Saying “Hail and Farewell” to Our Geo-Bachelor Adventure


A few weeks ago I found myself in the dimly lit party room of a Norfolk, Virginia restaurant, sipping a Diet Coke, and watching a group of sailors laugh and reminisce. I traveled down to Norfolk to attend my husband’s Hail and Farewell–a party to celebrate the end of his tour on-board a cruiser. The following day, we would load his gear into our car and drive back to our home in the DC suburbs. It was hard to believe, but after more than two years, our family’s adventures in geo-bachelorhood were finally coming to an end.

Geo-Bachelor Horizontal Graphic

While it wasn’t an easy decision, the choice to live apart during my husband’s sea tour made a lot of sense at the time. With two kids approaching high school and me finally in a job I loved, it seemed like a bad time to move our family, yet again. We had the added benefit that his job in Norfolk was only four hours away from our home, which would allow him to come home most weekends. After talking it over, we decided to give the arrangement a shot. Privately, I told myself that if we were too miserable or it proved to be too hard, we could always PCS to Norfolk later.

It didn’t always go smoothly, but over time we figured things out and got used to our new routines. My husband became an expert at navigating the I-95 corridor, discovering back roads and alternate routes to make his weekly drive easier. He rarely complained about the long drive, although I know it was exhausting for him, especially during the summer when tourist traffic could add an hour or more to the trip. I tried to keep this in mind when making our weekend plans and remember to set aside some time for rest and relaxation – but often that seemed impossible with a house to maintain and two busy kids to keep up with.

For the kids and me, the adjustment was a little easier – after so many years in the Navy, having Dad gone was nothing new. I quickly got used to cooking dinner for three instead of four and secretly enjoyed my sole ownership of the TV remote. Juggling my job responsibilities and the kids’ schedules on my own was sometimes a struggle, but what military spouse hasn’t had to solve the riddle of how to get two kids to two locations at the same time with one driver?

I did miss the close friendships I developed with other spouses during our previous sea tours. I traveled down to Norfolk occasionally to attend family events, but I wasn’t able to be there often enough to really get to know anyone. My local friends and coworkers were incredibly supportive and understanding about our situation, but there is nothing quite like bonding with another spouse who is going through the same experience.

Geo-Bachelor PINTEREST PIN

Sitting at the Hail and Farewell, I reflected back on our geo-bachelor experience. Had it been the right decision? Would I make the same choice if I had it to do over? As difficult as the past two years have been at times, I would have to say yes. Staying in Northern Virginia gave our family a degree of stability that we’d never experienced before. My kids have thrived and I am grateful that, so far, we have been able to spare them the stress of moving while they are in high school. And of course, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to work and pursue my career in a way that would have been impossible had we moved.

However, I recognize this choice wouldn’t be right for every family. We made it work, and now we get to focus on a new challenge: adjusting to having Dad back at home again, and me saying my goodbyes to the TV remote.

Did you ever choose a geo-bachelor tour for your family? How did it go?

eileenPosted by Eileen Huck, Government Relations Deputy Director

0 Comments

Add yours
  1. 1
    Jennifer Davis

    Hi everyone!

    I am a PhD student at Penn State University researching military families with children with autism. I have completed 2 previous projects which have been published in a highly ranked autism research journal and am currently recruiting for my dissertation study – a military spouse online autism relocation readiness mentorship program. Please see below for more information. If you are interested, email me at jod5183@psu.edu or message me on facebook. Thank you!

    Military Spouse Online Autism Relocation Readiness Mentorship Study

    We are inviting military spouses with a child with autism to participate in an online email mentorship program. Through this research, we hope to improve PCS experiences for military families with children with autism by matching them with another military spouse who has more PCS experience. We are looking for 2 groups of participants: those with at least 2 PCSs and those with 0-1 PCS. See below for more details. If you have concerns about PCSing with your child with autism or would like to help others, please email me at jod5183@psu.edu.

    1. Peer partners (provide mentorship): Military spouses of an active duty or recently (within the past year) retired service members who have PCSd at least 2 times since their child with autism turned 2 years old.

    2. Peers (receive mentorship): Military spouses of active duty service members who have PCSd 0-1 time with their child with ASD since the child turned 2 years old.

    If you are interested, please contact Jennifer Davis at jod5183@psu.edu for additional information.

    *This project has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at Penn State Univ.

  2. 2
    Kimberly Robertson

    We still have a little over 2 years to go in our geo-bach adventure. While I wish we were just a long-drive away, we’re a plane ride away, and that’s a lot better than many people. So far, its been a good decision for our family, but it is rocky, and I think the choices are family-dependent. I do appreciate that you post about these adventures and that it isn’t roses, but there are worse alternatives, and I am grateful for the opportunity to see my husband every few months.

Leave a Reply