One of the many things I love about Elena is that we travel well together. I mean we’d kind of _have_ to get along with how much we travel right? But honestly I usually find it hard to be around any one particular person for a long period of time. I love people, I just get tired of interacting with them after a few days and need a break. That trait alone ruined many a relationship prior to meeting my beloved.
Traveling Together 24/7/365
Being so comfortable traveling together is really just an extension of how comfortable we are spending long periods of time in each others company. You see “the norm” for us as a digital nomad couple is to literally spend 24/7/365 together. Most couples say goodbye to each other five days a week and go their respective jobs. They see each other a few minutes in the morning, then a couple of hours in the evening and a few more on the weekends.
Those “normals” negotiate with each other going out on the occasional “guys” or “girls” nights because it takes those legitimately do take away from the precious little time they get to spent together as a couple. Heck, I’ve even known couples that work different shifts and end up seeing each other only 1-2 waking hours per day tops. Elena and I get to spend every waking and sleeping moment together. Whether that be “home” in Idyllwild or an Airbnb in the hills of Italy or a one room bamboo hut on the beaches of Thailand. It’s a level of togetherness and intimacy I think many couples would struggle with but which we barely think about any more because it’s now our “normal”.
This lovely fact bubbled back up to the front of my mind this weekend however at our dear friend Karim Marrucchi’s birthday bash in Los Angeles. At the end of that weekend Elena took me to LAX to catch a flight to Thailand, solo. I’ll be here in Thailand for 7 weeks alone, while she’s snuggles into the snowy winter of Idyllwild, California.
Ok, I’m going to say it straight out… 7 weeks is a long time even for us to be apart. I’m not at all saying that’s normal, but we did long ago have a talk about being separated like this. We came to the shared conclusion that 4 weeks was probably a reasonable limit should one of us need/want to run off and do something solo. Even 4 weeks probably seems crazy to many, not long ago a friend shared it was hard for him to travel away from his wife for even 2 consecutive nights.
7 week is sounding a little crazy even to us, but I don’t doubt we’ve got the skills to navigate it.
It wasn’t originally planned as 7 weeks. Like most of our travel plans the bookends of this trip shifted around a bit. Originally I’d thought I’d leave mid-February just before WordCamp Bangkok, which is the central focus of this trip for me, but then Elena suggested I fly out the same weekend we were already going to be down in LA to avoid two long trips to the airport and I agreed and booked my flight. Then upon realizing how chopped up my time in Thailand was going to be based on that date I wanted to extend it just a bit to also get a chance to see a few new parts of Thailand (Koh Chang / Koh Lanta), so rebooked (still in the 24 hour cancellation window) coming back a bit later, but to get the same killer fare I ended up flying back March 9th. Viola, 3 weeks became 7 weeks.
Realities of traveling without one’s spouse
It is what it is and we’ll see how it goes. It’s certainly possible to change a flight, pay a bit more and come earlier. I doubt that’ll happen thought, I’m always loath to spend money paying to change flights. We can also pretty much check in as much and as often as we want digitally, but I’ll miss her touch, her hugs and her kisses for sure.
I see it like this:
On the one hand, I’m going to enjoy not sharing the camera, while on the other I’m sad that I’m unable to share the moment.
On the one hand, I’m going to enjoy eating at whatever random street food standI want, while I’m sad that I’ll be eating alone a lot.
The list goes on… but I do know that this plane hasn’t even landed in Thailand yet and I already miss her beside me on the plane.
Call for questions
One of the primary things we want this blog to cover is the practical realities of being a digital nomad couple. If you’ve got questions about how we navigate things, please ask in the comments!