As my husband and I near our one year anniversary--wow, time flies when you’re having fun!--I feel like this is the perfect time to reflect on this past year. I think it’s safe to say we haven’t had the most traditional first year of marriage. Instead of nesting, finding our dream home or working to advance our careers, we’ve decided to put aside the more typical American dream and leave behind our friends, family and home in pursuit of satisfying what seems to be an unquenchable wanderlust and do more than a little soul-searching.
So what makes our first year of marriage so special? Here’s what we’ve done in the past 11 months since we said “I do.”
We have ridden horses on a beach, relaxed on the waterfront, and successfully navigated the “through sickness” part of our vows. We had a bout of Dengue fever and visited a French doctor on the beautiful French/Dutch Caribbean island of St. Martin/St. Marteen on our honeymoon.
We quit our stable jobs as an email marketing copywriter and a high school science teacher, put our wedding gifts in storage, and moved to a small town in South Korea to teach English. We’ve spent the last nine months learning to read a new alphabet, successfully mastering scary situations like the bank and the post office in a foreign language, and pushed ourselves above and beyond our comfort zones each and every day.
We’ve snorkeled with tropical fish in the Andaman Sea, fed monkeys on a beach, survived intense thunder and lightening storms, sunbathed (and burned) on the famous shores where Leonardo Decaprio shot “The Beach”, and consumed mango juice like it was our job on one of Thailand’s beautiful islands.
We’ve visited famous caves, held a boa constrictor, fed, rode and bathed with elephants (well, I did, my husband just photographed it!), bartered in Chinatown, and ate more curry than is probably healthy in Malaysia.
We’ve zip lined in the treetops of a jungle, cheered on street performers, eaten potentially deadly blowfish sushi and gotten “doctor fish” pedicures in the wonderfully quirky Japan.
We’ve flown back to our beloved Seattle for a short 72 hours to see two of our best friends get married, eaten our weight in Western food, met a new nephew, and said goodbye to our friends and family once again before flying back to Asia.
Our first year of marriage has taken us across two continents, six countries, and over 18 cities. Our first year of marriage has added a combined number of 34 stamps and two visas to our passports. Our first year of marriage has required endless amounts of teamwork, problem solving, and creativity. Our first year of marriage has required us to fulfill the duties of spouse, best friend, therapist, travel agent, and nurse to each other as we’ve navigated one unfamiliar situation after another in country after country. And you know what? It’s been worth every gloriously messy, stressful, confusing and euphoric moment. We approach our one-year anniversary with our wanderlust no more quenched than it was a year ago, but with our eyes and hearts opened to the possibility of a different type of life, and armed with a different set of priorities, with travel and each other at the heart of it all. As we approach our one-year anniversary, with no firm plans of when to return home and a bucket list of countries still left to see, we do it with the knowledge that together, we can take on anything.
--Andrea and Matt of World Walk About
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