“Take that person [you love] and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all around the world…. And if when you come back to JFK and you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.”
That nugget of pure wisdom is from none other than Bill Fucking Murray. His middle name is merely inferred.
I’ve travelled to five continents. I’ve sauntered along the Great Wall with a mild buzz. I’ve seen the Big Five on safari in Kenya. I went to a Blues Brothers-themed head shop in Amsterdam. I’ve eaten barbecued guinea pig, or cuy, in rural Ecuador. Life has been good. Fuck, it’s been great. The trick to it all—to truly enjoying travel—lies in these three simple rules.
And the ticket to finding (and ensuring) true love lies in traveling the world with a lover.
Allow me to set the scene. You’ve just landed in paradise with a new flame. As you step out of the airport’s doors, you see a coterie of palm trees swaying like drunk frat boys following last call. You’re knocked sideways by a heat that instantly introduces a dense layer of moist on your forehead. Your arm has a dull ache racing along it like schoolchildren playing red ass. You haven’t slept in 30 hours. At least not without being awakened by a stewardess in even 30 minute intervals. There’s a deep, unwavering rumble in your hollow stomach.
And your newly-minted partner asks you to hold her suitcase. For a second.
Time freezes a la some Matrix rip-off flick. The next 10 words that fall from your mouth will decide the outcome of your relationship with your “partner.” And if you’ve been in a relationship with a person more than—oh fuck, I don’t know—8 months, you know the exact 10 words.
We have all fucked up the definition of love. It has been dampened. Moist might be the right word. And with divorce rates vying with recent winters for record highs (or lows depending on your outlook), we’re quick to abandon ship when things go sideways.
We’ve all had a friend, let’s call him Jimmy, that dated this girl, we’ll call her Danielle, in high school. Definition high school sweethearts. You know the drill: affectionate towards one another ad infinitum. Adorable. They moved to the same city so they could both go to university together. Peaches and cream. In second year, they decided to move in together. ENTER THE PARADE OF SHIT. Within a couple weeks, everything went to hell in a pencil case. They couldn’t stand one another. They loathed each other for how they didn’t do the laundry right. They fought over making the bed. What to watch on Netflix. They needed to be physically separated after one particularly boozy party.
They didn’t truly know one another. They hadn’t tested the limits of their relationship in strenuous circumstances outside of curated snippets of being cute in the school hallway.
You see it time and time again. Lust. Infatuation. Blind love. Whatever the fuck you want to call it. Humans are complex beasts. We have many sides. We’re not one dimensional reality TV characters. Or maybe we are. I can’t be certain. Point is, we’re ever-changing. And in unpredictable scenarios, we’re not going to always act the same.
So when you jump aboard an airplane with that special one for the first time, chill the fuck out. Get to know one another. You’re going to be tested. The pervasiveness of cheap alcohol, temperature fluctuation and lack of communication with those around you will be the fuel.
Instead, enjoy the experiences. Look for perspective. Learn from one another. Bask in each other’s mistakes. Support each other. Laugh your ass off at them when they try to order coffee in a foreign tongue and butcher each word.
Just remember to pack the ring for when you return to JFK.
Or to keep the receipt.
Originally published in Plaid Zebra. Check them out!