From the time they met at age 15, Air Force Capt. Dmitri Mitchell and his wife, Eugenia, have shared a common interest for wanting to see the world. Adding in challenging careers, military life, and a growing family to their relationship has not halted that plan either. They’ve learned to make adjustments around parenting and their unpredictable schedules so that they can still fulfill a passion of traveling abroad.
Eugenia and Dmitri each grew up in military families. His parents were both active duty and her father served. “As military kids you either want to stay in one place, or like us, want to see the world,” Eugenia says.
The once-teenagers who dated for a year and then went their separate ways, both chose careers that reflect their infatuation for globetrotting.
The flight attendant
Customer service and relating with people at their core have always been a strong suit for Eugenia. When presented with the opportunity to become a flight attendant, she took it.
“I was at a place in my life where I wanted to do something outside of my wheelhouse. I wasn’t in a serious relationship at the time so it was absolutely perfect for me,” she explained
Eugenia loved her new career. Being a single flight attendant afforded her unusual opportunities, like flying to Paris just because she was bored.
The fighter pilot
Dmitri, who is currently stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England, has been serving in the Air Force since 2011. In 2019 alone, his work has taken him to Germany, Vegas, and Spain.
“Flying a jet is a feeling you can’t get anywhere else. You look out and realize that you’re not supposed to be there, but you’re safe and enjoying an experience that many people don’t have. I’m grateful that I get to see the world in this way,” he said
After Eugenia and Dmitri reconnected on Facebook, the couple decided to meet up for her 30th birthday in Milan, accompanied by close friends.
Dmitri says that the experience was special. “We were on different sides of the world and met in a completely different country. I would have never thought having met her in a small Texas town, that I would be in Italy seeing the wonders of Milan and experiencing the entire culture.”
The Mitchells have now been married for two years and their son, Titus, is 18 months old.
Although they live together in England, Eugenia maintains her career as a flight attendant in Atlanta. Getting to work isn’t a quick trip. It requires her to take two trains, an airplane and a cab. This taxing process puts a bit of a strain on the Mitchell household.
Inevitably, being a new military spouse, new mom, having a full-time job and living overseas all collided for Eugenia.
“I cried every day for a month when I returned to work. It was really hard at first, but I had to understand that everything was going to be ok with ‘mom’ being away. And I feel like we are better people for it,” she said.
Having their son has made Dmitri more aware of paying attention to his wife’s emotional needs as well. “It’s easy to lose sight of your spouse because you’re so focused on the child,” he said.
He encourages men to be patient with their spouse, and understanding of all the challenges that come with being a new mother.
Finding time to be together as a family can be like moving Tetris parts. They have to consider Eugenia’s job in a different country, Dmitri’s 12-13 hour workdays, and securing help for their son. The couple agrees that the “kitchen table” is where they come together to hash it out. It’s where they unveil their feelings, listen to each other and reconnect.
Ultimately, as Eugenia puts it, “we are transient beings with a gusto for travel.” So now their trips include places that have a crib, less stairs, and possibly a babysitting service.
As for their travel aspirations for their son, “I want Titus to want to travel and experience different cultures without being fearful of people with different backgrounds, beliefs or thoughts,” Eugenia added.
Their best adventure so far was to Tenerife, Spain. Dmitri speaks of the perfect skies and beautiful ocean, which Titus couldn’t stop staring at it.
For anyone that may be hesitant to test out the travel waters, Eugenia advises, “Start small with a road trip. Don’t force anything but also don’t be scared to go out and explore the world!”
Keep up with this on-the-go Air Force family at https://www.instagram.com/athomewiththemitchells.
All images by Jenna McKone.Read comments