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  1. #1
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    How to Justify a Long Tour to Your Spouse/Companion/Partner?

    I'm lucky in that my companion enjoys cycling and touring, but two weeks is about her limit as she works. I on the other hand have retired and assumed many of the domestic chores from cooking and cleaning to walking the pooch daily. My dream, since I was laid off in 2007, is to attempt a 4-6 month tour of Europe, but am afraid I would feel real guilty knowing I've essentially abandoned her for that period. She plans to work for another 5 years or so, and even if she were to retire now (which would only happen if the company laid her off) it doesn't appear she would enjoy a tour anywhere near that length.

    So I am wondering how other solo tourists that are in a committed relationship and whose partner is not able to join them on extended tours have resolved the issues. Thanks for your comments.

  2. #2
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    I don't have any experience. But I would imagine, just say it like you said it here. It's something you've always wanted to do. And it would make your really happy to follow through on your dream. Also, if there is something that she wants to do now or later that requires a bit of sacrifice on your part, you must oblige cheerily.

  3. #3
    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
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    Good question. I'm going to be away 3 1/2 weeks this summer on my tour from Amsterdam to Rome. I know that doesn't sound like a long time by the standards and experiences of many around here, but it's absolutely pushing it for me to be gone that long from my wife and son. She much preferred that I be gone only a week or two, but I told her this is something I have been wanting to do for years and that I just need to go ahead and do it. I tried to get her to meet me with my son during the Italy portion - it wouldn't be ideal and she would have to move hotels each night, but that's a pretty common way to travel in Europe, so I thought she might go for it. She's not big into traveling, especially not like that, so she decided to do something else this summer with her parents while I'm gone. This took quite a bit of negotiating, but ultimately she's doing what she can so I can do my trip, and I thank her for that. All that being said, the hardest thing for me on the trip will be being away from my son for so long. At least he'll be fishing with his grandpa (which he loves to do) most of the time, so I'm thankful for that as well.

    Any future trips I take will have to be either shorter or in a way where I can figure out a way to incorporate part of it with the family. When my son gets a bit older, I hope to start doing some mountain biking camping trips with him.

  4. #4
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I guess I am lucky, but it has never been an issue with my wife.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Besides the points mentioned above, sometimes their biggest fear is knowing that you'll be doing this alone in a foreign country. It's a little more comforting if s/he knows you are doing with at least another person (preferably a good friend or someone s/he knows well) or is some kind of organized tour to calm thefears. They (family members) just want to have somewhat of a peace of mind that you're going to be safe in your journey.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 01-27-11 at 01:43 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I, too, am retired and my wife works and doesn't bike.

    What I try to do is to try an incorporate a trip to an interesting place on both ends that we can both do. For example, on my recent Atlantic Coast trip, we visited family in New Jersey, she returned home and I rode off. At the other end, about a month later, I met her in Boston (she flew, I rode) and we spent a week in Burlington Vermont. I did the same thing on an Oregon - Yellowstone tour. On my trip across France, she met me in Avignon at the end of that ride, as well.

    I always make the suggestion of a nice place to visit near/at my starting/ending points. Often, she like the idea and we combine the vacation/bike trip together. Sometimes, she can't get the time off or isn't interested, so I got off by myself knowing that I tried to make it work out.

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    Like a few others have mentioned, my hubby is very supportive. I think it helps that he knows how important this is to me and when it's something important to him, I don't question it. It's worked so far. Besides, everyone needs a little break time! lol

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ering View Post
    My dream, since I was laid off in 2007, is to attempt a 4-6 month tour of Europe, but am afraid I would feel real guilty knowing I've essentially abandoned her for that period. So I am wondering how other solo tourists that are in a committed relationship and whose partner is not able to join them on extended tours have resolved the issues. Thanks for your comments.
    Firstly, how sure are you that you'd really enjoy being gone that long? Have you toured solo for a month? If not, maybe better test the water first. Might discover something about yourself you didn't know.

    Solo touring is basically a very selfish way to travel.The only way not to feel guilty is to have your partner's total blessing and continued reassurance. Otherwise, for most, would not be worth it.

    If you were touring in the US, you could just do it in stages. That's likely to be too expensive and too big a hassle for Europe.

    My wife seems to understand my need for touring. Up to a point, I do so with a clear concious. When my concious starts to nag me, I come home. Try to make up for my solo wanderings with a nice driving vacation for her, or some other way.

    Life is a balancing act.
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  9. #9
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    well you could suggest that when she retires that you both should tour Europe, and in the meantime you were going to do a reki of the route just in case there where places that was not worth seeing.

  10. #10
    Member tanslacks's Avatar
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    I have been pretty lucky myself. My last 30 day tour was planned around meeting my wife for days 14, 15 and 16. It worked out great. We got to see each other for 3 days in the middle of my tour. She spent the rest of the time getting to meet me and visiting other areas. the planning is a bit more complicated because I had to be in a certain spot on a certain day, but it worked out great.

    Good luck

  11. #11
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    You could wait until she retires and then do the trip but take closer to 1-1.5 years to do it. What I mean is, do the bike portions but also, once you get somewhere, just stay there for a few weeks. That way it doesn't feel like the vacation is all about the biking and she might be more willing to go along. Like others have said, its about compromising. It seems that you indicated she likes riding and possibly touring, just not for that length of time. If she were retired and there were lots of hotels involved between rides maybe it would be OK. It would also give you some time to save up extra money for the trip that you will undoubtedly need for the all the hotels and fancy stuff got her

    Although, I have never been in a committed relationship before so I have no clue what I am talking about.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Stannian's Avatar
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    Never had the issue, mine seems to always want me to leave...

  13. #13
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ering View Post
    I'm lucky in that my companion enjoys cycling and touring, but two weeks is about her limit as she works. I on the other hand have retired.....
    Counter argument - she will have to be working and take care of the house, and all the bills and everything else while you out there touring and having a good time. She will be lonely without you. Not very fair at all on her part. Marriage is about compromise.

  14. #14
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    For me the best solution is to simply live alone, which also enriches your life in other ways. But if you *are* going to be married, your best answer is to be honest and up front about things like this before you buy the ring, and make sure you only get involved with someone who shares and/or understands your passions -- whatever they are.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    I, too, am retired and my wife works and doesn't bike.

    I always make the suggestion of a nice place to visit near/at my starting/ending points. Often, she like the idea and we combine the vacation/bike trip together. Sometimes, she can't get the time off or isn't interested, so I got off by myself knowing that I tried to make it work out.

    Ray
    I appreciate all the comments and suggestions that have been made and like the strategy of periodic meetings. I wonder if meeting at O'Hare airport while dropping me off at the beginning of the trip and once again upon my return would satisfy her? :>) Actually maybe she would join me for the first and last weeks. I'd love to wait until she retires but I'm in my early 60's and who knows how long I'll be able to ride.

  16. #16
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    My husband is, fortunately, completely behind me on anything cycle related though he has no interest in riding himself. He's never complained about the cost of gear. He's fine with the idea of me being gone for weeks. I've also tried to plan trips with something for us both to do like fishing/cycling. Find a place I want to cycle around that happens to have great fly fishing. I ride and we spend the evening together eating the trout he catches. It worked great last August as a test run.

  17. #17
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    My husband totally supports me in my touring, and i totally support him in his rock climbing.

    Of course, when we met, I was riding my bike across the country and he was rock climbing, so there weren't any surprises about this.

    I guess if either of us had something we wanted to do for multiple months, that would be more difficult, because it would leave the other with all the pet and house care, but we haven't crossed that bridge yet. The pets and house are more recent acquisitions than the relationship.
    ...

  18. #18
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    Step one: buy a tandem. Step two: do nice day rides around home to interesting places, with a nice lunch. Step three: Go on a nice organized tandem tour in Europe. She falls in love with bike touring there. Step four: Do your own, self-supported tour in Europe for 1-2 weeks. She loves it even more. Step five: She, already knowing of your desire to do a big tour in Europe, suggests that you both do it on the tandem.

    Well, it might work. With the exception of step three (we've never done an organized tour), the above turned my largely non-biking wife into a bike tourist that would be happy to do it every summer. But, we usually go to Europe (when we can afford it) as she really likes that type of touring, compared to the typical long-distance touring in the US.

  19. #19
    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    What I try to do is to try an incorporate a trip to an interesting place on both ends that we can both do.
    Ray
    I think Ray may be on to something. Perhaps either start or end your European tour by vacationing - or even a shorter cycle tour - with your wife. That way she can be included, but only as her vacation and desire allow.

    Someone else commented about being sure that you like yourself four months worth before you go to the trouble of preparing for this tour. That's sage advice as well.

    Hope this helps!
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  20. #20
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    This thread has nothing to do w/cycling and everything to do w/relationships, communication, and give-and-take.

    One couple's unacceptable 4-month-solo-adventure is another couple's "welcome break from the routine."

    Good luck w/that.

  21. #21
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ering View Post
    I wonder if meeting at O'Hare airport while dropping me off at the beginning of the trip and once again upon my return would satisfy her? :>)
    2ering, forgive me for another blunt answer.... No one in this forum can answer that question for you... You need to be communicating with your wife about these things instead.

  22. #22
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I have summers off and my wife seldom gets a vacation. She knows how important it is to me to be able to get away and have an adventure, so I go with her blessing.

    I'm hopeful that someday she'll be able to go with me, but she doesn't like riding her bike uphill very much. Hmmm. Maybe a first tour across Kansas would be an idea. The Netherlands? Where is a great destination with no hills? Anyone?

  23. #23
    Junior Member Allegro's Avatar
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    ^Netherlands is great, my wife is not into biking uphill much but biking around the city to the museums and cafes was a great time and she had no problem spending most of the days pedaling around.




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  24. #24
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    I'm thankful that my girlfriend recognizes and supports what I want to do (as long as its in reason, haha)

  25. #25
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    Good Luck!!
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