Challenges I face with traveling as a young(!) married Nomad Couple
As a married Nomad Couple we’ve dealt with loneliness on the road, had difficulty in figuring out what “community” looks like while traveling longterm, and societal misunderstandings about our lifestyle. On the flip side, we have a great marriage, we’re blessed to have the opportunity to build our businesses, and we’ve seen more of the world than many people even get the chance to see in their lifetimes.
I’ve been traveling with my husband, Nick, for just about 4 years. What a crazy journey it’s been so far! We’ve worked with a non-profit in rural China, hopped around Europe, road tripped across America, and soaked up the sun in Thailand. We’ve ridden the travel roller coaster, dealing with all sorts of ups and downs.
Our Start as a Young Married Nomad Couple – Living the Vanlife!
When we got married, we actually had no intention of becoming nomads, it sort of just… happened! We are high school sweethearts and got married at the tender ages of 19 and 20. Once we got married, we settled into a little apartment and we were ready to see what “normal” life had in store for us. About 6 months into our lease, we started feeling a bit antsy.
We tried doing normal life, but something just didn’t click for us. I couldn’t place my finger on it, and neither could Nick. He came up with the idea to move into a camper van so we could spend time visiting friends and traveling around the USA. Our camper van, which we nicknamed “The Yeti”, was the start to our nomadic life. We loved getting to spend so much time getting to explore and spend time with friends and family!
Embracing the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
About 6 months into living in the camper van, we decided to take a trip to Europe. Now that we didn’t have to pay rent, we had enough extra cash that we could afford to take a few weeks off. This trip was pretty monumental for us as this was the first time we tried working and traveling with just our backpacks. We were surprised at how well it went, so a few months later we gave up the van and went fully “homeless”! We’ve been on the road ever since.
Struggles With Traveling Long Term as a Married Couple
We’ve dealt with a myriad of things over the course of our travel so far. I’m so thankful that most of the issues we’ve faced have been seasonal and have pretty clear answers. I can’t speak for Nick, but I’ll share a bit about a couple of the issues I’ve faced.
1. Getting Married Young
We had lots of mixed thoughts from friends and family about getting married so young. Many people thought we were too young to be taking a relationship so seriously. It was hard and discouraging to see people we were close to questioning our relationship. I probably found this the hardest as it was mainly my friends and family that were questioning us. It made me really sad to see that so many people I was close to were so fear-based in their thinking.
That’s not the way I wanted to live my life, constantly worried about what I could have missed out on or what might happen in the future because I got married as a teenager. Getting married to Nick and getting married young has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. We’ve gotten to experience SO much life together already and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!
2. Breaking Out of “Normal Life”
We already broke out of the norm by getting married so young, but moving into a campervan within our first year of marriage took it to another level. (It didn’t help that we also had a dog in the van too!) Most people weren’t opposed, they were just confused! At this point we were deemed already deemed crazy, so they just let us do our thing.
Once we decided to travel internationally full time, the only kick back we received was from people not wanting us to leave, only because they were sad to see us go. We had a really solid friend group in the USA and it was hard to not be in their lives anymore. Honestly, the whole process of becoming “nomads” has been very organic for us, so I’m thankful that we haven’t had many times where what we did was a complete shock to the system.
3. Around Each Other 24/7
I sort of didn’t expect to feel lonely, because Nick is always around, but that has actually contributed to making me feel lonely. Most of the time, having Nick around makes me feel safe, secure, and at home. But sometimes, I want to have my own space or hang out with other people. We’re at a point now where we see each other pretty much 24/7, which sometimes can feel a bit overwhelming. Even though we’ve adjusted to this, there are absolutely still times when we need both need alone time or time with someone else.
Being around each other all day every day is so drastically different than what most of us are used to, so it definitely takes time to adjust. But it’s absolutely possible to travel together long term. We’ve been traveling for almost all our whole marriage so far, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Traveling together and being around each other has taught us so much. It’s accelerated our relationship and forced us to work through issues that probably wouldn’t have come up for years to come. I’m so thankful for
It’s accelerated our relationship and forced us to work through issues that probably wouldn’t have come up for years to come. I’m so thankful for that, because my husband and I are incredibly close. We’re getting much better at anticipating and understanding each others needs. Working through issues is never fun, but working through them ultimately brings you closer together.
4. Being Emotionally Open
Over the years, I’ve found it difficult to be emotionally open. When I was first traveling, everything was so new and exciting and everyone I met was awesome! But overtime, traveling and meeting new people became “normal life.” The “ooohs” and “ahhs” of travel eventually lost their appeal for me, and I started to have a hard time being open with people. I felt a bit jaded and sort of didn’t see the point – people were just leaving in a week anyway, right?
But choosing to be emotionally open has led to so many amazing things for me. I’ve found that being emotionally open, honest, and real has done wonders for my marriage, close friendships, and even relationships with people I’ve just met.
We all want and crave real connection. We know how satisfying it feels to have those relationships where you fully trust the other person. To be able to just hang out with people and not feel pressure to even talk about anything.
Call it law of attraction or whatever you want, but I know that the more emotionally open I am, the better I feel, the more true friends I have, and the better all of my relationships are. It may not seem like a choice, but it absolutely is. Sometimes are harder than others, but there is always the option to be present and open up.
As of now, we’re in the process of figuring out what’s next. We’ve figured out that people are a huge priority for us (more than travel) so we’re figuring out how we can design our lifestyle more to be able to see all of our friends. We’re so thankful for all of the opportunities we’ve been given and all of the amazing people we’ve met! We can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us.
Stephanie has been traveling with her husband Nick over the past 4 years. She loves sharing her experiences and what she’s learned about traveling full time. She currently works as a designer and branding specialist for creative entrepreneurs and chic brands.
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This is a very nice post to read! My husband and I moved from the US to Australia for 1.5 years, about a month after we got married. That was certainly jumping into the deep end!
We are now about 6 weeks into our “normal nomads” lifestyle, living in Bali (next: Malaysia). I look forward to some of the challenges and as you put it, tackling things early on in our relationship. Still, it’s certainly hard to meet people! How do you do it? Couchsurfing? Facebook? Meetup?
Wow that is awesome Monica 🙂 my partner and I we do it by running our own social events and invite random people from coworking spaces or fb groups. It’s always a blast!