Over the course of our relationship, Billie and I had each asked this far more times than it would have been worthwhile to count. Despite being as young, as whimsical and as in love as any archetypal runaways, it was in fact a question we had several answers for. That’s not what the romantics will tell you, but it’s the truth. Some minutes into the questioner wooing the questionee with tales of hypothetical serenades on a Venetian gondola or the gentle fall of flower petals in tranquil Japanese gardens, the former’s eyes would glaze to show that they were truly lost in a dream. If there were no buckets of water available to bring them back to reality, the only solution was to be hit with a shuddering thud of an answer from the list including, but not limited to:
“The money we’ve been saving is our house fund.”
“We both have jobs.”
“Auntie Maxine’s cauliflower cheese isn’t a traditional Christmas dish in Hanoi.”
But there was a time in April that seemed different to the countless others which had occurred before. On a romantic weekend away in Billie’s university city of Canterbury, we had one of those days. Not that kind, the other kind. I may not be able to speak for anyone else, but I feel like everyone that’s been in a long term relationship must have those days where you realise how much you really love your partner. You love them every day, of course, but every so often just how much can hit you square in the jaw with the unexpected force of a counter left hook from Iron Mike Tyson. It doesn’t have to be something they necessarily say or do, and it’s often the quieter moments of reflection where the feeling is most pronounced. It’s easy to become complacent when you’ve been with someone for long enough that their presence and everything they do becomes a given, which is why when the moments come where you realise all you ever want to do is explore new places with this person, it pays to do something about it before it’s too late.
After this particularly strong revelation, our reasoning for not running away collapsed. Is this something we’re going to talk about for the rest of our lives, or is it something we’re going to do? While we’re still young enough to not have the ties of a mortgage, an immediate family of our own or careers that would not allow for a break, how can I pass up the opportunity to see the world with my best friend?
I prepared my comebacks to any possible retort Billie might have to my plan:
“We’ll make more money.”
“We won’t be unemployed. Exploring is a legitimate and noble profession.”
“Cauliflower cheese will still be here when we get back. I’d be very surprised if Maxine’s recipe isn’t backed up to the Cloud if she doesn’t have it memorised.”
Little did I know Billie had come to a similar realisation. As the wine flowed and the same old question was asked again, suddenly we both only had one answer in mind.
“Why don’t we?”
Fast forward five months and after some loose planning and a lot of tearful goodbyes, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be to set sail on our big adventure. With this blog we’ll be bringing you stories and articles from the most interesting parts of our trip, hoping to offer some insight as well as some entertainment. Thanks for coming along for the ride.