What's the Price Tag on Memories?
When I was a child, I didn't have any particular interest or talent. I fared poorly with children's games given my clumsiness, resulting to few friends. My social graces wasn't particularly stellar, too. But I would read. Anything I can get my hands on, I can go through the pages, immensely absorbed and escape reality. I read non-fiction, novels, history and if supply is particularly poor, would resort to reading the encyclopedia and the dictionary. I would read in a moving car, in a dark room with only my mobile phone serving as light source, from sun down until the rooster crows. Maybe that is my talent. :) Reading took me to the snowy forests of Narnia, the halls of Hogwarts, and the peak of Mt. Everest. My interest in traveling is an offshoot from reading. Initially, it was about wanting to see the places I read about, whether my imagination gave it justice. It was when I learned more about myself by pushing limits, exploring with little information, being in a strange place, trying new things, and discovering a world beyond mine. Jaysen shares the same zeal for traveling as I do. Early in our marriage, we agreed to make traveling as one of our priorities. It is not about where we go, but rather, the memories we make. It's part of a long-term plan, really. :) When we get old, we can only go as far as our memory can take us. We'd have these memories to relish and talk about on repeat (backed by tons of photos, of course!). The luxury in traveling, to me, is not the destination (that's a bonus!) but having the time, youth, and good health to be able to actually go. Our game plan is to do the more difficult and physically demanding adventures first and mellow down as we get older. Our traveling mantra follows the song by Oleta Adams, Get Here: " I don't care how you get here, just get here if you can". And that we did. We pored through the internet to get flight deals, countless of hours spent in looking for the most affordable accommodation. We didn't take the easiest, most sensible routes; we chose what gives us more value for money. So we went across parts of Australia, parts of Asia and Europe by budget red-eye flights, with several stop-overs, and Airbnb-ed our way through. It's not dirt cheap, but very doable.
These trips are very close to our hearts. It is in this trips where we actually learned more and understood each other better. Despite the best planning, patience and resilience will always be tested. It is when the unexpected happens when you see the worst of each other and still be glad that you're in that journey together. I made a huge boo-boo on trip I planned. I forgot to include check-in luggage during the booking, and there we were at the check-in counter, stumped with our huge bags, a few hours before our flight. I hated myself for that mistake. It was a costly mistake, an expense we can do without. I just couldn't get over it. It was Jaysen who kept his cool and figured out how we can manage with the least expense. If the roles were reversed, I'm sure I would have thrown a fit. Jaysen is more laissez-faire when we travel. He once left our tour coupon in the room saying we don't need it anyway when the website clearly said the coupon needs to be presented. I was so agitated thinking we would not be allowed to join the tour, but we got away with it! :) In the course of our trips, we would hate and love each other at the same time, then still choose to do it all over again.
To us traveling is an essential part of our relationship. It doesn't matter whether it's a local destination or some far flung city. It's about the experience. From the planning and anticipation, the excitement as the date draws near. The rush when you are actually there. Learning about other people, culture, facing a fresh perspective. It's about discovering something new about each other and having a renewed appreciation of one another. It's about hoping for the best, going out of our comfort zone, and looking forward to be home.