If there's something I've been no stranger to this year, it's been time apart from loved ones. Traveling is amazing and I love what I do, however long days on the road — away from my husband, family, and friends — are tough.
When this blog first started out, I was traveling on my own for no more than a week or so at a time, and maybe just once, at most twice a month. Fast forward to this year, and the time on the road has tripled, often being cases where Travis could not come. For those who don't know my husband, he works remotely, so in cases of trips in the US, he'll often join (I recently did an interview with him, check it out here!). This past year I set the goal to do more international travel, and I had no clue how it would actually play out. This year has brought more than 9 international trips so far. It's been an absolute blessing, a new road to navigate, and has had its triumphs and turbulence.
At first, for Travis and I, figuring out how to stay connected while on the road was challenging. Going from one extreme to another — either completely apart or together 24/7 — proved to be tough at first. The time when I would go for a work trip and the time when I came home each took several months to figure out how to re-calibrate. The trips where I had no service made it even harder to be connected while on the road. With all of that said, Travis and I made it a goal early on to always keep balance in the relationship no matter what surprises, elements, or distance presented themselves.
For us, it's been a fun challenge to tackle together — how to stay connected on the road. We found a few things that helped us keep that "special bond" while apart.
(1) The first has always been centered around simple communication. Letting each other know what our schedule is (if I'll have service to talk, or if there's time to hop on a call). Setting accurate expectations in advance helps ensure neither one of us is disappointed if the other cannot get on the phone or respond immediately.
(2) The second way we stay connected while on the road is through technology. Sure a phone call is great, but face to face interaction is king. We use Facetime at least 2-3x a week. Even a quick 5-minute hello goes a long way. Snapchat has become our best friend, as it allows us to share more of the small moments during the day. I love getting snaps of our cats and little videos of what's going on — it's much more powerful then a static photo.
(3) The third way, and for us the most challenging way to stay connected, actually isn't even on the road. Yup, that's right, not on the road. It's actually when we get home together. After time apart, it's easy to settle into one's own rhythm and having someone else inserted into our individual flows can be disruptive and challenging to reconcile. So we call this period the "recalibration" time, where we consciously adjust to each others way of going throughout the day. Before I or he comes home, we always plan something to do together, so we have something to look forward to do and some designated time to reconnect. Whether it's dinner at our favorite restaurant, or getting a cup of coffee over lunch, being intentional about creating that time together to share about our experiences while we were apart helps us reconnect and get on the same page faster.
It's always a learning curve, as it is with all relationships. Learning to stay connected while on the road is constantly evolving, and is a fun process that we both get to partake together in.