I met the most free-spirited/intelligent/beautiful person about four years ago. Six months after that I was lucky enough that she gave me a chance. We’ve been dating ever since. That person is Brittany. Little did I know, meeting Brittany was about to change my life. Besides my parents, she has been the most impactful and positive influence on my life.
Before I met Brittany I had no real plans to travel. I had only been out of the country a few times, either to developed countries, or very touristy areas in the Caribbean. Travel was something she was (is) passionate about and I am so grateful she decided to share it with me. We’ve now been to 38 different countries together, and I know that’s just the beginning. We still have most of the world to conquer.
It all started with Tanzania. One of Brittany’s best friends was teaching there and we decided to visit, go on safari, and relax a bit on the beaches of Zanzibar. At the time, this was the most uncomfortable I had ever been. It started as soon as we stepped off the plane. We were asked for our Yellow Card, which of course we did not have. Our doctor said we didn’t need one, but because we flew threw Ethiopia, we did need one! We pleaded with the man checking Yellow Cards and eventually he let us pass. Thank goodness he did because right after that we saw the back room where people were getting Yellow Fever vaccines. It looked like something out of a horror movie.
On this trip I got to see levels of poverty on trip that I knew existed, but forced out of my mind. I was a religious minority in Zanzibar (and maybe even have a panic attack). I had to haggle for everything. I couldn’t speak the primary language. The list could go on and on. This place was the complete opposite of America. It was a shocking awakening and still one of my favorite trips to this day. This is where Brittany officially gave me the “travel bug.”
After that it was Bora Bora and Jamaica (twice). Then it was quitting our jobs and embarking on a 35 country around the world trip. That was a big deal, but I wasn’t nervous, I had Brittany by my side. I couldn’t imagine taking that plunge with anyone else. We were with each other almost every second, of every day, for an entire year. The most exciting part of the entire trip was that after those 315,360,000 seconds, I’m just as wild about her.
The “travel bug” is important because it gets you out of your home country. Until you do that you can’t have a complete understanding of the world and people. Our year of travel changed me from the inside out. I used to worry about money. That was silly. I’ve witnessed firsthand that if you have the basics, money does’t matter. Hell, I’m not even sure you need the basics. I’ve seen people around the world struggling to survive, but still happier than most Americans. I learned the key to happiness is the people you surround yourself with, and I’ve found the perfect person to spend my time with.
Brittany, I hope you have the most amazing day. You make me laugh. You make me do things think I don’t wan’t to do, but eventually thank you for. You make me happy. You make me a little crazy sometimes. You make me better. You mean everything and I love you. I can’t wait to tackle the next adventure with you. Just make sure you’re not working the week of January 22-26.