Leaving home for a journey, job or Expedition if you have a family is extremely difficult. I left for Yemen, a 2-3 month trip, with my wife being pregnant with our second gift of a daughter, Scarlett, and pretty much every woman I told this reality about thought it wasn´t a good choice from my side. Men didn´t comment at all. Some women said, she (my wife Pamela) knew this when she married you. And, of course, they´re all right in their opinions. But, I am not the only person in the world who have to travel to support one´s family. I often think about all the Asian working in the Gulf who are away for sometimes 2 year contracts before they see their loved one´s again. But, yes, it isn´t easy. But there´s no doubt you are a better parent if you have an exciting job. And my wife didn´t complain at all. She is really my biggest gift of life. But she understands she might be doing the same in the future and I will of course fully accept it. That she has to travel to do a job she loves and to support the family. But I bet you she will get more critique from other women and men than I did. As Lorenas great article below shows, we are still far off equality when it comes to this subject!
When the woman leaves home
I am a 40 year old journalist and I love my job. I am dedicated to travel all over Argentina (South America) and other countries interviewing, writing and publishing my articles about nature and ecotourism.
Since I was an 8 year old girl I used to write stories where I was a writer looking for adventures -mainly in the jungle- to obtain stuff for my novels. Obvioulsy childhood dreams are kept in our minds as I graduated at the Journalism School and some years later I moved from the big city of Buenos Aires to live in a little village located in the argentinian rainforest. After a year in the jungle I went back with a large and wonderful experience on my back.
But I want to tell you about my present life: I am married to Gabriel and we have a kid, Francisco, in the kindergarten. And it is very very hard to have a balance between family and work because the world accepts happily that the man (husband or father) leaves home, but is not the same for the woman/mother/wife.
Every time I make arrangements to travel to make an article, my husband says: “So, you are leaving us again” (please note the word “us”). The curious thing is that both of us are journalists and lived a long life of single people before getting married, two years ago. When we fell in love, he knew what kind of job I had. He is also a very intelligent and open mind man, nevertheless he feels that when I leave for a trip I am abandoning them. “I feel alone at home”, he says, “And Francisco feels the same”.
Facing this situación last year I “decided” not to travel anymore saying to myself that “it has been enough” and that now “I am a 40 year old mother and wife that has to stay at home”. Yes, I had good intentions, but after one month without leaving home, I became a monster: I lived in a bad mood and I started to feel sad and blue.
One day my grandmother (yes, my 92 year old granma) phoned me and said:
“Darling it is very important for a woman to do what she loves, so go back to your articles. And before leaving, give a kiss to your husband and son, cook a tasty meal, and leave with a smile”
I remembered I cried while I listened to her. That night I talked to my husband and to my surprise he smiled and answered:
“I know your are not happy in this way… I have been a little selfish but deep inside I understand that your job is your other love, so, go back to your articles. I will always complain a little, but ignore me”
At this moment Francisco popped out and asked:
“Mom, where are you going?”
About one year has passed since that situation and every time I have to leave for an article Gabriel asks how long I will stay out and our deal is no more that 4 days each trip. Sometimes I find it hard to suit this condition, but I manage. And everytime I leave home with my old backpack I feel happy and free; I feel a lucky woman because a I have a lot of stories to write about and adventures to live and I also have a loving family waiting for me.
Lorena López is a journalist from Argentina. She has a degree in Communications and work for Weekend magazine and other publications since 2001. Lorena writes articles, does interviews and chronicles about ecotourism, rural activities and nature. She travels all over Argentina and neighbouring countries to find stories and places for the articles. She is also chief editor at Vida Silvestre Foundation Magazine (Member of WWF) which is dedicated to sustainable development and nature conservation. She also writes books on subjects such as the Misiones rainforest and Iberá wetlands. Her mother tongue is Spanish and she speaks English and French. She is 40, have a kid of 5 and is married to Gabriel, who is a journalist too.
© Copyright 2013 Explorer Mikael Strandberg | Photos and texts Copyright Explorer Mikael Strandberg