What do a Kiss and Exploring the World Have in Common?

Five years ago today I was on a trip for work. It involved a trip (by TRAIN!) to Stamford, Connecticut, a short walk to the hotel and a meet-and-greet style evening where coworkers from the northeast and mid-Atlantic would connect and spend some social time over dinner and drinks before a full-day event kicking off the next morning.

There were maybe two dozen of us chatting amiably over dinner at a nearby Italian place before wandering back to the hotel to linger in the hotel bar over wine and cocktails.

As is typical at this type of event, we talked about life and work and work and life. It was a back-and-forth conversation filled with laughter and easy banter. One-by-one, coworkers headed back to their rooms to “say goodnight to the kids” or “check in with my wife” or simply because it had been a long day.

Somewhere around 1:30 am, the bartender came over and informed Greg and I that it was last call. It wasn’t until then that we noticed we were the only two coworkers left. At that moment, we were deeply ensconced in a conversation about the tasks that needed to be accomplished “in the morning” at the jobs event we were attending. Neither of us was ready to declare the conversation over, so we tossed a coin to decide whose room we would go to so we could finish making our plans.

About an hour later, when the work planning was done, the conversation wandered to the past as we discussed the things we missed about being young.

I said, “kissing,” explaining how, as a high school student, kissing was everything. It was a time when the farthest a couple would go was maybe “second base” and the duo could spend hours just kissing. Yep, I admitted, “I miss kissing.”

Greg rose from the hotel chair and walked over to me, leaning down and kissing me. It was one of those tentative, first date kisses. There were fireworks. I saw lightning and felt the Earth move. We broke the kiss and gave each other that “uh-oh-I-wasn’t-expecting-THAT” look. We were, after all, coworkers.

It was just a kiss … but it was life altering. Nothing else happened that night, but it was enough to put into motion a series of conversations and chain of events that helped us both realize that we did have options other than staying in unhappy relationships and living sad, unfulfilling lives.

Since that day, we moved in together, got engaged, got married and regularly remind each other how important communication is to a healthy, happy, thrilling relationship. We laugh about that kiss and how we had no idea then how many dreams and hopes we had in common – and still do.

It’s been five years and thousands of kisses. Sometimes the best trips don’t involve even getting out of your chair. When we say there’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored, we mean so much more than travel. We mean exploring each other, people in your lives, yourself … everything. So get out there – explore! The world is calling.

Diversion — “M” is for Matrimony and Motels

By Greg aka fedflack

Kiss on the Blue Ice

Ready to set sail on our life together. (Photo: Carol Tedesco)

We did it. Judy and I tied the knot on 12/13/14, meaning that we’ll be travel partners forever. We were married on a 47-foot sailboat just off Key West as the sun was setting on a most perfect day.

More about that in a later post; this one is about the honeymoon; and specifically, our plan to “not plan.”

Huh?

Let me explain.  When we got engaged and decided that our wedding would be in Key West, we originally planned to take our car – a two-seat Pontiac Solstice roadster -down island so that we could enjoy some top-down motoring in what we hoped would be a weather-perfect setting, even for December. Judy booked us a premium sleeper on the Amtrak Auto Train from Lorton, Virginia, right near our Alexandria home, to Sanford, Florida, (just outside Orlando) with the expectation that would drive down to Key West when we arrived and then meander our way – topless whenever possible –back up U.S. Route 1 for our honeymoon. Thus, staying true to our desire to stay off the Interstates and take the road less traveled whenever possible.

Alas, a bit of practicality set in. While South Florida and Keys weather is darn near perfect in December, there was no guarantee that the rest of the south would cooperate. Furthermore, we realized that we simply had to take too much stuff for the Key West house we had rented for us and our small (four people) wedding party than we could reasonably ask others to bring. (With the top down, the Solstice has room in the trunk for just two small hand bags).

On the Auto Train. Take this if you want to meet snowbirds.

As one-car owners, we did what we often do in cases like these – rent for the mission – in this case, a full-size sedan. Turns out, we pretty much filled the trunk and half of the back seat with clothes for nearly every occasion, a box of booze, party favors and decorations for the house, and more. It felt weird to both of us; if you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you KNOW how much we like to travel light. But this was a special event, after all. We loaded some overnight clothes into an small bag for the train (along with a bottle of wine and some snacks) and let the Amtrak folks load the car and its complement into the back of the train consist. On a cold, dreary day, we headed south.

In doing our research, we also realized that the bulk of Route 1 in this part of the country was so rural that we worried about being bored…or that we might hear dueling banjos. We went “foodie” instead and booked four nights at the chic Andaz Hotel in Savannah, characterized as a “Concept by Hyatt.”

But we still knew that we had to spend one of our honeymoon nights in Florida, somewhere between Key West and Savannah.  For this, we decided that we wanted to stay somewhere that screamed Route 1 tacky – a classic cheesy motel…the cheesier the better. We couldn’t plan this; we would know it when we saw it.

With this “plan” in mind, we bade goodbye to Key West, and headed north.

(Stay tuned for the next installment where we answer the question, what’s fire have to do with it?)