re-entry

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.

Blog Series: Returning Home and Family

“How does it feel to return home?” After traveling in Latin America on our motorcycles for nearly two years, my husband and I hear some version of that question often. Appreciating that we’re still in the homecoming process, I’m going to take a crack at describing what it looks like and how it feels in this blog series exploring my relationships, house, and work.

This is the first post in a blog series about returning home and relationships.

The Case Family

Missing my family and friends was the #1 challenge during the trip. I was anxious to reconnect with everyone as quickly as possible! I yearned for those genuine conversations with another human being who knew me, rather than the strangers we met along the way (even though they were amazing people!). Knowing a bit of a person’s history, brings a sense of connection that’s missing from the passing curiosity of meeting a new person. When we know each other, we can appreciate the meaning behind the stories we share, like reading an ongoing book rather than starting over at chapter one. I liked meeting new people, don’t get me wrong but I was out of whack. My life was 100% meeting new people and 0% being with people I know, like, or love. I felt a sense of frantic, desperateness for real connection with my peeps.

The trickiest factor in coordinating get-togethers was that we didn’t have a home base or a set schedule. After arriving in LA with our motorcycles on February 23rd, we bounced around until moving into a home of our own just before the 4th of July. (I’ll talk more about that in the “house” part of this series.)

Reconnecting with Family

Visiting both our families was awesome and strange. We kind of didn’t know what to do with each other. My mom and I saw each other for the first time when she picked me up at the Boise airport. Our eyes met, I noticed an odd look in her eye. There was a bit of an awkward pause then she said something like, “It’s so strange to see you in person!” We went through some version of that experience in nearly every reconnection scenario.

We gathered for family dinners and did out best to catch-up on the seemingly little things that went unsaid in the months of online conversations. It felt like our epic adventure was an elephant in the room. Keith and I didn’t know how to talk about our trip, hadn’t condensed the photos enough to share. Our families didn’t know where to begin with questions. They had mostly seen our Facebook posts and read our blogs so they didn’t know what they didn’t know. That’s not the scenario I expected.

The Matteson Family

In my coming home fantasy, I dreamed of juicy, long conversations snuggled in a warm, comfortable, living room with the familiar smells of my families’ homes. We’d have a cup of morning coffee or a glass of evening red wine and seriously catch up on everything that we didn’t feel compelled to say online. The reality was that most of them didn’t have time for this kind of connection. They had lives to live, jobs to do, routines to tend to, kids to run around. Our love for each other is absolutely not in question. Scheduling was the tricky part.

The other expectation I brought to these family gatherings was my new belief in Latin American style family values. I’ll give you of sense of what I mean. We stayed in an Airbnb in Quito, Ecuador with Felipe & Mila for a month. At first, we were complete strangers, but they quickly introduced us to their friends at a local restaurant, and invited us up for meals. We soon met both of their parents over dinner and drinks. One Saturday we were welcomed into the larger family. They invited us to go along to a family gathering at property owned Mila’s family, out in the country. I learned that they do this regularly, at least once a month. Plus, Felipe has lunch with his parents a couple times a week, and they live next door to Mila’s parents. I was surprised to hear they spent so much time with family. I admired them. They had real relationships with their families. I could feel their comfort with each other. They didn’t wait for holidays to get together, being with family was an everyday part of their lives.

I dreamed of having that kind of relationship with our families when we returned home. I count Keith and I fortunate to have such kind, loving, supportive families and, I want more of them. Yes, I appreciate that they didn’t have my Latin American family values transformation but I still want more of them!

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

P.S. I'm happy to share that the coaching aspect of my business is growing. If you, or someone you know, would like support in crossing the gap from where you are now in life to where you want to be, I'd love to help. Let's schedule a complimentary session and talk about it.

What's Next

We’ve been asked versions of “What’s next? and “What’s it like coming home after being on the road for so long?” from lots of people. I’m ready to take a crack at sharing some answers!

Here’s the current status: After traveling for 562 days on our motorcycles, we returned to the U.S. on February 23rd. We’re still traveling as we visit family and friends, and doing our best at taking our time to consciously re-shape our lives.

What’s it like coming home after being on the road for so long?

My moto, waiting to be put back together again in the U.S. Customs warehouse in LA.

My moto, waiting to be put back together again in the U.S. Customs warehouse in LA.

We’re having strange experience after strange experience. The first one happened when we boarded the shuttle bus to take us from the LA airport to our hotel nearby. It was early evening and dark, the shuttle bus was full and loud, it seemed like every person on the bus was talking — and here’s the weird part — we understood them! We realized that for 19 months, the conversations surrounding us were simply white noise. We got used to ignoring everyone. We only paid close attention to what someone was saying in Spanish if we really needed to understand it. Later, when we arrived in the privacy of our hotel room, we talked about what an ass the guy behind us was being to the woman with him (presumably his wife), and that we wanted to turn off the volume on everyone.

Here's one of the next things I noticed. I felt like buying new stuff, and yet when I was shopping, I was repelled by the whole experience. Everything in the store seemed to be shouting, "Buy more, more, more!" I didn’t want to replace my holey underwear (4 pairs were such tough troopers the whole trip) or my hot pink lightweight, long-sleeved Icebreaker shirt (you know the one, you’ve seen it in many of my photos), or my secure, can’t-be-cut-with-knife, purse with the broken zipper (quite worthless when one’s purse gapes open all the time).

I’m slowly muddling through this process, surrendering to the need to replace unfixable stuff. However, I still needed that slightly broken stuff because we continued traveling for about a month in the U.S. We visited friends and family in the southwest as we gradually adjusted to our new “home” culture.

I arrived near our hometown on March 27th. Here’s my journal entry:  “Holy shit, we’re home. No, we’re not home as in living in our home but we’re home as in being in the area we called home. It feels like a loop has been closed. I’m ready to trade my moto riding clothes for my fun, “old” clothes.”

And speaking of clothes…I thought I would hyperventilate when I started going through my clothes in storage! Since we’re still not living in one place, I had to select some (not all of them!) to take with me. My heart raced in anticipation. I climbed on and leaned over into all the boxes marked “Jalene’s Clothes.” I made piles of possibilities, oooo’d and ahhhhh’d when I found something I loved and had forgotten all about. I took them all to our friend’s house in which we were staying, tried them all on, laid out good combos, washed the mothball smell out of the chosen bunch, and returned the unlucky ones back to storage. I love having more clothing choices. Superficial? I think not. My moto rider, Tomboy look is fun and so is my creative, professional, spunky look. What I wear on the outside influences how I feel on the inside and how I’m showing up in the world. Does that make sense?

We continue to have strange and “first time since we’ve been back” experiences. It’s an adventure for sure.

Here we are now, celebrating Easter with Keith's family in Tacoma, WA.

What’s next?

We’re still in the process of deciding where we want to live. Most likely it will be in Oregon, within a day’s ride of our family located in Boise and Tacoma. It depends on where Keith’s work takes us. My work is no longer dependent on our location.

While we were traveling, I tapped into my mind and heart to decide what I wanted to do next. I knew that I wanted to combine my 35 years of work experience with my master’s degree in education and a lifetime of fascination with personal development. My choice to be a solopreneur, aka business of one, is feeling more than anything, like me. The best way I can think of describing it to you, is to share what I wrote on my website:

I help women who want to get their spine-tingling ideas done and are struggling with doing what it takes to make them happen. What does that look like?

It looks like kick-ass women who want to make a difference, want to grow personally and professionally, and dare to be all in.

It looks like us working together to develop your leadership styleenergize you with self-care rituals, and accomplish your ideas that excite (and scare!) the hell out of you.

We start where you are now and work together to fulfill your desires in the areas that are most important to you. Is this you?

This backyard image reminds me of the dynamic new growth of spring, and our inner wisdom, always nearby, patiently waiting for us.

I'll be teaching, facilitating, and coaching with individuals and groups. Plus, I'm embarking on my certification as a professional coach and am in need of practice clients for the next six months. So far I have witnessed and led coaching sessions in which people make choices for actions that are life-changing. Seriously. I am in awe of coaching.

I would greatly appreciate you thinking about those friends and family members you believe could benefit from my services. My practice clients will be given a significantly reduced rate during my training and the first session is complimentary. Please send me their contact information or, give them mine: 541-272-2337, jalenecase@gmail.com.

So now, (in true solopreneur spirit!) I have a question for you. What’s next for you and how can I help you get there?

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

 

www.jalenecase.com | 541-272-2337 | jalenecase@gmail.com