When you travel, the focus is on the destination. Travel guides draw you in with the sites you will see and what you will experience when you are visiting the new places. But for me, the highlights of any adventure I have ever been on, are the beautiful heart-felt connections you will develop with the people on your journey.
The people you meet along the way make the experience. I thought I needed to go to all these amazing places throughout the world to see the sites. What my soul craves, though, is to go meet new people and to build connections with them. Those are my most precious moments and souvenirs from travelling. The memories/lessons learned from these connections are what I cherish most.
On one of my trips with Trafalgar, the tour group I was with, had so many amazing people that I just wanted to be surrounded by them and learn from their knowledge. Even though we had different accents, different pasts up until where we were – we taught each other a lot about the human experience; love is universal. I learned a lot about love on that trip. My souvenirs were gifts to the heart. (It should be noted that after this trip – I ended up completing my book).
The couples I befriended had each been married over 20 years. They were going on this trip to celebrate their marriages and to enjoy each other’s company. Seeing these powerful couples who have persevered through many hardships, as they shared with me throughout our time together, but still truly at the core love and respect each other was inspiring to me. It was beautiful to see the deep connection between the couples after so many years of marriage.
Through digging deep and being truly honest about what it is important in a relationship, these are the ten lessons these individuals shared with me:
1) Don’t look for a partner to complete you, look for one who will join you on the ride.
2) You can understand the heart of the person by looking into their eyes. Eyes really are the window to the soul. Many of the couples told me they knew that they had found the one just by looking into their eyes.
3) You want someone to grow old with and who is in the relationship for the long haul. There will be obstacles en route; it is important to find someone who is willing to persist, to fight for the relationship, and to not give up. Forgiveness is essential.
4) You make each other laugh, be goofballs, and have inside jokes. Laughing is such a vital aspect to life. Seeing couples who can have fun with each other after being together for a long time is beautiful.
5) The connection has to be natural and not forced or rushed. You must be "real" with each other and love one another for who you are in the present.
6) You can talk about anything. Being able to speak with each other on a deep level is fundamental. I loved seeing couples, who after 50 years of marriage, never ran out of things to talk about.
7) You truly get each other down to the core and can “read” your partner. It was truly powerful to witness these couples who could understand their partners without having to speak.
8) Find someone who will get along with your family, treat them with respect, and value them. Not having this if you are super close with your family can be a huge source of tension in the relationship.
9) You don’t have to be around each other all the time – you can each do your own thing; just make sure to make time for your relationship.
10) Lastly, as I was told by a wonderful older gentleman who had been married for many years, find someone who is compassionate, patient, slow to anger, and stable as a rock. Stability is important like the coach driver on our trip. He dealt with stressful situations such as intense fog and tough situations, and these didn’t faze him; while the passengers were superbly stressed, he stayed cool, calm, and collected. His stable demeanour made us have an amazing voyage. We knew that no matter what happened, we’d get through it.
Even though this trip happened a while ago – all the details are etched on my heart. Some people come into your life, touch your heart, and your life is never the same. Thank you, fellow travellers, for teaching me what is essential in a long-term relationship. Lessons really can be learned anywhere.
Any place – every moment – is an opportunity. Look at your everyday life like an adventure, seize the day and trust your heart! Now it’s your turn: dig deep, and see what is essential for your relationships!
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.
See you at the beach!