An interview with Deborah Zanke, spouse of a frequent traveller and author of the Tag Along Travel Blog.
Being a frequent traveller, I know all too well what it is like to date someone who does not travel for work which I discussed in my previous post “ Love and Romance En Route: The Unique Challenges Frequent Travellers Face in Dating and Relationships.”
In my experience, I have always preferred to date fellow salesmen or men who are frequent travellers because they inherently understand business travel and do not have a problem with me going away for extensive periods of time for work and vice versa. My last relationship with a non-traveller proved disastrous. He was completely insecure and became so jealous and suspicious of my every move because he just didn’t get it. He turned into a complete control freak. If I didn’t respond to every text or phone call, he thought I was cheating on him which was never the case. I was just busy, working. I didn’t have the time or patience to deal with this type of behavior and annoying false accusations and hence why the relationship ended. Based on my experiences, I was sure that romantic relationships where both partners travel for work was the only way it could work, but I have been proven wrong. As it turns out, dating insecure and emotionally unstable people makes it impossible.
So I digress…
I recently met Deborah Zanke, the owner of a Marketing and Public Relations Firm and author of the Tag Along Travel Blog. In her blog, she discusses the ups and downs of being married to a frequent traveller and her experience tagging along on his business trips. Her spouse of 20 years only recently embarked on a new career that involved a significant amount of travel and that change she says, required a significant amount of adjusting on her part.
Debora’s husband is away on business travel nearly 40% of the time. In the past year alone, he has travelled on over 100 flights in 11 countries.
What are the biggest challenges of being the spouse of a frequent traveller?
Deborah admits that it took her time to get used to him being away. Initially he would be away on business for up to 3 weeks at a time and logistically it wasn’t possible for him to come back home on weekends which created tension in their relationship. He then moved to a different position where he is only away for usually 1 week at a time at most but nonetheless, still travelling for a significant amount of time.
Other challenges of being the spouse of being a frequent traveller Deborah says are coping while they are apart, missing each other, dealing with things that go wrong while he is away (condo repairs, car troubles, etc.) and being out of synch when he returns. When reunited, may they be adjusted to different time zones and set in different routines.
How did she overcome these challenges?
In order to adjust to her husband being away so frequently, Deborah realized that she had to be more independent.
A huge perk of Deborah’s business is that she can work remotely which means it’s possible for her to accompany her husband on business trips. When she does this, while her husband is working she works on her own business during the same business hours as her hometown and spends the rest of her time essentially travelling solo. She describes a recent business trip of her husband’s to London which she tagged along on. During the day while he was in meetings, she would go sight-seeing and dine alone and if he was working in the evening, she would work on her own business at night since it was still regular business hours back at home. Occasionally she would accompany him on business dinners but that was not commonplace.
The key to their success is that there is a mutual understanding that if she tags along on one of his business trips that his business is the priority of the trip. She has the strength and independence to essentially go on the trip as a solo traveller and not interfere with his business. She enjoys being able to take advantage of his super elite status, hotel upgrades and the opportunity to explore new places that she otherwise never would have even thought of.
When she isn’t able to tag along on one of her husband’s business trips, they maintain their intimacy by communicating regularly by text message, skype and facetime. They even had the great idea to do a “virtual date” whereby they watch a movie and order pizza together over Skype. Such a great idea!
Overall, in speaking with Deborah, I have learned that although it may not be easy at first, it is possible for a non-traveller to have a healthy, loving and fulfilling relationship with a frequent traveller which she achieves by being:
- Self-confident and secure
- Not afraid to travel solo
- The owner of her own business and one that can be done remotely
- Comfortable making the best of her time alone when at home, enjoying things such as binging on Netflix
- Understanding that her husband’s business is a priority while he is on business travel and doesn’t try to interfere
- Able to find unique ways to communicate and maintain intimacy from a distance
So fellow frequent travellers, there remains hope for maintaining a romantic relationship with a significant other who does not travel frequently for work. And for all of you who are on the other end of the spectrum and are dating a frequent traveller, be sure to read the Tag Along Travel Blog or follow Deb on Twitter for tips on innovative ways you can best utilize your time together and apart and make it work.
Safe travels my friends and good luck in love.