Barcelona Was a Journey

When Kamel and I first got married I told my mom that Kamel is the guy who always says no when I’m saying yes. I meant it in a kind of self deprecating way, meaning Kamel was more of a grown up and I was the crazy spazz-face who wanted adventure! more more more!

But then there were times where Kamel saying, “no” wasn’t just smart thinking. It started to rain on my parade. It started to bum me out, and I realized that this had the potential to be the rest of my life. Had I really married someone who held me back from my wildest dreams. unless they were so well thought out and planned and financially doable that it’s 30 years from now and we’re finally thinking about, maybe making for sure plans? I’m not that person and I started to feel the ball and chain of marriage. Cement shoes keeping me so grounded I couldn’t enjoy the parts of life that have you floating.

Kamel loves no and I love yes. I love yes too much and he can get sucked into the no vortex. We were at each others’ throats. He doesn’t like to travel for the holidays, and I love the hustle and bustle. And then the big one – He told me I couldn’t travel somewhere at the spur of the moment. It was somewhere I’d been tons and tons of times, something I would have hopped on a plane for, with only a week’s notice, 2 years ago. It was somewhere I HAD flown off to on an impulse-buy just a year before. But then suddenly, I got the no. He wanted it one why and I wanted it the other. The thing was, I wouldn’t go without him, and he wouldn’t go.

When he gets mopey or stressed or bogged down by the details it deflates me. That attitude ruins my fun. The flip side is we would not be financially secure on the Lauren-Method. The Lauren-Method puts fun before savings every time (because life is short and sometimes it’s worth a little debt to have a big experience). We need Kamel’s spreadsheets and budgeting (which I HATE!) to have the things we want in the future, to have the wiggle room to shift careers and realize mistakes.

So how did we fix? Amidst tears and screaming and, “I am a grown up and I did not get married to hear NO all of the time!” and “We can’t do it! We just can’t! No no no no,” we found a compromise. Sigh. Always with the compromise, always with the journey to get there.

So for every no Kamel gets, I get a yes. And it started off with an, “Ok! You can say no to this, but next time we’re doing it my way!” But it’s turned into decisions we make together. I can see more now when something isn’t worth the expense, and Kamel can be excited about heading out with me on adventures.

And that’s how we got to Barcelona. Last weekend, after many conversations and airfare checks and talking and dreaming and figuring out if it’s actually doable – ahhh! We officially bought plane tickets to Spain!! And the best part? The best part wasn’t the end result of it all or the promise of a European adventure with my buddy-4-life, it was the fact that I didn’t have to fight for it. It was so incredibly mutual and Kamel was so crazy-person excited after we booked, he started telling random strangers we were going to Barcelona! I did a happy dance on the phone in Michigan and he did a happy dance on the phone in San Francisco. I get my excited Kamel and he got the ability to research and make sure we’re getting a good deal. A match made in travel heaven.

So here we are, 2012 is truly going to be the year of new things, new travel, leaping forward and at the same time, settling in.

23 thoughts on “Barcelona Was a Journey”

  1. I haven’t been to Barcelona, but I went to Madrid, Majorca and Seville on my honeymoon last year. I love Spain! Have a blast! The one thing was that the restaurants are only open when Spanish people eat, which is way later than I want to eat. So, I had a lot of cold tapas and wine while the kitchens were closed. I think I lost weight on our honeymoon!

      1. My husband has a very Spanish sounding name, and looks Spanish, but was too embarrassed to speak it. People teased him: Su nombre es Antonio Antonio Antonio, y no habla Espanol?! So, I spoke broken Spanish, they replied back at warp speed and lost me, but he understood. It was a team effort.

      2. So funny story, in Barcelona the main language is Catalan and even though everyone speaks Spanish they often start in Catalan which sounds a lot like Spanish but becomes confusing when you are already struggling to understand their Spanish! But it’s such an amazing city and you will have a great time! When are you going?

  2. Sooo happy for you guys.
    And I can relate so much with you guys’ couple dynamics. I am the crazy one, Mark is the calm one.
    And though I have always managed to save money and generally be stable I am spontaneous, and all for the lets go there right now next weekend.
    I share your hate for spreadsheets, they make me dizzy. On the other hand I have no problem scribbling notes on paper. I think it is just a matter of love of paper actually, I just do not trust the digital quite as much.
    It is a good thing that we both like to travel, but yeah, financial decisions can be hard… or else we dont save anything at all. Oh and I still want a kitchen aid, why are they so expensive in this continent…

  3. BTW I can totally send you a list of things to do and places to gooo ! It must be like my favorite city on earth I fell in love with it the moment my feet touched the ground .

  4. That’s one of the hardest places to compromise in a relationship – yes vs no, especially when you’re mixing things like finance and fun into.

    In my relationship it’s the opposite … I’m the one who says “no, we need to be responsible” and he’s generally the “but let’s go have fun/it won’t kill us/why can’t we spend money and enjoy ourselves” person. It’s hard to sometimes have that difference between us …

    What it’s done for us, though, is force us into talking out more of those decisions. I’ve gotten a lot more open to spur of the moment or only slightly planned mini adventures (go to the museum/out to dinner/a theme park) and am more likely to give him a “yes”, and when there’s something bigger he wants to do or wants to spend money on we have more conversations about why he wants to do it, whether the money makes sense, and what other fun things & financial obligations we can adjust make those things happen.

    It’s hard … but I think that learning how to say the other person’s word (and understand why they are saying it) helps us both be better people and better in the relationship.

  5. I’m so glad you posted this, because it gives me hope. I have always been one of those people that will fly here, there, and everywhere for a good time, and I have always been one to spend most of the money I make because, well, why not have a little fun before we die? And my husband is very, very, VERY frugal. He frets about things we have to do around the house even if we have double the amount in savings, he frets when something goes wrong with a vehicle even if we know it won’t be a financial hardship to fix it, and we have NEVER been on a vacation together (nope, no honeymoon) save the two times we’ve flown to Texas to visit my family (but hello, that’s a FAMILY thing, NOT a vacation). I, like you were, am SO TIRED of being told no. I feel like because he grew up with very little, that he sees travel as more of an extravagance than I do… an unnecessary luxury. And he doesn’t take into account that it’s important to me. Not SUPER important, like I’m not dying or anything, but why can’t we go on a frickin’ vacation? Why can’t we drive up to New England for a weekend or fly into Denver or, GOD FORBID, venture across the pond? REALLY WHY CAN’T WE???

    I’m getting myself all worked up over this again, so I’ll stop now. πŸ™‚ So glad y’all are getting to go to Barcelona – that is so exciting!

    1. I think it’s not only totally valid for you to get worked over this, but also super IMPORTANT for you to get worked up over it. It’s really important to invest in vacation time. I would say it’s vital to happiness and success and productivity. Absolutely vital. And on top of that, at least for Kamel and I, we’re at our absolute BEST when we are discovering new things and having adventures together.

      Plus the bottom line – this is the rest of your life. This is your buddy forever. There NEEDS to be wiggle room financially -even if that wiggle room is planned.

      I was watching this documentary about human relationships and emotions and how our brains function, blahblah. And they had this old married couple talking about why they lasted for so long, through hard time and amazing times, career shifts, depression, etc. And they both said – it came down to the experiences they shared, the adventures they had, and working to keep that connection through activities and life happenings. But you have to seek them out. That really struck a cord with me. Building a real relationship is about so much more than supporting each other at home – it’s also about supporting and encouraging one another to take risks, have fun, and experience new and exciting things.

      1. I love that old couple! And i totally believe it. And the adventures and experiences dont have to be financially planned out vacations either. One of my favorite memories of last year was when Chad and I drove 20 minutes on the other side of the river to this tiny little town in the middle of nowheresville that had the cutest little shops and the BEST BAR EVER. It was such an amazing day and its things like that, that keep us connected and make me fall in love with him all over again. Love little adventures. SO excited for you guys and Barcelona. And crazy jealous! Amazing.

      2. “Building a real relationship is about so much more than supporting each other at home – it’s also about supporting and encouraging one another to take risks, have fun, and experience new and exciting things.”

        YES! Love that!!

  6. Oh man. I used to be a yes person, but when we’re together, I seem to be the no person. I have no idea why it was so much easier for me to justify spending the money for just myself (maybe because it doubles when there are two people?), but I used to love spur-of-the-moment trips, and now that we have to plan one soon, I’m sort of paralyzed (as you know from twitter).

    BUT! Barcelona is awesome. Here is a small fact that you probably know but I did not when I went: It is near a beach. AKA: Bring a bathing suit, or you will end up wearing your panties and nothing on top, and then you’ll have sunburnt nipples when you get back. True story.

    Also, you might enjoy this article:,7221/. We went to the last one (La Cova Fumada) the same day as the sunburnt-nipples, and we got two huge, delicious meals and a bottle of wine for about €15.

    1. Funny–on my own, I tend to be a pragmatic no person, but when B and I are together, I usually end up being the one pushing us towards yes (probably because he’s even more practical and responsible than I am). He also doesn’t really have the travel bug; he always enjoys himself when he gets there, but the daydreaming and planning doesn’t thrill him like it does me. It’s good that he’s here to temper my ideas of taking off on a last-minute vacation every month… but if I wait for him to suggest a trip, it might be a while. We’ve never traveled overseas *together*, but I’d really like to in the next 2 years or so. Which is why I’m planting seeds now (and Spain is at the top of my list).

  7. This was such an educational post for me. I am the no person in our relationship, and my husband is the one who is always looking for an adventure. He wants to know which exotic, international locale we’ll choose for our vacation next year AND the year after that. I love to travel, but we have so little spending money right now that I’m always worried about what we’ll do if something terrible happens.

    This helps. I need to not always discourage him because his adventurous side keeps things interesting and fun. Sometimes budgets are dumb, and we should just GO and enjoy ourselves while we’re able to do so without a lot of forethought.

    1. I love this! Thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

      I had a thought while reading your comment: sometimes all we need during dry times is to day dream about the places we’ll go in a year, 2 years, etc. Sometimes it’s exactly the light at the end of the tunnel you need, ya know? I love making lists and plans and researching hotels and adventures. I may not go on even 60-70% of them (I’m a prolific dreamer), but having a buddy to day dream with is a gift.

      1. Yes! Recognizing “we can’t spin the straw into gold now” is different from “we can never go” is big! Just think how amazingly awesome it will feel when the pieces fall into place.

      2. That is so true! Pretend vacation can be very valuable uses of time, just to get through the tough stuff. We’re also planning a trip to Europe in the spring, and we’ve checked out a zillion library books about every possible location. Clearly we will not be able to go to all of them, but learning about them is a great escape. (On that note, please tell us everything about Barcelona when you get back! That’s going to be our first stop.)

  8. Yaaay Spain! I’ve heard Barcelona is amazing.

    I think the Fiance and I are lucky in that we both share in the no’s and the yes’s. There are some things that I am always no-ing, that he pushes me to do. And there are some things that I’m always yes-ing, and I push HIM to do. And when he’s pushing me, OMG I GET SO MAD sometimes. But after the fact, I’m very glad I have someone to push me out of my comfort zone and encourage me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise πŸ™‚

  9. I guess I’m not comfortable describing myself as a no person-I want to travel! I really, really do! But, I’m also the primary person in charge of our household finances and I find myself thinking about travel as one of many financial goals, goals that need to be balanced.

    We usually manage to go on at least one weeklong vacation every year and rock the 4- and 5-day-weeking trips. I am the MASTER of the 5-day vacation with only two comp days. And they are so awesome and every time we come back I want to run away again. But we really don’t make a lot of money and it really is an artful balance.

    I just wanted to say that being the no person isn’t fun. We want to have fun and explore and make you happy! We really do! I’m happy when I get to make Chris happy. BUT, I also have money anxiety and sometimes it’s hard to put into words. So, know we love you and we appreciate you working toward the compromise. If we could shower you with gifts and trips to the South of France, we would, I promise.

  10. Holy shnykies girl, this is me and my man exactly. All the words you used of flying high and getting grounded down and feeling deflated by it when you need that high…. I relate on every level possible. I’m glad to hear you guys have figured out how to do it! Last year was my year. I told M that travel was important to me and he had to just give me ONE YEAR to say yes to everything. That’s how we went to NYC, Costa Rica, Joshua Tree, Austin Texas, and Burning Man all in one year! I think it may have shown him that saying “Yes” can bring some magnificent experiences into one’s life. And, being pretty much broke this year, it taught me that saving and maybe not acting on every single adventure impulse is an ok idea too πŸ™‚

    That said, Barthelona- my second fav city in the world! I’m so excited for you two!

  11. i think every relationship needs a “yes” person and a “no” person. in some relationships people change roles givne te situation, but it sounds like you guys are pretty settled into your roles…glad you are finding a way to make it work.

    when do you get to go to barcelona??

  12. I lived in Spain for almost 5 months in 2005, I loved it. And am certain you will LOVE LOVE LOVE Barcelona!! At least what I gleen from the person you are these days through your blog, I think you’ll fall in love with the city. I wish you guys wonderful travels and amazing adventures!! On another note, I really enjoy reading how you and Kamel are different and your take on how those differences sometimes conflict and create difficulties, but how they ultimately come together to make something beautiful for you two. your blog gives me big smiles!

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