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Our 8 Year Anniversary in Victoria

It was eight years ago on July 4th that Allison Meyer came to a BBQ in my backyard, flashed her green eyes at me and that was the first day of the rest of our incredible lives together. If you’d told us then that we’d be vagabonding around in an RV eight years later, I doubt either of us would have seen it. Nevertheless, here we are, dancing about the country, falling in love with life and each other all over again.

To celebrate the occasion we wanted to spend a night in a hotel in Victoria and treat ourselves to a break from the RV. We packed a bag, loaded the bikes on the car and drove down to the ferry to catch a ride across the bay to Vancouver Island. When we landed, we headed straight out to Butchart Gardens for the day to see all the delicious flowers. So it wasn’t until our feet had been sufficiently worn out that we made our way to our hotel which was just a block off the harbor and three blocks from the Parliament Buildings.


We were greeted by a nice treat in the room from the well-intended staff (I guess I’m Mr. Meyer) and promptly poured ourselves into a self-made happy hour out on our balcony to enjoy the view.



One long walk, 4 hours of hot sun and 3 fingers of Crown Royal over 4 ice cubes; if a bed or couch is anywhere nearby, that set of numbers adds up to a nap no matter how bad at math you are. Before this trip I was never very good at shutting my brain off to fall asleep at night, much less in the middle of the day. So afternoon napping is a new skill for me.

I’ve been working on that off switch. At this point it’s still more like a small knob that you have to twist and it’s smooth which makes it hard to get a good grip. For now, I just stuck a pair of red-handled pliers in my mental tool belt and they do the job. I guess like any muscle, it needs to be developed so I’ll keep working on it. Our nap was followed by a long, long, hot, shave your legs, make a suds horn in your shampoo-y hair and twirl around with your arms out for a while, shower. [To state the obvious, indulgent showering goes very near the top of the list of things we miss most.]



Next came hair futzing and jewelry adorning. Yes, yes, I’m sure you’ll all be as shocked as Allison was to see me without a ponytail or a hat on in the coming pictures. My poor hair. At this point in the trip I still had some of the expensive, luxury shampoo and conditioner from my salon, but the grey was puddling out across my temples like spilled milk and all the ends of my hair we’re splitting up faster than couples on the Jerry Springer show. I’ve been tempted to get a really short cut for this trip, something where you just mess it up on top with gel, but I’m still too chicken. Free free to send me hairdo ideas – you know how we love that game.


Rested from our nap, spruced, spritzed and bejeweled, we were finally out and in search of dinner. It was late in the evening, the sun was on its way down already, but we decided to walk from our hotel all the way across town so that we could evaluate all of our choices.




We just happened to pick a quiet side street that was hiding a restaurant with the perfect outdoor table next to a fire place, so we grabbed it. Having scanned ahead at the dessert menu, we chose to share a couple of small appetizers so that proper emphasis could be placed on the chocolate ganache thing that was sent directly from heaven.


The activities of the day and the late night meal left us exhausted, but we made our way back to our room via the lobby of the Empress Hotel. They were already closed for the evening, so it was a just quick pass-through to see the elaborate furnishings and the decor of the famous old hotel. Another couple was walking through at the same time, so all four of us poked our heads into the restaurant and oo’d and ah’d.



It was a wonderful, very FULL day which is typical of our lives this year. It’s hard to build in time to do nothing, or even to reflect on what you’ve done, or what you have, when you’ve given yourself the job of living a really big life. Not to jump ahead in the story-line, but after 6 months in, Ali and I are both lobbying for new titles in Big Life, Inc. More on that soon.

As we fell into our hotel bed that night having shared an exciting ferry ride, incredible flowers, a peaceful nap, indulgent showers with suds horns, a sunset walk along the harbor, a sumptuous dinner and dessert lit by a warm fire that made my girl’s beautiful, green eyes sparkle at me again just like that day eight years ago… I wrapped my arms around Ali’s warm body, one that fits perfectly into the bend of my own and I was eternally grateful.

Our good friend Karen, in Chicago, said a couple things about Ali and I and our relationship. The first was, that if any couple in the world could survive being together 24/7 in a tiny RV for a year, it would be us. I felt really proud about that. I know we actually share that distinction with many other couples so we’re not THAT special, but it was definitely an endorsement of our compatibility. Ali and I are almost always on the same page in life with each other, even down to the simplest thoughts and the same words arriving at the same time in our minds. It is sorta freaky. I know some of you out there are muttering the word “co-dependent” quietly under your breath, but I would choose our twinning-thing every day of the week over a relationship that struggles with conflict.

The other thing that Karen said is a little more daunting. She proposed that because of the tight space and hectic journey, that our relationship is aging at an accelerated rate. The impact of this one year will be equal to living 10 years of a normal, boring life. It’s sorta like dog years, but it’s an RV year. I’m pretty sure she meant that in terms of wear and tear, and I don’t necessarily disagree. We are working the heck out of our vehicles, quickly spending down our allotted savings and our relationship is absolutely under the mega-watt heat lamp of intense togetherness.

Yes, yes, but here’s the deal; we are not just passing time together anymore with a few shared experiences sprinkled in here and there. In this year, we share everything and our attraction, adoration and admiration of one another is only growing. Like a warm bread dough, we rise and expand and react to one another only benefiting from the heat and time with greater flavor.

So thank you my darling, for sharing this dream with me, for ALL of the ways that we share life together, ideas, hopes, desires, laughter and also for those few key areas where we’re beautifully different. It all works in exactly the right way.

P.S. You’re all formally invited to our 18th Anniversary next July!