Tag Archives: Traveling

Traveling With Your Significant Other

Best friend. Boyfriend. Meanie Pants. Feeshy. (Insert profanity here). I called Nick A LOT of names over the past two months but I swear they were all out of love.

We started talking about this adventure almost a year ago, and last week was when it finally came to an end. Over the past 2+ months, I have learned many things. Not only about myself as a person, but myself as a person who is committed to someone else. Many people raised their eyebrows a year ago when we started talking about this so far in advance, “what if you guys don’t last?”; (1) thanks for your support. Yes, that is my sarcasm speaking, and (2) what if we do last? Obviously, we did last despite what some people thought. Not only did we last over this past school year, but also we successfully survived our journey together…although we had some rough patches at times.

Traveling with your best friend is an adventure, not only because you’re hopping from one country to another every other day but also because you learn so much about each other on the way.

What I Learned:

Patience: Yeah, maybe my patience isn’t exactly where it should be (not even close), but it has definitely improved over the past couple months. Before this trip, I had absolutely ZERO patience. I could hold no horses whatsoever. Now, after being forced to hold those horses and take a deep breath (thanks to Nick), I have learned that it’s a lot less stressful when I’m not freaking out about something. Not everything is going to go my way and that’s just something I have to deal with…eventually.

How to plan: I am the definition of a control freak and nothing bothers me more when something doesn’t go my way (see above). This time, there was another person there doing the planning along my side so I had to quickly adjust to working with another person to make sure things ran smoothly. Procrastination often drove our “planning” into the ground, and after being stuck in France for the lack thereof planning, we learned our lesson. It took us a few times to get everything together for each trip but it was well worth the time, effort, and money. I have absolutely no idea how travel agents do this, there are so many minor details that needed to be worked out *sigh*.

How to budget money: Budgeting has not always been my strongest area and I quickly learned that I needed to work on that area unless I wanted to go into debt. I was doing fine: booking flights/hotels/train rides that were all reliable but cheap, and not buying a lot of souvenirs or expensive meals. Since Nick and I aren’t married, we don’t share a bank account so I was doing this all on my own. THEN, about two weeks before our trip ended, I lost my credit card. I had gotten a special Chase account so that I wouldn’t be charged international transaction fees which worked great until I didn’t have that anymore or a debit card to use. This is where Nick came in. He agreed to take care of everything else that had to be taken care of (with me paying him back of course). Unfortunately, since this was no longer my money I was spending, I became obsessed with making sure that we weren’t spending a lot since it wasn’t mine. This was quite the adventure and we were able to work through everything together *high-five*.

How to open up: Nick and I have always been particularly close since we go to school together but we were able to become even closer on this trip (awhhhh). Although we were with other people the first few weeks, I still didn’t have any of my close friends to rant to or take a shopping break with. I felt even worse when we were on our own and all I had was Nick. Don’t get me wrong, he is the best but there comes a time when a girl needs her girlfriends. Of course, I couldn’t keep anything bottled up when something was wrong so Nick learned how to be a “girlfriend”/great listener while I learned that it’s okay to let everything out to him. After all, he is my boyfriend.

How to live: It’s one thing to be on your own and be under the impression that you are truly living but it’s another thing to be with someone else who shows you how to live. I never thought the day would come when I met someone who wanted to push life’s limits just as much as I did. Nick and I went on so many adventures and we did things that I probably wouldn’t have done on my own. He pushed me. I pushed him. In turn, we discovered this amazing force that drove us both into the fast lane. It was truly a great feeling.

So if you are thinking about traveling with your significant other but have doubts, remember this: all of your “kinks” don’t need to be worked out to go somewhere. Traveling can help a relationship grow stronger and it truly shows whether or not that person is in your life to stay or go. Personally, I would love for Nick to stick around, he is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I thank God for him everyday. Love you, Feeshy.
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The Nature of Love

I once saw a set of trees

That didn’t grow quite straight

And nearby on the ground

I saw a lonesome grave

It was one that of a patron saint

One that had no name

And he had been there far too long

Lonely in his grave

A man who lived by these trees

Told a quite old tale

A tale that said the trees were there

To grow high into the air

They were fertilized by love

Coming from the saint

It made them grow strong and large

Oh! They beauty they did paint

The trees they felt this love

Coming from his grave

And to get closer to it,

They refused to grow straight

For years and years

They grew and grew

High above the ground

Growing towards his grave

To turn the love around

-Jessica Baker

Image

*Slightly bent trees that inspired my post: Brugge, Belgium

Murphy’s Law: Anything That Can Go Wrong WILL Go Wrong

If you would have been able to contact me about an hour ago and asked me if I wanted to come home then my answer would have been yes. I wouldn’t have blinked an eye and would have jumped on whatever you were sending my way to bring me back to America. Now, I have calmed myself down and the tears are no longer streaming down my face in full force. 

Let me start from the beginning. Last week, we were on our study tour in London and Stratford with Liz and then were let free to go travel and do whatever we wanted for the next six days. I would like to consider myself an experienced traveler but these past few days have tested what I thought was experience as well as my patience. Most people who know me know that I have zero patience. When I want something, I want it now and I don’t want to wait; I usually have trouble waiting for my bagel to come out of the toaster. Anyways, we traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to stay there for a night until we could catch the next flight over to Dublin, Ireland. This was the easy part of our journey. Dublin was beautiful, etc. (I’ll post about that trip later). We were under the impression that we would be able to jump on a ferry down to France and then on a series of trains back to Luxembourg with our Eurail passes. We were wrong. So wrong.

It’s not that there were no trains that take us to Luxembourg, it was just that ALL of these trains were booked. Our group ended up splitting up, and myself and two others took the ferry route. We boarded a ferry that would take 16 hours to get to France and while aboard the ferry is when we discovered all of the trains were booked. I also discovered that sleeping on the floor of a boat for that time period is not enjoyable. Lesson learned. Once we arrived in France, we took a couple smaller trains back and forth but never found anything that would take us to Paris which is where we needed to be. We had no wifi to look up the train times for tomorrow since conveniently today is the only day it was not working at the airport. We even tried to rent a car to drive back to Luxembourg (yes, we were THAT desperate) and unfortunately, you have to be 21 to rent one here in France. Guess what? Nick and I are still 19 and our other friend just turned 20. We begged and pleaded and the frenchmen would not budge on his decision for us to rent a car. After all, it was only a policy rather than a law. Frustration filled my entire body. After we exhausted all of our options for getting back tonight/early tomorrow morning (remember, we actually have to attend class tomorrow) we decided to book a flight into Paris and get a train from there to Luxembourg.

Now, we are in Brest, France in small hotel room that resembles something you would find on a boat, where I then found myself having a breakdown in the even smaller bathroom. Fortunately, we have found wifi and the first person I contacted was my mother. I would like to think I am an independent/strong woman but today is a day where I definitely needed my mom’s lap to lay in and cry. Frustration and anger filled my entire body and I couldn’t help but cry when nothing was going my way (which usually isn’t the case). Thankfully, my mother was able to calm me down and reassure me that everything would be fine, she reminded me to get some food, just relax and say a prayer. Thanks mom, I love you. 

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” -Isaiah 41:40  

To be, or not to be

These past six days I have been submerged into a sea of Shakespeare. Not only have I watched three plays (two of which were seen in The Globe and one in Stratford-upon-Avon) but I have also visited every cottage that Shakespeare hath inhabited. I would have checked out mentally but I had the spunk of my theatre professor to keep me going.

We arrived in London early evening this past Thursday and stayed in a very sketchy hotel that had elevators that I am almost positive I have seen in horror movies. The beds were cardboard and I didn’t even have room to turn around in the bathroom. But, all in all, I should not be complaining since it could have been worse. Unfortunately, it got worse.

I was able to go into London on Friday and tour The Globe, see two plays and explore a good part of the city. Unfortunately, I was developing some sort of death plague summed by the devil. On Saturday, everyone went back into London and got to see all of the other amazing sites it had to offer while I was stuck in the hotel room on a cardboard bed. I suppose it wasn’t that bad since I had a Harry Potter marathon by myself, but I didn’t leave the hotel room for 24 hours so I was craving fresh air.

I was feeling much better on Sunday when we packed up and headed to Stratford-upon-Avon but I still had (have) a cough that only seems to go on a rampage when I am trying to sleep. On Sunday, we arrived around noon, ate some lunch and toured around the Centre only to discover that this touristy town was milking Shakespeare way too hard. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is named after Shakespeare. To put it in perspective, if he had put a title on a shit, they would have named a restaurant after it. Sorry, but it’s true.

Today we finished touring around the cottages and gardens that once inhabited Shakespeare’s genius mind. We were also able to go see Henry IV Part II in the theatre they have here, which was absolutely gorgeous. As for the play itself, it was interesting but somewhat hard to follow. This study tour is now over which is exciting and sad at the same time. I am saddened that Liz (our professor) will not be joining us on our next study tour but I am happy that we will be heading to Edinburgh tomorrow and then to Dublin for a long weekend.

The next six days will be filled with adventure and spontaneity…and tours of breweries. I am excited to see what will come of this trip especially since we don’t have any schoolwork to do. Let the fun begin.

“All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players;” –As You Like It, William Shakespeare

 

Bucket List: A Disappointing Concept of Expectation

Bucket List: (buck-et list); (noun)- a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.

I often find myself wondering what a bucket list is and how one actually constructs a bucket list…

I scroll through my Twitter feed, Facebook posts, and Pinterest pages only to see the same repetitive notion that someone is going to add this extraordinary thing to their “bucket list”. I look, admire how amazing that would be to do myself, and then go back to wondering if they have a legitimate list. Honestly, how many people do you know that have a tangible list of things they want to accomplish throughout their lifetime? I can probably think of two, both were teenage girls who created a “Summer Bucket List” together. Good for them (no sarcasm).

Now, I am by no means saying that if you have created a bucket list that it is a bad thing. I am guilty of attempting to create one and even though it seems like such a small task, it’s much larger. To me, it’s pointless because it can never truly end.

When I started to create a list, I eventually found myself creating the list to impress others, rather than myself. For example, I put “go to Europe” as one of the bullet points. Seems doable and exciting, right? Unfortunately, to me, that didn’t seem “exciting” enough nor did it possess the thrill of me being able to say, “LOOK! I went here AND crossed it off my list”. Instead, I basically wanted to list multiple countries, restaurants, and key points of interest within Europe. Why? So that if I did actually visit those places then I would literally be able to cross them off a list and shove it in people’s faces. Bad Jessica. This required too much effort and not enough spontaneity.

I am currently under the impression that when someone completes something and they add the phrase “checked this off my bucket list”, they aren’t checking it off of anything because more often than not, they had no intentions of doing it in the first place. I could be wrong. I want certain experiences in life to be spontaneous, and a list creates an expectation for something and generally, that leads to disappointment.  

When I created a list, now something that no longer exists, I put “get married”. Typical girl, sorry. Like I said, this creates expectation. Sure, I’m in a healthy relationship at the moment but that holds no promise for tomorrow. There is a possibility that I could never be married, and whether that’s the case or not, I don’t think a list should hold some expectation over my head or anyone else’s to fulfill the simple phrase.

Over the summer, I backpacked in New Zealand for a month and it’s something I probably talk about more than I should. Oh well. Anyways, this adventure was something I never imagined doing nor did I have it on some sort of list somewhere. I spontaneously attended an information session while at school, and I signed-up faster than I could ask my mother (yes, I still ask permission to do things). With that being said, the trip held no expectations– I never wanted it to. What it did do though was prove to me that life’s greatest adventures come from experiences that you never planned.  Sure, it’s cliché and everyone has heard it a thousand times but why? BECAUSE IT’S TRUE. 

“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations” 

-Jodi Picoult

 Until next time…

Jessica