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This was either the best idea ever or the beginning of a brutal, three-week long demise.As Mark Twain so aptly put it, “There ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”“What will you wear when you’re washing your clothes?His third email was coy: “Do you have any ideas for travel experiments? As far as habits go, I’m a pretty standard American woman.I have a few things I dabble in, and I’m going to push one of these experiments to the nth limit in June.”“Dabbling” referred to his traditional method of travel, which involved booking an outbound flight to one international airport and an inbound flight out of some other port-of-calling a few countries away. I shower regularly, I like clean clothes, and it’s a rare occasion where you can find me looking disheveled.The truth was, I had no idea what I would wear when I was washing my clothes.I didn’t even have soap, let alone a modesty backup. With a combined prep time of 10 minutes, we were off to the George Bush International airport.The night before we left Jeff and I had painstakingly cataloged the items we deemed crucial for our 21-day journey. Jeff and I are both experienced travelers, but neither one of us was prepared for how surreal it would feel to stroll into an international terminal with no itinerary and nothing to hold on to. Our no-luggage journey began with the buzzing protest energy of Istanbul and from there it zigzagged wildly across the European continent. With no stuff, moving to the next destination was as simple as getting out of bed and pointing to a dot on the map.Passports, credit cards and i Phones made the cut, as did a small notebook, a toothbrush and a clipped map of the Balkans. My dress lacked adequate pocket space, so I substituted with a small shoulder purse that allowed me space for a few additional toiletries, an i Pad Mini, and the awkward-looking retainer I’ve been wearing since my braces came off 10 years ago. I swear I experienced phantom shoulder pain from past heavy-laden backpack adventures. We jumped from city to city using almost every mode of transportation on earth: an old train along the Turkish coast, a giant ferry across the Aegean, a cramped bus through the Balkans, a series of hitches through Croatia, a flight to Edinburgh, and a pair of bikes in London.
She had whispered it dubiously, like a disapproving mother.I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up inside a Salvador Dalí painting or an interplanetary episode of “Doctor Who.” Yet, despite my surrealist leanings, even I was a bit startled to find myself hurtling toward the Croatian border with no bags, no change of clothes and no clue what was going to happen next.What bizarre chain of events had led to this scenario? The warning indicators were flashing red-alert red from the moment I saw the oversize Mexican mariachi bow tie in his Ok Cupid profile picture three months ago. On the surface, we appeared to be sure candidates for “World’s Most Unlikely Pair.” He’s a wildly energetic university professor who is always on the move.Some, however, prefer a smaller dating pool of like-minded candidates.From vampire love to furry fetishes, infidelity to gold-digging--no matter the pleasure preference, there's bound to be a community for people who enjoy it.