One question and comment I get all the time from married people is that the one writing me (equally often the man or woman) wants and needs to travel and be mobile, but the other partner does not. It’s tragic how often that happens! Of course, there is no way I can offer any genuine solution to this painful situation–each of us must make our way through that minefield alone. However, I do have several advantages over the average person that gives me a little more insight and so in today’s post, I want to try to offer some thoughts about your choices and possible results of whatever you decide. These are my qualifications:
- I’ve been there and done that. It was an extremely painful and bitter divorce that forced me into living in a van, so I know just how devastatingly painful it can be.
- My second marriage ended in separation and divorce for this very reason, I absolutely needed to travel and she needed to stay home. Ultimately we simply couldn’t compromise enough and we ended up divorcing. I can talk to you as one who has done it.
- In my many years on the road, I’ve known many others in this exact situation, both men, and women. And I’ve seen that some were able to keep their marriages going by the art of compromise, and others simply had to end them.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but hopefully, I can give you some food for thought to help you make your best decision.
I’m not going to talk about what to do if there are children involved because that drastically changes everything and I think I can only do more harm than good by offering you any suggestions.
When a couple (married or not, same sex or not) find themselves with radically different needs (one to travel and the other to stay home), it rarely works out well. Anytime you are in a win-lose situation the long term prospects are not good. Almost inevitably, the one who fails to get his/her way will slowly build resentments and bitterness that poison the marriage even if they stay together. That means the one who got their way only appears to have won; in fact, they lost because now they probably have to deal wth the passive-aggressive (and probably increasingly directly aggressive) feelings and actions of the hurt party.
A win-lose situation almost inevitably turns into a lose-lose situation! It’s by far better to search hard for a compromise so that both of you can be happy, a win-win. Neither of you may get all you want, but at the minimum, you need to get enough to live happily ever after.
The alternative I see very often is the one partner takes extended trips while the other stays home. The length of the trip will vary by the need of the partner with itchy feet. It might be measured in weeks, months or even seasons. I’ve had friends who go out 2 weeks at a time, 2 months at a time, or for the entire summer or winter.
I’ve seen that work very well for both partners, but I’ve equally often seen it end in divorce in the long run. The problem is the partner left at home can start feeling like they are the loser in the situation. After all, they got in a relationship to have a partner and instead they find themselves home alone constantly. There is a very strong risk of them developing their own resentments and bitterness which poisons the marriage.
So, let me tell you my story: in my second marriage, my wife needed to be in a home and with her hands in the soil–that’s what made her happiest. Nothing wrong with that, it was just what she needed to be happy. Unfortunately, it made me very unhappy!! After living 6 years totally wild and free in a van, I could not re-adapt to living in a house–I despised it. But, we wanted the marriage to work so we tried making compromises. I started out with short trips of a week or two duration and then they slowly turned into ever longer trips interspersed throughout the year. Sadly we both soon realized that wasn’t working for either of us. For her, I was gone too much, and for me, I was home too much in a house I hated.
On my last trip, which was to last 4-6 months, we both knew I wasn’t coming back; I simply could not go on living that way–I literally spent my every day at home sitting in front of a TV waiting to die.
We cared enough about each other to let the other go, we knew our lives would ultimately be better and happier apart than they were together so we agreed we needed to separate. We each gave the other our blessings and hopes that we would both follow our very different dreams into our very best life possible. I believe we have both done that, and I am very grateful to her for her wisdom and courage.
No one can tell you what to do, but it seems to me that when there is only pain in the immediate (and even long-term) future, the important question is which path offers the most possibility of returning to a happy life? If not for both of you, then at least one of you. And, hopefully with the minimum amount of pain for both of you. Here are some things for you to consider while making your decision:
- The Universe gave you two hands for a very important reason, one to take care of yourself, the other to take care of others. Keep them in balance at all times, giving equal care to yourself and others. Getting them out of balance probably means pain in the long run.
- You deserve to be happy and you should ignore anyone who tells you differently. You don’t have any moral obligation to your religion, society or your family to stay in an unhappy marriage. Your first moral obligation is to be happy (that first hand)!
- If you are a woman, ignore societal indoctrination that keeps screaming in your ear that only HIS happiness is important!! That’s a lie! You’ve spent your whole life serving others, it’s your turn!
Here are some scenarios and how it can play out in the long run:
- You stay together and do NOT compromise. One of you is guaranteed to be unhappy (and probably resentful) for the rest of your life and the other is unlikely to be happy either.
- You stay together and compromise. It’s entirely possible that can work well for you–I’ve seen it happen. However, it’s at least as likely one or both of you will end up with resentments and bitterness and both your lives will be much worse off than if you had split. And then you finally divorce anyway, prolonging the pain.
- It’s very possible that right now neither of you are happy in the marriage–you just stay together for convenience. Many married couples would rather be mildly unhappy together rather than go through the pain of divorce and then being alone. Sadly, fear of being alone in an unknown future is worse than being unhappy for the rest of our lives. It’s very possible that if you force yourself through the pain of divorce, you will both end up happier than ever and glad you endured the pain to make it happen. This was true for both of my failed marriages.
- If you split now and now and you follow your heart of being a nomad, you will go through a great deal of pain now, but then very likely will ultimately be the happiest you have ever been. That’s what happened to me. But not just me, both of my ex-wives ended up moving on with their lives and being very glad we split.
There is no right answer through this situation, there is only making your best judgment call trying to cause as little harm and hurt as you can. The single most important thing is to set your intention to make your decisions and take every action as lovingly and kindly as possible, seeking the greatest good for the both of you with the least harm.
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And here I’d been wishing to have a partner, period, so that I’d have someone who’d be happy to keep the home fires burning so that I could have my life both ways [wry g]. Speaking as someone who ended up divorced twenty-odd years ago at least partly due to an inability to compromise geographically, I thank you for your perspective.
Can you aim me towards some resources (message boards, Facebook groups, etc.) where someone who is serious about going on the road full time but doesn’t really know where to begin with the logistics, etc., can go ask questions and get helpful answers? Not just articles to read, but people to talk with and get feedback from?
Here’s a good place to start.
Another very good forum with helpful people. (Including me) 🙂
I’d strongly suggest you join my forum, you’ll get all the ideas, help, encouragement and friends you could ever need. Find it here:
I have the biggest lump in my throat, stifling my tears. If I start crying, I will go back into the black hole that I climbed out of a couple years ago.
I just turned 69, am in good health and want to travel.
So many years ago moving to my husbands home “island” …..yes, I resent him so much every day. Especially when he brags to others. “I live where I love to live and work at what I love to do”
Me, not so much and it has only gotten worse times 10 since my children live half a country away. If only I had the courage.
My husband and I are wrangling with this. He doesn’t mind going out with me, but he’s afraid to let go a a stationary home. Our compromise is to buy an inexpensive double wide trailer in a nice trailer park. It’s fairly cheap to buy and maintain, and he has a safety net to come home to.
I have a couple of friends that are both Owner/Operator, Husband/Wife Team Truck Drivers so they are rarely home but want a place to call home. One couple calls ‘home’ a large RV in a nice RV Park with all the amenities. The other couple owns a doublewide for all her ‘stuff’. It’s been working well for 20 plus years. They visit their ‘home’ whenever their loads are routed close by the home.
That’s nice to hear it works. We are setting it all up now.
That does sound like a great arrangement, I hope it works great for you!
Thanks Mike, that’s great information.
Jello, that sounds like an excellent solution, good for you for finding a great path through this potential minefield!
I have one of those I-go-she-stays arrangements.
In our case we sort of transitioned into it. I spent the first 20 of our 35 years together traveling internationally for 2 to 6 weeks at a time, often, then spent the last 10 years of my working life traveling less but living at the office during the week and coming home on the weekends. (Home is 380 sq. ft. in the corner of a barn consisting a single multipurpose room and a bathroom on 14 remote acres too far from anywhere to commute daily.) As retirement loomed she often asked me what I was going to do during the week because I sure wasn’t staying home with her!
During the 5 years I’ve been retired I’ve been home for as much as 4 months at a time (During the heat and crowds of summer.) and on trips ranging from 3 months down to 5 days. She actually doesn’t like me going on the shorter trips, it doesn’t give her enough time to adjust and spread out. (I’m one of those keep-everything-in-its-place-and-neat kind of guys, she likes to leave stuff in no particular order on every available flat surface.)
It’s funny when I leave. We’re both a bit sad about being separated, but we are both excited as well, me for hitting the road, her for getting her space.
When I do come back there is some adjustment for both of us, but we also have a greater appreciation for each other.
This arrangement would not work for either of my siblings, nor for any of my cousins, but then again, I always have been considered the odd-ball of the family. . .
Greg, you are living proof that there is no “one-size-fits-all” way to live or be married. It’s just whatever works for you, and this seems to work extremely well for you!
My “voice of experience” is just to recommend what Bob said: don’t choose unhappiness. That and study who you are and what you can and cannot do, then communicate kindly, honestly and clearly. Listen well. Then make decisions based on your and your partner’s needs. If they are not compatible, giving each person half of their needs probably will not work. My wife and I wound up in Tucson, which for me was a fine starting point. It’s a longer story than I can tell here, but we wound up going back to where the grandkids lived and eventually split up anyhow, with all the loving intentions but on different paths.
Calvin, it’s always great to hear the voice of another one who has been there, done that. You offer great advice!
Bob, Very well written. I couldn’t agree more.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a person say – I’d love to travel but my spouse doesn’t. I see the wistful look they give me because I can do whatever my pocket book will allow.
You very wisely point out that compromise half stable, half mobile lifestyle usually doesn’t work. It just means half the time, one of the couple is unhappy and the other isn’t entirely happy either because they know their preferred lifestyle won’t last very long.
There are times, I look longingly at couples who travel together while I do it alone. As I age, the hitching up, packing up takes longer and I need longer rest times between – but this lifestyle makes me the happiest – so I’ll do it as long as I possibly, possibly can.
I understand Pam and I feel the same way. Living mobile is the only thing that’s ever made me happy, I really have no choice about it.
Very well Said & Written! ???
Thank you Debrajoy!
I forwarded your email on to a friend who has this issue. She asked how to subscribe to your blog and i when i click on “stay connected with me” nothing happens, nor can i find a “contact me” link. I can’t seem to find where to have her subscribe, as I did it quite a long time ago. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
Where it says “Stay Connected to Me”, just below it is a box that says “Subscribe to my Blog my Email” Click inside that and then type in your email and you will start getting my blog posts in your email. Let me know if you have any problems with that.
“Don’t Choose Unhappiness” could be the foundation of a life philosophy! As a recovering depressive, consciously turning away from decisions to feel bad has been essential to my survival.
I also want to appreciate your inclusiveness, Bob. You really do have a sense of a woman’s POV in a way I fear most men don’t. Also, thank you for acknowledging ‘non-tradition’ couples, straight and gay.
Keep up the great work.
Those are wise words Patrise. It’s amazing how hard it is for most of us to simply NOT choose unhappiness. Mainly because Society brainwashes us into expecting unhappiness in our lives and tries very hard to convince us it’s normal, but wanting to be happy is really abnormal. Very sad.
This is a tough subject and one I am currently wrestling with. Thx for your perspective Bob – you have clearly defined all the potential pitfalls and options. After reading your wise words and anticipating what to do in the spring I will continue to take solace in the words of another wise man who once said – ‘If you come to a fork in the road, take it.’ – Yogi Berra
Tony, I can never even think of being in the same league as the great Yogi Berra! But that is very good advice!
I just heard it again yesterday!
I am back in my hometown for a month getting caught up with all things medical before year end. In describing what I’ve been doing for the past year a well intentioned aquaintence said “Don’t travel alone – find a friend, relative, someone, to travel with you. Just, whatever you do, not travel by yourself.” He was emphatic and absolute.
I turned the question back to him. My husband is long dead, my daughter grown and busy with her own life. My friends and family are (jealous but) not interested in the commitment to a different lifestyle.
In short, there is no one to travel with.
Given that, is he saying I must stay put?
Of course, he shrugged and changed the subject.
My answer is the only thing you MUST do is follow your dreams and insist on being happy. Once you take care of those, everything else will fall into place.
I think this situation depends on what the original intentions, circumstances, and understandings were when you decided to get together and or get married in the first place.
If the original plans were to get together and live in a house, apt, or whatever with roots, then suddenly YOU get the idea that it would be nice to get rid of the roots and move into a vehicle to become a nomad, then that’s not fair to the one that wants to remain in the original rooted plans. Just keep in mind that you are the wrong person in this situation.
I think this happens quite a bit.
That sounds a little sophomoric and is sure to end in tears and bitterness if one clings to the old resentments.
I’m divorced for many of the reasons Bob stated in this excellent blog entry. It is good to know that my ex is doing well and living her dreams, as I get to live mine as well.
I’ve always loved to travel and married a homebody. The funny part is that she developed the travel bug a couple of years after our divorce,and traveled to many interesting places. No resentment on my part. We all have to walk our own path through this life. My preference is to travel light and resentment is the heaviest bag I’ve ever carried.
I can’t imagine sharing my bed with a woman held hostage to an agreement signed while we were still in our 20’s. It certainly explains why many married couples have poor sex lives.
Steve, think about this, at 17and 364 days old, a child can’t enter into any legally binding contracts, but the next day, at 17 and 365 days he can commit himself to a legally binding contract for the rest of his life. That contract is marriage and it comes with a strangle hold on your own heart and the heart of another human being. That’s totally idiotic, as far as I’m concerned it’s a wonder any marriages entered into before 30 last at all. No one knows themselves at those early years. They don’t know who they are or what life is all about, but they are assumed to be ready to make this biggest of all decisions. It’s insane and even more insane to think they are obligated to keep that ill-conceived contract.
Oh true that is ….. What I wanted at eighteen was to leave country life behind. At 58….. I find that I loved the majority of my life as a displaced country girl … Longing for open spaces.
Welcome to the club Nancy, time spent in the cities soon wears us down and we long for as much connection to nature as we can get.
What a well-said point Bob. Given the odds one wonders what how very differently that Once-and-Forever-Decision by what is often an emotional youngster would be viewed if they were going all in with the same odds at a casino game.
Best words I heard that helped me to get through all the tangled web of reasons to stay in the status quo…. “Someone loves your partner 100% just the way they are right now, if you care for them at all, how can you continue to block them from finding that person??” The woman I was married to was so much happier after we parted, but getting to that point was the most difficult and painful episode of our lives.
Clean-sheet exercise, “If you were each just now meeting, what would be your choices?”
Casey, that is some truly excellent advice and counsel!! Thank you so much!
Wow, Bob, I cannot believe that this was your blog post today. This morning, I was thinking that I needed to go to Cheaprvliving forums and post in the Newcomer’s section. I was planning to post how I want to travel yet my husband will NOT. He will not even consider it. I told him just the other day that I really don’t know what he enjoys doing together besides going out to eat, going to the movies and watching tv. It seems to me that his only happiness comes from visiting his grandchildren(who live very far away so we fly to see them for 5 days twice a year) and taking care of his parents (who live 15 minutes away).
I of course enjoy visiting his grandchildren with him and am happy to visit his parents each week(not each day as he does), but I would like to travel and to camp also.
Although I don’t have to be around people all of the time, I am a little bit afraid of venturing out totally by myself. I know myself well enough that I believe that if I venture out by myself I will become a total introvert. I don’t feel that I am very good at making new friends because I don’t want to impose myself on others because I fear rejection.
Thank you for this blog post. It is something that I already have been thinking long and hard about and helps me to hear.
I can’t really add anything to what I wrote in the blog post except to truly, deeply urge you to insist on being happy. If not now, when? You aren’t here to just take up space and go through the motions of living. You are here to LIVE, deeply and well and right now.
If you will join my little tribe of nomads for a trial run, I’m confident that it will put your fears of retreating inside yourself to rest. I truly believe you will make more deep friendships on a few days than you have in your whole life. You have nothing to lose by coming out and trying it out.
I’ve been married a few times — all of them ended for various reasons. Approaching retirement, I was on Match.com (looking for love 🙂 and I shared with one of my online groups what I was looking for. One of the gals in that group said I was unrealistic — completely unreasonable — and that I would *never* find any woman willing to give up her ‘needs’ and compromise just to make me happy . . . and who did I think I was to ask so much anyway? So I used my own life as a 30-day test on Match.com to prove her (hopefully) wrong. My profile actually began “This is a test. This is only a test until (whatever the date was — 30 days out). In that profile, I was as brutally honest as I had ever been in my entire life — laid out *exactly* who and what I was looking for (at the time a weekend-only gig as I wanted my alone time during the week when I was working — I also didn’t want my two rather large cats to be an initial burden on anyone else). I also mentioned the date of my last date at work and that I would be rolling out the next day — with or without new love in my life.
Several gals responded postively — and several more who weren’t interested but were intrigued by my highly-unusual ‘profile’ and wanted to encourage me nonetheless — and that’s how I met Annie! Our first date (initially supposed to be just a quick “meet and greet” over a beer) lasted seven hours — that could’ve been our sign. We married one year later (nearly to the hour) and have found ourselves to be highly compatible. She seems to enjoy this vagabond lifestyle as much as I do. 🙂 The bonus round has been her Dad (who fulltimed in a nice motorhome with Annie’s Mom for five years) who is our biggest ambassador for this lifestyle = two enthusiastic thumbs up at all times! He also gave us a Wave 6 catalytic safety heater (with a one-gallon propane tank), a custom elevated ‘first step’ platform with a Welcome mat bolted down on it, a like-new macerator pump in a carry case, a ‘blue whale’ for transporting blackwater, and offered us many other things we had to turn down because we had no room onboard to store them.
So I would say absolute honesty (with yourself and the other) is key. And another is to never lose sight of your goal. Even after Annie and I were living together and things were going well, I would remind her every month or so about how many months of working I had left and, “You understand that I *will* be rolling the next day, right?” She’s not eligible for early SS until 2020 but she chose to quit her good job and go with me. So we’re living the dream on my PERSI (after 15 years working for the state) and my early SS. We ain’t rich but we’re happy — and committed to living this way until we can no longer walk. 🙂
Now that is a magical love story!! Better than Cinderella!
There is no “early SS”, only SS you waited too long to take 🙂
There’s Social Security and Social Security Lite. For now, anyway. We’ll see what happens. We could end up with Social Security Zero.
Let’s hope not Al!
Al, they have been talking about SS demise since ever, yet, is still around…
My regards. Lucy.
Rob, everyone has their own theory on when to take SS, and e are all certain ours is the right way. The truth is, everyone must figure that out for themselves.
Your story makes my heart happy!
Hi Bob, Thanks for keeping it real. I have a great idea for you, you could start a dating site for RV people who want to meet others who are looking for a companion or mate. Since you are on the road and meeting people who might be interested in having a travelling partner you could hook them up with each other on a site and maybe even charge a fee to pay for the site and work you do on it. If you don’t maybe somebody else will. You could call it “TRAVELLING COMPANIONS” or whatever. Keep up the good work.
Steve, very creative !!
Ahaaaa, ‘ Traveling Companions’ sounds good ! or
” Traveling Companions ‘ by Cupid Bob… LOL.
Sounds good to me too!
Steve, that’s a great idea, and I’d love to do it, but i don’t have time to do everything on my plate now–no chance of me taking on while new project–but it is a great idea.
Great article Bob, very important topic. I would like to say this is an evolving process for me, that has been going on a long time.
My husband is well aware that I crave an alternative lifestyle and I have put many options on the table.
Fortunately, he does want to take extended road trips while sleeping in a vehicle. He does not seem to care about RVs which is a tremendous relief to me.
Recently I impulsively bought a 2004 Ford F150 crew cab. For now, it has a nice cover. Worst case, I could store my stuff in the bed and sleep in the cab. Having a getaway vehicle, I breathed a hugh sigh of relief. It’s in my name only, and the insurance and payments are low.
My husband KNOWS that if I decide to run away from home I WILL do it. This is also a relief. No secrets.
I would like to clarify what I really crave. Figuring this out is a process for some people. Well worth doing.
I don’t crave being nomadic. I crave living in a little tiny space in which the few things I own are useful and meaningful.
I crave having no people around unless they are like minded.
I crave mountains, trees, rivers and streams. I would like to spot a wolf, a badger, any and all wildlife.
My deepest craving is being off grid. I don’t want to pay bills or depend on society for anything.
These dreams are more in conflict with my health than they are with my husband.
He has agreed that it would be great to save up for the right truck cap, and build out the bed and cap enclosure.
He has NOT AGREED to sell my house, to have a set of composting toilet buckets pee/poop need two buckets, to stealthily bury the contents in the woods every few days. He has not agreed to rough camping. And he has not agreed to buy unzoned, unimproved land for a base and to hang out growing vegetables for a few months.
I want a combination of Bob’s dispersed camping with a tract of land with a hand pump well that will always be mine. Bob mentioned a guy who is already doing that.
My dream is more like a kid building a fort than it is full time nomad. But the truck is a perfect compromise. And my husband is making progress.
Oh one other thing. The marriage has to be evaluated separately from the nomad dream. If it’s not viable anyway, why sweat the lifestyle difference?
Message to Bob: my husband is finally, reliably sober. We are getting along better than I ever thought possible.
So I will build sleeping space for two into the truck bed.
Most people don’t get what a great gift and what a concession that is to a loved one, but whoever is reading this blog probably does!
Karen, thank you so much for sharing your story, I could relate to every bit of it. I deeply admire that you KNOW what you NEED, and you will NOT let anything stand in your way. Don’t give up on that!
My mother yearned to travel. My father hated travel. So they stayed home. As she was dying from ovarian cancer at 70, she said she had hoped Dad would die first (he was nine years older) so she could have a few years to live the way she wanted, which included traveling. They were from a culture and religion that believed husbands made the rules and that divorce was the worst thing that could happen. So they stayed together. She died angry and bitter and resenting her husband. Don’t be like my parents.
Thanks Al, those are very wise words.
One thing that I cannot understand it is why people that have living together in the good and in the bad times have to finish in a bad way.
IMO marriage is more that a social formality or document, it is two special friends or soul mates (for the believers) that come together to experience this wonderful life.
When the children left the nest then for sure will be a way to compromise , perhaps having a “modest home base” to return to it when any of the two think that it is time for a change and then after “recharging the batteries” go a hit the road again.
Life it is about give and take and it should work between those that love each other. If there is no love then nothing will work.
“…it is two special friends or soul mates (for the believers) that come together to experience this wonderful life.”
Ideally, but there are a lot of less noble reasons people get married and stay together for decades. As my mother said (long before she figured out her life was going to end in disappointment), “I don’t know that I loved your father when I married him, but he was a good man. And he had a job, which was an important thing back then, in the Depression.”
I know Al Christensen, also some people are married due to a previous arrangement by the parents.
Sad really and it that situation, when possible a escape can be the only solution.
I as a child was terrified just to think that my parents can finish divorced, my childhood friends that have the parents separated suffered so much that that have an impact on me.
Lucky for me, my parents were together till the end of their life respecting the wishes of the life style or preferences of each other.
If they were happy?………I do not know..
Everybody seems to envy some other situation, unless they take charge and create their own life. I come from a “nuclear” family, as the politicians say. My parents hated each other at least as much as they ever loved each other. I never found anyone who could understand why they ever became a couple. Us kids urged each of them to get a divorce, but they never did. I envied kids who had one sane, reasonably contented full-time parent and visits with the other one. Now I don’t envy anyone because I’ve learned that I can only be me and that’s a good thing.
Very wise Calvin!
Arthur, in my experience things are rarely as simple as we think they should be, and that is 10,000 times more true when it comes to the human heart.
I know Bob, I am just over 70 years old and still try to understand human nature.
I guess that we have to accept that each of us have a path in this life and when we try to force it to bend is when things go wrong.
W I S E !!
Vanholio got divorced years ago for reasons other than this. BUT, I’ve also realized, looking at her life now and mine, that IF we’d stuck it out longer, why, we’d have come to this impasse. My itchy feet and her nesting wern’t meant to be.
It’s a surprisingly common problem.
There are two RV groups for singles already = LOWs (Loners on Wheels) and WIN (Wandering Individuals Network). For reasons unknown, they both have declining membership — perhaps because there are so many other ways to meet like-minded singles these days? I don’t know the details but Randy Vining was going to spend some time looking into it; dunno’ if he has gotten around to it yet.
Rather than looking for love and letting *that* be a condition which must be met before you launch out on your own, I would say launch yourself first and discover that life which makes *you* blissfully happy first. If you’re happy and feeling good about yourself, love will come around soon enough. Don’t let whether or not you have a partner define your “success” as an individual because it just doesn’t . . . never has . . . and never will.
I met my wife at a vandweller gtg.
It can be done.
That’s good news Robb–gives us all hope!
JIM…Wise, wise, wise !! & IF you can’t find ‘ love’ adopt a kitty ( or two ) adopt a dog ( or two ) and avoid the potential headaches a ‘ love ‘ could bring !! LOL.
My regards, Lucy.
Living in a van allows us to travel to new places while taking a comfortable, easily maintained home with us. Potted plants, sprout garden and all. Best of both.
Are you kidding, how in heavens can you grow plants in a van when it barely has room to live in it ??!!! LOL.
My regards, Lucy.
Anyway, what should people divorce over?
Irreconcilable differences. One want to live in a house and the other wants to live like a nomad.
Great topic. I grew up in a traveling family so it’s part of my DNA so to speak. After I sold my adventure travel company, my wife and I built our dream home and thought it would be enough. And, it was for ten years. But the expense and weight of it became more like an anchor that limited my travel life. And, my wife was happy with a new career in the ministry. So, at age 65, I decided to start all over again by going to grad school to get an MA in ESL and teach abroad for my next career. I loved the grad school experience and made the soccer team which made it all the more fun.
So, with my new degree my first university job was in Istanbul for two years followed by another two years in Amman, Jordan. I loved every minute of it, and my wife loved her experience as a minister. We met about every three months in a foreign capital exploring Europe and the Middle East. Eventually she retired and joined me where we decided to RV full time for seven years in the USA and Canada.
Our lifestyle worked because we were older, great and caring friends, and supportive of each other’s desires in retirement. Recently, we sold the RV and now live in a small, cozy apartment in Oregon. Yeah! I miss the RV life, so a few months ago I bought a Promaster van and slowly converting it to a camper for shorter trips. That way we’ll both have what we want. She’ll visit the kids and grandkids and I’ll be exploring the great American West once again on shorter but still exciting trips sometimes together, sometimes not. It’s a compromise, but one that works for us.
David, what a great life you have had!! Your memories must be amazing, and you’re still making more!! You have my deepest admiration.
Though it is many years away (hopefully), we’ve given some thought to what happens when we no longer want to drag our 33′ fifth wheel back and forth with the seasons and the expense of our one ton truck. A winter ‘solution’ is easy because of all the low-cost RV parks in southern AZ where one can leave their RV all summer long for only an extra $100 per year. But we haven’t found anything like that up north (yet!) though surely there is an RV park somewhere that would let us do something similar through the winter months when they are usually closed? It would require winterizing the RV of course and maybe building a roof over to protect it from the snow, but the idea is to have an RV down there; another one up north, and just drive a small car or whatever back and forth.
We currently avoid RV parks at all cost but that might change in the (hopefully) distant future. My niece and her tribe of seven are looking to get a place of their own with some land in Boise, ID so that might work out for us as a summer destination too. But, normally, I hardly give such things much thought at all — I prefer to spend my time in the right here and right now where all of the real living gets done 🙂
That’s a great plan Jim! I’d suggest consider getting an acre of land north and south but the issues of permits and codes makes that much more difficult than it sounds.
My brother in law retired quite well off, having sold his software company. He traveled internationally for much of his working life. Now that he is retired he has developed a sort of agoraphobia and rarely leaves the house. My sister, on the other hand would love to get an RV and travel, but after 30 years of marriage and pretty much having lived her life for he husband and kids feels she has no option other than to be house bound with her husband. What a shame to have all the means to do whatever you want and not be able to bring yourself to do it.
I have never had a successful relationship because I cannot stay put and have never found a soulmate who has the pick up and go need that I have. It seems you are born or develop to be one way or the other and compromise always means one person is not living a life that is compatible with their needs.
Ian, I think you are very right. Personally, I’m convinced that the idea of life-long monogamy is just another brainwashing tool off society to keep us enslaved. We know many, if not most hunter-gatherer tribes had easy separation, it wasn’t even as serious as divorce, they would just say, We aren’t together anymore” and it was done. The whole tribe raised the kids, not just the mother and father so those issues didn’t exist.
My wife and I pretty much wrote our vows during the marriage ceremony (after much thought, of course). Both of us said, “. . . as long as our love shall last,” because both of us knew better than to set a trap for ourselves. That has saved both of us some sleepless nights, I think.
Calvin, that’s smart !!
That’s very wise Calvin!
This is a subject that I’m still struggling with. My wife “loves” (quotes intentional) to travel, yet rarely has the motivation to do so without me taking the lead. She’s what I call a Closet Homebody.
I used to be the same, but feel I’ve grown as a person throughout our 13-year relationship, and now prefer to downsize and travel vs. spend my working hours supporting the money-suck that is home ownership – even more so that now that the kids are grown and moved out and I have a well-paying job that is 100% work-from-home. I am financially set up – near perfectly – to execute this within a year, yet I’m starting to feel more and more that my wife is holding me back. At 45, I’m not getting any younger either.
The compromise seems to be finding a small home-base (property) close by and travel more extensively. That would work if I could get her to actively participate in the transition. If it were to happen, against all odds, I also feel that she will remain ambiviant to traveling if we were to live in an RV, regardless of how nice it is. She needs the “safety” of having a home base. While I understand that point of view – because it was once mine – I’ve broken free of the belief that it’s a necessity. Home is where you park it, and all that.
On the plus side, I finally bought a medium-sized RV this year, and we’ve traveled more this past spring and summer than we ever have before. However, I have yet to be able to breach the next step, which is to find a comfortable, affordable RV that will allow us to remove the anchor of owning a stick-n-brick house while still providing many of the creature comforts she wants.
Don’t get me wrong: She sees the benefits of perpetual travel – lower living costs, less taxes (especially), seeing more family and friends more often, and seeing this great nation and its wonders. The task of pushing her to actually DO IT is one that I can’t seem to overcome. I’m nearly to the point of resorting to Brinksmanship so that she might finally come alive and either do it, or walk away on her own.
Many good points in your article, Bob. Above all is the fear of not only the pain I will feel, but the pain I will cause if I execute my desires were she forced to make a decision – stay or go. It’s tough. In the end, it comes down to either paying attention to what makes oneself happy or living for the happiness of others and trying to find onesown within that fence.
JB, you are in a very difficult situation which is very hard to find a way through. I don’t have any great words to offer you except to encourage you to be open and honest all the way through and fill your thoughts and heart with kindness and compassion.
I can sympathize with you on this JB. I too am in the almost exact same situation. When you have been married for many years to someone that has stayed the course with you, it is very hard to walk away. Especially since the only reason you are walking away is just to be able to travel.
I too have those feelings of wanting to hit the road permanently and live some adventure. But my wife loves the convenience and comforts of this damn S&B and won’t give it up. Yeah, i could just walk away but like you said it would cause lots of grief and heartache for her and I. I would not be happy and very lonely out there by myself as well, since I have been used to having a companion that has loved me for the last 20 years.
And walking away from that is something I would have to live with and try to justify for the rest of my life.
Jimbo, we must each evaluate our situation in the light of our circumstances and our conscience, it sounds like you are doing what you have to do and there is nothing wrong with that.
I’m in a similar situation with a husband that needs the safety and comfort of a home and has been reluctant to let the house go. In our case, my husband needs unlimited high-speed internet (for his profession, which he enjoys), he wants hot showers (we’ve basin-bathed before, he does not do well), and he won’t jump unless he knows where he will land (which is surprising as he’s usually a risk taker). On my end, I want to be free of most material possessions, and I don’t want a behemoth traveling vehicle.
Given our needs, a home base and a small “mobile home” is our best solution, but I’ve asked my husband to be open-minded about what a home base might look like. Maybe it’s a studio apartment or a tiny home on wheels or a boat or a small building on land we own. The new home base can be so much smaller because when parked, the “mobile home” will function as additional, separate living space.
I’ve finally found a first step my husband is willing to consider. Renting. Family members have a vacation condo 30 mins from our house that’s empty nine months of the year. The development even has gated RV storage for a fee. Family is happy to rent to us. My husband feels more comfortable with this transition, a jump to something familiar, rather than a leap into the abyss. Now that he’s more comfortable with the idea of selling the house, he’s already thinking about what our second jump might be. Huge progress!
JB, perhaps renting in your area would work for your wife, as well. A smaller first jump in familiar surroundings.
Thanks JL, that’s a really great solution! I hope it works out extremely well for you both!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “This Blog needs a like button available for each post!” (I know realistically that isn’t possible.)
I must say to all the single women who want to go travelling solo and don’t quite think it is possible. There are so many women out on the road, it is really impressive. They project confidence and ability with every situation that comes up. The same goes for men, of course. This internet thing really allows for the development of the tribe. So no one is actually alone unless they want to be.
John, this is great information, thanks ! Many of us are reluctant to hit the road fearing what will be on the highways & open spaces for us… I read RVSue & I’m amazed to see her out and about fearless enjoying life. Way to go !!
There is something burning inside of me. An itch I have not been able to fully scratch. A restlessness. I try to distract myself but soon my knee is jumping up and down again. I think I understand how an animal in a cage must feel, waiting to be set free.
I’ve been a fool. I stayed for money, a woman, a career, family. The more I read about you folks the more I realize how poorly I’ve lived my life.
Counting the days until I’m free. Just under 2 more weeks to go before I’m free. I have decades of dabbling experience so it won’t be difficult for me to adapt, I hope. Still lots to learn. The one thing I hadn’t thought of was the possibility of finding love again with a nomad woman. Seems like some people are doing just that. So that makes the knee jump around even more.
It sounds you were born to be a nomad and won’t be content until you are! Yes, there is definitely the possibility of romance on the road because there are so many women out here. The odds decrease campared to at home, but it is possible.
Your posts and your videos and your website have really been a nice addition to lots of folks lives Bob, Nice. Keep up the good work, your a light in the darkness.
Thank you so much Mike, I know how proudful it sound, but that really is my goal!
I’m watching this thread with rapt attention. It’s exactly my story. (Minus the marital trauma over my recent religious fundamentalism deconstruction.’ Insert lots of guilt, sense of obligation, and ambivalence and you’ve got me. 🙂
Rina, you have some hard decisions to make, I don’t envy you that. While i have no idea what you should do, I would encourage you that seeking your own happiness is not wrong or selfish in itself. I know there are many issues to be factored in, but there is nothing wrong with putting your needs at the top of that list.