It has been quite a while since I’ve been back to my Motherland. The last time I traveled to Russia in 2004. I was young, traveled there with my American high school friend and was staying with Ira, my best friend who lives in St. Petersburg. During the 2004 trip I was very young (19), carefree and relied heavily on Ira to show us around. That trip involved quite a bit of partying as you might imagine given the lower drinking age in Europe.
You might be wondering what it would be like to be with your spouse 24/7 and travel full-time. Married or not, you can probably imagine how difficult that could be, given how stressful travel is at times. I have been saying that this trip is a true test of our relationship. Constantly moving around can be frustrating and success of this adventure depends on how well we can work together.
So it’s been a month – wow. We both agree that it’s flying by too quickly already. Right away I should inform you that we are both very happy with our decision to take this trip and doing very well. After a month of extended travel, we learned a few things that we would like to share:
1) Take “time off” to relax and do nothing. As professional travelers, we are constantly seeing brand new sites, learning new historical facts, planning, scheduling and of course writing. Believe it or not, it can get tiring even though we don’t have formal day jobs right now. We learned to take a day or two a week and take a break.
One of my favorite such weekends was in the suburb of Hull, UK when we stopped in to see our dear friends Lydia and Shawn who are both expats from US who moved out there for work. They live in a charming town called Leven:
From the time we started dating, Lena and I started saving for a house. That was a real, concrete long-term goal. While we never thought of travel in the same way, we took any opportunity to hit the road even though we were always saving for the house. Travel was simply second nature to us.
Fast forward to 2011. Together for nearly five years and married three. Twenty-somethings on successful career tracks, both with masters degrees (Lena even working toward her PhD).
After having leased a nice condo in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood for three years, we decided that we wanted our own place. We quickly started looking around and ended up putting an offer on a short sale condo in West Loop. It was great: 2-bedroom, 2-bath, balcony, really nice neighborhood where we could easily walk to work. It was even big enough to have a family (or an office in the meantime).