In Married with Luggage: What We Learned about Love by Traveling the World Warren and Betsy Talbot combine practical relationship advice with inspiring stories of adventure. The result is a book that encourages couples to dream big and live boldly – together.
The togetherness, of course, is often the tricky part.
Couples are rarely made up of two identical people; in fact a pair of opposites is more likely. That can complicate just about everything – from household chores to vacation planning. Major life changes – like selling all yourself and traveling around the world together – are guaranteed to shine a harsh light on a couple’s differences.
Betsy and Warren decided to become completely and permanently nomadic, committing to working and living on the road for years at a time. While they were united in this big goal, they had different ideas about how to achieve it.
“I wanted the comfort of my things and the status quo while I slowly imagined myself morphing into the future. The more he pushed to sell, organize, plan, and save, the more I felt like things were being taken away from me. Warren felt like I was not committed to the plan and forcing him to be in charge of our motivation. He thought this was unfair.”
This resonated with me and reminded me of when Jared and I were preparing for our own epic road trip and life change. We bumped heads a lot because of our personality differences.
I jumped out of the gate with big plans and long lists of sweeping changes we needed to make. He wanted to move more slowly and thoughtfully and think through all the possible obstacles. I interpreted his cautiousness as negativity; he felt my eagerness and optimism was bordering on reckless.
Despite our often conflicting perspectives, we did manage to come together to accomplish something amazing: we traveled for a year with our two kids and made permanent changes to our family’s lifestyle. The key for us has been to learn how to use each other’s strengths and when to grow beyond our individual tendencies.
I’ve often said that ideally a relationship lets one plus one equal more than two. Betsy describes this coming together perfectly:
“We’re a little like Goldilocks and the Three Bears: he’s too fast, I’m too slow, and together we’re just right.”
Throughout Married with Luggage the Talbots share real-life examples of how to work and live together without compromising who you are and what you each value. This isn’t a couple who has merely figured out how to bite their tongues so that they can share a meal without bickering; they’re each accomplishing major personal and professional goals while spending a ton of time together.
I think that’s what I loved the most about this book. The stories and advice were appropriate for everyday life, but I was also inspired to keep dreaming big for myself and for my relationship. That has not always been an easy balance for me.
I’m much more likely to make life lists and grand plans than my husband is, but I’ve also learned the hard way that pretty much everything is richer and better when my relationship with him is also strong. It’s important to me know I can have both my lofty goals and my stable marriage.
In addition to their insights on marriage, there is no doubt that Warren and Betsy want to encourage readers to rethink their day-to-day lives. They advocate unplugging regularly (“Technology is available all the time, but we don’t have to be.”), opening up to strangers, being open to unexpected adventures, and exploring more of the world – exactly what you’d expect from a pair of globetrotting bloggers.
But whether or not you imagine you and your spouse sailing together on an Antarctic cruise, or simply enjoying more weekends at your local farmer’s market, this book can offer you some valuable perspectives on life, love, and partnership.
Where have you discovered good advice about relationships? I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments.