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!