(Can’t say as I blame him, but hey, I’m grateful I can go there when I need to.)
We left camp on Saturday and were driving our musician friend Laura to a meditation center on our way up to Vermont for a few days of vacation. Laura had a deadline time by which she had to arrive for orientation, and we were going to arrive pretty close to that time. Dave was driving. At some point on Route 2 I fell asleep. Dave (as is his wont, but I didn’t know that then) saw a sign for 2A and veered off. About 30 minutes later I woke up and realized we were on the wrong road. I freaked out. Laura freaked out. We all freaked out. Great way to get her started on a mediation week, huh? We did get her there, she was just on time, and I mostly held it together until Dave and I were on our way again.
We had an “emergency” destination that I had set up at a friend’s house in Marlborough, which was quite a drive from there. It was apple season, and Dave thought we might find a hotel on the way up the road – but, as it turned out, everything was booked solid. At this point, I was tired, hungry, not happy that Dave had not planned ahead and made a reservation, and we basically grumped at each other all the way to Marlborough. Thankfully my friend was out of town, because when we got there, we had the biggest fight of our relationship (and that’s to date… it’s never been that bad again.)
Obviously we worked it out, and here we are. We found out the beginnings of a significant difference that day in our travel styles, which may have been the largest area of habit changing and compromise for both of us in our marriage.
If you haven’t figured it out yet – I like to know where I’m going, when I will arrive, and to have a room reservation ready for me when I get there. I buy tickets in advance to make sure they’re available. If I change my mind and don’t get to where I thought I was going on a road trip, well, I’ll change that reservation to something closer. But I have a bed waiting for me. It may have something to do with a drive out one evening when I was little looking for deer along the Palisades Parkway – I remember sobbing in the backseat saying “I don’t want to get lost in the forest! I don’t want to end up like Hansel and Gretel!” My parents really couldn’t figure that one out, but I knew – I wanted the security of my bed. Right now.
Dave, on the other hand, is Mr Spontaneity when it comes to travel. Room reservation? What for? We might decide to veer off on this road over here and then we wouldn’t get there. Who knows what we might find? Let’s go! (OMG.)
Not really fully understanding these differences, I put him in charge of our honeymoon. To his credit, he did make room reservations in Italy. We missed the Uffizi Museum, however, because we didn’t purchase tickets months in advance. On the other hand, we lucked into an evening free tour of Michelangelo’s David by walking down the street after dinner. People were in line, we asked why, we got in.
This required that we each let go of our habits around travel style and that we learn to trust the other’s way of doing things. It also required a lot of being in the moment and Alexandrian inhibition. It was our most successful vacation at that point in our marriage. It was fun for both of us. We learned. We grew more accepting of each other’s needs. We became closer when we didn’t need to be “right.”
It’s funny, but since then, we haven’t had the need to completely define a trip as being half one style and half the other. Dave knows that if we have a destination and a time to be there, we’re traveling “Robbin Style.” I know that if we have a week somewhere to just enjoy, we’re traveling “Dave Style”. And we both compromise before, during and after mostly without arguing about it.
When you have a significant difference with your partner, are you able to compromise?
How do you let go of fear-based habits to see that you have a choice?
What is your most comfortable travel style?