My husband Chris and I recently went on vacation to Seattle and Glacier National Park. We only had one day in Seattle, a city to which we had never been, and packed it full with all the things we wanted to do and see – Pike Place Market, of course, and the Space Needle, but also the EMP museum which has interesting pop culture exhibits and KEXP, my husband’s favorite radio station. In the middle of the day we took a rest and just laid down in the middle of a park which is something I always mean to do at home but never do.
Then we went on to the park, and even though we have been to many national parks at this point, we were truly awed by the majesty and beauty of Glacier. It is just incomparable. I believe turquoise lakes nestled at the bottom of snow-capped glacial peaks may be my favorite landscape of all, and the wildflowers, big horn sheep, and mountain goats tipped the whole scene over to being just ridiculously perfect. All the hikes we did found me in almost a state of befuddlement as I attempted to process the idyllic scenery as well as its history and evolution. That’s the understood advantage of traveling – the “newness”. You’re seeing things that are different than they are at home.
When Chris and I first got together, 13 years ago, he hadn’t traveled really at all. When we started traveling together, I found him to be anxious, and he tended to rely on me to figure things out, which I didn’t like. This impression solidified in my mind into a static aspect of his personality: Not a Good Traveler. On this vacation, I was jarred to realize that Chris is infused with energy, eagerness, and initiative when he travels. He is intrepid and his only “anxiety” is to see as much as he possibly can! He thrived on the novelty of it all…and I finally noticed. And I stopped seeing my husband as he was 13 years ago and saw him as he is today.
On the flip side, I have a terrible habit of being so inspired during our vacation that I start planning future vacations. I sometimes am not very good at being in the now. On this trip, as we were hiking in Glacier, Chris remarked, “I’m proud of you! You haven’t once brought up the future.” I was thrilled that Chris noticed and affirmed my efforts to be more present (something at which he excels) instead of assuming I would remain mired in my old pattern.
I loved Seattle, and I loved Glacier, but I think the greatest gift of our trip was that I saw Chris anew, and he saw me too.