I live in New York. Mikey lives in Mumbai. We got married seven months ago. Neither one of us moved.
Mikey and I met nearly eight years ago in Mumbai and immediately we recognized each other as fellow travelers. We both had the good fortune of being born into families that love travel, and our relationship has always been defined by movement. My husband is from New Zealand, lived a large part of his adult life in London, and now spends most of the year in Mumbai. He is the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed music producer in Bollywood. I am from New Delhi, have lived in various cities around the world. In 2011, I started my graduate work at Columbia University and, ever since, circumstances and a deep love for Manhattan have kept me based in New York where I am a writer, occasional independent film actress, and sometime writing instructor.
Many couples think of geographical distance as a reason to break up; for us, it was even more of a reason to stay together. It isn't easy to find a partner who understands your deep-rooted wanderlust and need to roam. Until I met Mikey, I had never really planned to get married.
But at this point in our lives, we are lucky. We have the freedom—financial, professional, personal (no children yet)—to often be on the move. When he can't travel, I go to him and when I can't travel, he comes to me. And when we can both travel, we meet somewhere else. While others are quick to label our marriage long-distance, we don't. We consider ourselves a couple that likes to travel—together, and independently.
We have three tricks to make it work: we check in with each other at least once a day, we never go more than three weeks without seeing each other (yes, the airline miles rack up fast), and when we have to say goodbye, we always make sure the next ticket is booked.
Obviously, it isn't easy. Regularly spending fifteen hours sitting crushed on an airplane loses its appeal quickly. And certainly there are nights when we're in different countries when I want nothing more than to feel him near me. At the end of a hard day, FaceTime just doesn't feel good enough. I often feel like I'm forever living out of a suitcase and there are times when I feel completely unmoored. But doesn't everybody, sometimes? After all, couples that are always together have nights when they want nothing more than to be alone.
This summer, Mikey and I both landed at Mumbai airport within fifteen minutes of each other. We met in the arrival lounge and despite having seen each other a week earlier in New York, reuniting at an airport had an unparalleled thrill. I landed first and waited near the gates, pacing up and down, refusing to move towards baggage claim, no doubt making security personnel nervous. I waited at his arrival gate, giddy with excitement. I stood on my toes, scanning the faces of exhausted travelers disembarking and then I saw him smiling as widely as I was. At the immigration counter, we handed the officer two landing forms. "Why have you come on two different flights?" he asked.
How could I begin to explain, I thought to myself. People often want to know what we're doing, how we're doing it, why we're doing it. Everyone assumes one of us is plotting a move to the other, or, worse, they assume our marriage is on the rocks. But it's neither. My home is Mikey, wherever in the world he may be.
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