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Welcome to my Traveliste! I blog about adventure, exploration, and budget travel. 

Missing Milestones: How to Deal with the Downside to Travel

Missing Milestones: How to Deal with the Downside to Travel

Missing Milestones.png

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If you spend much of your time traveling, you will inevitably miss special occasions, holidays, or milestones back home. 

This can be really hard, especially if your family or friend group is close-knit.

My birthday is in the summer, and so is Matt's (we were born one day apart, actually!). We've been apart for about half of the birthdays during our relationship. 

My niece Allie was born while I was on an archaeological excavation in Turkey for 5 weeks--and I didn't even know until a couple of days later when we went into town and I could access the Internet. 

Missing milestones on the road can be heartbreaking. I'm still sad I missed Allie's birth. Even though I lived 16 hours from her at the time, knowing she'd been in the world for so long without me realizing was pretty painful. 

For me, it helps to realize that regardless of my choices, I'll be missing out on something.

Choosing one path means not choosing other paths.

Making amazing memories in countries all over the world means that there will be times that I'm missing something even more special back at home.

I think it was Gretchen Rubin who said that part of being an adult is learning to live with regret. Even when we make the choices we know are right for us, we still regret the choices we didn't or couldn't make.

So how do I deal?

I have two main strategies depending on whether it's someone else's milestone or my own.

Last year, I was home for Matt's birthday but he was on the road for work. I always know what town he's in, so I found a bakery in that town and ordered some fancy cupcakes to be delivered to his hotel. It wasn't perfect, but it made his ordinary workday a little more special.

 Cupcakes sent to some tiny town in Iowa!

Cupcakes sent to some tiny town in Iowa!

Had I planned better for Allie's birth, I would have left a gift with my stepmother so that my sister felt my love even though I was far away.

When it's my milestone, or a holiday, my strategy is to celebrate on the road! I was in Turkey for my 25th birthday. The people from our site planned to go visit another site about an hour away, and of course that meant a party was in order. 

Little did I know, though, that the friends I'd made on site had more than just the usual site party in mind. 

After our group dinner, which was eaten al fresco, someone slipped a blindfold on me. Everyone nearby began singing Happy Birthday to me, and even better? They'd arranged a giant cake with my name on it. 

Surprise Birthday Party in Turkey

It was such a special moment, and really made my birthday an occasion to remember. 

Obviously I can't take credit for that being such a lovely night, given that it was a complete surprise, but I can definitely store away the knowledge of how much better that made what could have been a sulky, sad birthday.

Long story short? Honor the milestones in a meaningful way even if you can't be with your loved ones.

One last tip? Make sure your travels are legendary enough that it feels worth it to miss things sometimes. 

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