August 7, 2018
Brooke & Konrad
Ciao! We are Brooke & Konrad Michalski, currently road tripping around the Amalfi Coast – so we figured we would say hi the official Italian way! We have been living overseas & traveling for 18 months, married for two & a half years, & together for almost 10. We are both trained teachers, but after teaching for a year in China we realised that we were in a really unique position & decided to take the opportunity to travel for a year & take a year’s break from teaching. Brooke loves art & self-expression, she does a little bit of everything creatively – kind of like a creative mixed bag of lollies. Konrad has a heart for adventure, learning & innovative ideas. We love people, authentic experiences, & using our passions to help others. This year, after leaving China, we lived in Indonesia for almost 5 months & now find ourselves in Europe for the summer.
1. TELL US YOUR SIMPLE LOVE STORY
BM & KM:
Simply put this is our not so simple love story…
Boy see’s girl.
3 years on – girl see’s boy.
Then boy & girl start to hang out casually with friends.
Boy says he likes girl. Girl says “you’re confused” – but really she is.
Boy sticks around, girl gets less confused.
3 years on – they break up.
Girl goes to Italy; boy goes to Nepal.
Then boy & girl start to hang out casually with friends.
Girl says she likes boy. Boy says “you’re confused”, but really she’s not this time.
They date… again.
3 years on – boy & girl became husband & wife.
2. DESCRIBE ONE WAY YOU EACH INTENTIONALLY GROW YOUR LOVE?
BM: The saying what you feed grows is so right in all areas of life, particularly in committed relationships & marriages! If you want to grow you love, you have to be intentional about not growing your own self seeking ways. We grow our love by doing our best to be quick to say sorry, & saying no to holding grudges. Because saying sorry is really hard to do, we stick out our pinky finger instead, that’s our way of acknowledging that we didn’t see this conversation going in this direction & we want to turn it around with love & understand aka. I’m sorry. This sounds really lame, we have to both extend our pinky fingers until they link – by the time that happens we have had a little moment to die to ourselves & it helps us a lot in moments of tension to chill, re-centre & communicate our hearts, rather than let our egos take centre stage. Look it might be cheesy, but it definitely works! So we grow our love through that little practice.
KM: We have this thing that we do & have done since we started traveling. It’s called ‘Welcome Home’. If one of us goes out for a while or one of us is feeling disconnected that day, we say ‘Welcome Home’ – when that happens we give each other a hug until we both relax into the hug. It’s our reminder that although we don’t have a physical home, we have each other, we have safety with each other & we belong where we stand – together, at home.
3. YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN LIVING & TRAVELING ABROAD FOR 18 MONTHS NOW PURSUING YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSION PROJECTS – HOW HAS THIS EXPERIENCE OF LIVING IN EACH OTHER’S POCKETS WITHOUT THE USUAL ROUTINES OF LIFE IMPACTED YOUR MARRIAGE?
BM & KM: Great Question! Initially we had way more fights & tensions. It’s really difficult to be out of your comfort zone ALL the time, & I think initially we didn’t really know how to navigate all the changes, (to be fair we had only been married one year when we moved to China, so we were still figuring that all out too). After a while, we realised that we weren’t being very gracious towards each other. I think over time it sank in that we weren’t out to get each other – we wanted the best for each other & we hated seeing each other anxious & stressed. I think travel taught us (really quickly) to deeply trust each other. Hardship & life’s challenges will either get you to deeper trust or to breaking point, & travel (even though it might seem so glamourous) is actually a real challenge sometimes. I think we have also learnt to be way more flexible, we don’t have much personal space these days, so flexibility, grace & believing the best in each other are so important – otherwise this experience wouldn’t be that enjoyable, I’m sure!
4. FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A COUPLE WHO WANTS TO DITCH THEIR 9-5’S & PURSUE OTHER DREAMS TOGETHER?
BM & KM: Just like starting a family (or so I’ve heard) you can’t really plan on what to expect, you have to just dive in & commit fully. It may never feel like the right time, or things might not line up perfectly or you feel you just don’t have the skills. Ditching the 9-5 is a crazy change, & you can’t really prepare for it. You say no to security & yes to adventure, you say no to routine & yes to unexpected opportunities, you say no to your usual & yes to something else! For me, I love security, routine & my usual; but I loved the thought of adventure, unexpected opportunities & something else (whatever that is) a little bit more. Ditching your 9-5 requires risk, creativity & being ok with failure – lots & lots of failure & rejection. It’s so challenging, yet so transformative. Like a butterfly has to go into its dark cocoon for a stage, you will definitely experience a type of ‘death’ & if you’re anything like me you will have to take time to mourn the loss of that old way of living & your old self. But stick it out, listen to your intuition & your partner & don’t give up. Give it your best shot & if all fails… you can move in with your parents. Or on the positive side, it might just be the best thing you’ve ever done.
5. SHARE YOUR MOST RECENT, OR FAVOURITE GO-TO DATE
BM & KM: Traveling for so long has made our life feel, in ways, like one never ending date. Each day is full of quality time, ‘long walks on the beach’ or other activities & eating out. It might sound like a dream, but it’s actually a little exhausting & can be stressful in its own way, regardless its now become our ‘normal’. Because each day is full of so many activities & expenses, our go to date is pretty mundane. At the end of the day we love snuggling up where ever we are & watching our favourite TV shows. We love this because it’s free (bonus!!), it’s relaxing & even though it’s unexciting, it feels special to us now.
6. SHARE YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE TO KEEP A MARRIAGE THRIVING
BM: This is my favourite thought, it helps me keep my marriage thriving, it has so much wisdom in it & you might have even heard it before, ‘there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.’ This quote encapsulates my best piece of advice for all those who have made a commitment to journey with someone deeper into love.
Let me break it down a little, so first up… there is no fear in Love…
When I recognise & acknowledge that uncomfortable feeling called fear, I ask myself why am I feeling that? Where is that coming from? Is it my shame & fear about being fully seen that’s stopping me from stepping into love fully? Or am I feeling unsafe or anxious about something that I need to communicate with my partner so we can figure out where to go from there… Fear is a really helpful emotion, it keeps you safe – it’s an indicator to show you what is stopping you from going deeper into love & trust with your partner. Listen to it, then move through the fear, with the help of your partner, don’t let it move you away from deepening relationships – even if it keeps telling you to ‘hide’.
Then there is this last part of the verse… but perfect love casts out all fear.
Love – that thing that we can’t see, that thing that motivates us to make crazy life altering decisions like to choose our partner over ourselves every day, that thing that heals & brings so much hope. The point of this crazy beautiful chaos, the reason we exist, the answer to all of our questions, the easing of doubts, the joy of life, the whisper to your soul, this deep truth to be trusted is found in this four letter word… L O V E – it will do the work in us, it will cast out the fear, it will heal the heartache & it will make all things good. Surrender to its sweet whisper, for love is supernatural & it will transform your marriage & your life.