A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how traveling together can strengthen your relationship. One of the points I made is that, in traveling together, you inevitably learn and appreciate new things about your partner. Interestingly, our recent trip to Cinque Terre really reinforced this for me.
One morning Chas and I were hiking from Corniglia to Vernazza (the third and fourth towns in Cinque Terre, respectively, if you're heading north along the coast). We had gotten up just before sunrise to beat the crowds so the sun hadn't fully risen over the mountains by the time we reached about half way along the trail. As the light started to peak through, it glistened along the water.
Chas stopped along the trail to admire the view and said, "Look at how the shadow of the mountain meets the sun on the water." I immediately burst into laughter, making fun of what a cheese ball he was being. He joined in laughing for a bit, realizing that what he said was in fact a bit overly poetic. But then he looked at me a said, "I think sometimes you take these things for granted." He didn't say it harshly or with any intent to hurt my feelings. It was simply a fact. And I knew immediately that he was right. Over the last few weeks I've watched him stare at beautiful paintings, admire incredible architecture, and randomly stop to enjoy being in the moment of a city's hustle and bustle. I've learned that he has (and will probably always be) a much more grateful person than I am when it comes to things like this. I've been fortunate enough to see a lot of the world and I think sometimes I forget how lucky I truly am.
Admittedly, I used to get annoyed and impatient at how long he takes in museums, or how he just has to see every inch of the city before being content to go home. Now, I see it as an important reminder to check myself (and my privilege). So in a funny, but important way I've come to appreciate my partner's appreciation of the world.
He and I have traveled a fair amount together over the last few years - 7 countries, 17 cities, and counting - but even today I continue to learn things about him. I guess that's true of all relationships where you strive to grow together.