For many of us, it can be hard to take an extended vacation whether it’s because of our dedication to our families, a 9-to-5 job, children or even pets; trips that transform you do not come as often as any of us would like. However, there is one time where we do have the amazing opportunity to take a trip that will remain burned in our memories, the long-awaited honeymoon.
My husband and I are just like most couples. We both have drive and feel we have a lot in common. However, we are different people and at times can experience things from a different lens. So as we approached planning our honeymoon, we really wanted to ensure we both got the most out of our trip. Our plan was to visit five different countries in 11 days: Germany, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland all made the list. A lofty goal for sure, but we wanted to experience everything we could. So, we made three conscious decisions to ensure that we not only get the most of our trip, but to also enjoy the moments with one another, and it was maybe the smartest thing we ever chose to do.
Disconnect from Technology
We now live in a world where we are always behind a lens, where we focus on capturing the moment with our phones (and I may most at fault with this). When we do this we risk not living in the moment and not experiencing our surroundings to the fullest of our abilities. So as much as possible, we decided to leave the electronics behind. We left our computers at home and packed an old-school digital camera. We did take our cell phones just in case there was an emergency and even used them to take photos and videos of our trip but we did not rely on them. We also stayed off of social media as much possible; completely taking this opportunity to remove ourselves from the world we experience everyday. We also didn’t pay for international data. The only time we re-connected was on our hotel wi-fi networks. Talk about being disconnected!
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Let me tell you, it was the best decision … ever. Of course, we told our friends and family our plans so they didn’t worry, but truthfully, this allowed us to focus on one another. I was also amazed by how much more I remember. The tastes of the unique Bavarian beers, the cannolis on the canals of Venice and even the scents of some of the shops still come to mind every once and a while, which honestly, I may not have had I been on social media posting all of the time.
Plan Some Spontaneity
I know what you are thinking, oxymoron right? Well naturally, we had to make sure we made our flight back home on time, so we did plan where we rested our heads at night, but we left a lot of room in our days free from plans. Sure, we had activities we wanted to experience and we planned for them but also left a large amount of time unplanned with no real agenda.
With no idea what was located in each of our locations or what we wanted to do and so we dedicated time to spontaneity. What did we end up doing? We tried local produce and fare from smaller grocery stores. We were able to meet locals and take their recommendations on food and activities. We were able to walk around and not only see the quaint towns and villages around us but to experience the communities and patrons that called them home.
Not only did we experience more, we were also able to fall in love with several of our stops. I mean, I wouldn’t argue living in a couple of these spots permanently.
Balance and Challenge Your Experiences
By limiting technology and leaving time for spontaneity, we opened ourselves up to amazing opportunity. But the last thing we strived to do was to make a point to pull ourselves out of our comfort zones. When we did, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we actually lived our part of that culture which then became a part of who we are. When we returned home, we found ourselves cooking some of the same things we ate, caught ourselves looking for opportunities to have similar experiences here in the States. And in reflection, it was obviously a mind, heart and life-changing time in our lives to this point.
Moral of the story here?
- Try the weird foods.
- Paraglide off the top of that mountain.
- Talk to the strangers sitting at the table next to you.
- Mix your excursion with times of relaxation so you can withstand it all.
All in all, put everything you have aside and experience your honeymoon for the raw and cultured place that it is, no matter the location.