This week’s installment of the Family on Bikes saga. For last week’s click here.
This wasn’t the first time the Nancy and John had come to the edge of a major decision and found themselves looking from opposite viewpoints. Before the boys were born their relationship had hit an impasse. Nancy felt she had two options: “I could go and get a divorce, or we could change our situation.”
Their situation was a common enough one among working couples: they just didn’t see each other. Nancy taught at an Albuquerque elementary school, waking up at 5AM to ride her bicycle to work and returning in the late afternoon after John left to teach evening classes. By the time he got home she was asleep. With no time to talk or plan, weekends drifted past. Months turned into two years. Nancy made a decision: if they were to stay married they needed to be together.
Being together was the whole basis of their relationship. They had met when Nancy was on the verge of a year-long solo bike tour of India. Her parents, perhaps regretting certain holiday decisions, begged her to find a travel buddy. As a gesture, Nancy put a ‘companion wanted’ ad in a travel magazine. Meanwhile, a young man in Albuquerque was placing a near-identical ad in the same issue, on behalf of his roommate. So John and Nancy got in touch and, after an hour of conversation, arranged to fly to Pakistan together. Six months into their two-wheeler tour of South Asia they were engaged. At the end of the year they flew back to the United States, married, and moved to Albuquerque.
After two routine-bitten years, it looked like the storybook romance wasn’t going to survive the prosaic facts of married life. Nancy was down to one idea: apply for work as a couple, teaching at an international school.
John thought she was nuts: “We’re Americans. That means we live in America.”
This was not a line of argument to faze Nancy, who spent two years straight out of college working for the Peace Corps in Honduras. “I’m going to look for an international job,” Nancy said. “You can come with me, or you can stay.”