lazing around in a park reading on where to go next
It was a wonderful 2 weeks’ break that my wife and I had. It was a trip to Japan and our itinerary covered popular tourist hotspots like Tokyo, Nagano (Matsumoto), Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Hakone and back to Tokyo again.
It was an amazing 2 weeks’ long break and it was in fact the longest vacation we had ever since we got married exactly 2 years ago.
Now, I am totally recharged!!!
I have been asking around from my close group of female friends and most are too busy with their work to commit themselves to take such a long break. Perhaps a 3 to 5 days’ holiday to a nearby country such as Taiwan or Malaysia is more realistic and practical.
The “what if my company needs me” mentality plagued their lives.
As for me, ever since reading the 4 hours work week by Timothy Ferris, I have made up my mind to design my marriage and career life around this principle.
Mini-retirement trips for every 3 to 4 months, rather than working all my life and only realising I am too frail to go around the world when I am 60 or 70.
This is when we finally decided to plan our second honeymoon and it had to be the longest one we had ever taken.
It was not easy to push ahead a 2 weeks’ plan without touching my online business, checking my sms every few minutes or accessing my Google mails every hourly (hoping that someone will drop me an email).
Stop it, JR!
Bad bad bad dog!!!
I remembered that an hour before we left the house for the airport, I was still checking my emails for any last minute “important” mails and reminding my business partner on the tasks to be done while I was away.
I was nervous and worried that some “things” may happen in my absence.
Actually, nothing really did as I spent everyday of my 2 weeks in Japan cracking my brain of where to visit, how to go to that place and what to have for lunch or dinner or tea break in nature. More money is still being made while I was away.
a breakfast of freshly baked breads and brewed coffee started off our day in Matsumoto, Nagano (Japan)
In fact, while I was reflecting as I type this post out, I realised that the 2 weeks’ trip is an extremely valuable time which my wife and I spent fantastic time together.
Occasionally, there would be squabbles and conflicts now and then (with me throwing the tantrum most of the time like a spoilt young kid). But everything was really cool at the end of the day and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, ending off most of the day with a supper such as a hot bowl of fatty meat udon and its thick mouth-watering hot soup to warm us during the winter time in Japan.
I was delighted that my wife shared the same perception as me that we should treat this as a second honeymoon and whatever that may go wrong will go wrong. We just have to enjoy every bit of the second together.
I also realised that this trip was romantic at times as we spent time together, braving the chill while enjoying each other’s companion under the lovely Tokyo Tower at 11pm at night.
taking a snapshot from below the tower, another perspective I feel we should see in our life
When I come to think of it, do “romantic” has to be defined as having candlelight dinner on the top floor of a posh hotel with soft violin music playing at the background.
In my own opinion, I feel that romantic feelings or romance can exist anywhere as long as both cherish and enjoy the companionship, no matter where they are.
Here are my 7 Tips For A Romantic Honeymoon:
1. Anywhere is fine as long as I am with you
Truthfully and sincerely, I enjoy anywhere my wife brought me too (except shopping areas and not for too long) I know she loves shopping just like any other ladies. I know since she loves the shopping district, especially in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku where women would literally be overwhelmed with the immense variety of bags, clothes, shoes, cosmetics and accessories.
While shopping, I would do my best to enjoy myself too and check out lady’s departments which I won’t visit if I am alone. I think it is an ideal time to get to know the fashion sense of my wife such as what she likes or dislikes. And at the same time, I got busy snapping photos of displays which I found them to be pretty.
I guess this kind of mindset works well for me as it made the shopping trip less tormenting. LOL
killing time in a shopping centre before I go insane!
2. Make yourself as comfortable as possible with the basics
My wife always advise me to travel light. I am a person who is always worrying and preparing for the what-ifs.
In my bag, I will have my medicated oil (what if I get bus sick), tripod (what if no one wants to help us take a photo), sweet (what if I am hungry and there is no food), spare battery (what if the battery of my camera runs flat) and so on.
Other things include water bottle, gloves, scarfs, cap, passport, diarrhea pills, spare cash and tissue papers.
(Take note to bring spare battery if you are using your camera in cold climate. The life span tends to be shorter in colder climate.)
I think to be romantic and fully experience the moment with my wife, I need to leave a lot of emotional as well as physical baggage behind.
With less things in my bag, I will worry less and it emotionally makes me more relaxed. I tried to travel as light as possible in Japan (but again, what if…)
Urgggh…something for me to work on even today.
3. Sometimes silence is soothing
Enough of noise pollution in our daily lives. I need peace and silence in my life.
And it is subjected to you and your spouse’s character. Sometimes, silence can be intolerable.
Luckily, my wife and I are easily satisfied with our companion in a quiet environment. It could be in a park sitting under the maple leaves or beside a pond surrounding an ancient Japanese castle.
spending a relaxing afternoon in the serenity of Matsumoto castle
Personally, silence permits you just to fully sense your spouse’ physical presence while enjoying the surrounding nature scenery.
4. Absolutely no complaint
In the world, there are 1001 things to complain about everyday.
“Why you are like this?…”
“Why you didn’t do what I want?…”
“Why you are so careless?…”
Why? Why? Why?
I think when 2 people grew so in love with each other before marriage, they forget that their partners are still humans with weaknesses and flaws.
What happens after marriage?
The little wrong-doings are magnified and we started to complain about why our partners have changed or are different compared to before marriage.
What I have done and still learning to do is to do my best to embrace my wife’s differences no matter how much I disagree. It is not easy and we are still doing our best.
5. Putting ourselves in other’s shoes
My wife prefers shopping while I prefer hanging out in a park and read my book. Perhaps most will think that it is insanity to spend a day in a park after splurging S$3000 on this oversea trip.
Even while planning our itinerary in Singapore to planning our day’s activities on that day itself exhibits challenges such as learning to compromise.
There were occasions I prefer somewhere else and there were occasions she had other opinions. So it took alot of discussion and agreements to be made so that both of us got to see things we wanted.
the atmosphere is soothing in Osaka Largest Aquarium, Kaiyukan with relaxing sea music in the background
6. Allow more time to laze around
The reason why we avoided joining tour groups is that they are always rushing from a place to another. In my own opinion, the tour guide seemed to welcome the idea of spending more time in places where tourists need to spend money. Perhaps they can get more commission.
Meals are also specially arranged and we don’t really get to taste food from the stalls by the roads. And joining tour groups are more expensive because of the hotel costs, airplane tickets and tips for the guides and drivers.
In order for us to enjoy and literally laze around in the places we visit, we allow more time than we have planned. We tried to avoid packing the places to visit back to back. This makes both of more relaxed.
who can resist such fatty meat…even at 12am?
7. Explore together and make mistake together
Getting onto a free and easy trip can be challenging too. As the words means “free and easy” – free to explore and easy to get lost, we have to remind ourselves.
I think having lived the past 3 decades of my life which has been so structured and mundane, this kind of pattern can easily get onto the vacation we plan even though we constantly remind ourselves that it is ok to get lost sometimes.
We love to get lost and getting lost enables us to explore places or see things which we could never have seen if we stick to our plans.
Getting back on track also posed as a challenge for both of us as we had to re-discuss and replan our route and I felt that it is fun.
we decided not to follow our planned route and walked around Gion aimlessly…we are lucky to see real Geishas…not all tourists who visited Gion get to see one…we saw 5!
I think I have learnt alot from this trip on how to spend time with my wife. No matter how insignificant the quantity is, I feel it is the quality that matters and it all starts from our own mindset.
When we start off with seeing everything is beautiful and look forward to all the fabulous moments we are going to spend with our spouses, all experiences are going to be as romantic as you want to be.
Have a great romantic honeymoon!!!
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