For the next in our Women with Wanderlust series I asked a friend of mine that travels and works with her husband on the road. I thought you’d like to know that travel with your spouse can be just as awesome as going solo or with your girlfriends. If you’re lucky you won’t even have to choose, you can do both!
The couple that works and travels together
Story by Michelle and Jedd Chang of Intentional Travelers
From 2012-2014, my husband and I served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Jamaica, which was one of the most challenging and impactful experiences of our lives. One of Peace Corps’s strengths is their 2-3 month in-country training to prepare Volunteers for two years of work in a foreign culture; and a key part of this training is living in a homestay with a local family. Although sharing space with strangers can be uncomfortable and intimidating at first, we found it to be the most valuable and authentic way to experience the culture.
Our Jamaica host mother cooked us all of the traditional dishes, taught us the local slang, explained how to wash our clothes by hand, and advised us on how to get around safely. Our Peace Corps Culture & Language Teachers prepared us for what we would face in the country’s bus parks and produce markets and explained the history, proverbs, and superstitions we would encounter. Thanks to this thorough training with host country nationals, we had a deeper understanding of the context we would be working and living in. This allowed us to navigate the culture with more respect, effectiveness, and safety.
Now, working and living as digital nomads, we choose most of our destinations because we know someone who can give us that cultural introduction — be it a host country national or an expat who knows the ropes. Although we prefer to have our own space and privacy to do work while we travel, we usually opt to spend the first few days in a homestay before going out on our own. For us, it’s worth it to have a balance of both experiencing life with locals and being independent. Whether it’s visiting expat friends in Vietnam, staying with friends of a friend in Denmark, or arranging a homestay through Airbnb in Ecuador, experiencing “home life” has made these trips unforgettable.
In my book Women with Wanderlust: A Guide to Roaming I pose the question “To travel alone or not”. I try to give you options to choose from. However you’re comfortable or where you want to start that is the place to begin.
The topics I cover in the book:
- How to find good travel companions
- Traveling alone
- A married girl who travels solo (a similar write up on Medium)
- Tour groups