Baecation: Shaunté & Antoine
JET loves Black Love. In our newest series, we hear from couples who turned their honeymoon into a permanent voyage. Are you on a baecation? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Baecation.
When Antoine approached Shaunté nearly 20 years ago during a homecoming weekend boat ride, the night couldn’t have been more perfect, but the timing on the other hand was not. Shaunté was in a relationship, but the two engineers exchanged numbers as friends and kept in touch. Several relationships and over a decade later the two finally had their first date, and this go around the timing was more than perfect, it was everlasting.
Now, seven months into their happily ever after, Shaunté and Antoine Kinch, both 38, are exploring the world together proving that love doesn’t always come when you call, but it’s always on time.
JET: How did you two meet?
Shaunté: Antoine and I met in 1997 on a party boat during Hampton University’s homecoming weekend. He saw my friends and I as we crossed the street to get on the boat, that is when he decided that he had to talk to me. Once on the boat, he introduced himself and we had small talk. I was in a relationship at the time, but we exchanged numbers because of our mutual association with the National Society of Black Engineers (or so I thought…). Years later, I found out that after meeting he founded the chapter on his campus.
JET: What was your first vacation together? Why did you pick that location?
Shaunté: Our first vacation together was our first official date, July 4th weekend 2013. At the time, Antoine lived in Maryland and I lived in Northern California. We decided to meet in a neutral location. The timing just so happened to work out around the holiday, we both love live music and good food, so New Orleans, and a major music festival, was a perfect fit.
JET: What were you both feeling on that first trip?
Shaunté: I was nervous. Antoine and I had been platonic friends for 16 years at this point. I wasn’t sure how the weekend would go, and I didn’t want to ruin our friendship if romance didn’t work out for us. I don’t think he was nervous. I think he was just excited and thinking “FINALLY!”
JET: Do you think travel helped you decide your relationship was meant to be? How has travel strengthened your relationship?
Shaunté & Antoine: Absolutely! Travel confirmed that we have the same values, priorities and vision for the future. Our best conversations are on trips. Flying across the world allows for a lot of time to discuss life. Travel helped us to see early how we both handle issues, how we respond when things don’t go as planned. Travel showed us how we plan, budget and spend money. Travel has helped us to depend on each other. There are times when your boo is the only person you know in the country, no one else speaks your language, and you have to figure things out together.
JET: You incorporated travel into your wedding plans; from a road trip style movie poster for your engagement parties to international photo shoots. What are your tips to other couples who want to infuse travel into their big day without being cheesy?
Antoine: My tip to other couples who want to incorporate travel into their big day without being cheesy is: do it in a way that is reflective of your personality. Make it personal. Shaunté and I had already moved around the country (from New York and Virginia to California and back) and were vacationing internationally before we got married, so for us it was already something people expected.
JET: What’s the most annoying thing about traveling with your partner?
Shaunté: I am a picky eater. Antoine would probably say my lack of wanting to try different foods irritates him. I think I am a little more adventurous than Antoine. I like to get off the beaten path, hang with the locals, adrenaline excursions and water sports.
JET: What advice do you have for traveling as a couple?
Shaunté & Antoine: Understand each other’s strengths, and allow each other to drive in that lane. Laugh often, trips never go 100% as desired, don’t let this get you down and ruin an almost perfect day. Include time to do nothing more than be in the moment and enjoy each other. Sometimes there is so much you want to see and experience that you can get caught up in the schedule and miss out on connection. Be present, don’t get so caught up trying to get the perfect picture and documenting each moment that you miss the moment.
JET: How do you manage blending your different travel styles?
Shaunté: Our traveling styles are the same. Although we appreciate a great deal and definitely price shop, we aren’t budget travelers. We don’t do hostels, but we also aren’t pouring champagne in the ocean and requiring butler service for every trip. We both like to include history, good food, beaches, and nightlife in our travels. Our slight differences provide a good balance in activities. After we do an activity that one of us really didn’t want to do, the other usually says “That was fun, I’m glad we did it, good idea babe.” He is also always thinking about safety, which I sometimes overlook. Our balance is perfect.
JET: What’s on your combined bucket list?
Antoine: To experience the world and raise children that are culturally sensitive and global minded, build a legacy to pass on to them through entrepreneurship, travel, education and most importantly love.
JET: Describe your permanent baecation in three words.
Shaunté & Antoine: Peace. Adventure. Love
Danielle T. Pointdujour is a Brooklynite living the passport life to the fullest. With over 70 countries under her belt, you can always find Danielle traveling the globe in search of new experiences and the hottest luxury hotels. You can follow her writing, musings and global adventures on her blog Hotel Whisperer and on Twitter and Instagram.