Friday’s Five Favorite Things: About the romance of travel

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d put together a list of the five most romantic parts about traveling with someone you love. For all of you out there who are against Valentine’s Day or just love in general, you should skip this post because it’s bound to make you gag. For the rest of you, read on and enjoy!

I touched on this once before but I thought it was worth reiterating. Once the shiny newness has worn off of a relationship sometimes it’s really nice to add a little sparkle in the form of seeing the person you love in a whole new environment, a whole new situation and a whole new light. Think you know everything there is to know about your Valentine? Book a trip together and Ta Da! a whole new set of things you didn’t know about each other will magically appear.

Traveling is a lot of things and even if you take out all the tropical sunsets or European castles overlooking vineyards, there’s still a lot of romance to be found. Do you know what your Valentine looks like on nice night half-way across the globe? I’m guessing the answer is that he or she would look pretty darn good. Inner peace and outer relaxation trump a lot of stuff. They trump a puffy face brought on by too much good food and too little sleep, they trump unsightly mosquito bites and sunburns and I’d like to think they even trump a face full of acne brought on by sleeping with your face mashed up against some germ-ridden train window for six hours.

So here are my five most romantic things about seeing a new corner of the world with someone you love.

1. Going to romantic places and doing romantic stuff.
So even though this one falls more under the cliché romantic vacation category and less under the true travel category, I’m still including it because tropical oceans are nice, sunsets are nice and the sand beneath your toes is nice. In short, paradise lends itself well to romance.

Like enjoying a nice Caribbean breeze on your honeymoon.

Placencia Belize Ranguana Lodge lounge chairs

(Placencia, Belize circa 2008)

And then, some five years later, enjoying an equally beautiful beach on the other side of the world after not seeing each other for over a month.

Siquijor, Philippines sunset

(Siquijor, Philippines circa 2011)

2. Sometimes things seem romantic abroad that simply wouldn’t be romantic at home.

Like getting caught in the rain. At home it’s annoying and sometimes comical, but almost never romantic. Abroad, it’s still sometimes annoying and comical but it also lends itself well to a rose-colored glasses memory.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland

“Awww… remember that time we got caught in a downpour in Edinburgh? And then we ducked into that adorable little museum? Darling, do you recall the name of that museum?” (Edinburgh, Scotland circa 2012)

Writers Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland

And he will say, “Oh of course, my love! Wasn’t that lovely! And I believe the museum was the Writers’ Museum where we listened to recordings of Sir Walter Scott’s work, gazed into each other’s eyes and waited for the rain to pass. Those were good times my dear, good times indeed.” (c.c. image courtesy of Stuart Herbert on Flickr)

Or getting hopelessly lost, which, like getting caught in the rain, is usually pretty annoying at home. However, somehow, getting lost in a foreign country can be a fantastic and romantic adventure.

Barcelona, Spain rainy.

“I swear this is the right way. Aren’t we silly my love?!” Also, our clothes are soaked because this was a double whammy getting caught in the rain and getting a little lost. (Barcelona, Spain circa 2011)

Although getting lost doesn’t always look quite that romantic.

Lisbon highway, Portugal.

There wasn’t anything romantic about this navigation failure where Andy and I had been following a trolley line and somehow ended up on a 3 hour trek along a sketchy highway with no map, no cabs to be hailed and no buses to be ridden. To this day, the question, “HOW ON EARTH DID WE LOSE RAIL TRACKS?” remains a total mystery. Oh, and it started raining here too. Go figure. (Lisbon, Portugal circa 2011)

3. Seeing how your love discovers the really magnificent parts of the world.

Do you know what his face would look like when seeing the inside of a proper European cathedral for the first time?

The Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major Lisbon, Portugal

(Lisbon, Portugal circa 2011)

Have you seen your love stare in awe at ancient ruins?

Sintra castle in Portugal

(Sintra, Portugal circa 2011)

Or gaze out in wonder while atop the world’s tallest building?

Burj Khalifa view in Dubai, UAE

(Dubai, UAE circa 2013)

4. Experiencing the not-so-cool parts of the world with your love by your side.

Like holding hands and exchanging nervous glances when a street-turned-raging-river is threatening to sweep your taxi off its tires.

Guatemala city rain storm.

(Guatemala City, Guatemala circa 2009)

Or holding hands (tight!) at the bottom of the ocean when you’ve lost your scuba instructor. Or, more accurately, he lost you.

Scuba Diving in Honduras

(Utila, Honduras circa 2013)

5. And finally, doing new things and tackling new dilemmas together.

There’s the big stuff like learning that the two of you can indeed get your minds off a very scary impending cancer surgery while killing time in South America.

Cafe in Guatapé, Colombia

(Guatapé, Colombia circa 2013)

And there’s the small stuff like figuring out how to ask a tiny foreign woman if her tiny mini-mart sells sugar? (Hint: grab a box of cookies and try to pronounce the first ingredient. Voilà! Sugar!)

Lisbon, Portugal streets.

Not pictured: the tiny Portuguese mini-mart. Instead, here’s a street in Lisbon. (Lisbon, Portugal circa 2011)


And for the one thing that isn’t so romantic…

Your best self isn’t always front and center.

A traveler isn’t always the best version of themselves. Sometimes you get sick, sometimes you loose your cool and sometimes you face tough stuff and don’t react in the most gracious and wonderful of ways. Even with the best of attitudes not many people can be described as, ‘such a peach’ when someone has stolen their money or swiped their camera. And not too many people look their best when they’ve spent the last twelve hours throwing up into a grimy hotel toilet. But love is a pretty powerful thing so just remember, c’est la vie et c’est voyage.

Santander Spain waterfront

I was pretty sick hungover and cranky here. But thankfully Andy still thought I was pretty great. (Santander, Spain circa 2011)

I hope you all had a love-filled Valentine’s Day!

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3 responses to “Friday’s Five Favorite Things: About the romance of travel

  1. Pingback: I assign new meaning to an annual girl’s trip | Worldwide Shambles·

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