2 In Military

Military Spouse Profile: Carolann from Finding Ithaka

There are so many amazing military spouses out there kicking butt on a daily basis that deserve to be recognized and I’m excited to feature one of them each month with my Military Spouse Profile series. If you’re interested in sharing your story (or know someone who might), please send me an email!

Introduce yourself to my readers! Tell us a little bit about who you are.

Hi! My name is Carolann. I’m a writer and avid reader currently stationed in Hawaii with my husband, Nick. I’m originally from New York, so moving here was a huge change for me. But now we’re on our second tour here in Hawaii. I love living here. 

My husband is a submariner with 14 years in the military. I’ve known him for 10 of those years, and we’ve been married for almost 5. Since becoming a military spouse, I have tried on last of different hats and I’m honestly still trying to figure out who I am. I think that’s partially why I keep writing my blog and connecting with other military spouses through it.

What inspired you to start your blog or business?

When Nick and I moved to Hawaii right after our wedding, I started my blog. I had to quit my job as a writer and I didn’t want to lose my writing skills, so I decided to write about Hawaii.  I was a brand-new military spouse then. As time went on, I became less interested in writing about travel tips to Hawaii and more interested in connecting with other military spouse bloggers. 

As we went through moves and different things the military threw at us, I got older and more experienced. I start writing about my lessons learned and my perspective as a military spouse. Now, my blog is a mix of military spouse life, travel, Hawaii, and book reviews.

What’s the main message you hope your blog shares with your readers?

The name of my blog is called Finding Ithaka. It’s based on a poem called “Ithaka” by a Greek poet named CP Cavafy. The poem is about enjoying the journey and not focusing so much on the destination.  It’s the journey that makes us who we are, not the destination. 

I hope that is the message that my readers take away from my blog. Being a military spouse can be rough, but we also get so many opportunities that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.  I don’t want to spend my time counting the days until my husband is home or until we leave our duty station. I want to enjoy the journey.

What is your favorite part of being a military spouse?

I used to say the adventure, but at this stage in my life, the thing I value most is the incredible friendships I’ve made. The adventure is pretty amazing too. 

Tell us a little bit about your journey as a military spouse-the ups and downs, lessons learned, etc.

Nick enlisted in the military when he was 18. I met him when he was 22. At that time, he was in a program where he was going to college and becoming an officer.

As soon as he graduated college and got commissioned, he went to all of these different submarine schools all over the country before getting stationed in the Seattle area. I stayed behind to finish college and focus on my career while he did 5 short deployments.

After 5 years of long distance, we decided enough was enough and it was time to get married and finally be together. That period of transition was really hard for me because I felt like I was losing my identity. I had just gotten a promotion and my Master’s degree. I only had that job, which I loved, for two months before having to quit. It was also my first time moving away from New York.

But I knew that I made the right decision and after some time to adjust, I had never been happier. I learned that I am not defined by the job that I have and that there is so much more to me than that. That is something I want every military spouse struggling with their career to know.

If you take away one thing from this post, I hope that it’s you are so much more than a job and than your title as “military spouse”.

What’s the number one piece of advice you would give a new military spouse?

I’m actually writing a blog post about this! It’s hard to choose one thing, but I would tell them to do their own thing. If you are living in Hawaii, for example, and you are always waiting on your spouse to go new places and explore, you will miss out on so much. Get out there and make friends who have common interests so that you can do things together. When your spouse is around, you can them to the best places.

What or who has been the biggest help or source of support to you in your role as a military spouse?

My friend J. She has been through so much in her life and as a military spouse. Her husband has the same job as Nick, but he’s a bit older, so she’s already been through what I’m going through right now. She has been completely honest with me, but also very supportive. Knowing that she has gotten through what I am going through and made it helps me a lot. I think it’s good to have a military spouse friend who is a bit more seasoned than you. 

Do you have a favorite place the military has taken you? What is it and why?

Hawaii! I think that it’s a great place to be stationed. When would you get to live in paradise? I think it’s a good place to be when your spouse is deployed because it’s always warm and there is so much to do. 

I also love living here because military spouses become super close. We can’t just drive home for a random weekend or Thanksgiving so we become like family. We not only spend all of our weekends together but we also rely on each other.

Just for fun:

  • Favorite Netflix binge-worthy watch? Right now I’m binging on Once Upon a Time and I can’t stop! Luckily, it’s 7 seasons and I’m only on season 2.
  • What’s your favorite hobby? Making scrapbooks. I have made one each year since Nick and I started dating, and I always give them to him on Christmas morning! 
  • Chocolate or vanilla? Always, vanilla. 
  • Tell us a random fact about yourself. In college, we had to do a 50+ page research paper in order to graduate. As an English major, I knew mine was going to be about a book. I ended up writing it about Harry Potter. It took me a while to convince my Dean that this was a serious academic endeavor. Luckily, I had an awesome advisor who was completely for it and helped me.

As I read Carolann’s interview over, I kept finding myself nodding in agreement. She has so many great nuggets of advice in here, but my favorite is to do your own thing. That’s one of my core military spouse beliefs. You can find Carolann on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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