Nine Year Anniversary… and Other Adventures
Today, Russ and I celebrate our anniversary… nine years of crazy adventures together!
So, today, dear readers, we thought we would share some photos of our travels over the years, and let you into the hard-fought lessons about maintaining our relationship on the road.
One of the most common questions we’re asked is how our relationship has weathered our continual travel; specifically, how do we keep from killing each other? The answer sounds overly simple, but was actually only obvious in retrospect. We had to realize that our relationship on the road is inherently different from what our relationship was in our apartment in Long Beach… and we had to adapt.
The first thing that happened is that we ran out of things to talk about. We ride down the same road, look at the same scenery, meet the same people, eat at the same restaurants. We may interpret things differently and catch nuances differently, but our daily experiences are pretty similar. There is no coming home and saying, “Hi, Honey, How was your day?” It took some getting used to and we had to change our expectations, and eventually we came to understand that it’s okay – connection doesn’t necessarily come from chatter. Our conversations have morphed from rambling small talk about what happened at work and our interactions at the grocery store, to deeper, yet more disparate, communication about what we’re doing and where we’re going (on the road and in our lives).
We’ve also had to learn how to work well with each other and when we need personal time. In our previous lives, we did our own things during the day and then came together in the evening for dinner, etc. Now, we follow each other down the road or collaborate on projects during the day, and still come together for dinner. It’s a lot of ‘us’ time, which can actually be overwhelming after awhile. We’ve had to work through the comedy of errors that is brainstorming together. We’ve had to figure out how to be more conscientious and deliberate in our communication. And we’ve had to learn to recognize when we need time to ourselves (and then take it, and then not get upset or defensive about it).
Do we fight? Yes. If you spent every minute of every day with the same person, wouldn’t you eventually find a reason to fight with him/her? I think that every couple has its squabbles, and every couple finds a way to deal with it. Our squabbles are exacerbated by our constant movement, but I no longer think it’s a bad thing. The more we stumble over the same issue, the more we become aware of it, and the more we work at changing how we react and interact.
We’ve also learned that, sometimes, a fight has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than one of us is hungry, and we need to take a break to eat.
One of the biggest, most monumental shifts of the last few years was also one of the smallest. After traveling for long enough, our concept of ‘home’ changed – from a physical location where we stored our stuff, to wherever we are with each other. It may sound cheesy, but my home is Russ (and vice versa). Our relationship is not what keeps us in the same physical space, it is what supports us as people.
Over the past few years, these intense travel experiences have created a really strong bond between us. (One that, I might argue, is a lot stronger than simply signing a marriage license.) In general, we’ve come to feel that we’ll be okay as long as we’re together. It hasn’t come easily, but it’s certainly a blessing.
Thank you for being a part of our journey and for celebrating with us today!
Kent Peterson October 30, 2011 at 9:51 am
Huge congrats. I’m sure you have many more years and miles of adventures ahead. BTW, I think the traditional 9-year anniversary gift is something titanium so I’m raising my spork in your honor. Thanks for all the wonderful pictures, stories and inspiration.
Maven October 30, 2011 at 10:24 am
Happy anniversary, and thanks for the lovely and honest post.
Tommy Lane October 30, 2011 at 10:36 am
Congratulations! I enjoy your adventures and information.
Kristen October 30, 2011 at 10:54 am
Amazing and touching. Thanks for sharing!
gl. October 30, 2011 at 11:15 am
happy anniversary! may there be many more.
Kevin October 30, 2011 at 11:22 am
Happy Anniversary! What great photos… what great memories. Thanks for sharing your adventures.
Al Miller October 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm
Great story and wonderful reflections!! Congratulations to both of you!
Piskian October 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm
Edward and the Magnetic Zeroes-“Home”!
9 years anniversary is something electric and folding according to me.My live-in lover disputes this….buggrit!
Annette Lein October 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm
Happy Anniversary !!! I have so enjoyed following your journey.
Mike October 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm
Congratulations to both of you. Wishing you tailwinds in the years to come.
Carl October 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm
Happy Annivesary! Thank you for sharing a piece of your experience with all of us out here in the web of life. Your sharing adds to the texture of our lives and it seems that the folks you have met have reciprocated in yours.
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
Peace and Love,
Sean October 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm
Congrats on your anniversary!
You’ve been inspirational over the last year in getting my own tour finally on the road (just the beginning of this month!) and I look forward to being inspired by your future travels, too!
Paul Lieberman October 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm
Relationships are like a long bike ride. There will be lots of ups and downs, but you’re glad you kept going.
Val October 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Happy aniversary! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences at such a personal level. I wish you all the best.
Adam Moss October 31, 2011 at 6:41 am
Happy Anniversary you two. Your life together continues to be an inspiration and this candid post is exactly why. You two are living together with presence and love, that benefits us all.
Hoping you make it down to the bay area some day again.
SpencerSalmon October 31, 2011 at 8:29 am
Happy Annivesary, I enjoy reading about all of your guys adventures!
John Sieber October 31, 2011 at 10:31 am
What a great post on making relationhips work. Good advice for couples in any situation.
postie phil October 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm
Happy Annivesary, cycling with my wife or frinds always seem to me the best riding memorys I have.Thanks for all your hard work on this web site it really makes my day.
Logan October 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm
Congrats Laura and Russ!
I loved your description of home! Its a beautiful idea and a wonderful sentiment. When we were moving out of our old apartment I went back to pick up a load of stuff on the bike and when I walked into the apartment I immediately felt what you described. Without the cats or my partner to fill the apartment, it no longer felt like “home”. 🙂 Cheers and good luck on your next nine years! 😀
Julie October 31, 2011 at 4:46 pm
Yahoo! Congrats you two! I love the reminder that sometimes people get angry with one another simply because they need something to eat. Here’s to continued peace, love, peanut butter and graceful (and not-so-graceful) adventures!
Fallen Murrietta cyclist identified, and a whole lot of mostly very non-scary post Halloween links « BikingInLA October 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm
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Phoebe November 1, 2011 at 7:21 am
Beautiful, and so well put. Happy Anniversary to you both, and best wishes for many more years of heart-full connection.
steve November 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm
Its the BEST of the BEST of the BEST of the web. Always a worthwhile visit to pathlesspedaled. Thank you for sharing so much with all of us.
Lacey November 7, 2011 at 7:02 am
Just stumbled upon your adventures. I love everything about you guys! You’re very inspiring. I recently became a bike commuter in NYC, but then in the past month have been hit with a yet to be identified disease that’s affected my joints and head. Reading your blog has helped me feel free again. Please keep up the adventures!
Tim November 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm
Chris Bornstein December 2, 2012 at 1:08 am
Super cool, congratulations on dong such a great job in relationship growth, communication and of course biking=] Mahalo and many more wonderful years for the two of you!
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Happy anniversary!!!! Thank you for your wonderful, inspiring website and the absolutely beautiful photos of your journey which I have been following since the beginning. A fellow Brompton addict.