As my backpacking partner, the love of my life, and my best friend, there is no one I would rather have next to me through all the experiences we’ve had traveling and being married. She’s been the inspiration of my life and each day on the road I grow a larger sense of pride in the person she is and is becoming.
Backpacking is tough. Camille is full of fear and therefore full of courage. Seeing people in fear, mustering up the courage to act in spite of their fear is inspiring. After visiting the cascade pools in Semuc Champey and then zip lining through a canopy on a volcano side near Granada I saw how courageous my wife is time after time.
Here are a few things I think I’ve done well and a few pointers for the boys trying to travel with the girls.
- Pick and give flowers– This is so basic if you didn’t think about this on your own you don’t deserve a travel date. Classic dating 101. We’ve been to so many beautiful places and outdoor spaces it’s hard not to just snag her a flower and throw it in her ear, hair, or even loop one around her wedding ring. Keeping the romance up with small sweet gestures is key. Don’t always need to hit a home run to keep her smiling. She has gotten fresh picked flowers on hikes, in the cities, from gardens in our hostel, and sometimes during and while waiting for lunch or dinner. In just the past few months I’ve picked flowers for her in Tanzania, Kenya, America, Guatemala, and Nicaragua to name only a few. The freshest ones were the ones most in the moment because it was a beautiful sight caught and shared with the one you love. She’s never had to put them in a water bowl, except once when she ended up giving them away soon after receiving them (ask me later it’s a short story).
I'm pretty sure we can't save the world all at once but we can at least try. I'm glad we did that today. We were given a chance to teach these kids on how to make their own books. It was a wonderful fulfilling experience. #spreadinglovetotheworld #welovekids #tanzania #rosminpreprimaryschool #365traveldates
- Garden date– Take her to a beautiful garden and surround her with beauty.
- Allow vanity & take selfies– Why should I tell her to not look at her self and pose in front of the mirror or camera duringselfies. Her vanity is a beautiful expression of how she’s feeling at that moment. And if she’s trying to be sexy and beautiful you should tell her she is. On the subject of vanity if and when she takes 50 selfie shots in a room at a hostel you might as well jump in. If she posts one of them you might as well join her. Truth is if you pop your head in there it shows you care and want to take interest in the same stuff as her including her vanity.
- Splurge on a dinner date– sure we’re backpacking and on a tight budget but food is one of our biggest splurges. We had an epic anniversary date at Cafe Artesano and had over 30 cheeses and 20 cured meats. It was the same price as our budget for a couple of days of eating but worth each cent. On another note when looking for certain types of cuisine it sometimes better to realize some just don’t exist in certain regions of the world. For example, good sushi in Central America has been difficult, impossible to find. We splurged on a couple of sushi restaurants and felt bad overpaying for mediocre fish.
- Give each other space and alone time– we sit next to each other on 8 hour bus rides, while flying, and sleep next to each other. We don’t have 9-5 jobs where we have our own day. We are together pretty much 24/7. Find a hammock and have an alone time you both need it. Find a spot on the beach and bring a journal.
- Carry her bag– Camille is 5’2″ and skinny meaning proportionally the amount of weight she’s carrying in her day pack and backpack are higher than what I am. Give yourself a quick workout for your benefit and hers. *Cheat; a good tip here is, if there’s a taxi driver or someone at reception to helpyou you can outsource the job. Regardless, she’ll feel better not having all that weight. Fact- Camille carried a 30 pound bag up and down 20km over a day and a half. The same pack on my back would be only 17% of my body weight versus her 31%. She’s a stud.
- Give her a back rub– Who doesn’t love a good back rub? While backpacking and exploring the outside world you will grow tired, tense and anxious. Put her at ease and put her to bed with a good ole back rub. Sometimes she may prefer scratching instead. Your bound to find some good oils including coconut oil or other organic oils from some of the hippie hostels you visit. Pick up a bottle for a couple bucks and save money by giving her a massage rather than paying for one.
- Clothes shopping– ever hear of that old saying – Backpacking, where clothes go to die, (probably not because Camille just made it up). It wouldn’t absolutely kill the budget to let herbuy new shorts orflip flops. Clothes die while backpacking, women die without clothes. Let her shop.
- Remember dates– When going on an epic long-term trip you don’t need to go all out on birthdays and holidays. Do something simple but remember the dates. Cherish those moments and remember. For example, we spent Christmas in Guatemala in 2014, the Philippines in 2013, Shanghai in 2012, and Thailand the year before that and had amazing experiences. Having memories is better than having stuff.
- Hug and cry during momentous occasions– When we got to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro we looked at each other, hugged, and expressed love. We felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment having hiked the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. We had no words for each other except I love you and I’m so proud of you. We had tears in our eyes but didn’t actually cry because we had to go down and couldn’t stay on top to long because of the intense altitude.
- Cook for her– I started learning how to cook with Camille in Shanghai and have 3 dishes that I have perfected. They don’t have to be fancy just something delicious and simple enough to do. My dishes are chicken adobo, broccoli and cheese soup, and garlic baked salmon. Not a whole lot but enough to give her a break from the kitchen.
- Sit dance and listen to music with her– There’s a lot of love and inspiration when you take the time to really listen to music. Also when you go to places like Latin America you can fall in love to Spanish love songs. Who can resist a good old groovin’. Even not knowing the language you can feel the emotions of songs. Listen, look at her and hold her.
- Meditate and pray with her. While at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala we picked up meditation and yoga. The idea of breathing, sitting still, and simply being has been a lovely addition to our lives. When you meditate next to someone or in a group you can feel the energy, positive intent, and love of those around you. An act of peace and an act of love by simply being.
- Kill for her– Bugs, flies, spiders, and any other creepy crawlies show up once in awhile in the bathroom or on our hostel wall.
- Try new things– Whether it’s cliff-jumping, slack-lining, kayaking, or hitchhiking, there are so many things to do. When was the last time you did something for the first time These are great ways to make memories, laugh, and find possibilities for passion.
- Bring your mom on a travel date– The person you will be with for the rest of your life should at least get along with your mom. My mom loved traveling with Camille and we loved traveling with my mom. We also traveled with Mama Corrie (her mom) in China and it was great to show her and Cam’s family around Shanghai.
- Follow her to the ends of the world– If you get to the point that you’ve found the love of your life follow her and be with her forever.
I love you more than I have have. Each day I say I do and each day I grow more in love with you.
Hear here voice in her last blog post, Why we travel.