On Traveling with your Best Friend

best friendsBack in early 2012 I had the joy of going to Hawaii with my husband, his cousin Chris, his wife Sarah (who also happens to be my best friend) and their absolutely adorable, amazing, cute, super smart and super loveable daughter Amelia.  And it was awesome.  Traveling with friends is such a blessing, and I have always been grateful for the opportunities!

And while that trip was wonderful, my most recent adventure was simple, and pure and perfect.  I went to Disneyland with my best friend.  Just the two of us.  We weren’t gone long – just 3 nights.  But sometimes that’s all you need!  We had a coupon from Alaska Airlines (buy one ticket, get one for $99 – an Alaska Airlines Mastercard perk) and were able to score super cheap tickets into Orange County.  By a combination of Airmiles, Save-On-More points and a good deal from Alaska vacations on the hotel, we managed to get the entire trip for $325 each.  That’s including flight, 3 nights in a hotel with breakfast, Disney 3-day park hopper, and shuttles to and from the airport.  It was pretty incredible.  Of course the deal wasn’t what made the trip incredible (just an added bonus)…

There is a rare experience that comes with traveling with the “right” person – the experience where, for the entire length of the trip, you are always on the same page.  Every suggestion is the right one, every shared experience is coupled with shared laughter, amazement or wonder.  It’s easy to pick the restaurants and the next ride.  Easy to make a plan for the day, and change that plan on a moments notice.  There is no guilt with stopping at one more gift shop, or skipping the vomit-inducing tea cups, or waiting 10 more minutes in line.  Compromise doesn’t feel like compromise, because there is so much love and joy being experienced that each moment is perfect.  And the best part is that each experience is shared.  Watching the snow after the fireworks, the confusion when the lights went out on its a small world, the fascination in watching Mary J. Blige perform Christmas songs in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the super-sonic inhalation of the Dole Whip, the first bite of the New Orleans Beignet (more details to come on all of these), were each that much more heightened because were we both living and loving the experience together.

I have spent a lot of the last few years of travel visiting cultural, historical or geographical wonders.  And have loved them.  But Disneyland is none of these things.  I don’t claim that Disneyland is for everyone – but it was exactly what I needed this year.  The part of me that likes to control everything, that likes to be responsible and practical and in charge, that is a realist (and has been accused of the occasional bout of pessimism) – the part of me that works too hard, and has fun too little and sometimes forgets to fully embrace the beautiful things around me – THAT part of me needed every moment of this.  It was pure JOY and DREAMS and IMAGINATION.  I was able to shed all those things that so easily weigh me down.  I was able to just BELIEVE in the MAGIC of the world.  For these 4 days, anything was possible. I forgot what it was like to feel like that.

So I have nothing but the greatest THANK YOU to Sarah and Disney.  For being the best friend (and traveling companion) a girl could ask for, and for reminding me how magical the world really can be.

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