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What To Do When Your Spouse Doesn’t Like To Travel

We’ve been traveling the world for 8 years now. My husband doesn’t (or at least didn’t) like to travel. It caused a lot of stress on our relationship because I wanted to travel and he didn’t. Now, he loves it. In this blog I am sharing steps you can do when your spouse doesn’t want to travel with you.

Hey! I’m Robyn and if this is your first time to our website, back in 2015, we decided to sell everything but our sports gear in order to travel. But not just travel… it was with the main purpose of adventure travel.

I love outdoor adventure and don’t mind taking some risks. Climb 5000 feet in a hike … love it! Get scared on a rock wall … love it!  A new town to figure out and learn … love it!  A bottle of wine and sheep cheese from a local farmer … love it!  Paddle out into a new break with overhead waves and nail only one epic ride … sooo love it!  A narrow windy dirt road that I may have to back down for a mile if another car comes in the opposite direction … love it!  Can’t sleep at night because I have way too much adrenaline pumping through my veins … love it (somewhat).

My core values are challenge, newness, and adventure but I started dating Victor when I was just 17 years old and didn’t really know or show that these were my values at the time.

We got married young, had 5 kids, opened a business at age 20. We were too busy to think about values, core desires, purpose, or discovering our true selves.

My husband had a very different upbringing than me. He hates being uncomfortable. He’s kinda like Goldilocks. Too hot … not having it. Too cold… get me outta here. Chaffers … hell no. He’s looking for that sweet spot that just may not exist.  BUT, and it’s a big BUT, he loves me.

So he’ll hike, even though it makes his heart rate too high. He’ll climb, even though it scared him to death. He’ll surf, even if he misjudged a wave and almost loses an eye

Put him under a squat rack or in someone’s guard, and you will have no sympathy for him. Put him with the one person who he’d prefer to spend all his time with, and you’ll beg him to find another passion, anything but follow his wife into this abyss of adventure travel that they’ve created for themselves. 

The reality is that opposites attract and when you put little stress on a relationship, you don’t always see the differences. 

Stay in a relationship long enough and one of you is bound to go down the path of change, self growth, self exploration faster than the other. And often one of the things we want when we discover that we’ve been living a life out of alignment, is the desire to travel and see the world.

But in a world that has programmed us to live in fear, constantly chase security, and to never defy the norm, that can make it so that one person in the relationship is ready to hop on a plane to Timbuktu and the other would rather sit on the couch and watch sports.

Does that mean we shouldn’t push? We shouldn’t learn about our true selves? We shouldn’t expose our weaknesses?

In my opinion, absolutely not. 

We do crazy, and dumb, things for the person we love and compromise is the only answer, regardless how vague of a term that may be. 

Almost every trip we’ve taken over the past 8 years has been stressful on our marriage.

For two people who’ve never had a single fight in the first fifteen years of marriage to all of a sudden find themselves bickering over where to sleep, what to eat, and whose turn it is to “deal with” the kids was exhausting and frustrating.

But anyone who’s ever made a choice in life, especially big ones, knows you can’t just turn around and go back to what was. You have to move forward and find the next path.

Victor and I did that. We committed ourselves to doing the hard work, the inner work, and now we get to share how we arrived at a new path.

No Wonder My Spouse Doesn’t Like To Travel

When we traveled the first time to Europe (for six months), there were four things that put a lot of stress on our relationship. 

  1. Constant movement. I like being on the move and need very little time to adapt to a new city and be ready to move on. Victor needs a few days to get his bearings and adjust. 
  2. We were in a 22ft motorhome. It’s amazing that we all managed to squeeze in there for four and a half months and if you mention the word ‘McLouis’ to our oldest son Daniel, he may start crying. Besides being small, there were no doors. No privacy. 
  3. Money, lack of it.  We were on a tight budget and we don’t know what job we will do next or where we want to move to when we are ready to get rooted again. 
  4. Exercise, mainly the wrong type. My husband is a meathead and needs to lift heavy weights in order to be happy. Hiking, climbing, and surfing don’t do it for him like they do for me. 

Solution When Your Spouse Doesn’t Like To Travel

The solution was to:

  1. Clear expectations
  2. Open mindset
  3. Facing fears
  4. Make request, be reasonable & renegotiate
  5. Spend more & have a mishap fund
  6. Put pride aside

1. Get Clear On Expectations

They say the secret to happiness is low expectations and if you knew my husband you’d agree.  Happiest guy…very low expectations. I’m not sure if I should be worried or flattered.

The fact is, all this crazy road tripping and adventure travel is my obsession and he’s happy that he’s the one I choose to drag all over the world.

With that being said, just because it’s your dream to explore, we can’t expect that our spouse is going to fall in love with it. But we shouldn’t settle or give up our dreams either.

We all need a dose of adventure in our lives, but adventure can also be code word for hardship, uncomfortableness, and confronting fears.  

Travel can also be a huge opportunity for connection when done right and aligning your spouse’s desires and values will make it so that you both love to travel.

Take our quiz and get our couple’s communication workbook which will help you hone in on each of your desires and values.

I think the best thing a should do before a deciding where to travel to is to sit down and talk about what they expect from themselves, from each other, and mostly from the experience itself. Tip: Get really clear and detailed on what your travel days will look like.

2. Start With An Open Mindset

No one thinks they have closed mindset but in coaching people for 30 years, a person’s ability change, compromise, and be happy, is a direct reflection of their willingness to see life from multiple perspectives.

An open mindset allows us to be curious and wonder, “Could I be the one standing in my own way?”

If you are in a relationship and you can’t say, “Hey, I’d really like to travel more and I’d love to travel with you, can we sit down and discuss options for traveling together?” then you need my throat chakra coaching.

The hard truth is that a lot of people weren’t taught that they were worthy of their dreams or how to effectively communicate their thoughts and so their minds became aloof and closed off to possibility.

Hence, the next step…

3. Face Your Fears

From a young age, everyone received some type of message of unworthiness, fear of pain, self doubt, fear of rejection, inability to trust, or overall feeling of lack.

We all have some belief running in our subconscious that keeps us in a state of fear. But few are willing to shine a light on these shadows and even fewer are willing to do the work it takes to rewire old beliefs into new, self empowering ones.

It was only when we both were willing to see our own past hurts that we were projecting onto each other that we could heal and show up for one another in a more compassionate way.

We had to really hone in on what each one needed to feel successful, fulfilled, and happy in order for us to both love to travel together.

Typically, when one spouse doesn’t like to travel, it’s because they are wired for more fear than the other.

As a parent, worrying comes with the territory. Victor and I both used to worrying about getting lost on a hike, getting attacked by animals, being bitten by poisonous spiders, bears crawling into our RV while we were sleeping. Most fears are irrational.

Modern life rarely gives us the chance to figure things out.  When you travel, mishaps occur. But remember, you are inventive!  When put in stressful situations, rise to the occasion, develop a plan, and act bravely. You are capable of more than you think.

As Bear Grylls says, “Being brave isn’t the absence of fear.  Being brave is having that fear but finding your way through it.”

Everyone grows at a different rate and often that rate of growth is directly linked to how many of our fears we are ready to address.

You can do it.  Address your fearsAccept them as normal human emotion.  Get to the root of what the actual fear is that you are struggling with.  Logically decide if it’s a real risk or a phantom one.  If it’s something that is unlikely to happen, set it aside, and go be brave

You’ll be amazed at what you’ll discover!  

Related Blog: How To Create an Adventure Mindset

4. Request, Be Reasonable, & Renegotiate

I like to wake up, drink my coffee, then start my adventure right away, which meant that I’d drive late at night in order to be at my destination first thing in the morning. This drove Victor crazy.

When we car camped through Europe and New Zealand, we’d often have to set up tents in the dark or rain. It’s no wonder my spouse doesn’t like travel!

Looking back, we had other options but we just weren’t communicating enough.

I probably wasn’t reasonable enough with my expectations at first. If we had been more willing to look further into the future, we could have seen that we had time to do everything but at a slower pace. If I had realized that my enneagram 8’s core desire was intensity, I would’ve been more reasonable. If Victor understood that he had been programmed to ignore his own needs, he would’ve spoken up and made a request.

Once we did the shadow work, we realized that we could renegotiate what our travel looked like.

Now, traveling in our RV and staying in campgrounds with full hookups saves us a lot of stress and bickering. We travel slower, get Airbnb’s occasionally, Victor is more involved in where we were traveling to, we learned that we both love mountain biking, and when Victor needs a workout, he spends on a gym while we are traveling.

There are so many ways to travel that if you just sit down and brainstorm all the options and look at your core desires, you’ll certainly be able to find a compromise.

5. Spend More & Have A Mishap Fund

Victor always said that he would’ve liked travel more if we had a little bigger budget.  I tend to be cheap, which often meant buying less food when everyone was starving or pushing the gas gauge far into the red to save ten cents a gallon by fueling up further down the road. 

If it’s your first trip, try to budget a little higher than you think you’ll need so you can throw money on things to be more comfortable.  

Keep in mind too, there is a lot you can throw money on to help get over some of your fears. Creating a little cushion in your budget for unexpected mishaps can give you peace of mind. 

Having a small fund for things like flat tires, a hotel room for if you get really tired, buying extra snacks when someone gets “hangry”, or hire a guide. 

Our natural instinct is to spend money to prevent being uncomfortable, but I recommend budgeting in a way that forces you outside your comfort zone knowing that you have some reserve funds if you need to retreat back into your safety net.

6. Put Your Pride Aside

Sometimes one spouse doesn’t like to travel because they have protected themselves by being self reliant and doesn’t want to rely on others. Travel invites the unknown and that can make some people very uncomfortable.

We’ve had to ask for help often in our travels. We had trouble backing in our trailers at first, Victor sliced open his face while surfing in France and a stranger on the beach took us to the hospital

It was hard for Victor to trust and accept help from strangers at first but once he did, we were amazed at how many kind-hearted people there are in the world.

Next time you are in a bind, put your pride aside and ask for help if you need it.  You never know, you just might find your next friend for life!

Now We Go!

Awesome! Now you are both ready to travel and explore but inevitably triggers are going to arise. When they do, remember to treat yourself and each other with compassion.

Little things like feeding yourself so you don’t get hangry or irritable, allowing yourself to trust the world, acting brave and capable, and remembering your why for being there in the first place will go a long way in preventing mid travel blow ups.

a compromise between making ourselves comfortable and still waking each day excited to do something we love.

Everything that’s happened in my life has started with desire. With a “why” and I think that’s the biggest step. The what and the how naturally follow once you know what you are waking up excited for. 

It takes a lot of work to be on the same page, but when you are both there, things start clicking again and being time rich in gorgeous locations around the world feels magical.

Related Blog: How We Live In An RV Full Time

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Megan Reamsnyder

Friday 9th of February 2018

My husband has a different travel style than me, so it definitely takes compromise! I love a good road trip but he HATES them, so now I will drive out with the kids and take my time, and pick him up at the airport when we get there lol. Love what you mean about not being able to go back to what was, that is so true!

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