Travel is always romantic, whether traveling as a couple, a family or solo, says the author, who is shown here with his family last summer at Great Sand Dunes National Park. (Joshua Berman, The Denver Post)
Oh, no! It's Valentine's Day, and I didn't make my wife a card yet, let alone plan the perfect romantic escape to some B&B or cabin in the woods. But considering the cost of a babysitter and the fact that we both have work tomorrow, a routine family night is probably more our speed tonight. That's OK, too.
Things used to be different, when we could pick up and travel at the drop of a hat. One of our first "dates" was a road trip across Colorado to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Nothing like the cramped confines of a two-person tent high in the mountains to speed up a courtship. It worked.
Two months later, at a waterfall in Nicaragua, I asked Sutay to marry me. After our simple wedding ceremony, we decided that we needed meaningful experiences together more than we needed a bedroom set or a mortgage. So we quit everything and took a 16-month honeymoon around the world.
Then we settled back in Colorado. Nine years later, everything about our relationship is still defined by travel. From our rambling roots together to our dreams of future epic family vacations, to our current explorations of the state with three young daughters. Last summer, we spent a month car camping in nearly every national park and monument. It's the same sense of wanderlust that originally guided us as a couple, just recalibrated for our family. Sometimes we take short-burst hotel overnights. Sometimes we go on longer car-camping assaults.
But travel is romantic, no matter what your relationship status is. If you're single, as long as you allow your trip to lead you to strange, new encounters, possibly amorous ones, they might happen. Travel and love are about dancing with the unknown, accepting unplanned episodes and sharing the not-so-fun parts, too -- the delays, the dirt, the waiting, the traffic. Once you find a like-minded partner, you keep going, together now and discovering new places as you discover each other.
In Colorado, that could mean a camper in the wilderness, a lonely trek to some mountain hut or splurging on some luxury hot-spring honeymoon package. Or, um, staying home for a standard school-night evening -- feeding the girls, bathing them, packing school lunches, breaking up fights, singing lullabies. If we're lucky, there will be no screaming or tears. Then maybe, just maybe, my wife and I will get a moment together after everyone is asleep.
Maybe we'll take out a road atlas and talk about travel and camping plans for the spring. What's sexier than that?
-- This article originally appeared in The Denver Post on 14 February, 2016. Joshua Berman is the author of Crocodile Love: Travel Tales from an Extended Honeymoon. Follow him at @tranquilotravel.