Happily Ever After, After

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Before we founded Freed Marcroft, I used to travel for a living. Right now I am alone on a plane for the first time in a long time.  Both avid travelers, Kristen and I journey together frequently for business and pleasure. But this time, I am the solo advance team off to a workshop a couple of days ahead of Kristen, who together with our wonderful 11-year old niece will fly down to join me for the Law Firm 500 Awards.


In some ways, I slipped right back into my old routine.  This is the airport shop where I stock up on seltzer water before boarding, this is the outlet I use to top up the battery on my phone pre-flight, this is the sweet spot for boarding (even if you are Group A, after Group A — too much time sitting on the plane — but before the inevitable Group C backup in the jetway).

I will go on autopilot when I get to the hotel too.  Unpack (everything), quick walk around the joint to get the lay of the land, room service the first night, and so on.

There ends the familiarity.  Because, unsurprisingly, it is 100% better traveling with Kristen than without Kristen.  After all, we did not open a business together because we don’t want to be together.

Let me pause for a moment here, and address the proverbial elephant in the virtual room.  Yes, we are a happily married couple who help people get unmarried.  This is a consistency, not an inconsistency.  Here’s why.

The Inbetween Space

Business travelers will know what I mean when I say that frequent fliers share a sort of third space on the road.  There is home, there is work, and there are the trips in between.  In the Inbetween Space, you establish a comradery with the other In-Betweens.  Business Travelers tend to focus their flights on one or two airlines, which means they frequently get upgraded to first class.  You start to see familiar faces up there on the flight from the hub airport home to Bradley.  Jim might work in San Francisco this week while John was in Miami and I was in Dallas, but we would reunite Thursday night on the 9:25 from ATL to BDL.

Jim and I used to talk a lot.  I knew Jim before his divorce, when he was still in the midst of what was clearly — to me, and sometimes to him — a terminal marriage.  Things are abnormally candid in the air.  You are with people you often see weekly, but who aren’t in tied to your “real life.”  No hanging out on the ground, no texts to check in, no Facebook friendships.  Add to this the fact that fellow business travelers share the intimate understanding of the ups and downs of spending a large chunk of your life on the road, and you can see why in many ways Jim and I probably knew more about each other’s troubles and joys than confidants back home.

When Jim realized his marriage was over (marriages are almost always over before divorce papers are filed), we spent the whole flight from Minneapolis to Hartford talking.  We were frequent seatmates through the divorce process.  (Jim had a very civil but very difficult divorce.  These things aren’t mutually exclusive.)

But I’m not here to write about that.  I’m here to write about my flight with Jim about a month after he moved out, post-divorce.  It was on a long haul from LAX to ATL.

The Jim Lesson

Jim shared that his whole outlook on business travel was different.  It used to be an escape from the turmoil in his marriage.  A chance to be a truer version of himself, away from the confines of an unhappy home.  Now that Jim was free, instead of looking forward to the escape of weekly business travel, he found it draining.

As Don Henley said, sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.

For those that want to know Jim’s ever after, it is happy.  He and I became real-world friends.  A couple of years later he met a wonderful woman and changed jobs.  I can report that now Jim only travels for joy and adventure, and he only travels with her.

The Jim Lesson is why I stopped making my livelihood traveling.  The Jim Lesson is also why a happily married couple starts a divorce firm.

It’s not about the divorce.  It’s about what comes after.


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Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC