Six Years of Life, Love, and Travel

Six Years of Life, Love, and Travel

On Easter morning, I woke up early to do a bit of house work and to prep a salad (our small contribution) for lunch at my parents’ house to celebrate our most precious holiday. As I washed dishes, I thought about how much fun Jave and I had celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary, which fell on Good Friday this year, with a short staycation out in the OC (a post will follow soon).

When Jave and I returned home Saturday night, we took some time to reassess some of our priorities by writing down our top seven goals that we want to accomplish during this next year of marriage. After exchanging lists, we looked each other in the eyes and broke out in smiles because the content of our lists was perfectly identical. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat giddy about the fact that we’re on the same page. I guess that’s because we haven’t always been.

As Jave and I were getting ready for church on a certain Sunday morning five years ago, we got into a heated argument about a trip that we had planned to the Dominican Republic. During that argument, Jave told me that once we returned from the DR, he wanted to pump the brakes on our travel life. I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. Who was this person that I’d pledged forever to?! Before getting married, didn’t we have in-depth conversations about our plans and dreams to travel the world?! Wasn’t a life of travel at the top of our priority list?! Before any vows were ever exchanged, I was very open and direct with Jave that part of my life’s purpose is to travel and change the world – in whatever small way – through voluntourism. So why was he suddenly flipping the script?!

I went to church alone that morning and I cried and cried and prayed and prayed, wondering if I’d married the wrong person. Although that may seem silly, the fact is that years ago, my travels stopped solely being about collecting passport stamps, taking pictures, and sightseeing. During a mind altering trip to Australia and Tahiti several years ago, I realized that I wanted my travels to count for something more than my own gratification. I wanted my travels to benefit others in need. At the time, I didn’t know exactly how I was going to make that happen. All I knew is that I wanted to travel deeper by helping local communities in need whenever and wherever I could. So when Jave declared that our trip to the DR would be the last one for a long while, I was heartbroken because I felt like he didn’t understand and support my life’s purpose and passion.

When I got home from church that morning, I was all prepared to give Jave the silent treatment. But before I could even put my purse down, he greeted me warmly with a big hug and told me that he understands that travel is inextricably linked to who I am and that he was wrong for being unsupportive. Right then and there, he recommitted to our dreams and plans to travel and he expressed that he also wanted to help people in need around the world by using his talents and passion for cooking. His words were sweet music to my ears. I hadn’t married the wrong person after all – I married my soul mate. I couldn’t hide my familiar giddy smile – God had heard my cries.

In the past six years, Jave and I have journeyed through thirteen countries together and have successfully volunteered in many. Though we still have a lifetime left together and an entire world to see, each trip we take fuels our passion and desire. So when we saw that #7 on his list matched #5 on mine – ‘TRAVEL MORE’ – we couldn’t hold back our smiles. We’ve come a long way, and the journey has never been better.

Our love locks at Pont de l’Archevêché in Paris
Jave + Carmel 4eva – our love locks at Pont de l’Archevêché in Paris

 Are you married? How has travel played a role in your marriage?


  • Awww! First of all, love your open and frequent references to God. That’s so refreshing to me! Secondly, yes, I’m married and am thankful that my husband shares the same passion for traveling. As adventurous as I am, I still prefer having a travel partner than going solo.

    • Dana Carmel

      Thanks, Katrina! In my posts, I try to give my readers glimpses of who I am, and my relationship with God is definitely the defining part of that. I know that any mention of God turns some people off, but I’m glad that you appreciate it! Also, it’s good to know that you can relate to having a mate who shares your passion for traveling. And I totally agree that I’d take traveling with him over traveling solo any day. Solo travel just isn’t my forte. I love having someone there with me to share my life-changing traveling experiences with.

  • Beautiful post!

    My husband and I met in London, even though we are both Brazilian, and travel has been a big part of our lives in the past 11 years. Yes, there were moments when we were not on the same page, it happens to every couple, but the more time passes, the more the travel bug bites – in a loving way! 😉

    • Dana Carmel

      It’s good to know that other couples haven’t always been on the same page in terms of travel. It’s always good when others can relate. And the travel bug has definitely bitten Jave quite hard (to my delight)! Of course we have other dreams and goals, but travel plays a big part in all of it. Thanks for reading, Monique!

  • Loved this post!!! You and Jave keep me encouraged!

    • Dana Carmel

      Stay encouraged and open! 😉
      Thanks for reading!

  • Happy anniversary, have many more and may nothing come between your love and Jave!

    You are such an inspiring couple!

    • Dana Carmel

      Thanks so much for your well wishes, Rachel! 🙂

  • Happy Anniversary, Dana! Hope you have many, many more years of travel and volunteerism.

    I know what you mean about wanting travel to be more than personal gratification and I’m thrilled that you’re able to do that as well as find someone who has the same bent and supports you wholeheartedly. Great post!

    So where are you off to next?

    • Dana Carmel

      Thanks, Marcia! It’s definitely a blessing to have someone who’s supportive. For the time being, we’re focusing our travels for the summer and fall on California, but that can always change if a good deal pops up! 😉


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