Over the holidays, my girlfriend and I went on vacation to Panama, and we agree we learned a lot. My first life fact for you: Contrary to what you might think, there are a lot of people who take midday flights on Christmas, so don’t think the airport will be empty and security will be easy, because you’re wrong, and you will miss your flight.
As our first trip that didn’t involve working or going “home,” Panama was a big deal for us because it meant we were going to see what traveling together was like. I must say I’m pretty proud of us for creating amazing memories and leaving the heat, feeling closer as a couple than ever before, but also for staying true to our travel desires. That said, there were still a lot of things that happened to us, that will happen to you.
1. Imagine the uncomfortable things that could happen — at least one will happen
Like, for instance, we stayed in a room that had an open-air toilet (with no ceiling or door), which meant we were pooping in the same room as our bed, in front of each other, the entire trip. Which is definitely not the worst thing that could ever happen, but not entirely desirable either.
2. Someone will lose something
Melissa lost the hat that has traveled Asia with her. I lost my raincoat, which was something I very much needed when we landed back in San Francisco, because it was raining. So, you know, have some perspective on the crappiness.
3. Hotel sex
Yay! So amazing. So relaxing. So much yes.
4. And sleeping completely naked in a huge bed
Which may or may not be the norm for you two, depending on your sleepwear habits, but it’s going to happen when you’re away.
5. A terrible meal
Especially if you eat out (ha ha!) every meal. It’s just bound to happen.
6. Various instances of general discomfort
Like you know, mosquito bites, sunburns, neck pain from not sleeping on your princess bed full of wonderful, soft pillows. Cramps, maybe. A hangover? Be prepared with pain relievers.
7. Getting lost
That’s part of traveling, though, being lost and found at the same time, because you’re paving your own way!
8. Someone having a better Wi-Fi signal than the other
It’s slightly sad that I’m saying this, but when you don’t pay for international roaming, Wi-Fi becomes coveted, and when your GF’s signal is better than yours, her shit is loading and yours never pops up, you’ll probably wonder if she’s stealing your waves.
9. Lots and lots of picture-taking
And probably only post four or something…
10. A “we miss crappy American food” meal
Likely toward the end of the trip and will include something like fries, pizza, and sandwiches.
11. Lots of comfortable silence
For us, this was mostly when I was reading the three books I read last week or while wading the waves, but that’s the definition of relaxation, so it’s happening.
12. Growing nails that need trimming
Bring nail clippers and a file.
13. Figuring out how long it takes before your girlfriend misses home
Which hopefully matches up with your internal clock, so you’re both on the same page.
14. Getting scared together
Be it locals screaming at you in a language you don’t speak or being stopped by the police. Or, you know, someone just banging on your hotel door. You’re both going to be fine, but it will bond you.
15. Figuring out what you both think is appropriate vacation day-drinking
An especially important detail to work out if you’re in a sunny place. We recommend always having fizzy water and Gatorade on you. :)
16. Meeting a non-American who will love you two as a couple
And then you’ll feel the sting whenever you have to leave them. It’s amazing.
17. Hearing a story from her you’ve never heard before
Something about being away makes you reflect on your deepest memories.
18. A mini-meltdown over a work email
We recommend abstaining from checking your work email as much as possible and trying to meditate on anything horrible you “accidentally” read.
For instance, I forgot to pack shorts for a steamy-hot trip to Panama and left my raincoat and only sweater behind in the hotel, leaving me to freeze and be rained on for my trip back home to the States, and sang "Jealous" loudly in a restaurant/bar with an audience of zero English speakers.
20. So much making out
Aside from all the memories, sex, and general bonding, there is nothing more sexy than remembering where you made out all around the world.