Get Hitched, Get Fired, Get Moving


One of the reasons getting engaged was so scary for me was because I bought into the prominent cultural narrative that adventure ends after marriage. It’s why I spent so much of the early parts of my marriage staying out too late in New York and drinking Red Bull Vodkas while playing Rock Band with people I was only sort of friends with instead of spending time with my husband. However, since getting married, I’ve discovered that my partnership is the very thing that makes me more adventurous, not only for the stability it provides while I chase my dreams, but also for the responsibility I feel to Michael to be my best, most fulfilled self. Today, Julia brings us the post that would have single-handedly swept away any of my pre-marriage jitters if it had been written any time before 2009. Take it away Julia.

Maddie

Get Hitched, Get Fired, Get Moving | A Practical Wedding

by Julia

In June my man and I got hitched. In July I got fired. In August, I will start five months of traveling through East Africa and Southeast Asia—alone.

While I tramp through Kenya, Tanzania, India, Vietnam, and half a dozen other countries, my brand-new husband will be staying at home in NYC, where he is still gainfully employed.

We married as two overachieving, workaholic New Yorkers. My best friend’s wedding toast even included a joke about my love of spreadsheets. But only a month later, without warning and completely against my will, I became an unemployed housewife.

Twenty minutes after getting canned, I had this conversation with myself:

“Self,” I said, “do you want to be an unemployed housewife?”

“No,” I replied. “I’m bad at doing the dishes and I’m bored already.”

“Okay. How about traveling to all the places you’ve always wanted to go? How do you feel about that?”

“That’s much better.”

So after being an unemployed housewife for all of twenty minutes, I pulled up Google Docs and started planning my new life as an International Vagabond.

Inside my head, I felt something like this:

  • Shell-shocked that I got fired, bitter because I didn’t see it coming, and guilty that I screwed up.
  • Jumping-out-of-my-skin excited at this opportunity to travel around the world.
  • Useless, because I have been earning my own money since I was a fourteen-year-old babysitter, I got a damn Ivy League degree, and then I worked and networked and worked some more to a job that I thought was my dream job, and suddenly now I am no longer a contributing member of society.
  • Liberated, because I have been working every single day of my life since I was fourteen years old and now I get to take a self-appointed break.
  • Sad that my husband still has a job and can’t join me on my travels.
  • Grateful that my husband still has a job and we have substantial savings, so we don’t have to worry about finances even with me out of work.
  • Very grateful that we will be separated by choice, and not by a military deployment or family illness or any other substantially more difficult circumstance that thousands of people have to handle every day.
  • Immensely grateful for a relationship that bends and stretches to accommodate one of us voyaging for half a year, on the other side of the world, with only intermittent internet access. A man that says, “Yes, of course! Go!” when I tell him about my plans for this adventure, a man who never doubts for a moment that I will get my career back on track when I return. So, so immensely grateful.

“Self,” I said, “this will be okay. Your husband will be here. You will put your career back together. It will be okay, probably even better than before.”

And as an extremely independent gal, this shocked me, but I think it’s my marriage that makes it okay. There’s something about being married, knowing that I have a home to come back to and not just an apartment—something about that frees me up, gives me courage and confidence. I can go do my thing, and he will be here, and it’s okay.

Our wedding vows began like this: “I promise to share my life with you, while giving you the space to live your own life.”

When I said those words during our ceremony, I envisioned weekend or even weeklong trips apart, alone or with friends. Lazy Sundays lying in bed reading the news on our respective laptops, poking each other when we find something particularly interesting to share. Me roaming through art museums, which bores him to tears, and him heading off to play poker, which does the same to me.

But this is on a whole new level. We’ll be literally and figuratively thousands of miles apart.

And yet, I have absolutely zero fear. I’m not afraid of crippling loneliness or homesickness on the road (though that may well happen). I’m not afraid of the shiny new crop of twenty-two-year-old girls that descend on New York each fall (though if any of you flirt with my man, you will regret it). I’m not afraid that we’ll be spending the first months of our marriage on different continents. I’m not afraid of malaria, Delhi belly, hijackings, propeller planes, getting lost in countries where I don’t speak the language, my stalled career.

I’m not afraid because I know I have our shared life together. Even if my life is somewhat in a shambles and I need to run around the world to put it back together, it’s okay.

I will take chicken buses through Tanzania, visit NGOs in Nepal, sleep on the spare couch of a generous friend’s friend who is only an email address to me but who will become my friend. My husband will go about his daily routine in our apartment, feed our cats in the morning, walk to work on the route that we used to walk together, and hang out with our friends on the weekends. He will gleefully throw his underwear on the floor, play as much poker as he wants to, and sleep on whichever side of our bed he fancies—even diagonally like a starfish.

We will miss each other terribly and Skype. We’ll be grateful for the chance to create great stories apart so that we can share them with each other. We’ll be living our lives apart so that we can share them together.

Photo by APW Sponsor Corinne Krogh Photography

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  • Anonymous

    I hope Julia comes back to tell us more of her adventures, because this trip sounds amazing. I’m also a little blown away by how easily both Julia and her husband seemed to have accepted this adventure. I for one would never be interested in leaving my husband for 6 months nor would he be down with it. And I definitely wouldn’t want to see the world without him and vice versa. As much as I love going off on mini-adventures by myself and coming home and sharing them, it would be devastating to experience these kinds of things without him by my side. It’s lovely to hear about how other relationships work, I just wish there was more of how they got so comfortable with separation. Since this mindset is like the opposite of mine, I’m fascinated by it and want to understand it more.

    • moe

      I’m a total wuss about being separated from my husband. I enjoy my alone time or beingout rfiends but after a while I’m eager to come home and tell him all about what happened.

      I do however relate to the sense of courage to chase dreams and take on new challenges. For me, it’s not in the form of travel but in relationships with people, speaking up for myself, and becoming a better person. In marriage I’m experiencing this freedom to become more of myself.

      • Anonymous

        I also can’t help but wonder if this has to do with age as well? I’m 36+. I just got married, and I got married because I want to spend every moment with my husband. I had my adventures before he was in my life and now its about having adventures together – for us at least.

        I wonder if younger couples feel differently. Or maybe its a more modern take on marriage and relationships. Either way, if couples can actually grow stronger while apart, doing their own things, than more power to them! I believe being happy individually is a necessity to a good and healthy relationship. Sounds like Julia’s doing what makes her happy so here’s to hoping her adventures are all she wants them to be!

        • moe

          It’s possible, I’m almost 41. My 30s were spent having epic single-girl adventures and I was ready to meet my husband when he came along.

        • Lauren

          I got married at 28, and I love traveling alone. Traveling is my passion, and not necessarily my husband’s, and I get something different out of a trip on my own. I don’t think it’s an age thing, just a preferences/personality thing.

          • KINA

            Ditto! I take a trip by myself every year, and doing that has brought me so much joy. I miss my partner while I’m away, but I get so much from the experience.

        • alyssa

          I’m 24, got married at 22, and would definitely struggle with travelling the world without my husband, or him without me! So I don’t think age has anything to do with it – people are just different. :)

    • Kestrel

      Same here! As someone who is 500 miles away from my fiance, I would never want to travel the world without him. It was a hard enough decision to stay at my college for a masters (time and financially-wise, it would have been stupid to do so otherwise) when that was obviously the best choice.

      Our relationship has been about 5 years long, and 3 of that has been long distance, and I hate it so much! I think I’d feel even worse if I was having particularly interesting experiences because I’d want even more to share them with him.

      • Jess

        I do think that having a long distance relationship might change my mind a little bit. My partner and I have been together 6 years, all of which we have lived together (we met when I moved into the apt building he lived in..so we pretty much always were together). Since we really have never lived apart, I think I relish my alone time when traveling and am ok with being away from him for weeks at a time. However, if our entire relationship had been long distance, I probably would have different feelings for sure!

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      Hmm. . .I don’t think I’d volunteer for six months of separation, but I can see the drive to kind of see “what if?” and live/travel solo for a bit. Which is ironic, considering its a strong partnership that can make that happen.

      Age might be a factor, but I think personality is the larger part. As independent as I am, and as much as that quality plays an important role in our relationship, I prefer having company for day-to-day stuff. My partner just left town this morning, and as I left for work I thought “Aw man, I have to take the recycling and water the plants all by mySELF!” For the very few months I lived alone, I hated it– but adventuring is different. And so is living with actual means, instead of paycheck to paycheck in your college apt after all your friends graduated.

      Like Julia said, it makes a big difference knowing your partner and your home will be there for you. She has a pretty unique set of circumstances going on, and it’s so rad that she’s taking advantage of them. I think my mindset would be different, too, if I had the financial means, the unexpected freedom, and a set return date.

      • Kristen

        I felt much the same way. While I wouldn’t call myself independent, I would refer to myself as uber self sufficient. My problem lies more along the lines of co-dependency. Things don’t feel as real or special if I’m the only one who experienced it or if there is no one there to take care of / make happy.

        I keep wondering if I’d like to be like the OP and excited about going off on a solo adventure. I still don’t know. Adventures are wonderful but the happiest I’ve ever been in my life is being with my husband. I just don’t think I’d have as much fun by myself as I would with him.

        • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

          Agreed- I think if I took the solo trip, I’d want to go back with my partner just so I could really show him all the cool stuff I saw. So I may as well go with him in the first place.

          When I “get away” from him, sometimes it’s an afternoon at a coffee shop just reading, but for a weekend trip or longer vacation, I’d want to be with somebody- friends or family. That’s also my extroversion talking.

    • anon

      Yes my husband and I spent 4 years apart in a quasi relationship (we had met only for a month before we had to separate) and I learned to love traveling the world with him. So at this point in our lives (we are 30) that would not be something I would want to do, but maybe its because we already had tons of that alone and adventure time before. Right before we finally moved to be with each other (after my husband finished his masters) he traveled alone for about three months. I was kind of sad because I wanted him to get here already but it was something that was important to him. And I lived in his county (new to me) for 3 months alone and had to do a lot of things on my own before he came. I also lived in Mexico for a year before that and I think it was very important to our relationship being able to work out.

  • ANOTHER MEG

    This is kind of amazing. I know this is not how my relationship works, but that’s part of the draw in posts like this.
    And second the wish to hear more about the trip! I’d really like to hear about how this trip works within your marriage.

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    Something to keep in mind from the perspective of the one who is most often back at home (for us, it is military deployments): it can be really hard to have to always wait for the other person to contact you. It makes you feel pretty powerless. I assume your husband will be in this position while you’re traveling and it’s just something to keep in mind and be sensitive to. As happy as I am for him when he’s off having adventures and as much as I enjoy my alone time, it’s important that he makes an effort to show me I’m still his priority.

    • Brenda

      I think this is a really important point for any long-distance relationship, whether it’s because one person is deployed or traveling or just because you live in different places. When my husband (then-boyfriend) and I were long-distance for a year and a half, we always both initiated contact on a fairly equal basis, and it really helped it feel like we were both in it together.

    • Jessica B

      I got my first taste of the powerlessness when my fiance was at Annual Training and was in the field for 7 days without any phone/internet. It was maddening because neither of us had control over it. He leaves for Afghanistan in October and I’m so worried that the biggest source of conflict between us will be the lack of two-way communication. Any tips? You can email them to me if you’d like–jm. buchberger at gmail.com. I’m feeling kind of alone in this right now and could use some supportive words.

      • MB

        One of my friends from college just spent the past year blogging about her side of the deployment experience. She has suggestions on how to deal with the distance, max out your postage with care packages, ideas for books to read, and other things that happened along the way. http://jomygosh.blogspot.com/

        As someone without any similar experiences, it helped make me more aware of what she was going through and how I could best show I cared for her during that time.

      • Aims

        Jessica B, my brother is currently deployed in Afghanistan and what his wife does is post pictures of herself and their baby on facebook so that whenever he gets free time he can see what’s going on. They share links on each other’s pages about things that make them laugh or that they think the other would like. His wife has also booked trips to come visit my family and asks her friends and neighbours for help. She has also created a support network of other military wives so that she can turn to people who really get it. I think all of these things help make it a little easier. Also, the Canadian military sends deployed soldiers and their families on vacation when their tours are finished so the two of them are planning that. It helps give them something to focus on and work towards.

        Good luck to you and your man. I think military spouses are insanely strong people. I personally would struggle to do what you do.

  • marie

    “There’s something about being married, knowing that I have a home to come back to and not just an apartment—something about that frees me up, gives me courage and confidence.”

    Such a great sentiment, applicable to things big and small– from a five moth trip, to asking for a raise, to the prospect of motherhood… fascinating how binding oneself to another can be so liberating :)

    My parents weren’t apart for more than a few days for decades, but how that the nest is empty, my mother’s retired, and my dad’s still working, she goes off and has these grand adventures (in between art shows–she retired to paint full time!). At first she was reluctant– they’d always vacationed together, and rarely– but gosh, why put the world on hold? In some ways, they’ve never had more separate lives than now– her travels, her new life in the art community– but they also seem more connected and intimate than ever. They can go off and do their separate things, then come home and chat about it on our big squishy sofa.

  • Meredith

    Huh. So much to think about here.

    I’ll set off on my own 12-18 month(ish) round the world travels in 29 days (holy shi*t. 29 days). So much of what you were feeling I can relate to, excitement that I’m actually going to do this, liberation at not having to work and grateful that I have the savings to make it happen.

    I, too will be going alone, but I won’t we be leaving a significant other behind. I will however, be leaving my community behind. A community who has lent immense support in the last 8 months, who has rallied around me and each other in hard times. Through them, I can relate to the peace that comes with knowing people, or for you, your husband, are at home cheering for you and waiting for you to come back.

    One of my most comforting thoughts, which it seems I share with you, is that what I have in my current life will be here when I return. It may look and feel a little different, but when I come back, it’ll all still be here. And so I’m not scared to go. Sad? A little. But not scared.

    • Tania

      I did exactly this… left my home country and travelled to the otherside of the world. It was only supposed to be for a couple of years. Its been 10. I’m still here. I will never forget being in the shower the morning I was due to fly and crying hysterically. I. was. so. scared. So scared. More scared that I’d ever been. It was the fear that motivated me – because, damn it, I was going to face the fear :-) It was the best decision I ever made. In two months time I’m marrying a man I would never have met back on the other side of the world. And only a few months after the wedding we’ll be packing up our lives and moving to a completely new country and facing the fear all over again! Woo hoo! Have an awesome adventure!

  • Ann

    I love this. My wedding vows had a very similar line, which was important to me as I’m moving away from my husband less than two months after or wedding to start a PhD in a new state. It’s unclear when he can move. The idea that we both have a “home” even if “home” won’t be a physical place for the next year (we couldn’t afford to maintain two independent households, so it’s new apartments and roommates for the both of us!). Even though I’ll miss him, we have the rest of our lives to be together.

    I hope you have a fantastic time traveling! It sounds like a great adventure.

    (And sleeping like a starfish is THE BEST PART of being apart. I love sleeping next to my husband, but I starfish like crazy when he’s on business trips. And so does the cat.)

    • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

      Starfish sleep is amazing. And I never used to starfish before I shared my bed every night … but now if I’m having a night of empty bed it is practically required. Wouldn’t want to do it every night be it’s such a liberated sleep feeling.

    • emma

      My husband travels a lot and I like that time to catch up on me time/projects. But Starfish Sleep = BEST PART. Second only to Secret FroYo Trips.

  • PAW

    I love this. I refer to my husband sometimes as my haven from the world. I am a highly competent and functional person on my own, but since we’ve been together, I’ve noticed that our relationship provides a sort of bubble of silence in which I can hear very quiet, deeply-rooted dreams – and is a launch-and-return point to explore those dreams.

    I second the calls for a post about your travels! (Maybe you’ll do a photoblog…?)

    • http://partialto.tumblr.com LIZ (SINCE 1982)

      “our relationship provides a sort of bubble of silence in which I can hear very quiet, deeply-rooted dreams – and is a launch-and-return point to explore those dreams.”

      What a completely lovely way to put it. Well said.

      And nth-ing the request for future updates from Julia!

  • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

    My partner just left this morning to road trip to a conference with some grad school buddies for the next ten days. This post certainly puts the time away into perspective. Even though I’m jealous he gets to go off driving cross-country (again!), I’m grateful he has the opportunity for a little adventure. We’ve been doing a lot together this summer, and it’s high time we get some time apart so we can talk about new things.

    In fact, we were just chatting about independence this weekend, as I mentioned I felt we were running out of things to talk about. He told me he recently participated in a “practice class” for a fellow grad student who was prepping a lecture on families and relationships. When asked to share qualities they look for in partners, my man replied “independence,” to which the faculty member sitting in front of him turned around and said “that explains a lot.” So I guess his colleagues get the sense we do our own thing a lot, too :-)

  • Jess

    I love this post…It reminds me of my partner and I. He and I are both very independent and often travel separately. Granted, we haven’t been away from each other more than 2 weeks at any given time. But, I really get that feeling of “I’m not afraid because I know I have our shared life together.” I love being able to come back home or have him come back home and just spend the evening in our pajamas eating takeout and retelling all the stories from our separate adventures.

  • Ni

    It’s wonderful that you’re both totally on board with this independent adventure. I know I’m an internet stranger, but as someone who has spent most of the last year apart from my husband through a series of choices, I have one piece of advice anyway – you should talk about what you will do if he wants you to come home.

    Right now, he’s fine with your trip, but unless you have done long distance before, he might not know what he will feel like in 3 or 4 months. If you get lonely, you can chose to come home, but for him, it’s more complicated. He might really want you home but also feel guilty about pulling you away from your adventure. So make plans to check in and talk about potential bail out points, because people’s needs and priorities change.

    My husband and I spent most of the last year apart, and now that we’re settling, we’re making a 50% rule for at least the next few months – we have to together for at least 50% of the time. Being apart just got too exhausting.

    • Kestrel

      Yes. Long distance sucks. Royally.

      My fiance and I had to determine if it was going to be ok for me to stay up at my college for a masters degree (500 miles away from his work) and we did determine it would be best for me to stay, but we still have conversations about how we can make this long distance stuff better and if we need to stop.

      We’ve been long distance for 3/5ths of our relationship, so we’re pretty used to it, but if you’re not, be forewarned that emotions can be very strong and it’s sometimes very difficult to express them fully when you’re apart.

  • Jessica B

    While I am not at all excited that my soon-to-be husband and I will be apart because of a military deployment for the first year of our marriage, there are a couple things that I am looking forward to a little bit–like not having to share the bed, being able to just get out of town for a weekend without having to coordinate schedules, and not having to tip-toe around in the morning while he’s still asleep.

    Of course this means no nighttime cuddling, not being able to see new parts of the country together, and no morning sex. But hey, silver linings are great.

    I think it’s cool that you are so ready to go on this big adventure. I would probably be panicking constantly because I like a good plan, but always kind of wanted to be the ‘go with the flow and just get out of the country’ kind of person. I hope you have an adventure of a lifetime, and that you make many friends on your travels. Maybe in a few years you can do the same trip with your husband and show him all your favorite places =)

  • Amy March

    Am I the only one whose first thought was- no sex?!? For 5 months?!? Voluntarily?!? Which I find surprising because I have no trouble going that long without when I’m single.

    • Kristen

      No dude, I was thinking the same thing. Maybe another reason this plan did not appeal to me personally. ;)

      • Erika

        Bring a handy little battery operated friend with you and while its not the same, it will help to curb those cravings. :)

  • Riah

    Karibu Tanzania! If you have any questions about travelling here, feel free to hit me up.

  • Erika

    Please, please keep a travel blog so that we can share in your adventures!!

    After 4 years of long distance, we got engaged, quit our jobs, and took this same trip, albeit only in SE Asia. And I would do it again in a heartbeat with or without him. SE Asia is an incredible place to travel as a single female because its safe and everyone is friendly. And if you don’t have kids, and you can afford the trip, I say go for it!!! Plus I would have loved to have a home to come back to, so I understand having a rock at home. Julia, if you need any travel advice, feel free to email me and/or check out our blog. We logged all of our hostels on there: http://inspireamerika.wordpress.com/ and emurdock@gmail.com

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    This part – “There’s something about being married, knowing that I have a home to come back to and not just an apartment—something about that frees me up, gives me courage and confidence. I can go do my thing, and he will be here, and it’s okay.”

    That’s a great definition or explanation or what have you of marriage. My adventures haven’t taken me away from home, but knowing there’s a home with my husband there as my safety net has let me step out on the high wire a lot more than I would’ve.

  • http://myneuroticgirlfriend@wordpress.com Sarah

    I’ll admit, I can’t relate to this at all, at least not in the context of my relationship with my fiance, and not in this stage of my life. I’m basically what Maddie and the author fear about marriage – that it marks a significant and perhaps permanent change in lifestyle, one that does indeed rob you of some independence. Yeah, it can. But at this stage of my life, and with my future husband, I’m so ok with that. I’d rather live a life at home with him than around the world without him.

    Five to ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever say that. I up and left the country for several months by myself, and I wouldn’t go back and change that for anything. I wasn’t ready to be married or to settle down then. Not by a long shot. Before I met my fiance I would always pass the Greyhound station on my way to work, read the destination signs, and try to figure out if I had enough in my purse to survive a week or so at each destination if I hopped on that bus right this second. I wouldn’t have dreamed of letting a relationship with a man hold me back from any adventures. I needed time to myself. I needed to explore.

    But then I met my fiance and it gradually changed. And it’s not that we don’t have adventures anymore. It’s just that we have our adventures together now. We do have separate hobbies and take weekend trips separately on occasion, because it’s totally important to maintain your independence, but basically we’re a team. No, we’re a family. And that’s what my family has always been like. We do it together. (Much as I enjoyed the independence of my 20s, I did indeed invite my mom to come live with me at college and travel through South America with me. She wisely and thankfully declined)

    I don’t think our model of marriage works for everyone. I think there are some people who would struggle in a marriage that didn’t allow for quite a bit of independence. . I’m glad there are examples of that working. People should certainly not feel compelled to have the kind of marriage I have, or to feel like marriage is a huge sacrifice of self. Our “together all the time, everything is decided together” kind of relationship makes both of us feel complete and safe, but I can see how for others it would feel like a straight jacket.

    But man, as much as I want to relate to this one, I found it much easier to be Judgey Mc. Judgerson about it with my fiance this morning. We spent a good 10 minutes talking about how this would NOT be ok in our relationship.

    • http://thefresstyler.blogspot.com/ Hannah

      I don’t think saying ‘this wouldn’t be cricket in our team’ means you are being a Judgy McJudgerson. It just means APW has inspired you to think about you own relationship and that’s never a bad thing.

      I do not enjoy being away from my husband…but he’s not that interested in travel or even that social, so I do see myself doing trips here and there on my own. But more than 3-4 days and I miss him like I am missing a limb. We’re a team. We’re circles, making up different quarters at different times, and I don’t think either of us signed on for anything other than the intense togetherness that defines our relationship. It works for us. It makes us happy. If this makes Julia and her husband happy, then more power to her! :)

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

    I admire Julia’s spirit of adventure, lack of fear, and trust in her marriage.

    I have to admit, though, that this post made me acknowledge that my own ability to trust has been destroyed through a very recent experience. And that makes me sad because I used to be someone who trusted 100% even in a long-distance relationship and even with a good amount of separation due to his work travel. But now what has happened has changed me, and I am scared I won’t be able to ever completely trust a partner/spouse again… Hopefully things will improve someday after I heal?

  • catherine

    Wow, this brought me to tears. Your courage is amazing. It touched me especially because right now I have to admit I’m not at the place you are at. I am working on my wounds, my insecurities, and I hope that one day I will have as much courage and confidence in myself that you do. I also hope to have those same things in my future marriage – my partner definitely does, but I am still working on it…Thanks for this wonderful glimpse of incredible bravery.

  • Aims

    Wow! This is so inspiring Julia! Thank you so much for sharing.

    What you have in your marriage is something that i have recently come to realize is extremely important to me and yet totally lacking in my own long term relationship. Though i understand your style of relationship wouldn’t be right for everyone, you have given me a great deal to contemplate about my own partnership.

  • Ciara

    Long time lurker here – reading for over three years, and first time to post.

    I adore this post – possibly my favorite ever on APW. It speaks to me about the most vital part of my relationship – allowing each of us to grow and pursue goals that are not always compatible, whilst always knowing we have our haven and home to return to.

    I can relate to this post SO much because it describes situations my husband and I have found ourselves in at least yearly during the course of our 10 plus year relationship.

    I entered our relationship quite young (age19) and it wasn’t so mush a desire to travel alone, but a fear that I would regret not taking every opportunity presented to me that has seen me travel far and wide alone in almost every one of those years.

    Being apart is SO. DAMN. HARD. That needs repeating… SO. DAMN. HARD – but the experiences we have while apart (travelling the world for me, furthering his career goals for him) is, what I believe, makes our relationship so strong.

    We return to the relationship revitalized, and geared up for the adventures we want to share together (which also includes annual foreign travel together, but equally encompasses buying a house, celebrating holidays, planning for our future, saving etc…). Plus we always have so much to talk about and share. I regularly joke that these absences have almost become a necessity to the health of our relationship!!

    This year (our first year of marriage) marked a turning point where my travel goals and my husbands career goals aligned and we find ourselves living in Saudi Arabia together! To get here though required a two month separation, so I bought the first plane ticket I could get and explored Central and South America while he went ahead to start his new job, and set up our new home.

    As we now turn our attentions to starting a family, we are both aware that independent goals will always be a reality for both of us, and ensuring we can continue to meet both our needs in this respect will continue be a priority even in the context of a new addition or two. It’s because we can be so trusting in the security our home together provides, that I believe we will be able to make this work.

    I too would love to hear the OP’s thoughts when she returns, about how this separation has contributed to, or otherwise, her relationship with her husband.

  • Evie

    Oh man, I really, really needed to stumble on this today. My husband and I got married a month ago and have been talking tentatively about moving to Mexico for six months in the near future. I am terrified. I haven’t relied on anyone else financially since college, and have never had any employment gaps since two weeks of graduating (it was temping, but still).

    There’s a lot to work through for us, still, but it’s so inspirational to read that another workaholic is choosing an adventure!

  • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/ Martha Smith

    Just stumbled upon this post again – wondering how the trip went!?

  • Humanitarian33

    I remember reading this ages ago and have searched for it and come back to it today, because i’m midway through a recruitment proces for my dream job, that would see me going abroad for two years, alone, with limited vacations. AND I’m getting married to the love of my life in February. Everyone I have talked to about this has looked at me with pity/confusion and asked how that can possibly work. I’ve even started to doubt myself. Am I so incredibly selfish for wanting both? For making a career choice that will challenge us as a couple so much? … But this is THE job I’ve been dreaming about since long before I met the boy. And I can’t help feel that regrets and missed opportunities would ultimately be far more damaging to us than distance could possibly be. Thank you Julia (and all the commenters below) for sharing. You are giving me strength today.