Having a spouse deploy sets everything in life spinning. Whether you stay put or move, whether you're working full time or not at all, things are off-kilter until your spouse is back in your arms.
So if things are already out of whack, why not take advantage of the chance to do a little adventuring?
Whether visiting a new city or heading to a mountain retreat, using the deployment time to care for yourself is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your marriage. And one of the best ways to do that is travel, either with others or on your own.
I used to travel solo regularly before I got married. I had big dreams of seeing the world, and if no one was free to come with, I went on my own. But since I met my husband, I always had a built-in travel buddy.
Then he deployed, and I had so much time to fill with relatively few responsibilities. I decided to spend the bulk of it in my hometown (complete with a temp job and moving in with my parents, #noshame) but I knew that if I wanted to do more than just survive the time. Something in me comes alive when I'm on that plane or trying a new food or learning an area's history, and I knew that traveling would not merely pass the time but help me really enjoy it.
So today, we're sharing a few tips on how to plan your next adventure!
- Think about what would be rejuvenating to you in this phase of life. An uncomplicated vacation to your parents, complete with built-in babysitters? A girls' trip to the beach? A weekend in a city you've never seen before? Figure out if you most need rest or adventure. It's probably both, but prioritize what you need in the midst of the craziness of deployment.
- Who do you not usually get a chance to see? Maybe your college roommate lives halfway across the country from you and you’ve never managed to get there. Start watching flights!
- It's cheaper than you think. Is there a friend you can stay with? Many friends graciously opened their homes to me - they were cool with me staying there, going and exploring while they were at work (or lounging on their couch if I wasn't up to it), and then hanging out in the evenings. On another occasion, I managed to find a one-way flight that I could pay for with a measly amount of miles, making the transportation free to tack on a solo visit to Philadelphia after a mother-daughter trip to NYC!
Solo traveling have you intrigued? Trust me, it's one of the best things you can do for yourself. Here are a few reasons it's worth it:
- You can do exactly what you want! If that's going to all the art museums your partner usually hates, this is the prime time! If it's spending an afternoon in a local coffee shop and not sweating the usual tourist fare, awesome. Same goes for deciding where and what to eat. Complete autonomy is a rare thing in military life, so I say grab it while you can!
- Traveling solo is a huge reminder of how capable you are. As a military spouse, you are already performing at rockstar level on a regular basis, but we often lose sight of that because it's expected and everyone else is too. Traveling solo is such an empowering reminder of that truth.
- Being on your own not as weird as you think. At meals, I love sitting at the bar because bartenders will tell you all the hidden gems of the city, and usually can tell exactly how much small talk you want. Not an extrovert? I always keep a book in my purse if I want to linger over a drink or take a break in a park.
- Solo traveling can make a trip so much more affordable. Half the cost for food, flights, or admission tickets is no small thing. If you're trying to travel on a budget, check out hostels. While they often have bad connotations in the US, there are so many reputable ones. I use Hostelworld or Airbnb to find cheaper accommodation that's safe, well rated, and often provides friends if I want to meet people!
During the six months my spouse was deployed, I managed to visit ten states. Most of these were road trips to visit friends and relatives, making it fun and affordable to travel so much on my own. But some of my favorite memories during that time are from my solo trips - exploring Philadelphia's history or taking day trips from my friends' homes to visit spots I'd never get experience to otherwise.
So here’s my challenge to you: what’s the next adventure you can go on? Find what sounds rejuvenating, start watching travel prices, and go!
Emma Created Teaspoon of Nose to offer real food and great travel to anyone. She's passionate about cooking great meals no matter the budget and finding ways to fit more wanderlust into everyday life. Whether its a weekend road trip or backpacking Europe for a month, she's quick to share tips and experiences that make planning that dream trip easy. When she's home, she shares fun and easy recipes for family meals and special desserts!
When she's not sharing recipes and travel tips, you can probably find her reading a book with a cappuccino in hand, nerding out over Star Wars, or hiking with her 100-pound German Shepherd, Wedge.