My best friend is an accomplished city tour guide and event professional who has traveled the world over and continues to find adventure in common, everyday people and places. She married a funny, educated, well-read man, who –unfortunately- had never been a very good traveler. He always loved his recliner and big screen TV and preferred to stay home, would rather read the paper than read a map, and hated culinary adventure especially if there was fried chicken from his favorite fast food chain around the corner.
My friend loves to travel, loves talking about travel and places and people, and wants everyone to travel and enjoy it and love it as much as she does. One of the two was going to have to start faking it or start paying attention. It was a clash of personalities and preferences that has been fascinating to watch, considering how much love is shared, if not interests.
He wanted to make an effort and decided to plan their first trip together, when they would travel to meet her parents. It was stressful to begin with, conceptually, the whole meeting the family thing, plus required plenty of organization. He was destined to fail, and appear disorganized at best, stupid at worst. Airfare was expensive; there were unexpected additional costs for layovers, premiums attached to scheduling, so he decided to drive. As a life-long New Yorker, it is not an activity he felt comfortable with, to say the least. And, honestly, map reading is an acquired skill. So he got lost several times. He called her father for directions several times, since he kept forgetting and had to call (again) to have them repeated. But they got there. Alas, no fried chicken for dinner – and he didn’t really enjoy the frog legs her mother had painstakingly prepared especially for them.
It is really a miracle that they did get married, and that her parents embraced the new couple so joyously. For their honeymoon they had a chance to travel together again… but this time she planned it. He had an extraordinary experience! They went to Nova Scotia which was an interesting location and he had his first stay in a bed and breakfast. They ate amazing food and visited museums, and saw an outdoor Shakespeare play, and had an adventure on a sailboat. Because my friend insisted that they we meet and get to know the locals, they were able to meet wonderful people, eat in good inexpensive restaurants, and visit the places they recommended. They didn’t get lost once.
They’ve been together over 25 years and continue to visit interesting places and meet interesting people. Thanks to his wife the tour guide, he has slowly learned to embrace the unfamiliar, and to enjoy the journey, though he continues to hate the unexpected. But he still loves his fried chicken.
He now has a roofing company, even though he has never laid a shingle in his life…