While we are out hiking the Camino de Santiago for the next few months, we’ll be featuring weekly house sitters here on our digital home. If you are interested in guest posting contact Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can read all about our adventures on El Camino here.
I’m an old married woman. For the most part, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My guy is kind. He’s stable and pretty good looking. He’s fantastic with the kids. He tolerates my ADD and together we tolerate pretty much the same level of messiness when it comes to keeping our lives in order. We agree generally on life goals and how we want to bring up our kids. It’s a good partnership. Now, having said that, I have to acknowledge the fact that it’s not a perfect pairing either. He snores. I’m a super light sleeper. I like techno music. He listens to talk radio. He jumps out of the shower without drying off first. That drives me insane. Little things. But there’s one major difference that’s historically been and probably always will be a point of contention between us and that’s the difference in our appetites for adventure. We are the couple whose taste for exploration spans from “Anywhere worldwide is a go!” to “Can we just go to my Mom’s?” and “Feel like Cantonese tonight?” to “I was thinking pizza.” Discovery excites my spirit and makes me feel alive. For him, it just ignites his anxiety for being in situations he can’t control. I’m not thrilled by the situation but I’ve learned to live with it. Yep, the homebody married the explorer. Yikes! And being as we don’t find this an adequate reason to go our separate ways, what is an explorer to do when she’s married to a homebody? After nearly a decade of living with the ultimate homebody, I’ve collected a few tricks and tactics so that I don’t go crazy looking at the same four walls all the time.
I always start with the basics: I ask nicely. Sometimes it pays off! If it doesn’t, I am not ashamed to beg, plead or grovel. But I do expect that occasionally, even the best of my kissing-up efforts will fail and I will be left on my own. In these cases I have to make things happen for myself. I consider it an exploration of my own personal boundaries and borders.
So, here are a few things, dear explorer, that you can do to keep yourself sane in the company of a homebody.
Research your immediate vicinity
Regardless of where I travel, I hear people say of their own locales, “Funny, I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never done/seen/been to (insert local attraction here). Whether it be the little hole-in-the wall grill or the historical marker you’ve passed on your way to work for the prior twenty years but never stopped to check out, you may just be pleasantly surprised with all the places you will discover just a stone’s throw away from your front door. (Unless you live on a farm in the center of a plains state three hours from the nearest town. In that case, have fun scanning satellite TV channels). I make it a point to take one day a month, I call it my Home Roam, to go somewhere in the city I’ve never been. If I find twelve new things to do once a month, I’m set for a year.
Book a chartered day trip with Mom
A quick Google search for “chartered day trips” brings up companies all across the country who do trips by bus, boat and even plane. Find one in your area and make a phone call. Spend a day with Mom. Brownie points galore.
Organize small vacations with extended family or friends
For the men, this might involve a overnighter with the guys a few hours away. For the women, who are more likely to have kids in tow, this can work too. It needn’t be anything fancy…especially if the kids are young and still fascinated with a night in a hotel room and a day at the pool. Grab the kids and your cousins and sisters and girlfriends and meet somewhere. Keeps the family in touch and scratches your itch for a change of scenery.
Offer to chaperone your kids’ field trips
This could be a good deal or it could be a nightmare. But we’re desperate here, right?
Beg entrance onto Mom and Dad’s trips
Chances are, if you’re an explorer, you were raised in a household that catered to the explorer’s spirit. And chances are that Mom and Dad still do trips. Offer to do the driving. And to pay for your own hotel room, for crying out loud.
Take an Amtrak ride to next big city for a day of (you fill in the blank)
I have friends who do this with their kids. They get to ride a train, you get a change of scenery. And someone else does the driving.
Become a reader
This may seem like a cop out but a good book enjoyed in a hot bath with the door locked away from the kids can take you places. Explore the boundaries of your imagination.
So, in conclusion, existence as the restless half of a marriage can be tough on those of us who can’t sit still but it doesn’t have to be impossible. These tips have worked for me. I get to see new things, he gets the comfort of his own couch. A perfect marriage.
Anyone else out there in the same boat? How do you keep your inner explorer alive when you’re in a situation that makes traveling tough?
Kristie Edmondson is a fledgeling satirist who hails from Southwest Louisiana. She divides her time between chasing two four year old nutjobs, a husband and three cats, miserably failing at keeping a clean house, sewing, attempting some sort of public service as a speech-language pathologist, and keeping up a few blogs Twin Skin (and back again) and The Snark Lists. She’s hopelessly ADD and depends on lists to maintain her sanity and hopes to one day be able to travel farther than her front door again.