Last night, just several hours after returning from one of the most amazing trips of my life, I walked into my favorite restaurant with one of my closest girlfriends, expecting to attend a networking event coordinated by my neighbor. What I didn’t expect was that my life would be forever changed when I walked through the door.
The Sun Dial Restaurant is at the very top of the tallest hotel in the Southeast United States, gaining my favoritism simply because of my obsession with experiencing breathtaking views of places around the world – and this restaurant has the ultimate view of the place I call home. Little did I know that when I entered the iconic rotating restaurant, my father and several of my close friends (some who even flew in from other places) would be there too, waiting to take in this 360 degree view of Atlanta right along with me. And in the center of it all was the man who would be waiting for me, already down on one knee, prepared to ask me to spend the rest of my life with him.
Apparently for the last few months, my fiancée (yes, I said “yes”) has been orchestrating this surprise engagement – and surprising me is never an easy task; I have the misfortune of often finding things out. The fact that he was able to pull his plan off so flawlessly is still a puzzle to me. They even somehow prevented me from running into one of my best friends at the airport who flew in from Chicago for the engagement just as my plane from Bali was arriving! What are the odds that we would end up flying into the same exact terminal at the same exact time? High, apparently. But with the help of some of my future bridesmaids they somehow all succeeded in giving me the best surprise ever: the opportunity to marry my soulmate.
It takes a special kind of man to marry a girl who travels; and this man is truly one-of-a-kind. I can honestly say I have the good fortune of not only marrying my best friend, but my lifetime travel partner-in-crime. For women who travel, it can be hard to find your soulmate…that one person who gets you and your constant obsession with globetrotting. But when you do find that special person, it’s magical. You need certain qualities to marry a globetrotter, and here are his:
1. He Gets My Obsessive Wanderlust
You don’t have to share someone’s passion to understand it. My fiancé hasn’t been to as many places as I have, and his travel bucket list is nowhere near as long as mine—and that’s perfectly fine. Why? Because despite not being as obsessed with globetrotting as I am, he 100% gets my desire to see the world. And that means the world to me. I remember before my first international trip in 2006, the person I was dating at the time was so negative about my decision to study abroad. He didn’t get me. And that was a problem. I knew he wasn’t the one for me and that I needed to find someone who would be happy for me, not bitter, whenever I get opportunities to follow my passion.
2. He Encourages me To Pursue my Dreams
Not only does he get my obsessive travel tendencies, he encourages it. It’s not easy to watch your woman travel to the other side of the planet without you. Due to work, he wasn’t able to go with me to Bali, but he didn’t get jealous or discourage me from leaving. He was simply happy to see me so happy. And as I was building my Travel Lushes brand, he was always right by my side to offer his opinions and accountability. He didn’t laugh when I told him about my ideas and he never once made me feel like blogging was a waste of time (even when I wasn’t so confident myself). He truly believes in me, and that’s a quality I will forever cherish.
3. He Doesn’t Get Annoyed by Flashing Lights
Spending the rest of your life with me means not getting irritated by cameras. Ironically, we’re both actually extremely private people. But being a photographer, videographer, and blogger, he has accepted that when we travel, my annoying camera gear is coming along for the ride too. He’s always a trooper about it and even finds himself having fun participating in my silly videos. On our last trip, he helped me lug around my camera equipment, didn’t complain whenever I invasively pointed the camera in his direction, and even (reluctantly) filmed me with my GoPro embarrassingly attached to his head. He is down for my cause, and I’m down for that.
4. He’s a Planner (I’m a Procrastinator)
As a travel addict, you would think I love planning trips. Wrong. I usually drop the ball in that area. Sometimes I wish I could just pick the destination, press a button, and have it magically be all mapped out for me, perfectly tailored to my personality. But that isn’t reality. He knows this about me, but he doesn’t judge me. During our first trip overseas together, we met up with my best friend and her husband in the Virgin Islands for a rather last-minute couples getaway. It was their first time meeting, and yet they all clicked instantly. Jen and Charlie immediately fell in love with him and knew I had finally met my perfect match (and Jen is a very protective bestie who is not an easy person to impress when it comes to boyfriends). Although none of us really had a plan other than to relax and rejuvenate the entire weekend, he was up early every morning perusing through Trip Advisor, mapping out our itineraries each day. From picking out the awesome hotel to finding activities to keep us all engaged, he was on top of it all! I can fully admit that he is strong in areas where I am weak, and it really inspires me to be better—as we embark on this lifelong journey together, I am hoping his impeccable planning skills rub off on me at some point along the way.
5. He’s Ride or Die
I can’t count how many times my father has had to save my ass due to my scatterbrain syndrome. Well, thanks to him, my dad can be at ease (a little bit) knowing that I have a guy by my side who will always be there to protect me and save me, mostly from myself. As I said earlier, he doesn’t judge me. My fiancée accepts me for who I am, and is patient with me as I work on being a better planner. But my occasional relapse into procrastination can sometimes come with dire consequences, giving him the opportunity to be my knight in shining armor. This came in quite handy one time when I made what might seem like a questionable decision to attend a birthday party the night before an 8am flight. Use your imagination to figure out just how much of a debacle that turned into the next morning. But in the midst of all the chaos, he was there to calm my hysteria and gallantly race me off to my destination. He didn’t scold me. He didn’t pierce my soul with judging eyes. He immediately went into problem-solving mode and helped me find solutions to my problem rather than adding to them.
I truly love this man, and he truly loves me. No matter what’s going on in our lives, we are always there for one another, unconditionally offering our support whether we feel like it or not. You know you really love someone when his or her well-being becomes more important than your own. I would do anything for my sweetheart and he would move heaven and earth just to see me smile. And for a girl who loves to travel, I couldn’t be happier to spend the rest of my life with a man who will be there for me as I pursue doing the things that make me smile most—and at the top of this list is seeing the world while doing it with my soulmate by my side. He fell in love with a girl who travels. And that will keep me smiling for the rest of my life.