go to Europe one day” – we’re people who’ve been, who will go again.

    • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

      I love that you state ” we’re no longer people who ‘are going to Europe one day’ – we’re people who’ve been, who will go again.”

      I’m so glad that B is on board with making travel a priority. Traveling is an innate part of who I am. It feeds my soul and reinvigorates my spirit.

  • http://www.scriptinghappiness.com Jeena

    This post made me think about my 20’s when I didn’t think twice about taking off for weeks at a time with a backpack, map and my passport. Now, I’d need something of a divine intervention to take 2 weeks off. Jeff and I took 2 weeks off for our honeymoon – our first “vacation” in three years. I hate that Americans in general value “stuff” far more than “experiences.” I also agree that we need more vacation days. Take a look at the list of minimum employment by country on Wiki – we rank WAY low on the list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_statutory_minimum_employment_leave_by_country

    • Rebecca

      US employment laws/culture are the one reason I really, really hope I can find a post-doc somewhere else! Seriously, I’d LOVE to holiday over there, but I hear about 60-70 hour lab weeks and sh*tty vacation time (here in New Zealand I work a 40-50 hour lab week plus some at home in the evenings, we get 4 weeks annual leave and an additional 10 or so public holidays) and I just don’t want to do that to myself or my marriage for the sake of my career (also, I gather work visas would be pretty hard for the boy – a carpenter- to get anyway).

      Am I misinformed, or is it really that full-on?

      • Sarahkay

        My partner and I really prioritize travel, even though we’re a single income family. However, we’re both from American ex pat families and we spent our childhoods being dragged all across Europe and Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and Australia. While we both consider ourselves very lucky to have had the chance to see the world, we have never had the chance to see our homeland. So every chance we get, it’s road trips to the desert, exploring old mines or hiking in the Rockies, or going to Maine to see the fall leaves change and eat lobster. It’s amazing to be a tourist in our own country after spending your life on the outside looking in. America is so incredibly beautiful and diverse.

  • http://jessicaschillingphotography.com Jessica Schilling

    Love this! My family didn’t travel much when I was young, and I was 18 when I took my first plane trip. But my husband and I both love traveling and have made that a priority in our lives. I backpacked in Italy for two weeks in college and really got hooked then. As a couple, so far we’ve visited Ireland, Mexico, Canada, and the Bahamas. Next year is Puerto Rico and hopefully Japan. Several other countries and cities planned after that, and maybe living abroad at some point. One of the things I love most about traveling internationally is following through on the daydreaming part of it, and realizing that it really is accessible if that’s what matters to you.

  • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

    So glad to see you back and sharing such an insightful post…
    I’ve had a passport since I was wee and traveled back and forth from Texas to Japan every summer. It boggles my mind sometimes that my husband doesn’t have a passport. Right after I changed my name when I got married I renewed my passport with my married name.

    Any thoughts on going to Asia next, Meg? :)

    • meg

      Asia’s never been high on my bucket list for whatever reason, thought I’m sure you guys could sell me on it ;)

      • Laura

        Ok, I’ll share my Asia travel experience so far, but first I’ll say this:
        I absolutely endorse going where your heart and your interests direct you, especially as your travel adventures are starting out. (And Meg, I love this post and I’m so happy you had a much-deserved vacation.)

        My beloved got the opportunity to go to Japan for a few days for work and we leaped at the chance to turn it into a vacation even though Japan hadn’t been on either of our “lists”. It was amaaaaaaaazing. Seriously: magical, beautiful, challenging, thought-provoking, relaxing, fascinating, humbling – all of the things great travel can be.

        We had two weeks and we started in Osaka (where the work was) and then took the Shinkansen to Tokyo and then to Kyoto. And we threw in a day trip to Nara from Kyoto. We could’ve crammed more in but we wanted to get a real feel for each place and not kill ourselves. Each city was very different from the others. Tokyo was thrilling & exhausting, Kyoto was exquisite and tranquil, Osaka was exceptionally friendly and fun and ended up being our favorite.

        We stayed in three very different types of accommodations including a traditional ryokan (um, hello, onsen (heated baths) at the end of a long day = amazing). For the most part people were very kind and friendly, We learned *so much* and we felt really grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Japan’s incredible history. (Also as an aside, the cities we were in were very safe and very clean…which was different.)

        It was our first big trip together and that was also interesting and growth-full and bonding. It was a super-special, broadening experience and it also totally gave us the desire to pursue further travel in Asia. I could not recommend it more highly.

  • http://vaco-vitae.com Maureen @ Vaco Vitae

    And the beauty of your “job,” Meg is that you can do it from anywhere. I just read a fantastic post that talks bout freelancing/home based working as the “industrial revolution of our times.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/elisadoucette/2011/09/15/freelancing-and-location-independence-the-new-work-revolution/

    Love it.

    • meg

      Well, yes, in theory. But my HUSBAND can’t work from anywhere (times ten thousand, as a lawyer), so it makes the point sort of moot.

      And it’s not a “job” lady, it’s a JOB. It’s some hard ass non stop work, don’t let the pretty pictures fool you!

      • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

        There’s International Law, the UN, plenty of International Organizations all over the globe Meg…just saying (I’m a lawyer too) ;)

  • Rebecca

    Completely, completely understand “the crazy urge to PUT ALL THE COUNTRIES IN MY MOUTH AT ONCE”! Luckily since our combined conference/honeymoon in France last year, the boy has the bug too. It’s hard – New Zealand is truely at the ass-end of the world so it’s incredibly expensive to fly anywhere much further than Australia – but it’s a priority for us both to adventure together, especially as we live apart for work/study at the moment. Still, we’ve managed Singapore, France, Australia (well, I have!), and we’re off to Thailand in 3 weeks’ time for a couple of weeks of exploring.

    Fingers crossed that next year I find a post-doc somewhere nothern-hemisphere (with vacation time!) so we can adventure more easily for a couple of years before we think seriously about kids n such. Not that I mind travelling with them, I’d love to give bebes the experiences I didn’t get as a wee person, but I suspect with the cost of getting anywhere from NZ it will mostly be domestic road trips!

    Inspiring as always Meg – hope you can squeeze in our end of the world sometime too…

  • Amber

    Why has nobody talked about the London shoes? (well, to be fair, I read MOST of the comments, but maybe I missed it). Are they delightfully sparkly new London shoes?

    P.S so jealous/inspired/enamored with your travels. We visted Vietnam last year — plus a bunch of domestic travel this year — and am heading to Argentina at the end of the year. I’ve probably blown nearly $50,000 on travel in the last 7-8 years. Worth every penny (and no, it wasn’t super glamorous travel).

    • meg

      No! Like so many of my good finds, I’m afraid, they are sale bin at Anthropologie shoes. My husband spotted them, to be fair.

  • Jess

    I’m pretty poor, to be honest (I got an earned income tax credit the last two years), and I’ve managed to travel so much last year that I have elite status on an airline. I prioritize it in my life and I sacrifice other things in order to do it. Also, I don’t treat every trip as a once in a lifetime thing. If you have the mentality that this is the ONLY time in your life that you will go to Paris (or Japan or Peru or Ireland or South Africa or WHEREVER) then you will be prone to buy all kinds of crap you don’t need to remember it by and to spend money on things that aren’t really worth it. Even if you never do go back to Paris (or wherever), it’s ok and it’s also ok that you didn’t buy that crappy souvenir because it had a picture of the Louvre on it. There are places I’ll be fine never going back to because I didn’t love them (Florence comes to mind, my CAS honors trip was to there freshman year and I was very meh on the whole place) and there are places I’d give my eye teeth to live (Berlin, Dublin, for example) for awhile and they’re not necessarily the places I’d expected to like or dislike before going.

    • meg

      See, I want a post on THAT.

      • Jess

        I’d be happy to write it.

    • k

      Yes! I’ve always been asked “how do you afford it?” and I’m like, “um, first you spend less than you make, then you quit your job?” It sounds almost condescending to put it that way but I don’t know how else to say it. For instance, when I lived in NYC after college in 1989/90, I was earning $19K a year, but after a year, I had enough saved to go to Berlin for two months. One simple thing I did was that I walked to work every day instead of taking the bus. Sometimes it was a pain, and the bus was only $1.25, but $1.25 twice a day for a year is $650, which is a plane ticket to Europe, and you can’t walk to Europe. It seems more than anything else like a mindset of not spending on stuff you don’t need to, and realizing how those “little” expenditures add up.

      • Sarah

        That is a quote to live by: “Sometimes it was a pain, and the bus was only $1.25, but $1.25 twice a day for a year is $650, which is a plane ticket to Europe, and you can’t walk to Europe.”

        That really struck me, thanks.

  • melissa

    Okay, I’m too excited right now. Were you just in Greece?! My husband and I were in Athens, Oia and Naxos for almost two weeks at the end of August. And it was THE BEST TRIP OF MY LIFE. Okay, now I may be able to reel myself in and go read the words!

  • Becky

    Slightly OT, and it may be un-pc to note this, but I’ve found travelling places with a man is unfortunately sometimes easier that being alone/with a woman. For example, I went with a friend to Istanbul, and we had fun, but we were bothered constantly by men who thought we were hookers, basically (and we were wearing long skirts, etc). A couple of years later, I went with my boyfriend, no problems.

    I’m from the UK, and I spent year of uni at a US university on an exchange programme. I had a wonderful time – so great to live in a different culture and see your own from the outside.

    • Jess

      I had a similar experience in Morocco. I went with a girl friend and it was a beautiful country and it was mostly a good experience but I wouldn’t go back without a guy. It’s just too stressful to constantly fend off advances from everything with a penis.

  • http://www.shinyprettybits.com kc

    The death knell on my last relationship was my then boyfriend’s reluctance towards travel. Of course, there were many other reasons we broke up but I vividly remember a talk we had the summer we graduated from college. I really wanted to take the month we had off before our jobs started to travel. When I broached the subject with him he told me, ‘we can travel when the kids are grown’. Never mind that we were only 22 and that I was against marriage and kids.

    The first real conversation I ever had with my now husband was about all the places we wanted to see and all the places we had been. It’s been harder to prioritize in to our lives as we’ve gotten older, and I know it won’t get easier with kids, but I love that it’s as important to him as it is to me.

    • http://highdivingboard.com Morgan

      Ha! I totally understand, based on my own ex. After we graduated university, I wanted to go to Europe for a month, with or without him. He kind of, in a way, forbade me, and we did a two week road trip in BC instead. Hindsight is so, so clear.

  • Agirl

    Now that I’ve gotten over shouting at you to visit Trinidad/move to the UK, I can say how much I love this post. I think I’ve mentioned that we were a wee bit poor when my broke student parents accidentally had me. I first went on a plane when I was about 9 or 10 – to Tobago! And had my first overseas trip to the US when my gran died a year later. But my parents were big on trying to make travel part of our lives, so from my mid-teens, when things were better financially there were summer adventure holidays to different parts of the US (still one of the only big countries we could afford to fly to). And that level of travel was a lot compared to some friends, so I felt pretty fancy till I picked myself up and MOVED, on my own, to England at the age of 19, and found myself surrounded by posh kids who’d grown up all over Europe.

    The opportunities for travelling from here are pretty amazing, and to be honest, despite one or 2 big trips at uni, I didn’t fully make use of them. I think it took a long time for me to cut the umbilical cord to home, and with the cost of flights back there, I couldn’t afford to travel much elsewhere. But lately? Things have changed. :) There is a lot of “let’s see the WORLD” chat going on round here. We’re trying to figure out how to get a big enough chunk of time of time off work to go to India. And Australia/New Zealand. And various parts of Northern Africa. And to drive across the US. In addition to all the week long trips to various European cities (Barcelona is top on my list). I reckon all of that will keep us busy for some time to come!

  • http://thelittlefella.tumblr.com Jessica

    We are lucky to travel a lot as a couple. Over the past 5 1/2 years we’ve been to Mexico, Brazil, DC, Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Maui, and Puerto Rico. Since we live in the same city as both sets of parents we don’t have to travel for holidays, which can eat up a lot of vacay time. For those who are short on cash or time I suggest your local national or state park. We try to go to one each year and it’s always one of the most relaxing trips, because it forces you to get off the computers/phones, etc.

  • Jessica

    Thank you for posting this. I feel exactly like you do(did). I feel like we don’t have enough money to travel and aren’t “worldly” enough or wouldn’t know what to do in another country, yet I have the travel bug something fierce. Reading this has empowered me to start looking into those trips I want to take and realizing it IS possible.

  • Pingback: Bon Voyage? « Meaghan to the Max

  • Pippa

    Can I just thank you for this post Meg?
    Because you pretty much summed up exactly how I feel about travel… it’s something that I ache to do but it still feels out of my reach.
    I’m Australian and Aussies loooove to travel (especially on Contiki tours, yuk!) and yet it has always seemed to be something completely unattainable for us, for financial reasons, for life time-line reasons, and also I guess, if I’m honest, because the idea scares me a little bit. We also want to live overseas for a few years. If only because the thought of that scares me a lot :)

    But yes, thank you. I feel a little bit like maybe it’s not such an impossible dream after all. Maybe we can do it.

    • Englyn

      Nuts to the contiki tours. It’s just as easy to do much better on your own. There’s no shame in picking somewhere relatively easy to start with (Bali, Malaysia, Spain) and not trying to rush around seeing everything in one trip. Nor in picking up a lonely planet and just following the recommendations. You may get a snooty comment or two from a more experienced traveller about being ‘on the beaten path’ – to be totally ignored. As I was told by my very travel experienced mum when I was agonising once about looking for somewhere ‘not so touristy’ to visit – they’re touristy because there’s lots of great things to see there!

  • http://tryingonhawaii.wordpress.com/ em_perk

    “I felt like travel wasn’t accessible to me. It seemed like there was some magical skill set that the kids I went to college with—who’d cut their eye teeth on trips to Europe—had that I didn’t have. I thought I didn’t have enough money; I didn’t have the skills. I wanted to see the world, but I wasn’t sure it was possible.”

    That is so me! I still haven’t entirely gotten over that feeling, but we just found a way around it for now. I had the opportunity to move to Hawaii (from Texas) with my job, and my husband and I decided to go for it after much agonizing. We had discussed living abroad for a year, but it just seemed so crazy and not doable, especially since neither of us have ever been out of the country. While Hawaii is still the US, it feels very different. I’ve only been here for two weeks so far but it is already so different from life as I’ve known it previously.

    We still plan to go abroad as much as possible for the rest of our lives, but I have a feeling this will be a good kick in the butt when we start thinking it’s not possible again. Thanks for reminding me of why it SHOULD remain high on our list even when money seems too thin.

  • http://www.empapers.com Eleanor

    Good for you, Meg!

    It’s funny, when I was single and in my twenties my first trip out of the US (besides Hawaii and the Virgin Islands) was a friendship trip to Nicaragua with Grace Cathedral (yes, the one on Nob Hill – I had a crappy data entry job there when I was in art school, but they did offer us kids cheap trips to places where they were working with other organizations)

    That trip was transforming. There was a moment when we were driving through the countryside in the back of a pick up truck and I realized: Our world is so huge, so massive and so full of different people and cultures. As far as I knew, I would only get one go ’round on it and I wanted to see as much of it as I could. How could one not?

    That kicked off a year and a half of travel to India, Cuba and Europe with me eventually deciding that visiting wasn’t enough, I have to go deep somewhere, so here I am in (exotic!) Munich, 13 years and counting.

    The thing is, I’ve lost that a little bit. My husband would be in a new country every week if he could (but Germans are generally travel maniacs.) He gets a wild look in his eyes talking about boat trips down the Mekong delta and going to the Galapagos; I just want to go to the nice beer garden down the street.

    I’m currently ruminating on whether it’s marriage or just age that has made want to settle in and get nesty.

    Thanks for writing about this, I need to get a little bit of this spirit back into my life…it would make my husband really happy too.

  • Marisa-Andrea

    I, too, have issues with travelling or any kind of vacationing really. My parents never travelled, no one I knew did and I was just always under the impression that travelling was something only people with lots of discretionary income did. That is, after they’d bought all of the “stuff” we’re told we must buy: nice home, nice car, nice stuff to put in said house, nice clothes, etc. As a result, I tend to have a very difficult time spending money on experiences. I can easily spend $500 on clothes, but if I have to put that on a hotel room, I start to feel queasy and panicky inside, like the money is just going down the drain and I will have nothing to show for it. I feel this way even though I have taken mini getaways which were unbelievably amazing and relaxing and worth the money spent and more. Yet you still have to pull out all of my front teeth to get me to do it. I’m the planner over here so basically, we go somewhere if I can be forced to hand over that credit card number. Non-refundable is even better. But that rarely happens. We are expecting in March 2012 and I am determined that we have a babymoon as we haven’t done anything in FORever. Keeping fingers crossed that I do!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along The Way

      I can certainly understand the instinct to spend money on something that “lasts.” But I have read some interesting research that actually indicates people report a higher sense of lasting happiness from money spent on experiences than from money spent on things: http://articles.cnn.com/2009-02-10/health/happiness.possessions_1_leaf-van-boven-experiences-psychological-research?_s=PM:HEALTH

      I have reminded myself of that research the past couple times we have spent money on plane tickets/hotels/travel. Spending money on travel means there are other things that we can’t afford because we are two artists and we were living on one income for about a year and a half due to me being unable to work during the immigration process. But from our experience so far as a married couple choosing to keep on renting and keep on driving our two ancient clunker cars (18 yrs and 25 yrs old) in order to value other things like making once-a-year (so far in our almost 2 years of marriage, anyways) international trips a priority, I think I agree with the research… :)

      I hope you guys figure out a way to make that trip happen! (And if you are going off-season somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, the airfare should be cheaper!)

  • JEM

    This post is fabulous, not only for the bottom line of “travel is amazing” but for the “make exciting plans to break up the routine of daily life” message as well.

    Also, my fiance and I spent 9 days on the North Island of New Zealand and road tripped from Auckland to Wellington. What an amazing and utterly beautiful place. So very highly recommended.

  • http://www.ashleyemoore.com Ashley

    I think I need to share this post with my husband. Neither of us have traveled a lot except in Canada and one trip to Italy together (which was AMAZING!), but we both really want to. Yet we always feel it’s out of our reach, or somehow we just aren’t the traveling people. So we watch all our friends go to amazing places and we stay home and I feel like I die a little inside each time.

    This post inspires me to talk to him about making travel a priority, about realizing that we can travel and we can save up for it and we can do this!

    Thank you.

  • http://www.KatesShortandSweets.com Kate

    I just married my man (still having trouble with that ‘husband’ word, too) in July, and one of the things I’m *most* excited about for our honeymoon next month is getting him out of the country for the very first time. I grew up in a family where traveling was considered a normal thing and he didn’t. I think before he met me he had been on exactly one plane trip. Good thing he has a shiny new passport! I can’t wait to get lots and lots of stamps in it :)

  • Kendra

    Welcome back, Meg! My husband (!) and I just got married this past Saturday and I was so excited to see a brilliant “Reclaiming Wife” post the day I decided to check in. These are exactly what I always looked forward to and still will now that they’re even more…not relevant, because they always were, but…urgent, perhaps.

    Also, I don’t know if anyone upthread mentioned this, but as someone who lived there for a year doing research I strongly recommend you follow David’s interest in visiting Morocco. Hit me up if you need any ideas or have any questions.

    • http://www.KatesShortandSweets.com Kate

      Kendra, yay for being newly wed!! It’s fun and worth celebrating. and lots of exclamation points :)

      Also, I think “urgent” is a good word for how I feel about these too. You are correct that “relevant” isn’t quite right. Applicable maybe?

  • Calumnia

    Many posters have mentioned travelling in their twenties, either during university or afterwards. As always, when I hear people talk about this I am astounded that they could afford it. Even taking two weeks off in the summers during my undergraduate degree would mean two weeks of not working. Study/intern abroad programs all cost money plus the opportunity cost lost from working. Every extra penny I saved in the years afterwords working went to paying off debt and socking money away for a professional grad degree (which in my field is necessary). The most paid vacation time I’ve ever had is 2 weeks a year, which works out to 1 week of sick days/doctors appointments and 1 week of vacation.

    I’m 25, and the longest vacation I’ve managed to take was 5 day trip to a city a train ride away. I’ve never left North America. Having a thousand dollars for a plane ticket to Europe is completely inconceivable. How is everyone managing to afford such wonderful trips?

    • vegankitchendiaries

      Well, I afforded my youth travels (lived abroad for most of my twenties, managed to sightsee through most of Europe in that time) by not going to college! We all make our choices, I guess :)

  • sarah

    What a fun, delicious post!

    I have another perspective . . .sometimes the travel that you (and your partner) want to do is just not possible. I am all for living frugally, saving, etc, but sometimes circumstances just don’t allow. So you re-evaluate.

    Prior to being with my husband, I’d visited 20+ countries (solo, mostly), lived abroad several times, and have spent most of my money on travel until I bought my house. He was married and they did a lot package-style holidays to the Caribbean, when their business was booming. I am very financially stable but now that we are married, is is ‘we’ and not ‘I’, and therefore it’s different. (Plus I live in Canada, which is no Australia, but the flights to anywhere generally cost twice as much from my city as they do from Minneapolis, 7 hours away.) Plus we have gas (back and forth between Canada and US), post first-marriage debts (his), child support, immigration stuff . . . and I don’t know when I’ll get to one of my old or new favourites again.

    But. The point is, if you are able to learn to be a bit more flexible (I am Type A Plus and also very rigid!) our new travel style is different, which is fun in and of itself. He’s always been outdoorsy/adventurous, and I am learning, which I love. We camp, hike, spend time with our (his) little girl just walking or swimming (even in a hotel pool). Of course I miss the trips I used to take. I never thought I would go camping on my honeymoon, but we did, and it was wonderful.

    My point (if I have one) is that you do what works for you. :) (And that I’d not trade it for a thing.)

    sarah ..married seven weeks and two days :)

  • http://ourdaybydesign.blogspot.com/ Gaynor

    I loved this post! Travel has always been a priority for me & my husband, as it was for our families who took us many many places when we were young.

    We always make sure we go somewhere and do count it as a totally necessary aspect in our lives. Before I started working in my profession I quit my job and went to south east asia for a month just because we could! We live in Edinburgh and after we got married last year we honeymooned in Sri Lanka then the Maldives but also visited Italy and Florida before the end of the year. For our first anniversary this year it was Bratislava & Vienna followed by Marrakech for my husbands 30th this summer. Now we have a baby on the way we dont plan to stop but just change the way we travel. Before baby arrives we are visiting Cologne to see the German markets and already have a plan to take baby to Australia next year as my little sister & her family are about to move over there. Granted I kinow its easier for us in Europe to visit places quickly & cheaply but we do always like to get out of this continent too. Havent quite made it to South America yet though!

    We also have one of those maps with different coloured pins for each of us (my husband was in the air force and I travelled a lot while at uni) and one for the travels we have done together.

  • Pingback: Elsie sent a grammar edit. | Editz

  • Pingback: Staying the same? « The Next Dot.

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    “…the crazy urge to PUT ALL THE COUNTRIES IN MY MOUTH AT ONCE had been satiated a bit.”

    Catching up on posts from a year + ago, I just had to say that I love how you so often describe your joy and appreciation for things by saying that you want to put them in your mouth. (That and the phrase “dance your face off”.)