Relationships. Ha. (I laugh to myself as I write this.) In my humble experience, for better or for worse, relationships have the ability to extract things from within us, to bring out subtle features of our personal and spiritual inner essence.
A professor of mine once told me that given my personality and life's ambitions, it would be absolutely vital for me to "travel well" with my life partner. "Take the honeymoon before the wedding day, kiddo," he said to me. He meant that it was important to see how well two people can get along in place far from home, when all they have each other and nothing but time on their hands.
Traveling with someone for extended periods of time gives you an inside into their person, which can sometimes get masked by the mundane activities of daily life, the routine. In my "real" life, I consider myself a well-balanced mixture of eccentric, and somewhat well-put-together. In my travel persona, however, a few particular things are eccentuated: 1) My ability to Live Fully in the Moment, 2) My relatively Bizarre Sense of Humor, 3) My typical willingness to Eat Everything On the Menu, and 4) My ability to have fun Literally Anywhere. Aside from this, what must be noted is that behind the scenes, I pack very light, and I am low maintenance. I have a safety pin at all times, I never leave home without a map, a full bottle of water, a couple of protein bars, and the ability to maneuver through and impromptu back-up plan. For moments of inspiration, I keep a pen and little notebook on me at all times. Above all else, I use small plastic zip-up bags for everything. Yes, everything. And, yes, I recycle them. One never knows when one will need a plastic bag.
My small array of endearing eccentricities were not a problem for JJB. If anything, they weren't enough. In retrospect, I believe this is because his own list of personal extremes far outweighed my own. At the time, however, I found it interesting that I was given a particular "role" to play between the two of us. It was the role of the "heavy", the Type-A sort of girlfriend....the girl who can't have a good time in a place full of strangers, the one who sits in the corner and crosses her arms about herself until it's time to go home. It was a role, but it wasn't my role. It wasn't me.
One day at the beach, I overhead JJB in one of the changing rooms, saying very loudly to one of our friends, "I really love the fact that Namaste has a plastic bag for everything. She recycles, like, everything. And I think she's so good for me because she's so clean and organized. I'm definitely getting the better end of the deal with this one!"
Yes, this was sweet, but it made me want to gag. I will admit that I'm clean and organized, but I cannot fathom being the official enforcer of cleanliness and organization for two. On the flip side of this, he was a flat mess. My clothes lived in tidy rows and designated plastic bags. His clothes lived on the floor where he discarded them, or in small balls on the bathroom floor. When I took my vitamins and supplements at the same time every day, he occassionally remembered to take his ADHD medication.