My wife once said this to my 23 year-old son about his budding relationships ….
“Before you make a commitment to the girl you think you might want to spend your life with you should travel together. When you travel you replace the responsibilities and hassles that can weigh you down in every day life with the excitement of navigating through different cultures and foreign lands. If you don’t get along in circumstances when you’re relaxed, happy and wide-eyed with wonder then you likely never will”.
The second and third sentences in that quote are actually my expansion of Jacki’s point. Jacki doesn’t talk like that, especially to Nick. She and Nick are on a less verbal mother-son wavelength that I can only try to reduce to writing. Nevertheless I like to think that Jacki is, of course, thinking about our relationship when she says things like this and that would be heartwarming … if it were true.
Here’s my version of the theory about travel and relationships: women will find out everything they need to know about men when they travel with them; therefore, traveling with a man allows a woman to more easily adjust to the stupendous compromises they must make when she actually has to live with one.
I should however point out that it’s on the woman if she is deceived in judging a man by how easy he is to travel with … let’s bullet point a few examples of potential misunderstandings:
- while traveling men frequently use separate restrooms so it doesn’t matter if they don’t put down the toilet seat,
- while traveling men have to keep their all stuff in one small confined space, namely a piece of luggage, and not scattered all over the house,
- while traveling men can’t spend hours watching ESPN. In Thailand anyway. Here it is important for the woman making the call on a particular man to take note of what he actually does spend hours watching while in Thailand.
- lastly, travel is an enterprise in which you divide the planning and research and then the everyday decisions about where to go and what to do… equally ! ‘ppllllpphhttt’ … ( whoops that was me spitting up orange juice through my nostrils). The only thing I do in preparing for a trip abroad is pack my own clothes … using the helpful list Jacki gives me. About packing: Jacki’s luggage is a marvel of forethought and organization. She employs plastic bags with air valves that you can sit on to reduce the volume of, say, the down coat she will bring to Maui just in case it cools off. She also uses these little zip-around mesh containers that divide your stuff into alphabetical categories which fit like puzzle pieces into her luggage which she then organizes by country; so if she wants her umbrella in Uruguay, there it is. Me ? What I pack depends entirely on the size of the luggage piece I choose. I have two choices at my disposal: the small gray one which holds just enough to go to the gym for the afternoon; and the big maroon one which holds more than enough to invade Normandy. I usually choose the big maroon one which I pack until it is full. It will then weigh in around 75 pounds what with the dartboard and lawn chair I packed because I had the room. I too sit on my luggage, not to economize volume but to get the zippers to engage. Here is a packing tip for guys: roll everything into tight balls as it saves space. The only problem is that you won’t recognize your own clothing rolled-up because it does not look like it does at home stuffed into dresser drawers or piled up on the closet floor. You will likely have to unroll it all find the Red Sox t-shirt you want to wear to the Louvre. It is unlikely that you will then re-roll everything after you have opened your luggage for the first time; consequently for the rest of your trip the inside of your bag will look just like your closet floor, actually making things much easier to find. The mess your clothes will be in after opening your bag the first time also makes it more likely you will leave articles of clothing behind unnoticed in various hotel rooms thereby lightening your load. I call this organic packing. You can learn more on my travel website as soon a Jacki gets it up and running.
Back to relationships. While traveling women still get to make all the important daily decisions. In a foreign land men must be completely okay with this concept because they generally have no idea where they are or how they got there; and remember it’s your wife who knows where your return airline tickets are at all times and therefore how you are going to get home … to watch ESPN.
Disclosure: I am expanding this latter point to include all men even though I am referring to me because I believe I am generally correct
Before I leave this subject once and for all I offer these two photographs to support my conviction that the design of the Eiffel Tower was directly influenced by French Lingerie.
Now … see what I mean !?