||MIKE BARISH, Contributor
When I met my fiancée she was just a girl in the dog park. We spent two hours chatting that morning before I asked her out and much of that conversation was about traveling. She was intrigued to hear that I was a travel writer, as she was passionate about seeing the world. She’d recently returned from backpacking in China, while I’d been to Australia (twice) and France within the previous four months. Little did we know then that we’d start dating, get engaged and begin exploring the globe together. Also unbeknownst to us was how differently we prepared for trips.
Token Guy Mike Barish and fiancée Jordana enjoy a steamy getaway in Yellowstone National Park.
Jordana, you see, is a planner. Before she buys a guidebook, she researches which volume is the best. She underlines. She makes notes. She cross-references with information that she finds online. She’s your classic trip planner. Me? I crowd-source. I take to Twitter, Facebook and good old-fashioned bar talk with friends. “Anyone been to Yellowstone National Park?” “How’s the drive through the Teton Pass in early May?” Those questions were my research before we ventured west.
If you want to get technical, our trip to Yellowstone was not really our first trip together. We’d rented a cabin in upstate New York with some friends for my birthday and I tagged along with her when she went to Miami for a conference, but those were just quick getaways. Our Yellowstone trip would just be the two of us wandering through bison-covered roads for a few days. For all intents and purposes, it was our first vacation alone together.
Jordana had a conference in Jackson, Wyoming prior to the trip and spent the weeks leading up to it preparing for that. It wasn’t until a few days prior to her departure that she realized we hadn’t planned much for our holiday beyond booking the accommodations. We had booked a stay at the Old Faithful Inn based on recommendations from friends. Other than that, however, we had no idea what the “must sees” and “have to do’s” were. Perhaps because of work stress, perhaps because she’s inherently a planner, Jordana was not pleased with our lack of information. I, however, was unfazed.
I continued to ask my Twitter followers for suggestions. When I arrived in Wyoming a few days after Jordana, I stopped by the local visitors’ centre. There, I spoke to a wonderfully helpful man who provided a wealth of information about both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park, the perils of driving the Teton Pass, the upcoming weather forecasts and what areas of the parks we could most enjoy during the region’s still chilly May weather. In about 45 minutes I’d completed nearly all the research one might need to enjoy a few days in that beautiful pocket of the United States.
Jordana’s conference came to an end that evening and I excitedly shared the information with her. Her face lit up. I’d like to think that it was because she was thrilled about all of the wildlife we were going to see and the fun we were about to have. However, I think much of her joy stemmed from the fact that I had done some legwork for our trip. You see, old-school researchers get nervous when they date unconventional planners. Jordana isn’t on Twitter. She doesn’t use Facebook much. So, she doesn’t get to see the information that I have pouring in from my sources.
I should point out that neither form of research is wrong. On subsequent trips to Indonesia and the Galapagos, Jordana’s passion for planning has benefited us far more than my modern methods. She practically led me around Bali and could have qualified to become a wildlife guide in Ecuador.
I’m beyond grateful for how much energy she puts into planning trips. Together, we make for a great team. That’s what traveling as a couple is about. Taking your relationship out of your workaday lives and exploring the world together. She loves her guidebooks. I love anecdotes from friends. We both love each other … and travel.
Date Added: July 6, 2012 | Comments (0)
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