29 April 2014

What It's Like Traveling With Danny


I can't tell how blown away I am by the most LOVING, KIND women on earth who commented on my post on Cup of Jo yesterday. Seriously. There are so many good-hearted people out there and it's wonderful to be knit together through our lives and words. Thank you for that.

Today's post:

I love, love, love traveling with Danny.  Early on we traveled together for a long extended time (5 weeks in Europe for a second honeymoon!) We were such little lovebirds that when we returned from our long journey, our friends were laughing and so curious to know, "Did you guys fight? Did you get sick of each other?!" We just laughed because the answer was no. Our travels since have been more of the same. But, I know that it's not just a coincidence. Because traveling-no matter where it is- is often not as glamorous as it sounds!! It can often include cramped traveling conditions, loss of sleep, language barriers, getting by with limited belongings, getting lost, food sickness, losing luggage, staying in hotels that don't turn out to be so desirable, being tired/hot/hungry, trying to deal with work or other issues from the road, being sweaty and dirty, and traveling with a different pace and style. Funny that most people talk about travel like it's the BEST THING ON EARTH, but it can also cause the biggest stress and the biggest fights on earth between couples!! I am sure we've all heard stories...or even experienced it ourselves.  

But - there is HOPE! Getting lost on a train in Italy does not have to end up in a fight. It takes some individual practice and a dedication to a different way of life, but it's SO WORTH IT to just put your contentious habits behind you. It IS possible to change.
 
I've been thinking about how it's possible that Danny & I have been able to not engage in fighting...and these are my thoughts:

-Our egos are rarely mixed up in our interactions with each other. (See Eckart Tolle's books for some excellent training on this subject!!)

-We know that our individual wellness, goodness, happiness, attractiveness, intelligence, and worth is not based on or dependent upon the mood of the other. So if a little something goes wrong or one of us is having a frustrating moment - the other person knows their identity or worth doesn't need to be threatened by it. We're pretty good at knowing FULL WELL that our worth & happiness is our OWN responsibility. It is not rested on the shoulders of the other. This makes such a huge difference, I can't even tell you.

-We don't take each other's moments of weakness personally. Instead, we see the other person with an extra dose of compassion if for some reason they are not being themselves.

-All of the above means we are able to just be STABLE for the other person in a moment of difficulty. In that moment, we try to "Pursue a Virtue" for the sake of the other person. This helps the moment to pass much faster so that we can both return to the state we want to be in. We call it "Love for the Sake of Loving" - it's the desire to just be loving, just because that's who you are, not because you're getting something in return.  

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Living this way will make you the BEST TRAVEL PARTNER EVER!  And even more importantly, the best life partner, too. Of course we can't always make our partner engage in this way of life. But we can still offer up our best to the table and see what happens. Either way, you'll be better for it. And your soul can still be whole and at peace.

Here are a few situations when we put this stuff into practice while traveling: 


MUSEUMS

Danny looooves to read EVERY WORD at museum exhibits. There are few things he loves more than consuming information (he's one of the most avid readers I've ever met...along with my lovely niece, Chloe. :) I mostly prefer to just skim through a museum and spend time on a few select things that really catch my interest.  

And so, that leads to lots of waiting on my end.  :) Sometimes I will walk ahead and sit down on a bench to wait for Danny. I think this could potentially drive us both crazy. It could make Danny feel rushed or annoyed that I'm not joining him; or I could be so annoyed that he is taking a loooong time. But, instead, I choose to just be really happy that he's enjoying the museum. And I feel gratitude that he's not annoyed with me for not standing with him. This way Danny feels no pressure from me, nor I from him. He gets to enjoy "his thing" fully and I also get to enjoy the museum at my own pace. The result is we get to visit museums without any huffs and puffs.


Here I am waiting for Danny at the Viking Museum in Norway.  :)

 

And here we go....

MARKETS

I loooove going to outdoor markets if any hand made goods or fruits or vegetables are involved. You would think one or two markets would be plenty. But, no, I love going to EVERY market that we see. haha. :) I found this photo on Danny's phone and this must be his constant view while I'm browsing. Danny COULD be terribly annoyed with me. But, he just smiles and never once makes me feel rushed. In fact, he is rather happy that I love the markets in Ecuador as I am actually not usually a "shopper" on our travels...I guess I just haven't ever come across so many handmade goods like they have in Ecuador. 


HOTELS

Danny and I have very different levels of comfort within a hotel room.  I don't let ANY of my belongings ever touch the floor where I am certain there are dust mites and other unmentionables I'd rather not welcome into my luggage. I don't even like walking bare foot on any surface and usually wear flip flops, especially in the bathroom - even in nice hotels.  :)  I also don't like sitting or laying myself on the outside comforter as I fear they don't wash those, so I always fold them down first before using the bed. And Danny?  :) He doesn't mind getting comfy cozy one bit. These are his items next to the bed at a hostel. You can see he didn't mind walking around that place in his socks. Sometimes in a hotel he will even kneel on the floor and lean on the bed to use his laptop.  :) This makes me cringe completely, but I just bite my tongue and let it go. And so does he as he sees me being careful about wearing flip flops in the shower or being careful to not let my belongings touch the floor. :)



FOOD

So, being gluten-free and dairy-free can sometimes always be really, really tricky while traveling. Hunger can especially kick in if it's especially hot and if we're walking a TON and in need of calories (or, as Danny says, if we just got done with the museum above and Danny's desire to learn impeded on my eating schedule :). If Danny gets hungry and wants a snack, it's easy for him to just stop at a bakery and grab some bread or stop into a pizzeria or ice cream shop. I need much more planning. And if I don't do that well, sometimes I can get so starving for something to eat that I would be beyond the point of reasoning. Irritation levels go way up, and my ability to be satisfied with any of Danny's attempted solutions go way down. Seriously, I feel like for a moment I become a totally different person. 

The point is, when one of us loses it in a moment like this (for Danny it might be his frustrations with directions and the stress that comes with being responsible for navigation), the other makes a conscious decision to not take any of that ugliness personally. In a food crisis moment, Danny knows I am not myself. He knows that it would all blow over as soon as he could get some GF/DF food into me. He's so good at overlooking with total forgiveness whatever negativity I may be sending out, responding not with defensiveness and frustration, but patience and gentleness.  

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I hope I never imply through our writing that it's never OK to have a bad moment. Danny and I have bad moments. At times life gets ugly for everyone and we're no exception.

The key is what the other person decides to do in that moment they see their partner struggling most. I can't tell you how important this is.

Surrendering your ego, your need to be validated and approved of at all times, your control over things in life that are ultimately uncontrollable (be they circumstances or someone else's behavior), and surrendering it all with the motivation of loving the imperfect human being you are paired with is truly the greatest thing we can do for each other. It makes it so these moments that could turn into an epic travel fight are just a passing moment and a reason to be grateful for a partner who is willing to look over your weakness and give you room to return back to your better self. 

I challenge you all to put this into practice! It will change your life, change your family, and even change the world.

Much love,
Mara

P.S. For fun, will you guys give your own example of your most frequent travel blow up or annoyance (if you have them) and what you might do next time to respond in a different way? I can't tell you how big of a difference it makes when you plan in advance how you might want to respond.

44 comments:

  1. Have you guys ever applied for The Amazing Race? You should!

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    1. haha, I suppose that would be kind of fun. Though I admit I've only seen one or two episodes.

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    2. You should do it! I love that show but I get so tired of couples fighting. You would be a great example :)

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  2. Isn't that the famous sun boat found in Ancient Egypt ? Its amazing.

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    1. Was it found in Egypt? That might be another one. Who knows though, maybe my museum readings failed me this time and I missed something.

      If I remember correctly, in Norway the reason they have these boats is because they were used as burial ground for families or royalty. In this case, they would take the ships and place the deceased in the ship with some of their possessions and things to guide them (not unlike some egyptian practices), and they would cover the entire ship with dirt.

      Quite the expensive coffin if you ask me...but it led to these very old Norwegian ships being preserved over the centuries.

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  3. Well, we actually got into a huge fight in Venice on OUR HONEYMOON. How ridiculous is that? We were taking a day trip, and realized that we had no idea how to get back to the train a bit too late to realize such a thing....anyways, of course at that moment it started raining. There are no cabs/buses in Venice, you get everywhere on foot, and Venice is a maze. Our phones also didn't work in Italy. My husband (a geographer - no really that's his job) couldn't figure out the map, and got us completely lost. I started screaming at him because, you know, that's helpful. Eventually I used my limited Italian to ask a stranger for help and we did find the train station and make our train, but I felt terrible. I should've just calmed down and ducked into a cafe with the map to plot out a practical route with the help of a barista or something, instead of acting like my husband was supposed to be my own personal Magellan - but man, being lost is just about one of the most stressful things ever, especially in this age when we usually can just plug in an address and follow our phones!

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    1. Great story! Oh man...I swear directions have been the cause of more marital fights than just about anything else.

      The person who is in charge of navigating feels the pressure of getting you somewhere, and it gets so easy to take any questions or course changes as an attack on them and who they are and what they're trying to do....and then the ego of both parties starts to rear it's terrible head and fights break out.

      Yes, I'm speaking from experience. My ex wife and I didn't actually fight that much, not even during the divorce, but when I think of moments where I lost my cool and really regret it, more than 50% of the time it was a directions thing.

      I'm a lot better now, and Mara is also quite good and not getting frustrated when I get it wrong. We just call our mistakes "detours" that help us see a part of the city we didn't expect to see, and try and make the best out of it. Boy is that a lot easier.

      Though I may have at many times felt the pressure of getting us somewhere (since I am the ONLY reliable navigator :P ), Mara does a great job at being thankful, patient with mistakes, taking it all in stride, supportive, etc....and that has led to not a single direction related blow up that I can recall.

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    2. Whenever we get lost, or stuck in terrible traffic, or hit EVERY RED LIGHT imaginable, my calm collected man boils over. He usually does the driving. It must be stressful. Especially when I'm in the passenger seat and he knows I really loathe being late to things.

      Our motto is "quality time in the car."

      We say this and it immediately relaxes both of us to be present and grateful to have each other. To have unexpected moments together. Alone. It turns frustrating situations into blessings that bring us closer together.

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  4. This is great stuff! Thank you Mara and Danny.

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  5. thanks for this post! i can't think of a specific instance, but i know that in general my problem can be lack of flexibility. especially if we've laid out an itinerary or some kind and then we get delayed, or someone wants to do something else... but i've been getting better at rolling with things... trying anyway. (:

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  6. Long time reader, but don't usually comment, although today I have to! I've been reviewing some of your older posts deep in the archives :) such great stuff! Over Easter we headed to some friends house with our two boys. It was a four hour drive and the baby cried most of the way, our toddler threw up right as we got stuck in bumper to bumper in Chicago. Let's just say my husband was having a really tough time, and I got some great practice time to try out all the things you guys talk about! It was truly amazing. I sat there in the car while everyone else was falling apart and I actually felt such peace. It was so freeing to not be affected by my husbands mood. I just didn't take it personally. The weekend went wonderfully and we had a great time, and it know a lot of that was because I choose forgiveness and compassion instead of holding onto hurt and anger. Thanks so much for all your hard work in spreading this beautiful message. Love you guys!

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  7. I'm the same way as Mara in hotel rooms and my husband laughs that I wear flip flops in the shower but it totally grosses me out! And my husband doesn't care one bit about walking barefoot or laying on the bed. Yikes!

    These are all such good points. Truthfully my husband and I fight quite frequently and always have. I've read your blog for years and try to adapt these principles into my life. When I read your writings it rings so true but actually implementing them during a fight or when tension is high is so very difficult but worth practicing. I know if I can change my reactions to things that he would too at some point. We don't want to argue but it has become too quick and so much of a bad habit.

    Thank you for your time and dedication to this blog. I look forward to everything you write!

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  8. Sigh....this isn't travel related but my husband and I got in a big fight last night and these words are so encouraging. I'm pregnant and hormonal and lost my cool over absolutely nothing important last night and what I wanted most was just love, patience, and kindness to get me through the fit. Just like you guys talk about. One partner lifting the other one up when the other is down. But he doesn't get that. He thought I was acting like a child and that kind of behavior doesn't get rewarded with attention and affection. He left me alone to "figure it out." So I slept on the couch and still feel weird today. I love my husband so much and we rarely fight, but I feel it's important to get to a place like you guys always talk about - where when one acts out in a fit of frustration, the other responds with extra kindness so you can both get back to the place you would much rather be in. I emailed him Mara's words from the Cup of Jo post yesterday (towards the bottom) explaining what I was looking for last night, but we haven't talked about it yet. Any advice on how to get him to a place where he feels like he's not "giving in" or "losing" by responding with kindness rather than coldness? I hope I can get him to read this post and come to the realization on his own, but I don't know. I may just have to practice letting go instead.

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    1. Anon - The truth of the matter is, you're going to have to practice it alone without any expectation of him joining you. It is the expectation itself that will create the future disappointment and frustration when he doesn't do "his part".

      The truth is, that's what Mara and I are doing each time this circumstance arises. The one who isn't carried away in emotion at the moment needs to practice it alone, with no expectation of results. They must practice it, not because they expect to be treated that way in return, but because it is the way they like to treat someone else, period.

      Any other motivation, and it is subject to lots of frustration.

      There is hope though....the better that you get at practicing it, the more likely it is that situations will not elevate as frequently or for as long. Like they say, it takes two to tango, and if one refuses to play that game, the escalations stop.

      Do it because it's who you want to be. Perhaps, if you are consistent enough at it, one day he will be curious about what has changed, and then you can have a different kind of discussion and explain that there was a time when you took his moments of weakness personally, but that you no longer do that. Instead when he has a moment of weakness, it inspires in you compassion, and patience, and love.

      That just might get him to consider his own path :)

      Good luck my friend!
      Danny

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  9. I LOVE when you said "The key is what the other person decides to do in that moment they see their partner struggling most." When my husband and I went to Hawaii for our second anniversary, we went snorkeling off of a catamaran. I have a very serious phobia of deep bodies of water but my husband, who I adore, is practically part fish so I never told him about my deepest fear. When the time came to jump off the boat, I tried to psych myself into not being afraid because I wanted my new husband to think I was brave. As soon as I jumped in the water and saw blackness beneath me, I started to hyperventilate. I had never been so scared in my life and I was embarrassed that he would think less of me. Instead of rolling his eyes or being annoyed to be held back from this much-anticipated experience, my sweet husband held my hand and looked at me with so much love and concern. We couldn't speak (because we were underwater and all) but I could see that he genuinely wanted me to feel safe and loved. He never acted like a martyr or seemed annoyed to be by my side as he held my hand as we made our way through the shallowest parts of the water. It made me realize that my previous bad experiences with people in water (which sparked my phobias), didn't have to be about fear - fear of the thing itself but also the fear of rejection or ridicule. I love my husband more for not letting this experience ruin his adventure, but instead, it deepened our love and concern for each other.

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    1. Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing. And yes, I think your right....being willing to do this for others helps them shed the fears of failure and inadequacy.

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  10. I am not married but have traveled quite a bit with a lot of different people. And boy have there been some travel disasters. A group of us running for a train in London, I make it on and turn around just in time to see the doors shut in the faces of the rest of my group. As a result they didn't make the flight home and I did. Another time all the ticket kiosks were down in Italy so we wasted two hours trying to buy a train ticket thus making us miss a flight. Or that time in Argentina when there was a pilot strike during the middle of our trip and we didn't know if our flight to Patagonia was ever going to leave, 13 hours later it finally did.

    As far as getting lost, how about spending hours trying to find castle ruin in Ireland only to find it at the bottom of a very steep hill on a road that is just wide enough for us to get our car down. And it's raining so our progress is halted by a massive mud puddle. Our only option is to drive the car in reverse back up the narrow, slippery, rocky road. It's Ireland so it's a manual and everything is on the opposite side...stressful does not even begin to describe. Was the ruin worth it? NO. Clifden Castle is not worth the trek.

    Surprisingly none of these situations turned into huge blowouts. I am not much of a fighter though, maybe my companions weren't either? I don't know. I do think it is easier to hold your tongue with friends than with family. My tendency, when I am really upset is to retreat from the group rather than attack which I am aware still creates tension. I've been working on that. But it's also important to keep in mind that these disasters make for the best stories.

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  11. Words to live by...“We don't take each other's moments of weakness personally. Instead, we see the other person with an extra dose of compassion if for some reason they are not being themselves.”

    I am a Cup of Jo reader and just discovered your blog last night. Your journey is incredible!

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    1. Welcome Staci. And yes, they are words to live by...ones we seek to live by each and every day. Sometimes it is easier than other times, and it's easier with some people than other people....and yet it is always worth the effort.

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  12. Then add 4 little girls to the mix and you'll have some doozy travel stories!! Haha! We are an expat family and have lived in 3 different countries and our whole life is traveling. Yes, there are a lot of things we have gotten down to a science and the kids travel great, but we have our fare share of crazy travel stories that in the moment could have torn us apart but we chose to sit back and relax. We have always said that traveling this much will either make or break your family and we have seen both so many times. With this lifestyle, we have seen some of the strongest marriages in the world and also those that crumbled after 1 tour. But, we love every moment!!

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  13. So relate to the food planning, even if you're not on a restricted diet, and love food, but don't necessarily eat just anything in sight. I call it getting "hangry" when blood sugar level gets low, and your casual search for the right place to grab a bite takes a turn and there's no going back. There's a great chapter in the book, "Blood, Bones and Butter" by Gabrielle Hamilton, where she hits that moment and her husband is trying to find exactly what she needs; as irrational as it may sound to some people, I related completely. I had my husband read that chapter when we got married, so he'd understand that exact feeling I get, and we were able to laugh about it. You both would get a laugh out of it I think, describes it perfectly.

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    1. Sounds like you nailed it! Maybe we'll have to look that one up.

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  14. I have just discovered your blog and I absolutely love it, I think what you do is really beautiful and inspiring. I also can relate to your food planning - I'm vegan and I know how hard it is to find something to eat when travelling. I'm often amazed how patient my fiancé is when we try to find a restaurant or a shop that would cater for my dietary requirements, it's very sweet.
    By the way, I really enjoyed your post on Cup of Jo.

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  15. I'm sure when we travel my husband wants a "get out of jail free card"....he calls me his navigator...however that put a lot of responsibility on me in the car. I'm terrified in the car...you probably want a good reason..but it's kind of complex. He is calm and kind...and me well lets just say I could up my meds a bit while traveling. Oh and the eating thing...can't get into...that's for a whole new blog post. Ps..I'm improving day by day. :)

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  16. We took a trip to London and Paris for our honeymoon but in the early planning stages couldn't decide whether to take the chunnel train directly to Paris or take a ferry over, spend a day or two in Normandy, and then head to Paris. Leading up to the trip, we were super busy planning our wedding and getting as much work done as possible (both of us were self-employed)... And sitting in our hotel room in London one night, two days before we were supposed to be in Paris, we realized we'd never made a definitive plan regarding how we'd actually get there.

    We remained surprisingly calm upon this realization and it did not result in an argument or pointing fingers. I thought my husband would be angry, but he wasn't. Phew! So we got online immediately and made chunnel reservations. The only seats still available were these teeny-tiny pull-down benches in the luggage area between cars, and being so last-minute they cost us about as much as our plane tickets had. A very expensive mistake! But I was proud of how we handled it. On the train there was even another couple sitting in the luggage area with us who had made the same error, so the four of us were able to commiserate and laugh about the situation. :)

    During our honeymoon, there were other bumps in the road. We were stressed about the trip being over budget due to the chunnel snafu; we had several rainy days that interfered with our plans; we had disagreements about where and when to eat. But the key is to take it all in stride, let go of ego (as Mara suggests), and instead of seeing those things as setbacks, think of them as adventures. Sudden torrential downpour in the park with no umbrella=an excuse to romantically huddle under a tree. The museum you walked allll the way to is closed for the day=a chance to explore a neighborhood you otherwise wouldn't have ventured to. And our disagreements about food/meals led to finding unexpected things to try.

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  17. I so totally agree with The Amazing Race idea! You guys would be perfect as everyone just gets frustrated with their partners and loose focus. And the prize is a cool $1M. :) Love your posts as always xx

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  18. My husband needs a lot more sleep than I do, and when we travel I feel like I need even less because the adrenaline and excitement keeps me going. Not him! He needs time to sleep a full 8 hours, particularly with all the walking. I've learned to social media it up, plan to do nothing one night or one morning mid trip, and he sacrifices some late nights and tired moments for me.

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  19. We'd like to get traveling so we could try this out.

    No, seriously, we have traveled and the arguments sound too familiar. Usually it's me who says too much when I should just bite my tongue. Great advice here that I'd like to put to use!

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  20. would it be possible for you to write a detailed post about going gluten free? I am attempting to go gluten free, but I feel so overwhelmed. Your insight would be greatly appreciated!

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    1. Mara's done quite a few Gluten Free posts, but I realized we don't really have a category for that. For now I'd just type "gluten free" in the search bar on the right side of the blog and you should find a few articles that will help you (stuff on why she did it, a few recipes that have helped replace some staples, GF snacks to keep on hand, and a number of other things.)

      We have an AWESOME gluten free / dairy free pizza we've been making for the last few months, and keep intending to post about it. Hopefully it will make it up here soon enough :)

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  21. Thank you so much for that post, since I was reading it more for the thoughts on how to not engage in a fight than for the traveling part. I am German, my boyfriend is American and we have been together for three years now. The moment we met we knew we were meant for each other. In weak moments, language barriers and also sometimes cultural differences don't seem to help calming the situation down and recently we seemed to be becoming less kind, patient and loving with each other. Reading your post last night seemed like a revelation to me and I shared it with my partner. Even though what you mention are the principles we grew up with and want to live by, we sometimes get fought in the moment. So thank you for making us aware of those fundamental ideas again! We may still need some practice but we are getting there. Since we're moving soon, we might put your words in a frame for the new apartment :-)

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  22. Gosh darn - this IS something we're great at (sometimes our view on politics and family differ... but this, we're good on). We missed an international flight on our first international trip - it was a connection. Both of us just went into 'rational' mode - making it work. Making sure the other was ok (emotionally, but hunger, thirst, bathroom). We made the positives of being stuck in the airport even more = yay, this side has a starbucks, and a sunglasses shop and etc.

    We have been a little bit caught out with less than stellar rooms. But then we won't pay 'anything' - as in we have the same approach to money spending. Since the first time he turned his nose up at my choice (once we were checked in), I now get his 'buy in'. Which means, if it's not as good as x or y, then we both decided it was acceptable with the photos we had. And the latest hotel was dated, but sufficient, and he mostly just kept the whinge to himself. Awww!

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  23. Great post! My husband & I travel really well together, and I'd say our #1 trick is also making sure we are both fed (though mainly me!). That goes for travel and regular life, actually. In fact, if I haven't eaten and start to get testy my husband won't even argue with me until I've had a snack. Another good tip is that when you DO get in an argument, find the humor in it after. The only fight we have gotten in while traveling was in a canoe that could only go left in Vietnam, and we both look back at it now and laugh so hard. We were screaming at each other, while totally random stuff was happening (we passed a dog in a cage on a 4'by4' dock in the middle of nowhere?) but the second we got back to our boat I hugged him and praised the lawd we made it!

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    1. I love it! Mara and I do this too. In fact, as we were writing the post, we both kept laughing at the examples that we used because they were always worthy of a good chuckle, especially when removed from the situation.

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  24. I'm a new reader - just came over from Cup of Jo - and I'm really enjoying your reading. I can so relate to this. My husband and I normally travel really well together (even bonding over the actual worst hotel situation EVER in India) but once in a while I totally lose it on him. It's usually over his desire/ability to continuously walk, walk, walk, W-A-L-K, and then walk some more. Normally I love strolling hand in hand through a new city but every once in a while can we not just catch a cab/take the subway/sit down?! My feet are killing me! :-)

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  25. I was so excited to see you on Cup of Jo today (a day later than posted)! We travel a ton, and I since having little ones, I've learned to take airport delays in a whole new light. I actually enjoy them now, because it's more time they can run around and blow off steam and not be confined to an extremely small space. I used to just go crazy with impatience, now I take it as time to get a nice coffee, spread out, and play!

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  26. Hangry: a state of anger caused by lack of food; hunger causing a negative change in emotional state.

    As triathletes, my friends and I are very susceptible to bouts of Hangry especially when traveling together to races. Discovering this term helps us laugh at each other and our hangry moments.

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  27. I can totally relate on so many levels! I'm GF and DF as well - and for some reason I delude myself into thinking there will be something out there I can eat when travelling - wrong! In this situation, I often will just not eat - which turns me into a grumpy - cannot be reasoned with person - or eat something that I regret. The only solution is planning. As for a blow up, as has been mentioned many times above driving and getting lost. I feel like navigation is not one of my strong points, and my husband is almost always driving. I was just boasting to my in-laws last week about how much better my navigation skills have gotten - while driving to a destination where a few minutes later made us take a wrong turn and a 30 minute detour - nice!! We moved to eastern PA a few years ago and I'm still getting us lost, even to places we've been before. Thankfully my husband is very patient - he does get irritated, but the best thing that I've found that helps is just to apologize and tell him I'm not intentionally trying to get us lost!

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  28. Ha! This is a great post-- all principles I'm trying to take to heart, but less easy to apply in real life. My husband and I travel quite a bit, and while we don't often bicker, we have had two or three spectacular fights (most notably while up on MACHU PICCHU almost ruining our whole visit!! yikes.) As others have mentioned, the biggest help is to make sure neither of us is hungry (or goes too long without sleep, in my husband's case). The tricky part is that I know I get hangry... but my husband insists that he doesn't (he totally does). So I always have to be the one to make sure that we don't go too long without eating, which I often forget in my zeal to see everything, haha. I love your blog and am really enjoying your Ecuador posts! My husband's family is from Guayaquil, maybe we'll pay you guys a visit sometime soon. :)

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  29. One of my family's most favorite vacation memory is when we were on a two week trip in Europe. By the time we hit Rome - the five of us had been together crammed into small European hotels and a car for 7 days straight. Tensions were mounting. Poop finally hit the fan when we were in the Vatican. The whole family was just being snippy and drama queens so finally my dad made us all sit down so we could go through "storming" mode and get it all out.

    So there we were surrounded by history and beauty in the Vatican gardens under umbrellas (because of course it was raining) whisper venting our frustrations. Then we took a look around and realized how ridiculous we must have looked. Laughing until we were crying ensued and we all got over ourselves. One of our best family trips ever. And we laugh every time we retell the story.

    Traveling with my husband is so easy! For some reason - we just click and are on the same page. We've been through lost luggage in Italy while we were in France. Frantically changing airlines when our original flight was cancelled thus making us miss our international connection. Joining a stampede for rental cars in Orlando ... and we laugh every time. In fact, our favorite thing to do is keep a travel journal. At the end of each day during our trip - we'll write about the day happenings. It's fun to look back.

    Not to say that we don't snip at each other now and then when we travel - so your tips are such a wonderful reminder! Check your ego at the door! :)

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  30. Wow, I think this was my favorite post ever. I have asked in the past for examples like this and I think other people have, too and you really delivered! Thank you for being so specific about potential stress points and how you deal with them. It's really easy to understand how each of these issues could become fights. This was super helpful! Thank you. My husband and I have very different personalities (he's a major extrovert and I'm just as major in the other direction) and different desires for how to spend time.

    For example, it's taken us almost 5 years of marriage to figure out how to enjoy nature simultaneously :) I'm a sitter. I love vistas. I like to just sit in the sun or on a good high place and soak it in. He's a doer. We learned he can be with me if he has a fire to tend, or a fishing pole, or other people to talk to. First I had to accept that he was never going to just sit next to me (as my imaginary husband did in my fantasies).

    I really love how this post talks about real differences and how they don't have to impede harmony in marriages. Bravo.

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    1. Glad it hit home...and dang those imaginary husbands! Good thing they don't need to ruin all the fun.

      One thing that I think is interesting, is because Mara and I are both so aware of what the other would prefer or need or whatever in that kind of a situation...there ends up being a lot of gratitude shared back and forth. For example, with the museum stuff, since I know that she's not as interested my heart is always extra grateful that she'd give me the time to learn and explore and understand....which I regularly express to her.

      So whereas the initial difference could have been cause for a fight, it now turns into an opportunity to express love and gratitude, and deepens the best parts of a relationship.

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  31. The only time I can think of my husband and I fighting on a trip (that didn't include the kids) is when he lost his prescription glasses in the ocean. We had been out shell hunting and he decided he wanted to just take a dip in the ocean, even though we hadn't planned on that. I asked him if he wanted me to hold his glasses and he said no, he wasn't even going to get his head wet. 2 minutes later I hear him yelling "Come help me find my glasses". Needless to say, they weren't found and that meant we had to spend more of our vacation time than I wanted getting new glasses, which included a long drive to the main land and a toll each time we had to cross over. It also means that we have some very humorous looking pictures of him at various photo ops with his sports specs on, which are not very trendy looking at all. While I did resist the urge to say I told you so, I did let him know how displeased I was with the interruption of our vacation. Luckily we were with another couple and I chose not to take out too much of my frustration. He also nicely suggested a pedicure while he sat for a fitting for his glasses and we did enjoy the rest of our lovely vacation.

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  32. My husband and I are much the same. We rarely have disagreements, and when we do we are able to handle it quickly and gently. I love that he has the patience of a saint, he makes life so much better than it could be!

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