Have love, will travel.

Over the past few years, Brad has brought us along to 14 of his adventures around the globe—from New Orleans to Mexico City, Bali to Singapore—and nine of those Flytographer shoots were on a whirlwind anniversary trip he took with his equally intrepid partner in life (and travel), Garrett. We have no idea where Brad and Garrett will explore next, but we hope you enjoy this story from Brad about the discoveries, surprises and beautiful places they encountered on their journey navigating the unknown, together.

By Brad Corteza

IG: @buhradaradaford

It used to be said that you could test the mettle of a relationship between two people if you just put them into a canoe and told them to row across a lake. Once that other shore was reached, the ones stuck in the canoe would always know just how much more time they’d like to spend with their fellow rower. In this modern day and age, though we may be less oft to canoe around, I think it’s funny to think about how true the fabled “Canoe Test” still is if you just put two people into a plane and waited for them to return from their travels. Travel allows for the dynamics between people to go into play and learn just how well of a bond can exist between you and another person. It doesn’t take very long into a trip to know whether there are any regrets about taking along your travel buddy, and just the same, you can tell right away how good of a pair you make.

Travel at its best has always been an allure for being an escape that unlocks and frees the very core of us, our truest selves—no obligations, fewer worries, less cares—and while travelling alone can be an amazing mode of self-discovery, going somewhere with someone else is an equally awesome opportunity to discover things about another person. In this show of our totally honest selves, we get to share our most personal and best versions with those we travel with, and eventually the trip becomes just as much about each other as the destination.

Even in the most far-flung places that are full of totally foreign sights, loud sounds, and incredible experiences, travel has a way of removing everything else and will always ultimately circle back to focus on the travellers themselves. Whether you’re 100 miles away or a million, the fact is you’re stuck with each other, and it’s absolutely awesome to have the chance to get lost in each other as much as a destination. You’re in the exclusive company of whoever you’re with, and at times, yes, it’ll test your ability to tolerate and work together with that person whether you’re hiking up a mountain in total isolation or navigating a busy foreign city where neither of you knows the language. Mostly though, it’s a chance to just be with another person you love and enjoy everything that comes along with that.

Over the years, I know travel has tested and strengthened the relationship between my partner, Garrett, and me. It’s exactly why we always choose to travel for our anniversary. Exploring a different country with each other, conquering fears together, and discovering new perspectives as a couple means that every trip that Garrett and I take continues to build on a foundation of things we’ve discovered about one another and learned about each other—new things to love the other person for. It’s a tradition for us now to essentially renew our commitment to each other every year by choosing to strengthen our relationship through all the things—good and bad—you can come across in travel. It’s been the truest test of our relationship and the unique bond we’ve developed is something I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.

Luckily, all our love, our adventures, and all our fun have been perfectly captured and sentimentalized each time by Flytographer. In fact, at this point, it’s hard to imagine one of our anniversary trips without a Flytographer shoot! Our tradition of travelling during our anniversary saw Garrett and I in Japan to celebrate five years together, but looking back on pictures from that trip, you could barely tell we were even there together since we were caught up getting pictures of each other and never of the both of us! Ever since then, I’m so glad Flytographer’s been able to join us and capture our brand of love in such amazing photos. After eight years of trips, both big and small, accumulating a lot of tchotchkes, a lot of magnets, and a lot of postcards, all the journeys together strengthened our love for each other and this, I think, may be my most favourite souvenir. How lucky that we have all that now in awesome pictures we can look back on for years to come.