Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Traveling Without My Honey

Traveling without Göran is less complicated.

No need for cab fare, since I don't mind getting up at 3:30 AM in order to walk 1 mile to the train station to catch a train to the airport in time to catch a 6 AM flight. Actually, I like 6 AM flights. They are generally cheaper.

Without Göran, I generally get wherever it is I need to go faster. I like to walk. I walk fast. I walk up escalators. I walk down them. I prefer stairs to elevators. The walk to the train station is actually feasible since I generally can travel with a few changes of underwear, a few T-shirts, toiletries, a couple of books, my scriptures and my suit. Traveling with Göran is sort of like traveling with Downton Abby's Lady Grantham. Guess who gets to be the valise boy! He will not dispute this.

I prefer not to eat when I travel. When I do eat, it's cheap and quick. I don't need a lot of accessories to travel. I don't buy souvenirs. I don't take a lot of pictures. No music needed, no games on my iPhone. No special royal family issues of People magazine. Just a book. Usually a boring history book. I don't need overhead bin space on a plane.

I have been accused of being a monk. I probably would be, literally, if I didn't have a husband.

Life is cheaper and more logistically easy when you are alone.

But life is not just about logistics and cost.

Life is about connection.

I think that is why, when I was on the verge of joining a monastic order, the revelation that came to me was that I needed to be out in the world, and I needed a life partner to walk through the world with.

When I travel with Göran, kids smile and wave at us, because he smiles, because his clothes are colorful, because there are stuffed animals peeking out of his carry-on bags. Women (and men) compliment him on his sense of flair. Really! Walking down the street with him is sort of like accompanying a celebrity. 

Especially since I have been on the executive committee of Affirmation, I travel alone a lot. But wherever I arrive people always ask, Where is your husband? Wherever I go, I disappoint when I am without him.

Traveling with Göran means having encounters. It means going interesting places (like Sweden and New York City and Disneyland!). It means getting sidetracked on the way. It means stopping to smell the roses (and the coffee!).

Traveling with Göran means insisting on experiencing. It means touching the outside of the plane when I board, for good luck. It means insisting on remembering. It means posing for lots of pictures. It means suitcases that were already heavy when we left are even heavier when we return!

Being married to Göran means having lots more family. It means traveling not just to Utah and California, but to Iowa and Memphis... And having visitors from those places. 

When I travel with Göran, I always have someone holding my hand, someone leaning on my shoulder, someone hugging and kissing me, someone reminding me why I travel, reminding me that we travel because of people, because of family, because the world is beautiful, and because it is meant to be experienced. 

Traveling without Göran is lonely. It's good for feeling dramatic and melancholy. But it's not good. 

Traveling without Göran is like traveling to outer space. I'm only truly grounded after I get home. 


Rachel Manwaring said...

This is one of the sweetest pieces ever! I LOVE every bit!

Armando Bravo said...

Deep and moving, and also very happy.

Peggy said...

John -- I so love this. Hugs.

Trev said...

Aw, this is adorable. :)