I’m off adventuring in Utah celebrating being a newlywed but I’ve still got some posts lined up for this week. First off, we have a guest post from Kinzie (this is also 3Up Adventures first guest post ever!). When she replied to my call for posts on how you incorporate adventure into your life by offering to write about how her boyfriend (now husband!) followed her to France after dating for just a few months I was ecstatic. I love love love this post. Love and Adventure together; simply perfect for our post wedding week. And with that, Kinzie:
My husband and I had been dating for approximately two months when I found out I got a teaching job in France for the next school year. It was simultaneously exciting and terrifying to know that I was falling in love with the guy chopping tomatoes across from me, while anticipating the seven months we would have to spend apart, if our relationship could even withstand the distance.
My mom seemed to think she had it all figured out. Any time I was sad or worried about the impending time apart, she said, “Well, Donnie should just move to France with you.”
“Mom, it’s not that easy. He can’t just move to France.”
“Well, I think he should. You guys would have fun.”
I was convinced that this wasn’t a realistic solution, but my mom was relentless. (We had this same conversation approximately 50 times.) And, maybe this is just a “magical mom power” but the more she said it, the more I decided she was probably right. So I started looking into creative ways to get Donnie over to France with me.
Long story short, we eventually discovered that it was possible to go to France for up to 90 days on just a passport — and with that, on February 5th, 2010, Donnie came to France. He moved into my studio apartment, we lived off of my fairly minimal monthly wages, traveled off of the cash he brought with him, and we made it work. He picked up enough French to buy a baguette or get a movie ticket, and learned how to navigate a grocery store. He was quickly included in the group of friends I had made in my first four months there- and having Donnie as a part of our group felt easy and wonderful.
At times, it was scary (combining finances after less than a year together?! living with a MAN?!?), but most of the time, life was a grand adventure. We spent our days working (me at school, him on freelance animation) and our nights cooking amazing meals, planning the next weekend trip, or dreaming up whirlwind vacations. We decided that it would be stupid to come home with any money saved, because when else would we live 12 Euros away from Paris? What other time would we be able to hop over to Italy on a 20 Euro flight? Throwing all caution to the wind, we ate our way through Europe on two amazing trips, and came home with exactly $160 between the two of us.
It would have been so easy to take the practical route. For Donnie to stay in America working a mundane but decently paying job. For us to put away some of my paycheck each month so we would have a security deposit to pay once we were in America again. For us to live and travel on our own money (“Oh, you don’t have quiiiite enough money to come to Prague with me, so … see ya in a week!”). But I’m so glad that practicality didn’t win—because the memories and lessons we learned in Europe cannot be recreated.
Since we moved back to Illinois, we have tried to seek out little adventures in our day-to-day lives. It was so hard to come back home to a rigid job in the middle of cornfields when our thrilling life overseas felt just out of reach. When we get a little restless, or sentimental for our time abroad together, we drink coffee out of our “France mugs” that traveled home in our suitcases. We bike to the market on the weekends—to bring a little bit of our France life home with us. We eat at new restaurants, trying to order the most interesting thing off the menu and finding new favorites five minutes away from our home. There are so many ways to incorporate that spontaneity into our life here if we just remember to seek them out. Though that doesn’t stop us from dreaming about our next great adventure.