Tag Archives | Amazon Rainforest

The Danger of Expectations (in Marriage and Travel)

One of the many precautions we take in our travels is getting the proper immunizations. Before our Amazon trek, we went in to our local medical clinic and said, give us everything you’ve got! We felt like human pin cushions! Those pesky shots, while painful in the short term prepared our bodies to reject the attack of those pesky yellow fever things. But no immunization or medication can protected someone from an unrealized expectation. We have found this out the hard way.

Perception is Reality?

We just returned from a two week trip to Asia, visiting both Thailand and Cambodia.    I had lived in Taiwan for a couple of years in college, this was Luci’s first visit to the Orient. It was so intriguing to watch her experience a new culture, and dispel and confirm some of her preconceptions. She thought that the food would be spicy, and it was! In other areas she discovered that she was completely off base. Each new place we visit we arrive with the rose colored glasses of glossy guidebooks. (That’s one reason we love the travel blogging community, for its candid un-gussied up descriptions.) As travelers, we tend to be  loaded with pre-conceptions. These notions rarely hit the mark.


Pinterest Perfect?

Just like travel, we build in our minds some times unrealistic expectations from our marriages/ relationships. We think things should be a certain way.  Simply because…that’s the way things happen in the movies or on TV. Why would we want to model a relationship after a fictional portrayal? #epicfail ! (I just used a hashtag as a complete sentence! Cross that off the bucket list!) Our culture, our environment push us to envision and quite frankly expect the ideal. Look no further than Pinterest to see well-meaning people create a palette of perfection. The never ending quest for the perfect wedding centerpiece. Then there’s the dress! All of this leads us to create in our mind an expectation, typically unrealistic and unattainable.

Is that really healthy?

How to overcome?

Some of the best advice we have ever received was offered by Javier, our young Peruvian guide in the Amazon Jungle. Before embarking on our night safari in the Jungle he counseled us, “don’t set your heart on seeing any one animal or insect..just enjoy what you find in the jungle.” Wise words for sure. We have often reflected on this advice. Enjoy the ride. Don’t say..i want this, that and the other or the experience is an abject failure. Don’t do that to yourself. Enjoy the journey for what it is. Leave your expectations at the lodge of life and open your heart to the experience.

Finding the perfect in the one you love

Come up with your own perfect. One thing that we have discovered in 15 years of marriage and 25 some years of friendship is that neither one of is perfect. We likely know each other’s flaws and quirks better than anyone else in the galaxy. For a relationship to thrive, we can’t expect our lover to be a combo of every perfect character we have read about in Jane Austen novels. Likewise, it is completely unrealistic and a little dangerous to expect our sweetheart to look like a supermodel 24/7. It is up to us to find the best in those we love, especially our significant other.


How do you overcome your preconceptions? What are your secrets to rejecting the pressure for perfection? Let us know in the comments below.


5 Secrets to get your “Indoor Girl” Outdoors

Amazon River trip oneSo how do you get you indoor girl into the great outdoors? Not as simple as it sounds.   (I must first do a shout out to all of your outdoor girls, you rock!)  Luci’s idea of roughing it… is a hotel without room service! Seriously, I salute Luci, she has braved everything from taking a canoe up the Amazon to sleeping in a yurt in the African savannah. We came up with a few hints to make venturing into the wild a little easier.

Be Prepared

We have found an ounce of prevention can equal a pound of cure. Going into the wild, you are going to meet two arch enimies to indoor peoples: Dirt and Bugs. While you can’t pack all of the creature comforts into the woods, you and pack a few things that make the go of it loads easier. Item #1 insect repellant. This stuff is perhaps the most important thing in your pack. Buy the good stuff. If you are going into the really adventurous areas (see Amazon, Nile and other non-blackberry functioning areas) you need a strong concoction with lots of something called DEET. DEET is magic. If you are going in a little less extreme area , find some non-scent insect repellent. The pros of DEET juice: protects the really bad stingers. The negatives of DEET: it smells to high heaven, and it is sticky. YUCK! If the areas you are headed to don’t have mosquito borne illness threats, use the non-scent stuff.

Set Expectations

Some of our best/worst fights came from different expectations. One of the keys in bringing someone that is not an outdoors person into outdoors is they tend to see what they fear most. If they hate bugs….then they will see the bugs. They will see the dirt. They will “think” they hear the dangerous critters in the night. One way to help your spouse is to say paint the picture for them: “There will be bugs. We have the spray to minimize their presence. We will be sleeping in nets to prevent them getting at us at night. Yes, there will be dirt. But, at such and such a point, we are going to shower and at another point we are going to swim under waterfalls.” Building what to expect can go a long way to make the trip bearable for the non-out-of-doors folks.

Share Your Glasses

One of the main barriers for indoor people is that they flat out don’t understand what drives outdoor people to go out doors. We encourage couples to find ways to communicate effectively. Sharing ones passion for the great outdoors can really help one spouse understand the other. One of our experiences in the Amazon really highlights this understanding. It was evening and we had been out on the river the entire day. Luci was swatting bugs in fine form. I invited her to sit on a bench overlooking the river and watch the sunset. Candidly, it was one of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen. The sky was lit up with dramatic reds and yellows. We just sat and watched. All of the sudden, the dirt, bugs and hungry jaguars in the distance didn’t really matter. She was looking through my glasses, she understood (for a few mili-seconds) why I love the jungle.

Wonderful Amazon SunsetMix it up

One of our little secrets for couple travel is to amplify. As our voyage progresses we go to better and better places. Start off with the camping trip, then end the trip at the lux resort. This does two things; it gives your spouse something to look forward to after roughing it. It also makes them remember the positive. Great idea huh?

Wanna see some more Amazon pics?  Including some spiders and creepy crawlies?  Just like us on Facebook.

Be a Hero

If your sweetheart isn’t really into the more adventurous destinations, and they suck it up and sacrifice for you, you gotta make it up to him or her. Slip her favorite luxury item into the pack. Do they love honey covered almonds? Stow some away in your pack and at the right time, bam! You are a hero. Even better, pack their favorite elixir… perhaps a bottle of 2009 Txomin Etxaniz (Basque country wine) and break it out at the right time and …..BAM! You are a hero.

That is it!  Our 5 tips for getting your “indoor” girl into the great outdoors.  Be prepared in advance of your trip, build realistic expectations.  Help you sweetheart understand what you love about nature.  Perhaps the best hint is to be a hero, look for little things along the way that will make the outing more pleasurable.  In the end, regardless if you are in the Amazon Jungle or taking touring caravans in the UK. Make the most of your adventures by following a few of the steps spelled out above.