…Because I do.
You see the relationship of travel is a delicate one. A plane that lands at the wrong airport, bumping along the open highway in a rickety bus falling into each other, finding that two beds online becomes one at the front desk, wandering lost in the dead of the night, an Airbnb gone awry, finding yourselves on the side of a dirt road…the list of travel snafus goes on.
You want to be yourself. You want to be able to cry when the jet lag and lack of sleep become too much. But mostly you want to laugh, chalk it up to adventure, as a good story to tell.
Then there are the golden moments- hundreds of dolphins swarming your boat, singing with a Cuban farmer, wandering the endless rows of the most colorful market on the planet, the countless conversations with strangers, the millions of photo opps.
You want to ogle at the enchantment of another culture, stare in awe and wonder at the beauty of nature, and you want to laugh over silly conversations,when you are dodging yet another pothole.
My little sister is my travel soulmate. She is perpetually easy going, up for anything and quick to laugh. She rarely gets hung up on the bad food or my abysmal lack of direction sense. I adore traveling with her. Even more I love scrolling through my pictures when I get home, big belly laughs coming up all over again.
And yet, she is young-seventeen years my junior. On the brink of her career, no extra funds. And so every year, I pick a place usually somewhere most people would turn their nose to, and I send her the link to her plane ticket. She always shows up with a smile and with immense gratitude. And I am blessed with her wonderful presence.
You see she is of the generation of non callers. (Unlike my generation of talking for hours into the depths of the night until your dad pulls the plug on the phone…) She barely texts or even returns my texts for that matter. I would knock on her door, but she lives across the country. So, if we didn’t have these immersion experiences, these 24 hour day weeks together, how would I ever know her? How would I be able to call her one of my dearest of friends? I think we all know the answer to those questions-I wouldn’t.
She doesn’t give me money for the plane tickets or for the hotels, and yet she pays for the trip in a way I value more than cash. Each year she flies out here for one of the rare weeks her work is closed and she lovingly takes care of my children, while my husband and I have our own adventure and bonding time. They know and love their aunt Maddy in a way they couldn’t if it weren’t for those extended stays.
Just recently I sent my sister the craziest of itineraries, taking us on planes, trains and buses. From deep into the Amazon to the heights of the Andes. She didn’t cringe at the itinerary or waking up at 4am, she just said, “Thank you. I am so excited.”
-And I know she is, and so am I.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you have found your travel soulmate. It’s worth every penny.