This column from the other day got me thinking about vacations with significant others and how, at least fairly early on, they have the power to make or break a relationship. The first significant trip I remember taking with Drew was when we went to China together in 2008. We’d been dating for over two years by then, and had lived together for almost a year, but other than a few little weekend getaways we had yet to travel-travel together. And this was a big trip! Two weeks traveling through China together where, if you aren’t careful, you can spend a significant time, um, in the bathroom. Fortunately, we were careful. We managed to avoid food poisoning and drinking contaminated water, but there was a little incident that, even years later, we simply have to utter one word about — “Pingyao” — to feel instantly relieved that, whatever crappy thing we may be dealing with, at least we are not there, in walled-in Pingyao, having simultaneous panic attacks on the floor of our ancient hotel room.
Us, hiking Mount Huashan in China, 2008.
It was shortly after China — after the trauma of Pingyao and the glamour of Beijing and the wonder of Xi’an — that we both realized we were in pretty deep together. A few months after we got home, I retrieved my great-grandmother’s engagement ring to give to Drew to propose to me, and a few weeks after that we were engaged. I guess things could have gone the other way. We could have realized we were terrible travel partners and, if we couldn’t handle a two-week trip together, how could we expect to handle marriage and potential parenthood and spending our lives living under the same roof. I’m curious: Have you had a vacation like that or like the LW from the other day? One that essentially ended your relationship? Or have you had a trip that resulted in cementing your status and maybe even leading to a step forward in your relationship?