February 9, 2018 0 Comments Nomad Life

The Things You Do For Love: How To Find Balance When Your Spouse Doesn’t Like Traveling

I love everything (at least that’s what Victor will tell you I say). Climb 5000 feet in a hike … love it! Get scared on a rock wall … love it!  A new town to figure out and learn … love it!  A bottle of wine and sheep cheese from a local farmer … love it!  Paddle out into a new break with overhead waves and nail only one epic ride … sooo love it!  A narrow windy dirt road that I may have to back down for a mile if another car comes in the opposite direction … love it!  Can’t sleep at night because I have way too much adrenaline pumping through my veins … love it (somewhat)! 

I’ll admit it, something may be off in me. I’m addicted to challenge, change, and adventure more than may be healthy for most sane adults. 

My husband hates being uncomfortable. He’s kinda like Goldilocks. Too hot … not having it. Too cold… get me outta here. Chaffers … hell no. He’s looking for that sweet spot that just may not exist.  BUT, and it’s a big BUT, he loves me.

So he’ll hike, even though it makes his heart rate too high. He’ll climb, even though he may take a swing. He’ll surf, even if he misjudged a wave and almost loses an eye Put him under a squat rack or in someone’s guard, and you will have no sympathy for him. Put him with the one person who he’d prefer to spend all his time with, and you’ll beg him to find another passion, anything but follow his wife into this abyss of a life they’ve created for themselves. 

Wondering where I’m going with this???

The reality is that opposites attract and when you put little stress on a relationship, you don’t always see the differences. 

But when you start talking about self-fulfillment, exploration, growth, and challenge, all of a sudden these small differences can seem HUGE. 

Does that mean we shouldn’t push? We shouldn’t learn about our true selves? We shouldn’t expose our weaknesses?

In my opinion, absolutely not. 

We do crazy, and dumb, things for the person we love and compromise is the only answer, regardless how vague of a term that may be. 

The last trip we took through France and Spain in the fall of 2017 is the perfect example of just that. If you’ve read my book, The Road Less Traveled, you’ll know our six month trip through Europe was stressful on our marriage. For two people who’ve never had a single fight in the first fifteen years of marriage to all of a sudden find themselves bickering over the slightest thing was shocking. 

But anyone who’s ever made a choice in life, especially big ones, knows you can’t just turn around and go back to what was. You have to move forward and find the next path. Victor and I are definitely feeling out lots of roads right now, literally and figuratively. 

When we traveled the first time to Europe (for six months), there were four things that put a lot of stress on our relationship. 

  1. Constant movement. I like being on the move and need very little time to adapt to a new city and be ready to move on. Victor needs a few days to get his bearings and adjust. 
  2. We were in a 22ft motorhome. It’s amazing that we all managed to squeeze in there for four and a half months and if you mention the word ‘McLouis’ to our oldest son Daniel, he may start crying. Besides being small, there were no doors. No privacy. 
  3. Money, lack of it.  We were on a tight budget and we don’t know what job we will do next or where we want to move to when we are ready to get rooted again. 
  4. Exercise, mainly the wrong type. My husband is a meathead and needs to lift heavy weights in order to be happy. Hiking, climbing, and surfing don’t do it for him like they do for me. 

So to fix points 1 and 2, on our last trip to Europe in 2017 we decided to compromise and change those first two factors. For starters, no camper. We rented nine different apartments or houses (with locking doors) for this trip which meant we stayed in places longer giving Victor time to adapt and we went back to a few familiar places like Hossegor where we stayed for 2 weeks. 

The third point we haven’t really improved upon and are just as confused on where we want to go from here as we were last year, but this trip has helped us narrow down what feels good for both of us (Hint: everyone was really happy in Hossegor and in our Catalunya country house).

As for the last point, our 11-week road trip this past summer road trip was a success because we carried a barbell and 220 pounds of plate weights with us. Yeah, working out in a campground was a little awkward with the dirt and neighbors watching you, but he got over it quickly and was stoked to get his pump on.  He carried the TRX and resistance bands for this trip last European trip and was able to mix in body weight exercises that he posts on Instagram @fit_nomad_dad. 

The cool thing though is that through staying in Airbnb’s and not moving as fast, I’ve learned so many great things about myself and what I want next out of life. 

Everything that’s happened in my life has started with desire. With a “why” and I think that’s the biggest step. The what and the how naturally follow once you know what you are waking up excited for. For us, traveling has become a compromise between making ourselves comfortable and still waking each day excited to do something we love. 

It’s wanting to find a balance between making yourself happy and making your better half happy and to do that you need to communicate more.  Make lots of requests and let go of some expectations.  It takes a lot of work to be on the same page, but when you are both there, things start clicking again and being time rich in gorgeous locations around the world feels magical.

What things do you have to find a compromise on in order to stay on a fresh and fulfilling path in life? Comment below if you share similar struggles!

 

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