Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Gift of Travel

When I married my husband I'd never been to a foreign country. Truthfully I'd barely been west of the Mississippi River. He on the other hand had been to Europe several times, not to mention a cruise, and a vacation to Grand Cayman where he'd learned to scuba dive. He was 20 when I met him.

Over the years one of the best things he's given me is the gift of travel. Our first year of marriage he took me to Disney World, and his business trips have taken us to lots of other fun spots in the U.S.

His mother died in 1988. She was born and raised in Austria and France. He still had family in Austria, so in the summer of 1989 his father and he went to Europe and traveled around a bit. Alan (my husband) stayed in Europe at an intensive 6 week German language course as part of his grieving and recovery from the loss. I flew to Germany and met him at the end of his course and we traveled for 10 days.

So the girl who had never left the country -- had never even been to either the east or west coasts of the U.S. -- flew to a foreign country BY HERSELF to reconnect with her husband who'd been gone for 6 weeks! I navigated flight changes and customs and crossing multiple time zones. 

He met me at the airport in Munich with a friend from his language program. I almost didn't recognize him -- he'd grown a beard. We took the train into Salzburg and went to his little room in the quaint B&B and "reconnected" with each other.

Once his classes finished, we traveled around Salzburg and visited with his relatives in Linz and Bad Ischl. We stayed with relatives and checked into B&Bs well off the beaten path. I learned to smile and nod a lot, and drink hot cocoa and eat semmel rolls with real butter and jam for breakfast.

It was a wonderful, terrifying, bonding experience for me with my husband. 

Over the years we've gone back once with our children. A lovely trip, marred by lost luggage and the early summer snows that we were unprepared for clothing-wise. He's taken me to Mexico several times and I've learned to scuba dive as well. But that first trip abroad with him, that's the stand out. Becoming an adult in a new and different way. Realizing in some way that this was my life and I'd better learn to enjoy it. That trip was the beginning.

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5 comments:

  1. International travel is daunting to me, I admit, and I haven't done it in a number of years. But I hope to tackle it once my kids are a little older and can remember it. Love how your trip gave you confidence and solidified your relationship with your husband.

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  2. Kudos for taking off to travel internationally by yourself! It's great that you've been able to travel together as a couple and connect.

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  3. I am so impressed that you made that first trip on your own. And-oh, the trip sounds so worth any anxiety or hesitation you might have felt!

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  4. What a way to be thrown into adulthood! Lucky you. Reconnecting with your husband in that way was just the thing you needed. Traveling is such a rewarding experience! I love it. Although, I don't care for flying.

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  5. Wow!! I have a similar "homebody turned traveler" story and I'm so glad I was pushed to do the traveling I've been able to do. I never would have guessed how much I'd love it! And navigating an international flight is no easy task...good for you!

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