Our Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog
It’s actually all my fault – or so my wife Carol Cain, aka Girl Gone Travel likes to say.
I had always told her that she should have a radio talk show or write a book due to her ability to re-frame seemingly insurmountable problems in a way that would make immediate sense to the person whom they concerned – and she’s always been a great storyteller.
Alas, it’s not easy to get a job as a radio talk show host and getting a book deal, well, we all know how easy that can be.
So, in 2008 when I was offered a job that would bring my family and I back to New York City from the Midwest, I knew that my wife, Carol, would be staying home with our kids. They were both too young to be in school yet and we could not afford to have them both in NYC daycare. I wondered what she would do with her time. Obviously our 2 active boys would keep her physically busy – but what would she DO? How would she keep her creative mind active and productive?
Neither Carol nor I were very familiar with what blogging was all about, but after discussing how she could stay busy using her aforementioned talents, we realized that blogging was the most accessible…anyone with access to the internet and the passion to write was welcome to tell their stories to the world. I encouraged Carol to start writing about her adventures with our 2 boys in New York City because I knew our families – in different parts of the world – would love to read about what we were up to in the greatest city in the world. NYCityMama.com was born.
At first that’s exactly what it was – Carol writing about going to the park, the zoo, Times Square (or wherever), taking pictures and telling the stories of the things they saw and did. All the while with our kids seeing the city with fresh eyes and a sense of wonder. Carol loved doing it and she started to get daily readers beyond just family members who loved her photos and her unique voice.
Through really hard work and the convergence of several factors her blog became more than just a personal diary – she won awards, she started tweeting and Facebooking. She made “best of” lists and was invited to sit on panels at conferences. As more opportunities started presenting themselves Carol realized that the experiences she enjoyed writing about most were food and travel. She worked really hard to shift the focus of her blog and it was working. Carol was starting to travel more and more. In 2012, NY City Mama became Girl Gone Travel.
Now that you know this whole blog thing happened due to my encouragement – you might ask (and I do get asked often), “How do you feel about it now that it has taken off?”, “How do you feel about your wife traveling all the time?”, “Do you get jealous?”, “Angry?” The answers in order: Proud, accepting, sometimes, not anymore.
I am really proud of Carol and what she has done with her blog. She is such a great writer and has become a really great photographer as well…but most of all she has worked her ass off.
She is a great example of the old adage: do what you love, work hard, and you will be rewarded. Carol has made her blog into what it is today – not by luck, but by loving what she does and really caring about the content. She has built a large following on twitter by carrying on real conversations, telling it like she sees it and doing it everyday.
When Carol started traveling more regularly – I have to admit it was hard for me. Especially when it’s somewhere I’ve never been; Scotland, Bordeaux (France), Parma (Italy), Anguilla, Spain, Croatia, Aruba, the list goes on and on.
There was an especially hard stretch when she went to Italy and Scotland within the span of a month. When she told me about this itinerary I was angry and sad. How could she go all these places without me? How dare she experience all these amazing things without me at her side? Doesn’t she realize that it’s not fair that she is traveling while I’m stuck here working and taking care of the kids? I couldn’t speak or come to grips with all the emotions I was having at that moment.
The turning point in our travel blogging journey came in September of 2011. I was turning 40 on the 7th of that month. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not one to make a fuss about anything. I don’t like a lot of attention and generally don’t make a big deal out of the fact that it’s my birthday. But, I was turning 40. It’s a milestone people generally celebrate. Carol told me that she was going to be going to Mexico that September. She would be leaving on September 7th.
I kept thinking in the back of my head that her story was just a cover up for a trip to Mexico we would be taking together…I mean this is my 40th birthday, she must be planning something. The 7th came – and she went. I was so sad I had to stay home from work that day. Carol and I skyped at some point during her stay in Mexico and I told her how upset I was about the fact that she had left on my birthday and that we hadn’t celebrated it at all really.
We fought. It was kinda ugly. But in the end it helped both of us put the travel blogging thing in perspective. She realized that she had gotten caught up in feeling the need to travel all the time to get content. I realized that I was going to have to develop a way to cope with her traveling because it was her job – getting that content.
Luckily Carol and I have a strong relationship and made it through that challenge. And to say that I and my family have not benefited from her career would be a big ‘ol lie. While she most often has to travel by herself – our family has been able to take so many great trips because of GirlGoneTravel.com.
Our family has been able to take so many great trips because of GirlGoneTravel.com.
Costa Rica, Colorado Ski trips, a Caribbean cruise, a 10-day European cruise, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, several 2-week road trips and so many trips to Disney World our kids have the layout of the Magic Kingdom memorized! And I haven’t even mentioned the convertible Camaro we were given for a weekend last year!It’s not always I get to travel with my wife, but when I do, it’s always an unforgettable experience. This was in Dublin, where she was invited to speak at TBEX, something which I am extremely proud of her for.
Would I say it’s become easier for me to deal with her travel schedule? Yes it has.
Would I say I’m 100% ok with her going all these places without me? No, I wouldn’t say that. But I have learned to cope with it by keeping in mind several things:
1. As much as it may seem like it to the casual observer – she is NOT on vacation. She is working. Her itineraries during these trips often start early in the morning and go until late at night. She has to make sure she is looking for stories, constantly taking photos, tweeting, Instagramming – using the correct hashtags. Then she goes back to her room and often responds to the hundreds of emails she gets a day and writes until she can’t keep her eyes open anymore.
2. I guess this could be a part of #1, but: This IS her job. Getting content for her blog and the others she writes for (she writes for Expedia Viewfinder and Forbes Travel Guide as well) is what she is required to do. Cool job? Yep – it sure is – but it is a job.
3. She loves me with all her heart. And I love her with all mine. I know I can trust her and she can trust me. This is crucial. If this wasn’t the case we would both go crazy. I also know that she would be having more fun if I was there with her. 🙂
4. It makes Carol a happy, creatively fulfilled person. This benefits our whole family.
5. As I stated above – sometimes I and/or our family get to go along with her!
She loves me with all her heart. And I love her with all mine. I know I can trust her and she can trust me. This is crucial.
In short, I can see that her career as a blogger has been a boon for Carol, but it has made all of our lives richer. We have seen and experienced so many things because of it – I can’t even count them all. So, while I sometimes need to stop looking at her Instagram feed because I just can’t stand seeing another photo of her on a white sand beach eating lobster fresh from the ocean – I’ve learned to stop worrying about it and love her blog.
Love this perspective- and the honesty. I know that my husband has struggled- for different reasons since I decided to leave teaching for this new way of life and new career path- but that I would not be able to what I do without his support (even if his need to account for life on a spreadsheet can drive me crazy).
Thank you for reading Elena! Without my family's support i just wouldn't be able to do as much.We am very fortunate to have that : )
You have been an inspiration to me for a long time, and now your husband is, too. I worry so much about the discomfort I would cause my family by following the dreams I have for my blog (and my life), but it really gives me hope that having a strong foundation (like you do – and like we do) and a lot of love, it's possible to make big things happen. Thanks for sharing this!!
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Thanks Stacey. Like I said it's not easy but if you have the support of the people who love you – anything is possible. Good luck!
Thanks for sharing, Travis! I'm one of those readers who always wondered.
You're welcome Yolanda!
I'm going to make my husband read this…although I'm not as in demand as Carol, I'm still behind my computer a lot. I want him to understand it's work.
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Thanks for reading Alexis, and I hope it helps : )
GREAT post. I am totally sharing it with my husband, who at times struggled with the same things! Bravo. Thanks for your honesty.
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Thanks Amy – I hope my perspective can help!
It's one thing to watch everything unfold via IG, Twitter, etc and it's usually always the good, happy stuff. It can't always be rainbows and puppies but it shows the strength of your relationship, respect and love you have for one another that you can be honest with each other AND share that here.
Glad you guys find a way to make it work and here's to many more journey's that the 5 of you will take together!
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Thanks Ethan – it definitely requires the thinking that it is a partnership. I look forward to many more Girl Gone Travel trips!
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This is on it. My husband is super supportive but he could stand to read this too! Thank you!
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TravisMy Little Comedian Is #MotherFunnyraisedbyculture
Thanks – glad to hear you have support!
caincarolMy Little Comedian Is #MotherFunnyraisedbyculture
Thank you for reading!
So proud of you both! Love you.
We love you too!! And thank you! xo
And to think we met on one of those two week road trips for the first time! Kudos, Travis. It's hard to compartmentalize, but you do it well.
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Hi Lisa – I do love our road trips – and Asheville was so great! Thanks for reading and your comment!
Travis, you and Carol have had the best relationship since you met. You have always been there for her and David and now Aiden and Lam. I don't think that you would be normal if there wasn't a bit of jealously from time to time. You and Carol are soulmates and there will be time in the future to travel to all the places she has seen and many more to make memories of your own.
Love you guys,
Thanks Kathy – you were there at the beginning! You're right – Carol and I make a good team – that's why it works. I hope you're well 🙂
I love this, Travis!! So, so much!
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Thanks for reading Lisa!
Love this honest, well-written post, Travis! Ever since I met Carol in 2009 I have always known that you are her rock. She TRULY couldn't do this without your support. You're a great couple! 😉
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Thank you for the kind words Melissa – any good marriage is a partnership and ours is a hardworking one.
Thanks for reading Victoria!
Count me in as a blogger and reader that always wondered! Thank you for this post!
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Thanks for reading Roxanne : )
Thank you Roxanna!
You’re a fantastic writer, Travis!
Thank you Lorianne! Too kind…
I agree, Lorianne. He's really good. I'm hoping I can get him to write more in the future!
What a lovely post. No wonder Carol raved about you at TBEX in Dublin. It's so nice to hear of a supportive husband!
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Thank you Roni – going to TBEX with her was a great experience – one of those times I got to go along!
Hi, Carol. I'm one of the bloggers who got to go on the American Latino Expedition (Latina Blogstars-woohoo!). I've been traveling more in the past year than I have in my entire life, due to my blog. My husband and I have had crazy growing pains all year long because of it. I hate the intense feeling of guilt whenever I have to leave anywhere. Does it ever go away?
I'm happy for your success AND I'm happy that you and your husband have come to an understanding about your career. Like you, I came across this totally by accident and my husband encouraged me. Thanks for writing this, Travis.
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Thanks Denise. I won't deny that I feel some guilt, like if I leave during one of the kid's events at school, or I have to miss something my teen is doing. But I have learned to work my schedule around my family whenever I can and to trust that saying no to opportunities isn't going to destroy my career and all I have worked for. I don't feel as much guilt about traveling anymore as I used to, but I do keep them in mind more than I did at one point. It's all about balance, and when I am torn, I have Travis to help me through it. So, it never goes away because you love them and wish you could be with them, or share your experiences with them by your side, but it does get better, much, much easier. To have that support is so important.
Thanks for reading Denise – I still get a bit sad everytime Carol goes somewhere without me – but I know it's an investment in her brand – which will benefit me as well as our family. Good luck!
Oh, I love this too much! It's tough to be a blogger's spouse and your honesty is so refreshing. I'm lucky to also have a husband who "gets it," but even so I have a hard time not feeling guilty when I'm traveling so much or get to go to a fun place without them. I also missed his birthday this year — his 39th — so out of guilt I promised there was no way I would miss it next year and I'd also throw him the biggest party with mariachis and all! Wish me luck!
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Awww! So sweet! My hope is to never have to miss another birthday again.
Hi Carol – It's always interesting to read a 'behind the scenes' post and this is wonderful. It's been great to hear about your working relationship. It's especially interesting for me because I started blogging, a few months ago, while raising three kids in Spain. Because my husband travels frequently with work – I decided to do a travelling-without-leaving-home blog about my new home city. I did get back to Ireland recently for TBEX but unfortunately missed your session for other work-related reasons. Maybe next year, our physical paths will cross. Travis – I hope you make another guest appearance from time to time. I've forwarded this post to my husband Juan, who, this morning, happens to be working in the same office as me – so it's a great Monday 🙂
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I hope we get to in person soon too! Thank you for reading. I started just as you are now, writing about my area, and it became what it is today. It can work : )
Thanks Pamela – It took awhile for Carol to convince me to write this post…I’m more about pictures than words – but you never know.
wooot for supportive hubbies!! I never would have had the courage to leave my full time job and write if David hadn't been the one to say this is your passion, you can do it and I fully support anything you do. AHH just makes my heart swell. Now getting him to write a post like this might require pulling teeth or maybe hypnosis 🙂
Carol had to pull one or two of my teeth as well – but in the end it was easy to write. I'm glad to hear you have support at home – it makes all the difference.
I LOVE it when a couple can agree on something even when it's not easy. There's a part in the bible that says "CAN TWO WORK TOGETHER EXCEPT THEY AGREE?" (Amos 3:3). It's hard for a woman to balance work, raising a family (both husband & children) and taking care of herself. But when she has the FULL support of her husband, it goes a long way in bringing out the best in both of them. Well done Carol & Travis! Am def gona share this link with my husband who has been my "Greatest Fan" ever since I started my own blogging *smiles*
So great to hear you have awesome support too Nnenna! It makes all the difference : )
Thanks Nnenna – glad to hear you have support at home as well!
What a great post! I also travel a lot for work and while my husband is supportive, he does have a hard time about the complexities of dealing with his regular duties with work to keeping up with everything (from emotional issues to scheduling issues) that come up with the kids when I'm gone. I'm going to share this with him – so he doesn't feel so alone. Maybe Travis can have a regular column to help out dads/significant others when their wives travel.
I hear you Serena! We always have some issues that come up while Carol is traveling – when she was just in Anguilla, we realized the day that she left that the kids had 2 half days at the end of the week! It wasn’t easy – but we pulled in some favors and got it figured out. The traveling for your blog needs to be viewed as work time and seen as an investment in your brand that will lead to bigger and better opportunities for you and your family. As long as your hubby gets to go along every once in awhile, hopefully he’ll be able to manage!
As I was ready to read what Carol had to say, how awesome was it to read your voice. I love seeing the many places Carol travels to and I guess we readers forget that as fabulous the trips may be, you work too and can’t jet set off with her as you’d love too and if we as readers are home gazing at her pics wishing we were there, I can’t imagine what you go through wanting to be there more than we do and mostly because of how much you love one another! So I say kudos to you for being confident in who you are to let your wife fly. As a fellow blogger and writer I’ve covered many topics and but have zeroed it in to a few topics, travel being one and I often get encouragement for Carol as I work to turn the tide in my writing to do more in this area.
Thank you for sharing your story and by the way, as much as I love reading Carol’s posts and seeing her IG pics I mostly love the way she expresses her love for you! Happy Holidays!
Hi Travis, I’ve just found your post through Carol’s blog!
This is so nice to see a husband supportive of his wife’s career. It’s enormously motivating too. I’m a 6 week old blogger and also married with an 11 year old child. When I was much, much younger LOL, I used to do loads of travelling and with a baby in tow, but with school and work committments it’s become harder for us all to travel together, all of the time. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone.