Wedding

We Married Young & Are Still Traveling the World

Our Journey

On New Year’s Eve in 2013, I was lying across the bed of a Paris hotel room, fighting a losing battle with jet lag after the first transatlantic flight of my life.

As it would happen, that was the same time that a blogger who has since stopped updating her site went randomly, stupendously viral with a post entitled “23 Things to Do Instead of Get Engaged by 23”.

The article was aimed at convincing people not to settle down young, because it will cause them to miss out on adventures–particularly travel adventures. I will never forget it, mostly because of when and where I was in my life at the time that post made its way across my Facebook newsfeed.

Not only was I in Paris for New Year’s, but Jeremy and I were newlyweds–it had been 6 months since we said our vows.

I was 23 years old at the time.

Koh Tao, Thailand

The fact that Jeremy and I walked down the aisle at only 21 and 22 years old is not something that I discuss frequently on this blog, or have ever really opened up about publicly.

There’s a simple reason for that: when writing about their decision to get married young, people are inherently inviting one of two criticisms.

If they’ve been married less than twenty years, it’s “Well, you may be happy now, but you’re so young/you don’t have kids/the kids are young… just wait until insert next step here happens!”. If they’ve been married more than twenty years, it’s “Well, that may have worked for you, but times were different then.”

Clearly, Jeremy and I fall into the first category, and will for many years to come.

There’s simply no way to avoid criticism when talking about a life choice as deeply personal and profoundly consequential as marriage. If I waited, and published this piece in three, six, eight years–it wouldn’t matter. The criticism, silent or spoken, would still be there.

Wedding
Photo Credit: Amanda Grace Photography, Oklahoma

While this blog is not about our marriage, our love story and our life together color every behind the scenes moment, every travel narrative, and every experience. Getting married when we did was one of the best decisions that we have made in life. I may not be talking about it, but it’s always there, and I feel compelled to mention our marriage now for two reasons.

First, people on the road are ridiculously curious about it–after political topics, it’s our most frequent group of questions (“You’re married?! How long have you been married? You’re too young to be married! Do you have children? Why not? Are you on your honeymoon?” … to name a few). It seems silly to refuse to acknowledge something that ignites so much curiosity.

Second, I have been irritated by one too many people recently insinuating that a wedding band is a barrier to travel.

I am as confused by this notion now as I was a few years ago, chuckling to myself about the irony of being told that getting engaged would keep me from living my dreams… while for Jeremy and I, after getting married was when we started to really live our travel dreams for the first time.

Debt is a barrier to travel. Necessary jobs are barriers to travel. Fear is a barrier to travel. Children can be barriers to travel (though there are plenty of nomadic families out there). Illness is a barrier to travel.

Marriage? Marriage is not a barrier to travel.

Nassau, Bahamas
Enjoying our honeymoon in the Bahamas–it marked the first time that either of us left the USA!

In fact, being married has opened Jeremy and I up to more adventure than we ever thought possible–and ultimately, it was the stability of our marriage that gave us the courage to take this leap into travel.

The benefits of solo travel are documented everywhere you look on the internet, and I’m not disputing them. But for us, part of the value of our travels comes from experiencing them together. We crave the chance to travel together, not just because it’s “what couples do” but because it is more fun to be together.

Not everyone needs to do it like us–certainly, unmarried couples travel together all the time, as do singles/families/friends/groups of all types.

But if you are married–especially if you married young, especially if you get the same tilted head and “Why?” that we do when you mention your married status–do not let anyone tell you that you can’t travel because of that.

Do not let anyone tell you that now that you’re married, you “have” to “settle down”. You “have” to buy a house. You “have” to start thinking about kids.

Do not let anyone tell you that getting married means that your days of adventure are behind you, or that your marriage license means that you are now past the point in your life where it’s acceptable to be more interested in collecting passport stamps than home furnishings.

Wedding
Photo Credit: Amanda Grace Photography, Oklahoma

It’s all bullshit, really. Those things are all wonderful for those who want them at the time, but don’t make the mistake of believing that your marriage license is a contract with society to enter a new phase of life.

It isn’t.

Your marriage license is, at the end of the day and stated in the most unromantic terms possible, a legal contract bestowing rights and privileges between you and your spouse. No more, no less.

The love makes the marriage, of course–but love can exist anywhere, even if that means you’re 26 and married and backpacking through Central America instead of climbing the corporate ladder.

Just a couple of generations ago, it was more common to get married young in the United States. That had its own set of issues (and marrying young has its own set of risks), so this is not a harkening for a return to the “good old days”, but there is no doubt that the rising age of marriage has caused our culture to re-categorize the point of it.

Once upon a fairly recent time, marriage is what you did when you wanted to start your life: you picked the person you wanted your life to be with and built it together.

Now, all too often, marriage is displayed as the final “checkmate” move on a chessboard, the keystone to an arch: it’s something done at the end of your coming of age, after you’ve already had the adventures and done the traveling and saved up the money for the downpayment.

Morocco

Jeremy and I don’t think of marriage that way. You don’t have to, either.

Engaged or married and still want to travel? Want to start a business, or change careers, or go back to school, or live on a beach for 6 months and become an amazing scuba diver?

Go do it. Fuck the rules.

The only real rules are between you and your spouse.

Read Next: How Following My Travel Dreams Changed My Life

10 Comments Write a comment

10 Comments

  • raksha nagaraj February 14, 2017

    As you rightly said, doesn’t matter married single or married, if you have the passion you travel. And of course travel is one of the best way to make the couple’s bonding stronger and stronger.

    • Kate Storm February 14, 2017

      Absolutely! Travel is an amazing way to build a relationship–I know that ours gets stronger with each new destination.

  • Richelle February 18, 2017

    Great post! I was perpetually single until recently, and I wrote a post a while ago about leaving my boyfriend to travel- but the difference was that he didn’t want the life I did, and didn’t support me. If you find someone who wants to travel the world with you, what’s the problem? There’s a difference between settling down and “settling down”.

    • Kate Storm February 18, 2017

      That’s absolutely true–there is more than one version of settling down. Finding someone who wants the same life that you do is so important!

  • Gail February 18, 2017

    Me and my husband got married at 19 and 21. The more experiences you have together the better chance you have of making it work. Learning how a person thinks and acts will come in time but the more you do togather the better it becomes. We picked to do things the other way round. Kids first and travel later. Looking forward to reading more about your travels.

    • Kate Storm February 18, 2017

      Building experiences together is so important–each one adds so much value and depth. Looking forward to having you around, Gail! 🙂

  • Carrie July 20, 2017

    I couldn’t agree more! My husband and I got married three years ago and have had SO many amazing adventures since then. Making incredible travel memories together has actually strengthened our relationship 🙂

    • Kate Storm July 20, 2017

      Travel adventures are some of the best relationship glue, in my opinion! Happy 3 years–hope you guys continue exploring everything you can find! 🙂

  • Getting to Know a Travel Blogger : Our Escape Clause | Travel to Recovery August 3, 2017

    […] When we married young, we weren’t exactly sure what our lives were going to look like but however much we daydreamed about travel, the truth is that we were too cautious to believe those dreams would actually come true anytime soon. Luckily, we came to our senses! […]

  • Where Love Meets Adventure: Kate & Jeremy August 20, 2017

    […] are high school sweethearts, so we had the pleasure of starting to travel together very young: at 17 and 18 we started taking […]

Leave a Reply