Travel with Wifey About Page
Do you and your spouse or significant other always agree about the best way to travel? The places to go? Where to stay? How long to stay? If so, head on over to the resources page and I’ll point you to some blogs written by people like you. Cuz that’s just not what we do here. Similarly, if you’d like to quit your job and backpack around the world for a year or spend the summer in Europe on €20 a day, you too are in the wrong place.
On the other hand, if every now and then, you and your travel companion have differences of opinion about the best way to travel, read on. Perhaps your companion prefers a more upscale travel experience, while you tend to be a bit more frugal? Or maybe your companion likes to arrive, unpack, and stay put, while you like to be on the move? Relax and stay a while, dear friend. You’re in the right place.
Hi. My name is George Reynolds. Back in 2015, I took early retirement from the Children’s Hospital where I worked as a doctor and executive for almost 20 years. Wifey (my loving nickname for my wife, JoAnne) and I sold our house and moved to a two-bedroom apartment. While JoAnne insisted that she was not ready to retire, I was sure that after a year or so, she would change her mind and agree to retire and travel the world with me.
Yup. I’m a dumb ass.
Looking back, there were at least a couple flaws in my plan. First, JoAnne truly enjoys her job and the people she works with—she simply isn’t ready to retire. Secondly, the thought of “traveling the world” scares the crap out of her. JoAnne loves the actual travel part of traveling. But planning to travel, or thinking about travel, or dealing with the logistics of being away from work for more than a week or so all fill her with dread.
The thing is, I love to travel. I love to take pictures when I travel, eat great food, drink great wine, and meet great people. I also love to plan travel. I devour guidebooks. I read history books about the places we’ll visit. I buy language software and make feeble attempts to learn the language. I network with friends and scour the Internet for advice about the best things to see and do, the best places to stay and eat, and the best places to take pictures.
In fact, I intentionally over plan. No matter how you cut it, travel is expensive. So, I want to make sure that we’re getting as much as possible for our travel dollars. Inevitably, this means that we won’t always get to everything in my travel plan. And that’s okay. It’s good to leave something on the table for the next visit.
I love Wifey. We been married for 37 years. I’d like to stay married for the foreseeable future. Obviously, I had to figure out a way around our impasse. It turns out that my fondness—some might say obsession—with travel planning provided Wifey and me with a workable compromise.
If I told JoAnne that Scott’s Cheap Flights had just sent me an email with a killer fare to Edinburgh, and we were going in three weeks, she would quite simply freak out. She would quickly stammer a dozen reasons why we could not go, her voice rising in pitch and volume with each new reason. Her face would get red, her pupils would dilate, and her hands would slice the air around her in the best Sicilian tradition as if they were providing a visual translation of her words in a sign language understood only by imbecilic husbands. Lastly, she would start looking for things to throw at me. (Just so were clear, I’ve never actually done such a thing, because I’m fairly certain that the outcome would be something along these lines.)
On the other hand, it turns out that if I tell her that I found a great deal on a trip to Edinburgh, and I think we should go in eight months, things tend to go pretty well. True, Wifey will still start to think of all the reasons why we can’t go, but before she gives voice to these thoughts she quickly realizes that it would sound silly if she suggested she couldn’t possibly accommodate a plan eight months away. So, I start the planning process, sharing details as I go and making sure they appear on her calendar. And little by little, she starts to get as excited as I do. Compromises are born of such things
Lather, rinse, repeat. Having discovered this formula, I’m now getting pretty good at deploying it in an iterative fashion. As I write this, we have two international and three domestic trips booked over the next 10 months. And I’m working on another international trip about 12 months from now. In the last 12 months, we’ve been to five countries on two continents, and about a dozen states in the US. Not bad, n’est-ce pas?
This blog is a love letter to Wifey.
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Oh yeah, the rest of the story. We bagged the two-bedroom apartment after a year and got a nice townhome near JoAnne’s job. I went back to work as an independent consultant helping healthcare organizations with electronic medical records. This gives me a fair amount of of schedule flexibility and lots and lots of lovely frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I still have dreams of spending six months or more overseas, but as I said, it’s always good to leave something on the table for the next visit.