Last week when I was in New York, I was lucky to sit down for breakfast with my friend from Chicago, Max Wastler. You might remember him from when I started gushing about him on Jessica's podcast. But Max deserves all the lip service that I can dish out. Check out his work with Basil Hayden's and I think you'll start to understand what I'm talking about. He's just a really awesome human being.
Max is one hard working guy and his work takes him across the country + back. He mentioned that his current contract has him on the road fifteen days out of each month. I love talking to people who spend half their lives traveling because it's interesting to learn what their preferences and motivations are. Through these conversations I get to take the time to think about what my own preferences and motivations are in my balance of work + travel.
While I drank eighteen cups of coffee we covered a lot of topics and had a great discussion about relationships. He told me he feels that a well matched partner for someone who travels for work (or play) like we do belong in two categories. One, they will be someone who is alright with their partner being gone all the time. Being ok on their own and ok with the amount of time they are able to spend with their partner. The other category is someone who is packed up and flying around right beside their partner.
From experience, it's hard to strike the right chord with someone in either category. The second one in particular, I think. Finding the perfect travel partner is incredibly challenging (oh how I could write so many blog posts on this) and you have to be very in sync with your travel styles. Like Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass in sync. On the other hand, trying to find someone who is willing to put up with you being gone all the time and home for a short amount of time can be a really terrible thing to go through. You're picking work or travel over a person that you really care about. It makes both partners feel awful. A few years ago I started traveling at least once a month to teach at Creating Keepsakes Conventions. I was in Portland one night and my boyfriend was in New York, and he was tired of the distance. We were on the phone and exasperated, he said "but you're not going to be traveling like this for much longer right?" Hmm. Well. Yeah, I think I am. I think I want to. I think I am going to be traveling this for as long as I can.
There are so many, many, many great things about traveling and traveling for work and traveling because that is what your heart wants to do. But there are many things that you miss out on. Being able to be in one single place and meet someone in that place and spend time getting to know each other in that place for a solid chunk of time would probably be at the top of my list. The fact that we now send text messages in lieu of actual voice on voice conversations when we're far apart does not boost its popularity in my book. Although thank god for emojis. Sometimes you send that smiling poop one and it just saves the day. And your relationship.
My conversation with Max left me inspired and full of things to mentally chew on. But the thing that stayed with me the most was when Max talked about his girlfriend, whom I've heard him say before that he doesn't deserve (which says it all right there.) He said to me, "when I met her I knew I had to make her fall in love with me." She was the best person he was ever going to meet. So maybe that's the answer to the work + travel + relationship challenge. You find that person you can't live without. And you make it work. Hey, now where's the Tim Gunn emoji?