One of the most common questions I am asked – if I’m married why am I choosing to travel alone? Wouldn’t I want my husband there with me on my journey? What in the world does he think about it?
I have been dreaming of travelling ever since I was in university. In 2004 I toyed with the idea of a trip to Venezuela (which you can read more about here) and I was secretly jealous of all the students who were finishing school and leaving to teach overseas. I always wondered as well, if I wasn’t in a serious relationship trying to set up a life for myself in Toronto, would I have joined them? Once we decided to get married my Venezuelan trip took a back seat in the hopes of “maybe one day”.
My lovely little bungalow
When I joined Facebook in 2007 it reignited those jealous feelings, seeing photos of my former classmates thriving and experiencing different cultures and places I wanted to be there with them. Being out of school, unemployed and at the time recently married, the opportunity for us to purchase out first home fell into my lap and it was perfect so I jumped on it. Despite everything I don’t regret that decision for one minute but what that brought on was a lot of pressure for a 24 year old unemployed wife with a mortgage. I soon managed to score a job and week by week I worked away. As I grew unhappy in that job over the years my only respite was the vacations I was able to take and travelling kept that spark in me going, though returning to work after trips away became increasingly tough.
One of the worst 4 letter words
I wanted to find a new job but the employment market tanked with the recession it wasn’t until 2010 I was able to secure another job I really did like. I had to take a pay hit to do it but this new position reinvigorated me and I was happy again in my day to day life. Unfortunately that pay reduction followed by an almost comical amount of unexpected and sometimes emergency situations which cost us thousands quickly landed us in debt with no light at the end of the tunnel. Again travel was put on the back burner.
After 4 years of slashing expenses, picking up extra jobs and working to pay down our debt we’ve made some headway. We’re on the road to being debt free and financially comfortable with a life we both want… except my ever increasing want to travel.
30th birthday pub crawl with my amazing family in England!
I think it really hit me when I turned 30. I had accomplished so much in my 20’s and looking ahead to the next decade, while many of my friends are starting their families, my husband and I have chosen the path of a child free life (read more about what that means here) One of the many, many, and I mean many reasons we have chosen not to have children is to pursue our own goals and passions in life. Myself, as an artist, and my husband as a musician we’ve become very independent over the years in giving each other the freedom and support to achieve our independent life goals and passions. Travel is one of those passions for me and putting it at the bottom of my priority list has to stop!
Now although travel is a love of mine, it’s not for my husband. He likes trips to the cottage, road trips and weekends away but long treks on planes and tropical destinations are not his cup of tea – and I get that. Some of his interests aren’t my cup of tea either. That doesn’t mean we should stand in each other’s way. A partnership is about lifting each other up and helping your spouse to make their life the best it can be. Frankly I wouldn’t want to drag him along on my adventures because I know he wouldn’t be enjoying himself. With him as a musician there is an understanding between us, if ever he has the chance to go on tour he takes it. It doesn’t mean I’m going to drop everything and join him but I know he’ll make travel work if it’s for music.
He’s shared with some of his friends the news about my upcoming travels and often gets reactions like “wow, I’m sorry you guys are having problems” It’s a frustrating reaction to get over and over again. Why is that the assumption? I’m not running away from a bad situation, I’m running towards new experiences and adventures.In fact he’ll be the first one to tell you how much of a good idea he thinks it is and something I really need to gain a sense of independence in myself.
Snorkelling together in Mexico 2012
These are also decisions we made long ago before we got married. No kids, independent pursuits, and these types of lifestyle choices are ones all couples need to tackle before becoming seriously committed to one another. There is an understanding we have that despite time and distance or our own path, we are partners for the long haul and in the grand scheme of life days, weeks and months are a drop in the bucket. We’re both secure enough to know that time apart doesn’t mean one of us will cheat on the other. We trust that we’ll stay committed to one another in spite of any obstacles.
Though it’s painful the one thing no one really talks about in marriage (especially when you get married young) is how to handle growth. At 31 years old I am nowhere near the same as the 18 year old girl I was when we first got together and that’s ok – I shouldn’t be! Life is about growth and you have to give your partner the space and room to grow at their own pace, which undoubtedly won’t at the same pace as you. Although it can be painful growth at times and there are periods where you can’t seem to align, it’s not forever and the whole point of marriage is a commitment to stick it out when times get tough and know that there will always be someone there who loves and wants the best for you.
Who knows, if this trip turns into more or longer stints abroad, it might bring up relationship issues that need to be addressed but that’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get to it. In the meantime, despite all the questions, raised eyebrows and cynicism from people, we’ll just laugh and shrug it off because at the end of the day your partner is the one you can trust and if you’re secure in that you’re ready to take on the world.