On 13 March 2015 some of you will recall I was on Belize's island of Caye Caulker with my friend Dave. It was my very first trip outside the United States, and it proved to be quite eventful. It was a Friday the 13th, the power and running water were out for the whole island. We went snorkeling where I swallowed my fear of open water (and a lot of ocean water). Then I drank a few too many beers to dilute the saltwater, and with the reassurance of Dave and Seb, a British fellow we met at The Split, dove into the ocean to swim the 100 meter split and back. While a storm rolled in. And I nearly drowned in the ocean.
Belize was probably the best trip of my life. I'd been wanting for as long as I could remember to just drop everything on a moment's notice and take a flight to anywhere outside the U.S. and go for an adventure. I may have had a twenty-four hour notice, but it satisfied my need just fine. Much better, in fact, than the month long solo tour in Europe. Because, while my plane ticket to Spain was a one-way ticket, I bought it six weeks in advance. It was like biting into a bitter piece of candy. I loved it, but it wasn't nearly as awesome as sitting on a dock in the Caribbean knowing that only twenty-four hours prior, I'd had no plans to leave the states. It was liberating and I wouldn't trade that experience for any other.
If, while I was sitting on that dock, someone had told me I would be getting married in a year, I wouldn't have believed them. If they showed me some sort of proof, I probably would have cried. At that point in my life nothing sounded better than being single for the rest of my life. The very thought of a relationship almost made me gag. Marriage, for me, has pretty much always sounded like a trap. It was as if, at the wedding ceremony, the priest who married you sucked all the fun out of your life and brain washed you. You began as this fun-loving, adventure having, spontaneous person and were magically transformed into just another suburbian with a white picket fence and HOA fees. You stopped traveling, skydiving, mountain biking, and basically anything else awesome and started mowing the yard on Saturdays and taking long Sunday naps.
Thank God that's not true. I mean, it could be. We haven't had our wedding ceremony yet. The Chaplain very well might put a curse on us and turn us into normal-ass people. But so far, Caleb and I have done quite well to keep adventure a regular part of our lives. We rock climb, ride dirt bikes, go hiking and camping, and even have plans to drive the Pan American in our truck. With the dirt bikes, of course. I'm convinced there's nothing the Chaplain can say on 13 March 2016 that will change the person I was on 13 March 2015 except that I'll be married and I'll have a reliable partner in my adventures. Someone I know is as strong and capable as he is intelligent and adventurous. In two weeks I'll go from being a solo traveler who wakes up and says, "I think I'm going to fly to Ireland today" to someone who, over dinner, says, "Hey, wanna drive to Red Rocks in Vegas next weekend to climb?" or, "Let's go to Germany." And while we may have to limit our overseas travels while we're tied to the Army, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make so I can keep this guy around.
Moral of the story, marriage isn't a trap (probably). Having kids is a whole different story though. Having kids is definitely a trap. Use birth control.