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?