It has been over a decade since I went traveling with a partner.  Don and I had gone to Hawaii in 2012 and broke up within three months.  It wasn’t the trip that did it – there were a lot of things wrong with us.  Yet, my past experiences traveling with someone I was romantically involved with were not raving successes.  I recently went to St. Martin, an island north of us in the Caribbean, with Nick and the spell seems to have been broken.

There was a period of five years when I went traveling with my sister, Laura.  It started with her fortieth birthday in Panama.  Much to our surprise, we had a good time and so we went on to explore Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize and Los Cabos, Mexico and finally Brazil in November 2019.  The pandemic brought an end to travel, and she and I never got back to it.

I moved to a Caribbean Island and didn’t leave for 18 months.  When I finally ventured out, it was to Bali, Indonesia in 2022.  It was a big trip full of surfing and adventure.  I decided, yes, I can do this solo traveling thing again.

Nick and I met the following year.

Beautiful view over Orient Bay, French side

I didn’t think that Nick and I would fight on our vacation, but I was prepared for it.  I wondered if we would annoy the shit out of each other being together a week straight.  I was sad for it to be over.  I wasn’t sure he would want to go on vacation with me again, and we are already planning the next trip.

It is not to say that everything went smoothly on our vacation.  Unaccustomed to driving on the right side of the road, Nick hit the curb hard not ten minutes after getting the rental car and blew the front tire.  I was empathetic, knowing that feeling of the most routine activities being completely turned upside down in a foreign country.  And let me tell you, that man takes control and changes a tire without hesitation.

To say that I hate my cell service provider in Barbados is not an overstatement.  I had such issues with trying to get my phone to roam in St. Martin, to end up with a message that I was at 90% of my credit limit when I left.  Nick let it roll off his back when I was ranting about FLOW.   He seems to accept that if you are going to date someone feisty, it comes with a bit of giving out.

Nick is on the tail end of busy season and needed a break.  I was happy to just BE with him, as we de-stressed and read our books for the first few days.  Since Nick is on a journey of trying new things, I convinced him to do this at a clothing optional hotel.  We are incorporating that into our next trip.

We both love to be active, and we hiked throughout our trip.   For years, friends told me that I needed to find a man that could keep up with me.  Nick is that man.  He can lead up the trail, but not too far ahead.  He is up for the steep climb up Paradis, the highest point in St. Martin, and stops to take in the beautiful views.

The grocery stores are so amazing in St. Martin that shopping is an exciting experience and eating in the kitchen of our accommodation was a joy.  We made fast friends with the owners of the place we stayed, and dined out with them at fantastic restaurants multiple evenings.  (I think that they were super excited for naturist guests that were closer to their age and not retired).  Nick is the perfect dinner guest – friendly and interesting, not arrogant and overbearing in conversation – and he loves to eat.

With Tim, the owner of Kazanu, and his partner Ludi

Nick and I are both flawed human beings, but as a couple we are pretty awesome.  As travel partners, we seem to be as well.  So begins the next chapter in my travel blog; this time I am not in it alone.

Wild donkeys at Friar's Bay, French side

Sunset on the west coast, Grand Case