travel

Blog Series: Returning Home and Marriage

Hi! Here's a link to the previous posts in this series:

Returning Home and Family and Returning Home and My Peeps.

Next up...

Reconnecting with My Husband Keith

I saved the most intricate for last. What happens in a marriage when you go from traveling on motorcycles to living in one house and working? It’s a bit like riding on a pot-hole infested road, trying mightily to avoid hitting one!

A few months in, we exploded and faced what had been happening to us. You know the story of the frog in the boiling pot? That’s how it felt. Slowly, probably since our last month in South America, we had been sliding back into our old pre-travel habit of living parallel lives.

Internally, we were coping with our separate experiences of homecoming and there was a gigantic difference at the core. Keith longed to continue traveling while I was elated to be home. We had been inextricably tied to each other while we traveled. We had to agree on darn near everything we did — where we slept, where we ate, where we traveled. Once we hit US soil, that ever-present knot that connected us began to loosen. On one hand, it was awesome to have my freedom again! On the other hand, our relationship started eroding and we didn’t pay attention to it, until frustrations with coming home, and with each other, overtook us.  We both exploded.

Let’s fast-forward past the explosion, to what we learned as a result of it. From my perspective, we realized that we weren’t having those deep, interesting conversations anymore. Almost all we talked about were the items on the eternal list of to do’s. We didn’t share our fears of restarting our income flow, figuring out where we were going to live, feeling like we didn’t belong anywhere, and not in any way, shape, or form wanting to be mooches as we stayed with friends and family for (what ended up being) four months.

We separately did our best to cope with it all. I relied on girlfriends, wine, yoga, walking. He relied on going for motorcycle rides and getting out among people. I started my new business. He went back to work, in a different job, for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. I wanted our home to be beautiful and clean. He wanted his garage in order.

Here’s where we came together. We agreed that we wanted to do better. We wanted to reconnect with each other more in the way we did on the road. We had had a taste of it. We knew what it felt like to have a truly intimate connection. We’re starting with making time for real conversations, opening ourselves to new ideas of what we enjoy doing together, with touching each other more, with real kisses. It's the beginning of accepting more change in our lives.

Before we returned home, we knew our travels had changed us. What we didn't know is that we couldn't possibly understand how travel had changed us until we started living at home rather than on the road. It stands to reason that since we changed individually, our marriage would change. We're learning, we're committed, and after eight months back in the U.S., we're still exploring ourselves with love.


Conclusion for All My Relationship Reconnecting Posts

Inner Change = Outer Change

When we change, all of our relationships change. It’s inevitable if we’re being true to ourselves. Coming back from an epic adventure makes the changes more apparent than in a normal time of life.

I wonder, what would it look like to once in a while press pause and look through a different lens at the important relationships in our lives? We could ask ourselves, how have our relationships changed over time in the “frog in a boiling pot” kind of way? How are we showing up as our true selves in our relationships?

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

P.S. If you're making some changes in your life, consider hiring me as your coach to support you! Plus, if you're curious, learn about our motorcycle adventure at SouthonaBike.com.

Not Quite in this World

This month, two years ago, Keith and I were in the final countdown to our epic adventure. We were close to leaving our jobs, prepping our house to rent, and making little checks next to items on pages of lists spread all over the kitchen counter. 

Fast forward from 2015 to 2017. Traveling changed us. We're not the same inside even if we look the same on the outside. We're committed to consciously reshaping our lives in a way that allows us to have more adventures. We're exploring this new world, doing our darnedest to align our work and home with our future vision. 

Reshaping our lives can feel like blasting off to another world. 

Sometimes I feel like a kick-as pioneer, boldly going where I've never been before and other times, I'm lost in a black hole of doubt.

Here's a video update...

If you're in Boise, and ready to change the shape of your own life, I'm offering a workshop on Reshaping Your Life

In the spirit of learning!

 
 

Curiosity & Desire Retreat

Hola!

As of today, we've been traveling for 481 days. It's hard for me to get my head around! I've had a job since I was 14 years old and we left on this trip when I was 52. I know how to do work. Traveling, on the other hand, has been a challenge in many unexpected ways. I have a doosey to share this time.

But first...the backstory...

We started our trip with a Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting in Nakusp, BC in August 2015. Our plan was to attend another one in Argentina in December 2016. It was the perfect bookend to our trip and located on the way to our end goal of Ushuaia. When the time came, we found ourselves 750 miles away from the event. To make matters worse, the event was no longer "on the way" so it would need to be a round trip. That's 1500 miles out of our way for a 2-day campout with about 20-30 fellow travelers. I seriously hated to miss it but I didn't have it in me to do an extra 1500 miles.

New plan. Keith, and two men we met during our travels, rode together to the event while I stayed at "home" in Puerto Varas, Chile. After some pondering about what to do with 10 days dropped in my lap, I decided to design what I call my Curiosity & Desire Retreat, a combination of being an artist-in-residence and a woman on retreat.

Some of you will think this is cr-azy

and some of you will think it's co-ol!

Here's the thing...we're in the last phase of our trip and seriously talking about what going home will look like on multiple levels. There are big frickin' changes coming! This total break from traveling is a deep, expansive, juicy time for me to wonder and be curious about who I am now, and what I want next. Maybe you've had this feeling. We want to know what's next but can't quite put our finger it or, more likely, we know what it is but it scares the hell out of us, and we wish we wanted the safe, easy thing. That's where I am.

There are way too many details to share everything with you but I want to share the essence of it. I'm six days into it with another four to go. Its been strange not having Keith around all the time, humbling to flail between what I think I "should" do and what I "want" to do, frustrating not to see a clear path to my next phase, and freeing to play, learn, and wander down any rabbit hole I wish.

My goal is to answer the question of whether I want to pursue finding a job I love, or starting a business I love, when we return from our trip. The bonus question is, if I want to start a business, what would the focus be? To approach these questions from different perspectives, I built a structure to inspire wonder, thought, and creativity. 

The basics of my Curiosity & Desire Retreat:

  1. I set aside precious time and space for me.
  2. I set up a written foundation for my time with what I want to do daily, how much time I will spend doing it, and a place for me to check off that I have done it, so I can celebrate with funky, happy-dance moves. 
  3. I gathered inspirational material such as poems and quotes.
  4. I set the intention of listening to my body’s needs, my heart’s desires, and my mind’s knowledge + eating healthy, exercising, and resting + being willing to be surprised through showing up, wondering, being curious, and doing the work.
  5. During my Curiosity Retreat time, I'm working with a whopping 34 questions by hand-writing my answers in multi-colored markers, and taping them on the walls so I can see the themes and patterns emerging. I research topics of interest to learn more.
  6. During my Desire Retreat time, I do whatever I feel a desire to do. The photos at the bottom are some of my creative work. It's my first attempt at a mandala! Ha!

I made a one-minute video to show you my crazy, cozy, creative space.

If you feel like you're in transition and would like to talk with someone, I'd love to hear your story. Email me. I appreciate the work it takes to make our big choices in life, and know it can be a tough, lonely time. I don't have the answers however, I love meaningful conversations about struggles and possibilities, gremlins and muses, realities and dreams. 

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

I realized that you might like to read the poem so here's the full size image :)

The Dips

During a particularly deep "dip in our trip," I made this 2-minute video to share about it. (Pardon the occasional wind noise.) Little did I know, it was going to get a little deeper before I made my way out of it.

Here are the links to the books I mentioned in the video: 

The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future by Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers

The vast simplicity of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is one of my favorite spots.

Back to that dip I was talking about. It continued until we took a longer break in Santiago, and I dug deeper into my basic needs to understand why I was so off-kilter. 

Like cream rising to the surface of fresh milk, letting go of everything I know to take this trip has allowed my needs to rise above my wants. By letting go of my house, job, friends, family, exercise routine, relaxation rituals, stores I like to shop in, restaurants I like to eat in, closet full of clothes and shoes, jewelry...you get the idea...I've had a chance to distinguish between my needs and wants in a new way.

Here's where I am now. I've let everything go. We're still traveling so I can't put my whole life back together again but, I can make choices about my basic needs. That's where I'm focused. I'm identifying my "minimum requirements for self care" (a term used by Jennifer Louden) so I feel like myself, comfortable in my own skin. Louden's writing prompts have helped me to get at the topic from some new angles.

For example, some of what I've learned is that time alone on the bike isn't enough for me. It was easy to get time to myself at home but on the road, I have to let Keith know that I need a few hours to myself with no interruptions. This is hugely important for my sanity and I wasn't giving it to myself! Another example is what I've started calling stretch projects, in which I challenge my mind or body or heart. The time I spent creating my ebook, Journaling Whys & Hows, fed my need to share about a topic that's super-important to me and to be visually creative. As a "thank you" for reading my blog, I'm giving it to you for free! Use the promo code thankyou.

I'm pretty sure I've made it through the dip in our trip. I've learned more about my basic needs, am in the midst of a 2-week (or more!) break in Santiago, Chile at an awesome hostel with other motorcycle riders, and Keith and I are laying out the next to last leg of our trip, which will take us to our goal of Ushuaia, Argentina. We haven't quite figured out the last leg involving how or when we go home, yet.

Whew. Who knew there would be so much to learn when we left our house 443 days ago!

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

What do failure and extraordinary have in common?

Peru's Colca Canyon wowed Keith and me. The canyon is known for its Condors, and as soon as we spotted our first ones, with their graceful, delicate gliding style, we wanted to stay longer in the expansive grandeur of the canyon. But, we couldn’t. For the first time in a year, we were on a schedule. We had tickets to Machu Picchu on a specific date the following week so, we set out to make the most of our time in the area.

With two different visions of how we wanted to explore the canyon, we decided to go our separate ways. Keith took off on a ride to the canyon bottom, and I hiked down to an oasis spot called Sangalle. Let’s just say, it wasn’t quite what I expected. Click on the video below and come along with me.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Living With More Heart

Sunrise on Lake Titicaca.

Hola!

We're 13 months into our adventure and I'd like to share with you how traveling is opening my heart in a new way.

I’ve been practicing a couple of new-to-me concepts, which are changing how I understand the people and places we’re visiting, and what I believe is possible for the future.

From our hotel balcony, I’ll share a bit of what I’m experiencing, and in the background you’ll hear sounds from the shores of Lake Titicaca and the small town of Copacabana, Bolivia. It's a touristy town near the border with Peru so don't be surprised if you hear a very recognizable song in the end :)

If your curious about the book, here's a link to it: Untethered Soul 

From my heart to yours, I send you love.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

 

Travel Learning: Lesson 10 of 10

The swimming hole.

Lesson 10 of 10: fear

From the moment we said aloud, "We're riding our motorcycles to the tip of South America," fear has never been far away.

Before we left, I was afraid of leaving my awesome job, having no income, renting out our house, and lots more. Almost every time we told someone of our plans, I could sense the fear in them. And now, it's there when we're choosing roads to ride, and places to eat, sleep, and visit. You name the decision, and I can describe a way that fear is influencing the outcome. Recently, it accompanied me to a swimming hole and I ended up writing a poem about it, which is not a normal occurrence for me.

Outside the tiny, mountain village of Santa Fe, Panama, I walked by myself from our hostel, to a swimming hole a mile or two away. I was scared during my walk. When I settled down on a rock, with my feet in the water, to write in my journal, this poem tumbled out.

Fear or Gremlin

A view from the isolated roadside. I love these Brahman cattle.

I almost turned around,

almost thought I was going the wrong way,

almost didn’t see this river, swimming hole, Panamanian countryside.

I would have missed the cool sensation of dangling my feet in the water,

wondering if I should go all the way in,

wondering if the air is warm enough, and the water not too cold.

How many times has fear won?

My first glimpse of the swimming hole.

Or, perhaps, fear has saved me.

It’s hard to know.

Hard to know when fear is warranted,

a savior, a signal, a true warning,

Riverside writing.

that danger is nearby.

But sometimes,

times like this,

fear strikes falsely.

Fear blocks me from joy,

runs so quickly through my body that I freeze,

fills me with doubt and terrifying headlines.

I can’t banish fear,

anymore than a dieter can stop eating food.

How can fear become my ally?

What’s the difference between fear and my inner gremlins?

Fear isn’t always trying to stamp me down.

Perhaps that’s it.

Fear that’s holding me down,

isn’t fear at all.

It’s an inner gremlin dressed up as well-meaning fear.

Fear calmly says, “Stop for a moment. Let’s think about this.”

Fear works in facts and intuition.

Adrenalin-filled inner gremlins shout, “Oh shit! Did you hear that?!”

And, “that,” turns out to be a leaf falling to the ground.

Facts are useless to gremlins.

It’s time to forge a new relationship with fear,

to notice when fear is speaking,

and when inner gremlins are jumping up and down with declarations,

It’s time to respect fear,

And yet sometimes, we have to feel the fear and do it anyway!

honor it,

even love it if I can.

After all, fear wants to keep me alive.

by Jalene Case

This poem was written on the banks of the Santa Maria River in Santa Fe, Panama.

 

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

P.S. In case you're wondering, "Yes, I went all the way into the water!"

Travel Learning: Lesson 9 of 10

Lesson 9 of 10: Big happiness

Traveling brings new experiences in practically every moment. What we make of them is up to us. 

One of my favorite experiences is meeting amazing people, like this couple from South Korea. A story they shared with us about finding "big happiness" on the road gave me goose bumps because they're so right on. I asked them to tell you all about it. Please meet Jeon Taebyung and Woo Yeon.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Travel Learning: Lesson 8 of 10

Lesson 8 of 10: Travel changes relationships.

Even before we left our house, I knew that traveling would change me. How could it not? With so many new experiences every day, change is imminent. What I didn't know, didn't even consider in advance, is how travel would change our marriage. In this video, Keith and I share the changes we've noticed so far inside our relationship.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene