Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess!
When I was in New York, I picked up a book at Barnes & Noble called Marriage Vacation by Pauline Turner. Don’t worry, no spoilers. The story is simply about the life of a jaded and estranged Upper East Side mother, and wife of a prominent publisher, named Kate Carmichael.
Kate’s original plan of a “short holiday” turned into an extended solo vacation that evolved into an Eat, Pray, Love with strings attached. I won’t dish out any more details, but I would understand why and how it could be very polarizing.
Let it be known that I am far from Kate Carmichael’s profile, but what we both have in common is an adventurous spirit and being in a lifetime commitment, which is marriage. I read and pored hungrily through Marriage Vacation while on an actual solo holiday in New York, and I thought that it was such perfect timing. See, I have this thing about reading books that are set in the country I’m currently in. For example, I read Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen when I was in Tokyo and Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha when I was in Kyoto. For some reason, it heightens my fascination for the story even more; but I digress.
Back to Marriage Vacation—I am always looked at with judging eyes whenever I decide to go on a trip without my husband. “Why is he not going with you? That’s weird, but you’re a couple!” The best I’ve heard was: “Are you okay?!” Of course, I am okay. I am great. And the question I’d like to fire back at everyone asking “why” is “why not?”
I have been raised to be an independent person that I’ve fallen in love with solo travel even before I met my husband. It was one of the things my husband and I had a conversation about before we decided to take our relationship deeper back when we were still boyfriend and girlfriend. I love to travel, and I love traveling alone in particular, simply because I get to learn so much about myself, and most importantly, I have my own time.
Just because I am now part of marriage doesn’t mean I need to lose my individuality. Being a wife and a partner to my husband is another role that I took upon in my life, but I shouldn’t let it define my every move and decision. Of course, there are non-negotiable values; however, when it comes to taking some time off to be with my own company and enjoying my own time, I don’t see why it’s something I should deprive myself from.
Traveling with a companion can be a bit tricky sometimes because there are so many things you both want to do that might not be interesting to the other person. My husband is someone who doesn’t enjoy Hayao Miyazaki as much as I do, so forcing him to go to the Studio Ghibli Museum was something I didn’t want to force upon him. Spending hours in the New York Public Library is one of my favorite memories in The Big Apple, an activity he will most likely feel was a waste of time. I don’t mean any negativity to this, and the point I simply want to make is that we all have different interests and different ways of nourishing our souls.
Traveling alone and having these mini marriage vacations allows me to reflect on the woman I am becoming and the different roles I have in this lifetime. Being able to enter that space of introspection freely and in an environment that invigorates me allows me to gain a fresher and clearer perspective. At the end of these vacations, I usually come home with more appreciation for my husband and married life, deleted I feel that whenever I travel, I come back a better person than when I left, and I believe that if you are able to find something that excites you and improves you, without hurting anyone in the process, you should stick by it and just keep doing it. Thinking of taking a marriage vacation? Then I hope you know I fully support you 110 percent.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.