Jave: The Best Travel Mate a Girl Could Ask For

During our recent trip to Panama and South America, for no reason in particular, I got to thinking about all of the many journeys Jave and I have been on together since getting hitched well over 7 years ago, and I got to thinking about just how fortunate I am to have him, not only as my husband, but as my built-in travel mate.

When we got home last Monday and stopped by my parents’ house for dinner, as we were sharing the details of our time in South America, my mom toasted to Jave and told me, “You’ve met your match in Jave, because if he didn’t share your same sense of adventure, it just wouldn’t work.”

So, so true.

Lookin' good in that Panama hat!

Lookin’ good in that Panama hat!

It’s been on my mind for awhile now to dedicate a post to the person who I so enjoy traveling through life and through the world with, so I figured that there’s no better time than the present to make this post a reality. So here are all the reasons why Jave is my perfect travel mate…

He Goes with the Flow

Jave is probably the most kicked back, go with the flow kind of person there is which is great since I’m a Type A who likes to have backup plans for my backup plans – ya dig? But not Jave. In everyday life, he faces each day as it comes, and he seldom stresses about what tomorrow holds. At times this trait drives me nuts, but most times, I wish I could be more like him in this way.

When it comes to travel, 9 times out of 10, Jave is down for whatever. I could literally say, “Hey Jave, do you want to go to Djibouti next summer?” And after sharing a few of Djibouti’s selling points, chances are that Jave would be down to go. Ok, so maybe not to Djibouti, but you catch my drift.

He Rarely Complains

Because he’s such an easygoing guy, Jave rarely complains when we travel. The night before an itinerary-packed day, I’ll give Jave a rundown of our plans, and as long as long as he knows what to expect, most of our travel days together are smooth sailing. Except for the time he lost his cool in Paris when his feet were throbbing after hours spent pounding the pavement, Jave rarely has meltdowns when we’re on the road…he never even shows signs of “hanger” (i.e., hunger + anger).

Perfect example: during our recent trip to the Bay Area, I warned Jave that our itinerary was going to be jam packed because in part, it was a business trip. One day, we were literally out from about 7:30am to 10pm. When we got back to our AirBnB, we literally fell asleep in our clothes with the lights on because we were so tired. Yet, while we were out ripping and running the streets of San Francisco and Berkeley, Jave didn’t complain once. Not one single time.

He Has My Back

Whether he’s double checking under my side of the bed before we check out of our hotel room, keeping street hustlers at bay, or watching my back as I withdraw money from foreign ATMs, Jave is always looking out for me during our travels.

He Carries My Bags

Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot better at packing light and I almost always only travel with my Timbuk2 Wingman. Nevertheless, there are often times when even my Wingman feels too heavy, and when it does, being the gentleman that he is, Jave always steps up and offers to carry my bag for me. Trust me, when trekking from the metro to our hotel in Berlin last spring with my over packed Wingman on my back, there’s no way that I would’ve made it to our hotel in one piece if Jave hadn’t picked up the slack for me.

He's resourceful - he fixes bags too!

He’s resourceful – he fixes bags too!

He’s Encouraging

Whether he’s cheering me on while learning to surf in the Dominican Republic or giving me pointers while making chocolate bars in Nicaragua, Jave always uplifts me and reminds me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I’m especially grateful that I had Jave by my side in Colombia recently as we took on some challenging physical activities while there. There were a few times when I thought about turning around and giving up, but having Jave with me to encourage me was just the extra push I needed to reach the finish line.

He Shares My Passion for Food

There are few people in the world with whom I can go to a restaurant and spend just about the entire meal critiquing the food.  During our travels, Jave and I have shared some of the best and worst meals of our lives together. Being a chef, Jave is always eager to talk food with me, and I learn so much from him about different ingredients, cooking methods, and all things food-related.

Jave laughs every time he sees this photo of me squinting like a loon to keep the sun out of my eyes

He Gives Me Space to Be Myself

The thing I absolutely love the most about Jave in travel and in our everyday lives is that he never ever tries to change me. Although we’ve been married for going on 8 years now and are no strangers to each other’s idiosyncrasies, you know as well as I do that when traveling and spending 24/7 with each other on the road, idiosyncrasies are magnified and boundaries are easily crossed. Still, even while traveling, Jave always gives me the freedom to be myself.

My annoying snoring, the disturbing light from my Kindle that illuminates the room before the sun has the chance to do so, my rigid daily accounting ritual to keep track of our travel expenditures, my awkward photos, and so much more – he grins and bears it all and still manages to ask, “Carmel, what would I ever do without you?”

I often ask myself the same question about him.

I’m so grateful for all of the journeys we’ve shared in travel and in life, and I’m sooo looking forward to the many wonderful journeys ahead with my J.

Who’s your favorite person to travel with? Share in the comments.