When I was younger and poorer, my trips were sporadic. It was three weeks in the United Kingdom staying in hostels and eating discounted, day-old bread for lunch.
As I navigated my early twenties and my first real job, my travel style changed a lot. Travel was still infrequent but it was four weeks in western Europe staying in fancy hotels and eating at real restaurants and using a rolling suitcase.
In my mid twenties, I found myself unemployed and released from all the burdens of the daily grind and my travel style changed immensely. It was months and months living out of a backpack and doing and seeing as much as possible in as many countries as possible, most of which I could not find on a map prior to my arrival.
Ever since my first trip abroad at 17, I knew I was a traveler.
And I knew that whatever path I went down, travel would be a main part of my life.
And here I am, now in my late twenties, settled into the traveler I have become: a long-term expat globe trotting near and far every summer and winter break and often in between.
Sometimes I travel for fun.
Sometimes I travel to relax.
Sometimes I travel to grow.
Sometimes I travel to bear witness.
Sometimes I travel just because.
And through trial and error, I've learned a lot about myself.
I have found what works for me and I have found what does not.
I have found what I get the most out of and what I can skip out on.
I have found how I grow best and how I relax best.
I have settled into my travel style.
I am the adventurer, he is the realist.
I get us there, he navigates us around.
I dream huge, he makes sure we don't run out of money.
I get irrational, he soothes me.
He gets bitten by a monkey, I drag him to the ER.
He gets hangry, I locate the nearest food source.
I get scared and intimidated, he encourages me and prods me forward.
What we have works really, really well for us as individuals and for our marriage. I think travel, real, hard core travel, brings two people closer together than most people would think. It's raw and hard and rewarding and there is no corner of the earth I would want to be in without him there too.
The friends, a lot of the time
I think the reason we can travel together for extended periods of time and not get sick of each other or want to kill each other is because we spend a lot of time together anyway, day to day, so we know each other well and know what to expect. We do game nights, movies, dinners, birthdays, holidays, coffee dates and random Saturday hangouts.
I think in the end though, we just got really lucky.
Direct flights, when possible
Slow and steady wins the race, most of the time
Bye bye hostels, forever
Experiences are worth the cost, period
Wake for free breakfast, every day
We are sleepers. We stay up late and sleep in late. But when traveling, we set the alarm, roll out of bed and eat that free breakfast. It's one less expense and a way to save some money, especially on those longer trips. Plus, you're ready for the day and can go explore without worrying about your stomach or locating breakfast.
Independent + self guided, a must
A very full backpack, every time
Loosely planned, most of the time
... I know over time my travel style is likely to change as it has over the last 10 years. Our friends will move. We will move. We will sometimes have more money and sometimes have less money. I know that in the future, travel may not be as frequent as it is now.
But one thing I do know is that regardless of how we do it, we will be travelers.