This is the first time I’ve taken the long haul with my lovely wife, and the differences are immediately noticeable.

First of all, it’s never a nice thing to get up at 4 AM for that 6 AM flight, get ready and drive off into the dark by yourself. It just feels lonely. Having someone else is the car is so much nicer even though it means you have caused them the extreme penalty of getting up after 3 hours of sleep.

Secondly, that sense of bleak desolation you get by showing up at the neon light airport and communing with the other zombies is far less pronounced. In fact, I didn’t feel bleakly desolate at all. We got there, I got to stand by while my lovely wife and the gate agent made fun of the condition of my passport, we went through security and then spent the remaining 45 minutes people watching as only an old married couple can do. People watching with the boys is not the same.

Our flight over was the same as it ever is on the little Barbie Jet, so much so that I wonder if anything ever changes on that flight. It’s much nicer when there is a First Class seat waiting for me, but lately they haven’t had one and so it was back among the people. No Bloody Mary swilling hillbillies this time though, just some guy eating a stinky hot dog with onions. And no one wearing latex gloves like the woman in front of me on this flight last week

Another nice item from the day is showing my lovely wife the finer side of international travel including a stop at Peet’s for scalding coffee and relaxing in the lounge while the rest of the people press their noses against the frosted glass hoping for a peak at how we, the other half, live. I think she’s impressed, but it’s hard to tell.

Most importantly though is her ability to damp my normally uptempo travel style, something no one else can do. I’m so relaxed that I’m barely awake, even after 5 Diet Cokes and a Grande Americano. None of my regular traveling pals could ever bring me to that level of zen-like peace merely with their presence. I suppose she could conduct a seminar, but I doubt her calming influence would translate – you either have it or you don’t.