We travel a lot. At least twice a month - often more. Our "season" starts up in September with college football games, transitions quickly to Thanksgiving and Christmas and then January with an always-much-needed vacation.
But the weekend road trips, quick getaways, impromptu visits to see family a few hours down the highway - they were taking a toll on us. In a way it was exciting to use our glorious, semi-newlywed, child-free time this way. We were doing whatever we wanted, just because we can.
We were the envy of our friends with children. I admit, I might have been obnoxious about it a few times to a few people I don't care for. But there's no denying that two incomes, no kids and a very self-sufficient dog leaves us flexible with our time. Why not travel? Why not have fun?
The glut of opportunity was far too much for us to handle. During the work week we raced about trying to do all of the things that should have happened over the weekend: laundry, yard work, errands, grocery shopping, bill paying and playing with the dog.
Traveling so much really made it hard to keep our household running in anything that even resembled a semi-orderly fashion. The dishes piled up, soon there were only condiments left in the fridge and there was often the cry of "I only have one clean sock!" Emergency Laundry on Sunday was the (terribly painful) norm.
Clearly we needed to change our habits. Dramatically.
In February we decided that we simply weren't going to travel as much. We would refuse invitations and opportunities, stand our ground when someone tried to guilt us into a several-hours drive and we would even take fewer vacations. (Gasp!)
The weekends suddenly appeared before us as a long string of newly discovered pearls. We gleefully turned page after page in the calendar and were jointly thrilled with the seemingly endless blank squares. With nothing planned we reveled in exactly that: doing nothing.
We laid in the hammock, grilled steaks, took naps, made pancakes (oh so many pancakes), organized our belongings and got ahead on the laundry for the first time in months. We planned healthy meals to cook, got caught up in Lost again (such a bad idea) and took Jake for regular jaunts around the block.
As it turns out, shunning everyone we know was a marvelous idea. Who knew?
We're slowly falling back into to our old ways though. A wedding here. A weekend at the lake there. Plus a weekend getaway for our 2-year anniversary. Plans to go to an Astros game with the family. Oh - and also to Iowa to see the family there too. Can't leave them out.
It's like a progressive addiction - the more we start traveling, the more excuses we find to do it more often.
It's tough to find an appropriate balance. Besides the trips that we want to take, there are also the trips that we're not-so-excited about but feel that we have to embark on.
I often find that our DINK status makes us presumed travelers in these situations. Many people think it's easier for us (our responsibility even) to visit them since we have a seemingly endless supply of time and no college educations to save for just yet.
It's an unspoken one-way street. If we don't make an effort to see certain people, well then, we just don't get to see them at all. They won't come visit us. (It makes me wonder why we want to see them in the first place.)
This completely infuriates me - especially if I get a guilt trip about it.
Our decision to dramatically scale back was in part derived from this predicament. Now that we've tasted the sweet freedom that is the luxury of our own time, we're hesitant to share again.
It was a long way (literally) to learn the lesson about balancing a surfeit of time. After actually living in our house for an entire month it has become painfully clear that this new routine is waaaaay more fun than a sack of tacos and a weekend in the car.
So, we're going to try and stick with the original plan: don't travel as much and don't make up reasons to travel just because we can. Enjoy the comfortable life we've created for ourselves and spend less time in the airport. Sounds like a good plan to me.
As a bonus to this decision, Jake ought to be pleased that we're not planning on any more road trips for a while since he pretty much has a panic attack any time he's put in a vehicle. And, keeping this animal happy is, of course, my life's goal.
(Not really. That would make me one of those weird animal ladies who gives her dog bottled water and makes him wear clothes.)