I've been asked if I have a "bucket list" of places I want to see or things I want to do? How does my solo travel impact my marriage? I've decided to turn the answers into a post.
No, I do not have a bucket list. I'm pretty much open to seeing most of the world. Areas where there is known danger, I'll pass until things settle down. Otherwise I'm up for seeing and trying most things.
Travel for me isn't for the sake of saying I've been there. If I cared about that, I'd come home with pictures of myself standing in front of every well know monument and bar so I could show everyone. In reality I do not come home with any pictures of me when I'm travelling solo. When D and I travel, he likes to take a self mug shot of us in the car just when we are about to drive off to the airport. Sometimes he'll sneak in a shot of me when I least suspect it. That's about it.
There is something inside that compels me to travel. I have a deep longing for it and ache when it has been a while since I've seen a new place. That's the only way I can explain why I continue to do so without fail. There must have been some explorer blood passed on to me as it feels natural. Anyone who is aiming to tick stuff off a list wouldn't continue once the list has been completed. Nor would they willingly tolerate airline strikes, cramped airplane quarters, bad food etc.
I keep myself open to possibilities and when they come, take advantage of it. I don't really know for sure which places I end up seeing beyond our yearly return to France and our skiing out west and our cottaging up north.
Travelling costs adds up quickly year after year, even if you do it frugally. I would argue it is not sustainable unless you have a real zest for it. I've been to Europe 8 times in the last 14 months for an average of 1 1/2 wk each stay. Some days my bank account probably wishes I would develop a deep passion for making spaghetti instead.
I'll continue to work to fund this interest. And no, I have not been able to find a cheaper substitute. It is not replaceable. It would be like asking someone who is an avid tennis fan to start watching some other sport instead. Not the same.
As for how my solo travel impacts my marriage...I would say it enhances ours.
I believe marriage is a path taken by 2 individual people who have chosen to walk together for a period of time. As each person grows, the marriage grows. One + One = Something larger than 2. Ways I grow include travel, creating art, playing music, learning. Ways D grows includes participating in endurance sports, learning how to fix things and lucky for me, travel. Our individuality and growth keeps us interesting to each other. We influence each other by being uniquely different.
It is harder to understand something like travel and place it mentally in the same league as someone who is an avid hockey and baseball fan. If you calculate the time those 2 sports can take up on a yearly basis, all the games, play offs etc. vs the amount of time I take travelling, the sports would win.
I think there is a mental bias when it comes to travel because most people see long distance travel as a luxury, something to save for a 25th Wedding Anniversary as well as something that costs an inordinate amount of money. It doesn't have to be.
When I tell people, which isn't often, of my travel habits, I often get silence. Not too many people can relate to the volume of travelling I do as I am not the stereotypical backpacker off on my year of gallivanting around the world before I start my real world job. Nor am I in a profession where I have to travel.
Sometimes I get the impression people feel I'm behaving irresponsibly. To that I simply chalk it up to people trying to make rules for other people. And as a married woman who chooses to travel solo because the 6 weeks a year I travel with D isn't enough, it confuses people. If they bother to stick around long enough, they would find out the story is much more interesting.