To date, Wade and I have been side-by-side on this crazy adventure for over 500 days. Yep, you heard that right, more than 500 days! That's more than 720,000 minutes of incredible, life changing experiences together. Together..... ALL... THE... TIME!
We have laughed and argued about things I never thought possible! We've laughed while we were surrounded by a minibus full of vomitting Laotians and argued over who sprayed water on the toilet paper while showering. We've laughed because we didn't know whether we were eating beef or dog for dinner and yet argued for hours over who left the window open and let mosquitos into the room!
Life is full of all the same ups and downs as any other couple, but being able to travel with the ridiculously good looking man I love is something I have never and will never take for granted. For me, spending almost every waking moment together is something that few couples are ever lucky enough to experience. Sometimes it tests your relationship and other times it makes it stronger than ever, but at the end of the day I wouldn't have it any other way!
Now that single paragraph has probably lost the interest of around 50% of travellers because the truth is that no two travellers are the same. Some people love that they're single during their travels. It gives them unlimited freedom, endless opportunities to meet people and a sense of independence. Others are, in my humble opinion, lucky enough to have a best friend or sibling either of the same or opposite gender with whom they share a common love of travel and can comfortably spend long periods of time living out of each other's pockets.
Photo: Trekking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu is one experience that I would not have wanted to share with anyone else in the World!
Then there's us. The group that makes some travellers cringe at the mere thought. Yep we’re not only a couple who are now in our thirties, but we’re a horrible, buzz-killing MARRIED couple (cue rolling of the eyes from young, single, party-loving travellers) seeing the world together. Yuck!
Prior to meeting Wade, I'd travelled both alone and with good friends. At the time I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and had some unforgettable experiences as well as some I quite simply just can't remember! However it's only now that I am able to fully appreciate just how much it means to me to have not just anyone on this journey with me, but my best friend and husband.
Photos: From our humble beginnings driving around Australia in 2010, to our rainy wedding day at Uluru and onto our motorhome Honeymoon in New Zealand, travel is something that will always be a huge part of our life together.
Now don't get me wrong, life isn't always peachy. Let's start with the obvious.
1. We spend EVERY WAKING MOMENT TOGETHER
Any personal boundaries you once had, no matter how small, are gone once you travel. If sharing meals, tiny beds, warm toilet seats, deodorant, bath towels and on one occasion even a toothbrush (it was a mistake and I gag at the thought!) wasn't enough to break down every boundary between you, then a good case of explosive diarrhea usually takes care of that. Goodbye personal space. Hello plenty of arguments but even more laughs about the fact that the word “mine” has been swiftly replaced by “ours”.
Photos: From night buses where we are side by side for hours on end to trekking to Machu Picchu, we spend a lot of time together. Photo evidence that even sleeping doesn't get us too far from one another!
2. While on that note.... Explosive diarrhea isn't sexy
I know, go figure! Neither are dirty backpacker clothes, sweaty bus trips or bruised and mosquito ravaged bodies. It took us a while to figure this one out but we now make an effort once every few weeks to put on our only unripped clothes, Wade might even shave and sometimes I'll whack on some makeup but the point is that we go out like a real – semi-normal - married couple. It might only be to watch the sunset somewhere different or to a restaurant that has real furniture instead of plastic but we make the effort to do it anyway. In fact in Thailand it was as basic yet bizarre as going to dinner and a movie as soon as we had the chance! It doesn't even matter than the night ended in an argument over who ate more popcorn, the fact is that it’s easy to fall into a routine and we realised that these little moments are actually really important and remind us just how lucky we are to be sharing this experience with one another.
Photo: (L) Our fancy dinner date in the Galapagos Islands involved beer and lobster... pretty perfect if you ask me! and (R) Just some casual attire for a date night in Cusco!
3. Arguments happen and there is no escape
Sometimes you need to get an argument out of your system, but at the end of the day you need to learn to let things go. If we decide to rehash our argument about how to pronounce Jericoacoara (it's Jeri-kwa-kwa-ra for those wondering) there is no third party to take sides.
Yes Wade likes to remind me of the time I almost missed our flight to Colombia thanks to some super strong Caprinha’s and yes I like to remind Wade of the time he thought a Buddhist shrine was a shop display and started spilling offerings all over the place (awkward!) but at the end of the day, we need to laugh at these experiences and let go of the little things.
It doesn’t matter which one of us left our good hiking boots on the bus in Malaysia never to be seen again, and it doesn’t really matter that we have a daily argument because Wade takes great pleasure in withholding Wi-Fi passwords from me! *cough* Asshole *cough*.... It doesn't even matter that I want to kill my husband every time I see him biting his finger nails. These things just don’t matter.
At the end of the day, we spend a whole lot of time laughing and a few small moments angry, but learning that it’s ok to be angry is a big part of this journey. We’ve chosen to share this journey with each other and that means that we each bare the brunt of a full range of emotions, and most of the time, they are the most wonderfully, awesome emotions imaginable.
Photo: It took me a solid 10 whingey minutes to beg Wade to do the pose for the photo on the left when we were at the Equator in Ecuador but other days such as the photo on the right at Anakena Beach on Easter Island was one of the greatest days we've ever spent together - It's all a part of life!
4. Love it or hate it, you have to put up with listening to your partners interests and pretending to care
I thought I'd perfected my "Really? How fascinating! Do go on..." face for when Wade starts talking about the stock market, housing crises or the average cost of living around the world. Apparently I haven't but he takes great pleasure in making me listen to hours of the crap anyway.
The same could be said for every time I analyze my dinner and proceed to rattle off a monologue of my personal opinions about the culture, history and available resources that created such an interesting cuisine. I can't understand why, but Wade generally doesn't find any of this fascinating or educational.
Wade also has a limited tolerance for photos. He loves taking them, hates posing for them and don't even mention the word "selfie"! This a common source of arguments. We will be watching the most incredible sunset and Wade will blatantly refuse to pose for a photo. In fact his refusal to pose for photos only causes me to take more as I find it incredibly funny to capture these great moments - see below. Enough said!
The bottom line is that we do have different interests and that’s great! But we also share each others main passions – travel, our love for each other and puppies. Cause you MUST love puppies!
But for all of the trivial crap, there is only one person in the world who will understand and laugh uncontrollably with me when I hint at the Cambodian “Cheers” ritual. There is only one person in the world who knows how much it meant to me to witness a wild Asian elephant grazing in Khao Yai National Park or how special it was to be the only two people in a paddock for an Easter Island sunset. And there is only one person in the world that I want to share every minute of this life changing experience with.
Photos: Wade's limited tolerance for photos usually ends in some priceless shots! I seriously don't know how he didn't see this collage coming!
Travel is different for everyone. The places, experiences and people who make up your journey are unique to you. However, if you're lucky enough to find the right person to share that with, then suddenly those places, experiences and people will become a lifetime of shared memories.
~ Sarah Harris
Photo: Sunset over Laguna Colorado in Bolivia was an incredible experience (and freezing as hell!) that I will never forget!
Enthusiastic but Useless Traveler.