We booked the conference, I left my job, and we took a ten-day, pant-crashing hike though the Grand Canyon. Since then, we’ve learned that anything challenging has proven to be positive for our relationship. My fear of heights was put to the test during this canyon trip, and it was incredible to witness my husband's strength and patience while we hiked together.
With all the traveling come new roles while traveling together. While we knew who was "toilet cleaner" and who was the "garbage taker-outer" at home, over time we’d come to understand that while traveling together, he's the driver (on any side of a road), and I'm the map-reader. I'm the self-appointed travel agent and he's the packer. I'm reckless and he keeps us grounded.
Most of the places we've chosen to visit since have forced us to completely unplug — typically the goal of most American tourists; but for us, we're re-learning (after nine years of marriage) how to spend our time together. Let me put the emphasis on time, because we're spending a lot of it together these days. While most of our trips are occupied by enjoying local food, navigating foreign transportation and meeting new people, there are days when we've had it up to our ears with each other's company and the little things start to get on our nerves (when did he start doing that hacking sound when he brushes his teeth?). To quell the frustration, we usually settle in quietly with a book or write in separate rooms. A stiff drink also does wonders.
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We're also trying to learn what allows us to be individuals while we're traveling together as a team — a word that’s taken on an entirely new meaning in our relationship. I've always considered my husband to be my partner, my friend, my roommate and my soul mate; all of those things you get with the "till death do us part." But, now that we've tackled language barriers in Tunisia, slept on mats throughout Japan, spent three weeks cooking (and eating) our way though Italy and getting hopelessly abandoned in Mexico City; it brings on an entirely new meaning.
My husband has become my hero when we're stranded on a train cargo in Amsterdam, when our airline goes out of business mid-flight (who knew this could actually happen?!), and when I've had what I’m certain is the world’s worst case of food poisoning. It’s times like those that you realize that there's no one in the world you’d rather do this with — and that whole teeth-brushing racket really isn't really so bad at all.
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Would you quit your job without a safety net if it meant improving your marriage?