For Better or for Worse: For Jet or for Lag

When Robynn sent me this post this week I shook my head in amazement – how could she read my heart so well? Enjoy this post on marriage and travel and what happens when one travels and the other doesn’t!

for jet or for lag

For better or for worse; For Jet or for Lag by Robynn

When Lowell and I were married, twenty years ago, we used the traditional marriage vows.

                To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part.

But we didn’t include anything in there about when he’d get to travel and I didn’t!

In the last couple of years Lowell’s travels have included trips to Jamaica, to South Korea and most recently to Kenya.  Professionally these trips have made complete sense. He has met amazing individuals in each place; people who love Jesus and his creation; people who share Lowell’s heart for the earth and her residents; people who care about environmental justice; people who understand a fuller definition of redemption. These trips have been tremendously significant for Lowell and for Eden Vigil*. They have promoted forward movement in his vision and ministry.

Not for a single second do I begrudge my Lowell those trips.

But I’m so very jealous!

To make it worse, Lowell doesn’t really like to travel. Don’t misunderstand me, he likes to be there once he’s arrived. But the getting there stresses him out. He doesn’t sleep well en route, he gets anxious about bags and carry-ons and connecting flights. Meeting up with people on the other side, finding taxis or hotel shuttles, making his way in a foreign place– all of it rather unnerves him.

I, on the other hand, was born to travel. I love it!  From the very start, when I’m booking the tickets and printing out my boarding passes, my spirit takes flight. I love airports and changing planes. I love pulling my carryon through crowded terminals. The adrenaline of the possibility of a missed connection gives me a rush! Getting my passport stamped, finding my baggage, meeting up with my people, making my way in a new place with no clear instructions—-all of it! I love it!

It seems so completely unfair when Lowell gets to travel and I don’t.

He gets the jet. And I get the lag.

I’m going to have to figure this out sooner or later. Envy is the one vice that has no visible relief. There’s nothing in it for me. It just slowly eats at my soul’s satisfaction and claws at my contentment. Envy erodes my fragile stability. My jealousies will have to be (admitted, confessed, released) tamed.

I am learning to celebrate each of his travels with (or sometimes, for!) him. I do love booking his tickets and walking him through his itinerary. I listen with interest and longing to each detail, each memory, each story. We have stopped our airport counting game. It wasn’t fun anymore. Even though I got a much earlier start, he’s been in the lead for several years now because of his work travel.

I am grateful that our kids are on a first name basis with most of the continents in the world. Their dad has been there. He’s called them from those places. The world shrinks when they hear his voice from a hotel room in the Maldives, or from near the equator in Kenya, or from the beaches of Jamaica. That does makes me happy.

His travel does increase the size of my soul too. I meet his new friends in photographs and anecdotes. I cry with them in their sadnesses and celebrate with them in the happy bits that Lowell recounts. I’ve prayed for a whole new cast of characters as a result of Lowell’s trips.

Each of his travels fan my excitement for my next adventure, whenever that might be. I dream about traveling. I plan for my next international excursion.  In September a friend is taking me to Prince Edward Island. I’m already salivating about experiencing that far corner of Canada. Although it’s part of my passport country, I’m sure it will seem deliciously different, and fabulously foreign. By God’s kindness, there will always be another trip, another ticket, another traipse across time-zones.

Meanwhile, we are in this together, Lowell and I: for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, for jet or for lag, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part.

What about you? Are you in a marriage where, for better or for worse, one travels and the other stays grounded? Would love to hear through the comments!

Picture credit:

3 thoughts on “For Better or for Worse: For Jet or for Lag

  1. I chuckled reading about Lowell getting stressed out by travel–very much the same in our household, Darrell looses sleep beforehand, stresses out about baggage, worries about the visa (some of it, with good reason from our history.) Whereas I get excited and love the thrill of airports and trips!


  2. I love this Robynn! Sadly we are both in the “lag” and as far as international travel, we are finished with the “jet”. We still dream though, and thrill vicariously with friends and family who head abroad regularly. For his birthday, I ordered Ralph “The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey from Athens to Istanbul” on DVD. Now he can travel from his recliner! Take heart, the children will grow up, maybe even live overseas, and you will use that passport again. Enjoy PEI! We took 2 granddaughters there many years ago and it was all we could have hoped for.


    1. Thank you aunt Polly! I love the idea of you two traveling to Greece and Athens and Istanbul from Rochester! ! When we meet in Colorado I will hear about your “trips” with great joy.


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