When traveling, it is in the unexpected that real memories happen. When everything goes according to plan, the journey is forgettable. When there are detours and delays, that is when everyone finds out how much everyone else really wants to get to the final destination.
This past weekend, Annie and I traveled upstate to one of our favorite places in the world, The Sagamore. We’d gone before a couple of years ago and it was the most that I had ever spent on a hotel room but it was also the least I had ever cared how much a hotel room cost. It was just that terrific. And this past weekend was no exception.
But, both going to and coming back from our destination, there were some detours and a couple of delays. When we got off the major interstate and started taking some roads less traveled, the comfort level dropped and the Google Maps came out. And as we got further off the main road, the reception on the maps dropped as low as the comfort level and the surroundings looked less and less like what we thought we were getting ourselves into. But, in both cases, what we discovered when we found our way through the detours were fantastic memories that will last a lot longer than if the road had been clear and we’d made it where we thought we were headed the first time.
Over the past nine years, Annie has been there through the detours and the delays. When things have been rougher than I’ll ever admit to anyone else, she’s been the one believing with me that there is more ahead and that the destinations we’re seeking are ones worth fighting through rough roads and unexpected setbacks. And it is because we have and do fight through the detours and the delays together that makes the destinations we have and will arrive at that much more meaningful.
There is no one that I would rather navigate this journey called life with.
Happy Anniversary Annie, I truly am the lucky one.
It’s said that “Behind every great man there is a great woman.” And, while the sentiment of this statement would seem to imply that the man wouldn’t be who he is today had the woman not been a major part of his journey, there is also the undertone that the woman is behind the man and he is alone facing the world on their behalf.
Recently a friend of mine ended a relationship because the girl he was dating seemed to be a little too excited about being behind him on the journey. When they talked about the future and where they saw things going, it was all about what he was going to do to make the world what she envisioned it to be. A number of factors eventually played into his decision to end their relationship, but this was the big one. And, as he told me about it, he included the statement, “Unlike Annie. She is creating something amazing and telling her own awesome story.”
As I think about all that has transpired in the past year and the incredible ride that Annie has gone on as she leapt out and trusted her intuition and created Hotel Belle, I am so extremely proud of her and all that she has and all that she will accomplish as she is chasing down her passion and love of travel and hotels.
The thousands of folks that read her posts and see the world through her eyes each week on Hotel Belle, Forbes, National Geographic, or Travel and Leisure keep coming back because of the excitement that she has for the journeys, the destinations, and the real life stories that she shares. Annie has been working for years and years towards the success that she is beginning to see today and I am truly blown away by how incredible her story is and will continue to be.
As my friend related to me his admiration of Annie’s passion and pursuit of her own big vision, I was reminded again at how lucky I am to have a partner, and not just a passenger, on this journey through life. I know for a fact that if one day I am ever called a “great man” it will not be because I have a great woman behind me. It will be because I have had the greatest woman I have ever met by my side.
To my Valentine, I love you.Tweet
When you’ve experienced the best, it is impossible to be satisfied with less. When you’ve felt excellence to your very core, pretty good won’t cut it. When you smiled endlessly just at the thought of how lucky you are, you’re ruined for anything but that kind of joy. 8 years ago today, Annie ruined me.
Just like when you sit in first class, eat at a renowned restaurant, or stay at a breath-taking hotel for the first time, you can’t help but like what you see. But then, as you begin to grow accustomed to that kind of excellence and that standard, it ruins you for everything else.
Since that moment when we became “we” for the first time and told people about it, we’ve been chasing down a really big story. A narrative that is much bigger than either of us expected and with more twists and turns than we’d fathomed. It is a story of meeting one another where we were very early into understand who we were as individuals and asking each other to be the best they could be as we grew into the people we are becoming today.
Who I was when we first got together and who I am today is quite different. The who I was then was ruined by the bigger picture and the joy that came from being with Annie on this little adventure called life we’ve been living out. The who I was then and the who I am today has a direct and deep correlation to who Annie believed I could be. I can never express the amount of confidence I carry into any situation knowing that, no matter what, she still believes that I have what it takes to become the best version of me that I can. Walking around with that kind of confidence has ruined me from accepting anything less.
With every word spoken, each kiss on the check, and every glowing smile that the past 8 years have brought, my belief that there is nothing better than true love has deepened, my understanding of what it is likely to have someone love you unconditionally has grown, and perhaps most importantly my definition of ‘best friend’ has risen to an astronomically high standard.
To my favorite travel companion, my truest best friend, and my ultimate love: Happy Anniversary.Tweet