Alright kids, this is the home stretch! Day 4 is coming at ya, with the last day of the summit tomorrow. I honestly can’t believe how quickly this awesome, week-long event has flown by, and I also can’t believe that I have stayed on track and have been able to listen, review and post each day on the same day. Yay for me for not being a slacker! Ok let’s dig in.
Day 4: Unpack Your Global Relationships
Traveling with your partner (without wanting to kill them): Betsy and Warren initially lived on the east coast, working tirelessly to climb the corporate ladder. One fateful day in an airport, waiting for their individual flights going in opposite directions, they realized that they needed to completely reevaluate their lives together. After a long talk they realized that they needed to restructure what they wanted in life and as a couple.
To them, creating a global life is not one giant step but rather many small planned steps. Make change a part of every day life through these small steps, then it’s not so scary and eventually becomes the norm. This could mean saving money by not going out to eat, or selling the car and using transit, this in turn saves money and contributes to your new global life budget.
When you are considering a global life with a partner you need to realize there is a lot more negotiation, more moveable parts to each equation. Have a conversation around, what do we want? Occasionally one half of the couple is the “roots” wanting to stay more in one place or at home while the other half is the “wings” wanting to move and travel around. The concept of “interest based negotiation” implies that the couple should discover together, if one person is the more passionate about doing or not doing something, then go with that. Give and take and celebrate partnership.
If all you have is a two week vacation, then go and explore together, but don’t limit your experiences to 14 days a year. Incorporate the global life into everyday life! Cook an ethnic meal once a week, watch foreign films-the global life can be found anywhere.
After several illnesses in the family, they were forced to asked themselves “what would we do differently if we knew we wouldn’t live to be 40?” Your motivation is to do things, and see things, you don’t want to regret what you didn’t do. You can not be so scared of making a mistake that you don’t live.
What I got out of it: this conversation opened my eyes to the complexities of traveling with or relocating with a partner. It’s obvious that being compassionate and understanding, especially on the rough days, will only lead to a whole new level of awesomeness and intimacy with your partner and best friend.
Navigating relationships in re-entry: Carrie and Cate both contribute on the topic of re-entry: “the rest of your life after coming home from living abroad.” Studying abroad proved to be a transformative experience for both women which shook their identities- ” I am my true self when I am abroad.” The return was not so grand- returning to school, to work, to the daily grind of life. It’s important to reflect on what you learned while living abroad and figuring out how to incorporate that knowledge into your life and career.
It was agreed that internet access and social media allow people to exist in two worlds at the same time and to stay in touch on a daily basis with friends and family back home. This is a different story to those who traveled (approximately) before the year 2000. Internet cafes existed, but connections could be shoddy and all that really existed at the time was email.
On traveling abroad in high school and college: consider the intentions of a significant other, don’t let them ‘squash’ your dreams of travel- their response could be coming from an insecure or selfish place. Don’t be afraid to state, “I have to do this for me and to grow and develop.” You won’t ever regret that.
There is an ebb and flow of relationships. The true stability in life are the relationships you invest in.
Traveling abroad impacts relationships. Occasionally you grow apart and relationships change, or your relationships are strengthened through distance. Re-entry is a test on relationships. When you return you can tend to focus solely on yourself, your experiences, and your changes. But consider that life did go on without you and validate the changes and experiences that your friends and family had who stayed behind.
What I got out of it: Social media and smart phones have completely changed the way we stay in contact when traveling. It allows you to check in on family at home, interact with friends, and even face time with them. It also allows you to stay in contact with your friends you make while traveling. It helps to create a more permanent bond with people you come in contact with. Studying abroad, living abroad, or volunteering abroad has never caused the devolution of anyone.
*Julie Parenteau: Identity and the global nomad, coming Feb.5th, 2015*