How Traveling The World Saved My Marriage

There are two old adages about romantic love that seem to contradict each other: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and “Out of sight, out of mind.” Until my husband Steve became a regular business traveler, I didn’t understand how in the world both of these sayings could be true.

deborah traveller remote life

  Before long and without realizing it was happening, we began to drift apart.

About ten years ago, Steve’s IT consulting job began to require him to travel every couple of months. The destinations were mostly within North America, and he was rarely away for more than a week. A few times when he travelled to an exciting destination such as Montreal or New York City, I would tag along. His trips delivered a few solid benefits including extra travel reward miles, a good supply of duty-free alcohol, and so much free hotel soap, shampoo, and body lotion that I never had to buy the stuff. We spent just enough time apart that it gave our relationship that extra absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder spark.

deborah steve remote life

Several years later Steve was offered a position that would require travel globally. He was very excited about the work and the opportunity to see more of the world. Although the job would mean a bit more time apart, we figured we could handle it. He took the position. As things unfolded, Steve’s business travel stretched into longer periods – Bulgaria for two weeks, Dubai the following month, back-and-forth to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania several times. On average, we were apart for about two weeks a month.

I kept busy with my public relations practice, but the isolation of working from home and longer absences from Steve began to take its toll. Before long and without realizing it was happening, we began to drift apart. What was once a short break from each other that made us look forward to reuniting inched towards both of us living largely separate lives. Out of sight, out of mind.

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It turns out there’s a fine line between what makes both of those two adages true.

After one extended business trip – it might have been when I had to deal with an unexpected car repair and a leak in our roof while Steve was away – I confessed to him that I thought all the time apart was affecting our relationship. He agreed. I knew he loved his job and the travel. What was the solution? As we hashed it out, Steve said, “You just have to come with me more often.”

I initially rejected the idea with a number of objections. How is that possible? All my clients are in our home city. I couldn’t just take off every other month. How could we afford my travel expenses?

deborah relationship remote life

As we continued to discuss it, the objections began to fall away. Other than the occasional face-to-face meeting, most of the work I do is online. Steve argued that I could do what I do from anywhere in the world with a good Internet connection. By using Steve’s frequent flyer miles, and by making all of our regular purchases on a credit card with travel rewards, my travel expenses would be minimal. What was there to hold us back? We didn’t even have the excuse of kids to care for. We decided to give it a try.

  Steve argued that I could do what I do from anywhere in the world with a good Internet connection.

deborah travel remote life

It worked!

I had believed that my clients would abandon me when I was regularly jetting off somewhere. In reality, none of them cares. They get it – as long as the work gets done and I am available to them to talk or meet via Skype – it doesn’t matter if I’m across town or across the continent. To tell the truth, most of the time I don’t even tell my clients when I’m working remotely anymore.

The benefits of me tagging along on Steve’s business travel go far beyond what we anticipated. I am grateful for the privilege of the travel lifestyle Steve and I now lead. We have experienced many enriching adventures because I said yes to giving remote work a try. I don’t tag along on every trip, which is fine. I stay behind just often enough to make absence make the heart grow fonder.

About the Author

Deborah Zanke has a public relations practice in Winnipeg, Canada. She authors a blog called Tag Along Travel where she offers travel reviews, tips, and advice about how to make the most of life with a frequent business traveler.

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18 replies on “How Traveling The World Saved My Marriage

  • andrea mann

    wow – great column! so glad Steve insisted you travel along (if only to keep his shoe purchasing fetish in check) otherwise we wouldn’t have this great travel blog!

    Reply
  • Archismita Ghosh

    Such a great piece of writing for all those you have long distance relationship and don’t know how to keep the spark alive! So nice that you subtely explained all relationships need effort !

    Reply
  • Smriti Agiwal

    I was scrolling through blog titles, deciding which one to read next, when this one caught my eye. At first, I couldn’t understand the correlation between traveling and a successful marriage but your simple writing helped me connect to you and your story!

    Reply
  • Melchiz Shroff

    The moment you take a step to spare time with your spouse, you are opening the windows of your life for breeze of fortune and good tidings into your life.

    Reply
  • Namita

    An absolutely fresh perspective to travelling with ones other half. I have read articles where people have sold everything and travelled the world together but here you are showing me that planning is what is it takes to keep enjoying ones work and the travel experiences with your partner – both being in sync with each other perfectly. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  • Kunal G Kashyap

    I have been in an LDR before. As the author has mentioned, there’s a fine line between the two fore-mentioned statements. Just when you’re looking for that spark to rekindle your love life, this should come as a much needed refreshing experience. Great job on the flow of writing.

    Reply
  • Rahul Garg

    Such an inspiration for many couples. Those couples who think that a breakup is the only solution if you don’t have that quality time for each other due to their so called aims in life for which they are ready to sacrifice everything even their relationships, should find some ways just like you to save their relations.

    Reply
  • Rahul Garg

    Such an inspiration for many couples. Those couples who thinks that breakup is the only solution if you don’t have that quality time for each other due to their so called aims in life for which they are ready to sacrifice everything even their relationships, should find some ways just like you to save their relations.

    Reply
  • Kshitij Upadhyay

    I really praise steve as he decided to find a solution that is great. Instead of living seprately its best option what the couple decided.This story also somehow reflects the positives of present digital(internet) world. How online work saves the couple life. Really intresting story .I love it.

    Reply
  • Tavneet singh

    Relationships are like plants , you need to provide nourishment so that they can flourish . You want to grow , you have to take care of it . Such a beautiful written article which provides optimism to all the couples having differences with each other

    Reply
  • POULOMI BAUR

    Travel truly has healing properties,so to say -as there are number of examples where the marriage counselor or a divorce judge has prescribed the concerned couple a short trip ,where they can spend a little time together bringing them closer.Actually the daily mundane and in case of Steve and Deborah , distance were the reason behind the marriage which was falling apart ,but it is through travel they found out the sparks and love.This truly paves the way for so many couples to give their relationship another thought and chance,thereby igniting the lost passion.

    Reply
  • Anjali Singh

    It’s beautiful how you’ve answered a contradiction that at least once if not more than once, crosses the minds of people in a relationship and leaves them baffled! A personal account like this one restores the faith in making things work and encourages people to believe in making things work! Also, travel, more or less has become a part of most people’s lives and to deal with it in such a great way is inspiring!

    Reply
  • Neelam Arya

    I am so glad that I gave it a read.
    I had a hunch that it was related to working out on long distance relationships but I must stress that the way you explained it held me captivated.
    I often wonder that if things are not falling into places among two people then would some time off with each other make it any better?
    I am all up for absence-makes-heart-grow-fonder thing but can’t deny that out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing is coming into picture too.
    Travelling itself is enough to take your mind off bothersome things and it is evident that you bond well with the partner you have been taking trips with.
    And to top it all off , what else could be better than reconciling bonds with your partner for life on a thrilling and romantic trip? It is always good to spice things up a bit in a relationship, it stays healthier that way.
    I loved your writing and I am so happy that your husband lured you into taking trips with him and saved that boat from sinking!
    Wish you both a happy life!

    Reply
  • Vivek Bhagwani

    You, ma’am, are an inspiration to the twenty-somethings like me who are just starting out in this wide world.

    Most people just give up on relationships and dreams and travel because it is ‘inconvenient’ and ‘too much ____’ when in reality, all it takes is the willingness to make it work.

    It is people sharing real experiences like you that make blogs great!
    Thanks for this piece of wisdom, and wish you a happy marriage, Deborah!

    Reply
  • Tag Along Deb

    Thanks to all for leaving comments and thoughts about my journey with business travel, marriage, and remote work. I am honoured that telling my story has motivated others to give tagging along and working remotely a try.

    Reply
  • SALAJ KUMAR SINGH

    Its not about the marriage when you are obsessed and frustrated with something travelling and witnessing the true nature fills you with Peace and calmness in return which makes you capable of taking a right and bright decision.

    Reply

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