Meg and I, as newlyweds (1.5 yrs still counts, right?), might not have had the quantity of fights of Mike and Luci… but we have sure matched the quality! Their ability to balance family with their passion for travel is an inspiration and while we know we can’t avoid fights on the road, we hope to follow their example of successfully getting past them. We appreciated their thoughtful answers to our questions and hope you find them as helpful as we did.
Mike and Luci
Mike and Luci met in third grade, started fighting in 6th grade, and haven’t stopped.
After they got married and had their honeymoon in Lake Tahoe, Mike turned to Luci and said, “Where are we going next year?” So began their yearly pilgrimage to somewhere new, somewhere they could spend time together (or not), somewhere to fight, and somewhere to discover.
LS: You two have quite a system worked out of traveling to more and more interesting locales for your wedding anniversaries. Did you know before you got married that you both enjoyed travel or did you discover your passion together?
M&L: You are right, every year we take turns planning where we are going for our anniversary trip. In addition, for every year we are married we add another $100 to our budget for hotel and airfare. Yes! Both of us had traveled before we started sharing a toothbrush cup. Mike had lived in Taiwan for a couple years and Luci had been to Europe. After we were hitched, we took it to the next level.
LS: In reading about one of your best fights ever, Tony couldn’t help but notice that he was agreeing with almost every one of Mike’s decisions. Men always need to be solving problems and doing something… they are not content to sit still and wait to be found! How many of your travel fights do you think stem from just the differences in men and women?
M&L: Every single one of them! That is the great thing about traveling with your spouse. Both of you come to view a location or situation with different eyes. I don’t know how many times one of us has said, “look at that, isn’t that amazing?” Seeing things through your sweetheart’s eyes really gives you insight into what he or she values.
LS: As a married couple ourselves, we know you can’t avoid the fights. How do you manage to get past those fights though when you’re on the road and do you have any tips on how to keep them to a minimum?
M&L: It is ok to fight. It really is. Do you know what fighting is? It is two independent people having their own opinions. What is wrong with that? What goes wrong is the next step: the discussion. Couples then need to in turn, work things out. If one person feels passionate about seeing something, the other needs to recognize it and respect it. Communication is always king. We have seen too many couples where one person always dictates everything: where to eat, what to see. Yuck! Fight a little! Besides, making up is so much fun!
LS: In order to keep things working smoothly when on the road, do you two split up responsibilities?
M&L: Yep. What a great question. This is so key. Luci is the people person. She relates to people in any culture. She has a real knack for getting us in to places, into restaurants, and discounts! She is amazing with people. Mike is the driver. Driving is a passion for Mike. Mike is also the translator. He speaks two languages fluently (English and Chinese) and speaks a few more with tourist fluency (French, Turkish, and Zulu). Divide up the work and play off each other’s strengths. One thing that traveling does for you is makes you see your spouse’s strengths. Say to your spouse: “you were so awesome at that!”
LS: Have you ever traveled longer term (more than a week or two) or have an interest?
M&L: Nope. No interest. We really put a ton of prep into the locations we visit. We learn the language, we learn the history, we know the terrain. We are both planners. When we go to a location, we are prepped. We avoid taking your normal touristy type tours. We want to expose ourselves to an experience with depth. In addition, Luci and I both have demanding professions, so our vacation time is precious. We have many good friends that do the long term travel thing. It works for them.
LS: What has been your favorite place to visit as a couple and what is currently at the top of your must-see list?
Luci – Paris, France
Mike – Istanbul, Turkey
We are exploring a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia next year. We are still in the planning stages. Have you ever been? We would like to know your ideas. (We have never been, but it is definitely on our RTW list for next year! How can you not want to see Angkor Wat?)
LS: Do you have any tips on how you save for your global adventures?
M&L: Glad you brought this up. So many people ask, how do you afford to travel. We have a few secrets. We will let you in on them. As stated above, we plan a long time in advance. To maximize our travel dollars:
1) We book our tickets 8-12 months in advance.
2) We book our travel on the “shoulder” seasons. We target areas on the edge of the on-season.
3) We budget and save for this time together every month.
4) We “play” the credit card points and airline reward points game.
The key for us is to plan ahead and save. Again, this brings out another benefit to our relationship. We set a goal every year to go. We work together to save and prepare. Travel is so great for relationships. (We agree! We haven’t even started our journey and yet have had a blast planning for it.)
LS: How do you balance having kids and your desire to travel?
M&L: Another great question. As mentioned previously, Luci and I have demanding careers. We get pulled a lot of different ways in our “day” jobs. For two weeks a year, we leave the blackberry at home. We tend to go places that are not exactly “internet” friendly. We do take our kids on adventures, just not overseas. We do involve our kids in our trips in other ways. They are required to do power point presentations with their research on the location that mom and dad are going to. They also learn the language with dad! One tradition we have is that we create a big map and game on the locations we visit while we are gone.
LS: We loved reading about your fight at the Louvre… when can we read about some of your other epic battles?
M&L: Stay tuned! Visit our blog often! www.1000fights.com.