In 2009, my husband was deployed for the second time, and I decided the best way to get through the long deployment was to travel. We spent a weekend in Garmisch with a friend of mine, went to Austria to spend the week with one of my best friends, and traveled to California from Germany for the summer. I did all this with my two- and four-year-old boys. Looking back, I am happy that I did.
Traveling without your spouse can be a bit overwhelming and doing so takes planning. Add in a deployment, and you can feel guilty for having fun without them; however, there are some good reasons to do so.
To make the time passWhen you travel, time goes by faster because you have more to look forward to. You can create memories that your kids will always remember, and you can explore areas that you have always wanted to visit. The more you fill up your calendar, the busier you are, the faster the deployment will go. Traveling will make the time pass, and that is what you need... especially during a longer time apart.
To see friends and familySome deployments last over a year; others are just a few months. No matter how long your spouse is going to be gone, spending time with friends and family is going to be a good thing. In some cases, they can visit you -- but not always. And going to see your friends and family in other places can be good for you and your overall mood during a deployment. You will also have the extra sets of hands to help you while you are solo-parenting which is a big plus.
Because you can’t stop livingLife can’t be put on pause for the months your spouse is deployed. You have to keep living. Yes, you might feel less guilty sitting in your home feeling sad and miserable the whole deployment, but why would you want to do that? Get out there and make some plans. Even a short trip to the mountains or the beach can help you feel like you are still living your life.
To break up the mundane deployment routineLet’s face it: Deployment days can drag on and on. You can get stuck doing the same things each day. Traveling can help break that up. If you are bored, plan a quick trip somewhere; you will be glad that you did.
Traveling is therapeuticTraveling is good for your soul and is some of the best medicine during a deployment. When you get out and see other places and cultures, and interact with people you don’t regularly interact with, your world will grow. You don’t even have to go far to do this and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
You can find places to visit in the futureIf you travel during a deployment and you enjoy the place that you go, you can bring your spouse there the next time. Learning more about the places your family enjoys is a good thing. Take a short trip during a deployment and return for longer when your spouse can go with you.
To feel more independentWhen you travel by yourself or with your kids and no spouse, you will feel a bit more independent. You can get through anything deployment throws at you if you can survive a three-hour flight with fussy children. Coming back from vacation, you will feel stronger and know that you can handle more than you thought that you could.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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