18 March 2013

Head Out on the Highway

Being trapped in a confined environment can turn an ordinary experience into a powder keg. Write about a thing that happened to you while you were using transportation: anything from your first school bus ride, to a train or plane, to being in the backseat of the car on a family road trip. 

Our relationship has featured countless planes and trains and cars and buses. That's part of life when you spend the first three years of your relationship long-distance. 

Our first real vacation together (as in not staying with each other) was when we decided to explore the Adriatic Coast during my first trip to Albania. 

We were young. He was in the Peace Corps. We had no money. So we cobbled together a rough plan to take various buses all the way from Durres in Albania up to Dubrovnik in Croatia. On a map, that looks like a do-able day trip. 

In reality, there's a lot of hidden curves in the roads. Slow speeds. Random traffic stops - for border crossings and for sheep crossings alike. Uncertain time tables and buses without bathrooms on board. No clue where exactly we were. Just somewhere on the Adriatic Coastline with no idea when or if we'd see a bathroom or dinner again. 

And on top of that, when we woke up at 4 am to catch our first bus of the day, I also woke up sick. So very sick. Running a fever and wanting nothing more than to curl up in a ball and spend the day in bed sick. But, this was our vacation. We'd dreamt of it for months now. So I took some Motrin and some wisely previously requested antibiotics (I'd asked my doctor for some just in case of overseas emergencies like this) and tried to curl up best as possible in an ancient Soviet bus. 

I knew my reaction to how I felt would set the tone for this trip. I chose to be cheerful. I distracted myself by taking countless pictures of the coastline and listening to my favorite songs on repeat. I napped on Joe's shoulder or the best I could against the rattling windows. I finally whispered to Joe in late afternoon that I was sick after I spent too long in a bathroom and we nearly missed the next bus. 

But, at the end of the very, very long day, we made it to Dubrovnik. We found (and negotiated) a room for two nights and treated ourselves to a late night dinner in one of the alleyways criss-crossing the old town. And that recipe for a tempest in a teacup?

It fizzled out into long, lovely, romantic walks up and down the hills of Dubrovnik. It made for a dreamy vacation (one I still have to pinch myself from time to time to remember it really did happen) and for a (hopefully) life-long travel partnership. We've learned, even over miles spent in buses, trains, planes, and cars. Even in snowstorms and downpours and stuffy hot days and freeze-your-toes-off evenings, we travel well together.


germanlass.com said...

Thanks for your comment a couple of days ago! Three years in a LDR? Wow! We have yet to goon vacation together (just been traveling to see each other), but I hope we can go this year. Yours sounds like a really nice time despite everything. :)

KT Mac said...

Please make sure as you two settle into life together that you set aside some time for vacations away from friends and family. It's so important to discovering yourselves as a couple. Our years in an LDR were hard, but the last few years together have proven those years well worth it! Best of love and luck to you two!