Since I've been to Beijing a few times, I've put Mike "in charge" of the to-do list. I want to make sure he has the opportunity to see and do everything he wants. Mostly my wants/likes involve things I've done before and/or shopping. I'm sure I'll get plenty of time for both of those things.
I don't have much to say about Beijing yet- I'm really excited. I haven't been to China since Mike and I first started dating in 2009 (when I went to visit my mom for Christmas), and it will be fun to see him experience the weird "firsts" that one has when going to Asia for the first time. China can be especially weird for visitors. It's gotten better since the 2002 Olympics - there are many more bilingual signs and tourist-friendly areas. But, it's still kind of amazing to look up and see nothing but Chinese characters in giant neon.
This is to say nothing of things like Chinese bathrooms and other other oddities one will undoubtedly experience. I've tried to soften the blow a little bit by booking a European-style hotel with good ratings. So, there should be "normal" beds, pillows, television stations, etc. I imagine he'd probably leave me for dead on one of Beijing's back alleyways if we ended up in a hotel with "Asian" mattresses (the Asian standard for mattresses seems to be something slightly firmer than plywood with a thin pillow top).
I realized, however, how incredibly fortunate Mike and I have been. In our 6-ish years together, we have been on countless adventures. We've been very lucky together, in that we've had the time off and the financial ability to travel and enjoy our lives together. Granted, we haven't had unlimited resources to do as we please, but I'm a savvy internet traveler and know how to get a good deal.
From almost the very beginning, Mike and I have shared a love of travel. He was, and perhaps in some ways still is, the weekend road-trip kind of guy, while I'm a big world-adventure type of gal. But, despite this, we've found some happy middle ground.
I cannot count the number of states we've visited together -- but there have been a few. We've done major trips to Washington D.C., Orlando, and Yellowstone. There have been a dozen short trips to other cities -- not to mention the January trip to North Dakota, which Mike will never let me forget. But, on the other hand, we've seen Broadway shows, and some of the most amazing museums on earth.
We've been to Europe twice - 5 countries altogether for almost 9 total weeks. We even managed a short jaunt to Africa (Tunisia) on our cruise.
We've even managed to go to THREE Disney parks together! (Disneyland, Disney world, and Euro Disney). Since China gave us a 10-year travel visa, I'm seeing a trip to Shanghai Disney (hopefully opening in 2016) or Hong Kong Disney in our future as well!
And for all of this, I could not be more thankful. I realize we are incredibly fortunate, and I appreciate the life we have. I know life can change in a blink of an eye, and while I am hopeful we will continue our path, I am happy to enjoy what we have in the here and now.