One of the more challenging parts of navigating the shared life of a relationship is when there is a disagreement over vacations. Do you like “sit around and do nothing” vacations? Or do you like “immerse yourself in local culture by touring the food market” vacations? How do you come to some of agreement that isn’t really just a half-assed compromise that leaves both sides miserable?
The first time I realized that Lance and I don’t see eye-to-eye on vacations was when we went to Las Vegas for the first time.
“Oooh, ooh, I can’t wait to see the Hoover Dam!” I squealed. “And maybe maybe we can take a bus tour to the Grand Canyon!!!”
Lance got that look on his face, and shut it down. “Betch, please. I’m going to the pool.”
Y’see, Lance just doesn’t like what he calls “busy” vacations. He likes to get his pina colada slushee in a giant plastic mug and lay out in the sun for hours at a time. There will be no “touring,” for heaven’s sake.
I begrudgingly agreed to tag along to the pool, not wanting to force Lance to do anything he didn’t care to do, and surprise!, we didn’t make it to the Hoover Dam on that trip.
The following year, we were in Hawaii, a trip I never thought I’d make. I mean, I had to go to Pearl Harbor, right? How many more opportunities would I ever have to see it?
Our conversation about visiting the hallowed ground where thousands died in service to our country went a lil’ something like this:
Lance had absolutely negative desire to spend 45 minutes on the bus (each way) to look at some rusty metal and oil slicks. The “do lots of stuff” vacations never appeal to him, which boggles my mind, since those were the only kind of vacations I did growing up. You’ve got seven days to pack in as much stuff as possible….annnnd, go!
Unlike the Hoover Dam, though, I knew I couldn’t go to Oahu and not see Pearl Harbor. That just wasn’t going to happen, regardless of whether or not Lance wanted to come with me.
We actually had a pretty serious conversation about how it’s okay to do things separately on vacation, even if you’re on the other side of the world. It was a strange discussion to have, since, you know, we are in a relationship (now marriage) and we should do everything together, especially on a trip, right? Well, no. We decided that neither of us would try to restrict what the other wanted to do; if we were uninterested, we would just go do something else.
This works well, too, with how we decide vacation destinations. There’s no compromises in this department: Lance gets to choose a big vacation one year, then I do the next, and so on. That’s why we’ve been to Hawaii twice (my choice once, and then Lance’s). That’s why we’re going to Japan this fall (my choice), and probably Hawaii again next year (Lance’s choice; notice a trend?). While we’re on these trips, we can decide to do things together or individually, whatever each person wants to do. This set-up more often than not keeps the peace!
With Disney World (my choice, though this gets into the whole vacation sub-category of “long weekend” trips which we tend not to count in our decision rotation), Lance confirmed my fears that he is happy to go, just not that OMIGODM-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-EMICKEYMOUSE! excited as I am. (The interaction captured in the first cartoon was said without thinking, during an argument about dog boarding, of all things.) At first, I was, yeah, a little sad and kind of hurt, but I had to remind myself that he has a right to his opinion; hell, it’s not like I’ve kept secret my lack of enthusiasm toward Las Vegas, one of Lance’s favorite places.
If Lance doesn’t want to do something in Disney World, we have that understanding that says, “Okay, well, you can go do whatever you want while I do this.” Nobody should be kept back from doing what they want to do. If I want to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, nothing’s gonna stop me, gosh darnit!
…Though, now that I think about it, I’ve still never made it to the Hoover Dam.