How Travel Transformed my Marriage

I am about to get a little real here - and it's definitely scary.  What is it about being open, real, and vulnerable that makes us afraid?  I feel like society makes us feel sometimes as though we are not allowed to open up and admit that we are not perfect - and in the sake of full vulnerability, I will admit that my relationship has gone through some difficult times.

My husband and I met almost 9 years ago and fell in love pretty quick.  It was young love - and I would even go so far as to say love at first sight.  We met through mutual friends at the Calgary Stampede (basically a giant Rodeo & Carnival) and had one of those magical moments in life where you just meet and connect with someone immediatly.  We spent the entire first day we met talking, eventually talking in our friends hot tub until 5:00am.  We moved in together after only a few months and we have been together ever since.  I was 19 years old when I met Kris, and was far from knowing who I was as a person.

Taken the night we officially became a couple - about three weeks after meeting.

Taken the night we officially became a couple - about three weeks after meeting.

The first few years of our relationship was for the most part blissful.  We spent every minute together, with lots of friends always around, and we had a ton of fun.  I had begun on a personal level to start attempting to heal from trauma I had experienced in my earlier life - and it was an ugly process.  As a highly sensitive person, trauma finds me easier than most because my sensitive soul feels hurt so deeply.  In my early twenties I was in the depths of depression & anxiety and was not always the easiest person to be around.  My one steadfast was Kris - who was beyond patient with my personal development and I loved him more than ever for his loyalty.

Our engagement and marriage was a magical time - but in the immdiate aftermath things started to shift with me.  I had started to become comfortable with my sensitivity, had a solid group of close friends who I adored, and had made a name for myself in my career as a business administrator.  I told myself I was starting to thrive as an individual, and despite Kris' loyalty, I resented him for the simple fact that he was one half of our "couple", and I was all about me.  Our friendship was solid, but our romantic relationship was struggling.  I began to pull away.  

My Bali Wedding

My heart hurts when I think back on this time - because how I feel about Kris now makes me hate myself that I pulled away from him then...but its what happened.  I began spending more time away from our relationship than engaging in it.  We had begun to talk about the possibility of moving to BC or taking some time to travel.  My heart wanted to do it - but my head told me that I would lose my individuality and everything in Alberta that was MINE and mine alone.  Was I happy in Alberta?  Fuck no.  I was such a fraud it was unbelievable.  I was participating in a wildly unfulfilling life for the simple fact that I felt like it made me an individual.  I couldn't decide if it was my mediocre life that was making me feel like I couldn't breathe or if it was my marriage. 

I decided I needed to take the chance.  We went for it.  We sold all of our shit - and we hit the road.  I immediatly felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my entire life.  I had dropped everything that I identified with - all of my belongings, my house, my friends, and my job - and I was alone with just my husband.  He could sense that I was completely lost in my nakedness of soul - but he gave me my space. 

Saraswati Temple - Bali

Saraswati Temple - Bali

This period of soul nakedness was extremely uncomfortable at first.  I felt like I was starting completely from scratch at creating my identity.  But after a few weeks of discomfort,  I started opening up to Kris about the personal transition I was going through - and he began to open up to me about the personal transition that he was going through.  Here we were - two souls, vulnerable, at the same point in our lives, but together.  We could relate in a way that no one else could understand.  Our friendship grew to a whole new level.

I began, for the first time in years, to get to KNOW Kris.  How awful is that - that I was existing in a couplehood without really KNOWING him.  Without the baggage of HIS unfulfilling life in Alberta, I began to see that he was incredibly smart, absolutely hilarious, and the wisest person I had ever met.  We had the deepest of conversations, we reflected on life, and over time we reached a level of soul connection that I never knew was even possible between two people.  I had been with this man for 8 years at that point, but at some point in the last year, our current souls - our adult souls, they truly connected.

Tofino - falling in love in a whole new way.

Tofino - falling in love in a whole new way.

I loved Kris as a young woman, but the love I have for Kris now is what they talk about when they talk about a once in a lifetime love.  Kris is easily my soul mate, and my much MUCH better half.  I love him with the most profound love one can have for another human.  Without stripping myself of my ego - I would never have had the capacity in my selfishness to be able to care for someone else the way I care for Kris now. 

I know they say that everyones dreams are different - but to me, extended travel is the easiest way to just be yourself.  You are forced to drop your identity, to get outside of your comfort zone, and you are given the rare freedom of having every single day to decide who you want to be. Whether its to transform your important relationships as travel did for me - or to find yourself on a SOUL level which travel also did for me - every single person should invest in travel.

If you have any questions as to how to make this happen - leave me a comment below or reach out on Instagram @courtney.morel.  

Love you guys <3

xoxo - Courtney 

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