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Why You Should Travel Solo While in a Relationship

Travelling solo while in a relationship

I’ve always been a huge advocate of solo travel – I honestly believe that there’s no better way to evolve as a person and to truly get to know yourself than by embracing the spirit of adventure and throwing yourself into the unknown. The “unknown” isn’t a scary place, quite the opposite – it’s where you are free to make your own choices and learn to depend on no one but yourself.  It’s where you develop into a better, stronger and more open-minded version of yourself. There’s no doubt that solo travel enriches your life and gives you the freedom to celebrate who you are and what you want from life.

Ok, but what if you’re in a relationship?

Sure, it’s easy to travel solo when you’re  single, but what if you’re not? Surprisingly, there are very few articles addressing the issue of travelling solo while  in a relationship. Not only that, no one seems to be addressing the endless benefits that solo travel can have on our relationships! As someone who cannot imagine life without travel and lives in what can only be described as a constant state of wanderlust while being in a  relationship, I felt that it’s time to finally address the elephant in the room. Let’s get started!

How to travel solo while in a relationship?

travelling solo while in a relationship

Before we move onto why one “should” travel solo, let’s first get into “how”.  To me, it all comes down to two things: finding a partner who either shares or respects your passion for travel (or for anything else for this matter) and is mature enough to understand that in order for a relationship to flourish, you have to give the other person the space to do their own thing once in a while. Committing to a relationship doesn’t mean that you and your partner have somehow merged your bodies into one and can no longer do anything that doesn’t directly involve the other person. Quite the opposite – there’s nothing more attractive than someone who isn’t afraid to follow their passion!

I’m no expert, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my past relationships then it’s this: “love is not about gazing at each other but about looking outward together in the same direction” (I might’ve stolen this quote from Saint-Exupéry but it sums up my point, ok?). This direction is love and a shared idea for the future, built on mutual respect and a clear understanding that your partner is as an individual, with his or hers own hopes, dreams and fears. And if it so happens that your dream is to travel, whether your partner can join you on each trip or not, they shouldn’t be stopping you from pursuing it.

So, why should you travel solo while in a relationship?

If you feel selfish by travelling solo – don’t! Here’s why: it’s not only not selfish to do what you love, solo travel can actually make a relationship stronger. Don’t believe me? Here are some important life lessons that I’ve learnt through solo travel – and I can personally guarantee that they will work wonders for your relationship!

Your happiness is your own responsibility

you are the one in charge of your own happiness

Solo travel challenges you and helps you become more self-sufficient. When you’re the only one in charge, you can’t help but learn to take more responsibility for yourself. And guess what? With that comes a new realisation: you are the one in charge of your own happiness. It’s not something that can be given or taken away from you –  it’s a feeling you create. It took me a long time to realise that true happiness can only come from within, and that expecting others to give it to you is not only not going to make you happier, it can actually put a strain on your relationship.

Self-development

Why travel solo while in a relationship

No one has ever changed, evolved or picked a new skill by following the exact same routine every day.  You have to shake things up a bit and open yourself to new experiences to let that happen – your relationship will never reach its true potential if you don’t! Solo travel gives you one of the best lessons in personal growth. From becoming more open-minded, patient and kind, to learning how to become more independent, each solo trip is a step towards becoming a better version of yourself. This  also means that each adventure will give you something new to bring to the relationship table.

You don’t need to be in a relationship to feel complete

You don't need others to feel complete

There’s a huge difference between wanting and needing to be with someone. All those things you think you need from your partner, such as acceptance, love, security – they will never be truly yours unless you learn to give them to yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I love rom coms and I’ll be watching Disney films till I’m old and wrinkly, but this whole “you need that special someone to make you feel complete” that they’ve been feeding us is just a one huge lie! We are born complete and are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves – your happiness and emotional well-being shouldn’t depend on whether or not you are in a relationship. It’s not only unhealthy and unattractive to be overly emotionally dependent; it also burdens your significant other with a responsibility that shouldn’t be theirs in the first place. If there’s one thing that travelling on your own will teach you, then it’s that you don’t need others to make you feel complete.

Reconnect with yourself

how to reconnect with yourself through solo travel

How many times do you get the chance to concentrate only on yourself and do exactly what you want, when you want it? Relationships are wonderful but they are also filled (quite rightly so!) with compromise. Travelling alone gives you the perfect opportunity to reconnect with yourself and get a reminder that yes, you are still your own person! It basically brings your “me time” to another level.

And of course, let’s not forget…

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Don’t just take my word for it – I have some figures to back this up! According to a recent study into long distance relationships by the Journal of Sex and Martial Therapy , “Greater distance apart predicted more intimacy, communication and relationship satisfaction”. Well, you can’t argue with science..

Over to you – are you in a relationship but love to travel solo? Have you ever been with someone who didn’t understand your passion and tried stopping you from travelling on your own? I’d love to hear your story, let me know in the comments below!

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64 Comments

  1. Lovely post! I would love to be able to say that I’m into solo travel, however I prefer to share my travels with my boyfriend or my family / friends. This summer I traveled by myself in Madrid for a weekend and didn’t enjoy it at all. I was scared a night, got lost a few times because I’m crap at directions and felt lonely :/

    • Aw well, just like with everything else, solo travel gets easier with practice! That’s not to say it’s the only way to travel – if you prefer travelling with family and friends, that’s great too! :)

      • I do live by myself and abroad, so it’s quite controversial to say that I don’t like travelling solo haha! Maybe it was the place I went to that made the difference…

      • Haha, living abroad is quite different from travelling so I see what you mean! Yes, the choice of a place and even your expectations towards it can make a big difference! I hope you give it a go again, solo travel is amazing, it just takes some getting used to :)

  2. I’m super lucky to have a boyfriend who shares my passion for travel with me and usually comes along on my trips.
    But for some reason my urge to travel solo has been growing over the last few months. I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it. I really don’t know why but I kinda am afraid of going alone even if it’s just for a few days.

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Love from Austria, Kerstin

    http://missgetaway.wordpress.com

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      That’s fantastic Kerstin, it’s great to have a partner who not only understands but also shares your passion!

      The first step is always the hardest, whether it’s solo travel or anything else that makes you step out of your comfort zone. Travelling solo may be a bit scary at first but at the end of the day, what you are really scared of is the idea of it – once you actually bring yourself to do it, it’ll get much easier! :) See if this helps: http://www.a-girlwhotravels.com/2015/01/25/tips-for-first-time-solo-female-travelers/ x Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Awesome article! People find it incredibly strange that my husband doesn’t go with me on my adventures both because of his work schedule and it’s not his passion. But he’s super encouraging of me going on my own. It took us a year of me resenting him for not going and refusing to go alone before I started just doing it and now I love it! He’s so supportive and it’s made our relationship 100% better! This perspective is not talked about much but so necessary those of us in these relationships! Thanks for the read!

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Thanks so much for your comment! It’s wonderful that your husband is so supportive! You’re right, not many people understand this and the topic itself isn’t much talked about which is why I wanted to highlight it. Great to hear that solo travel has been working out so well for your relationship!

  4. This is a great post on so many levels.

    I think so many people need to understand that a partner doesn’t make you complete, happy, better, or anything else. You can be that on your own. And, you shouldn’t wait until you get into a relationship to enjoy life. That’s such an important message.

    My husband and I do small little trips separately for the purpose of reconnecting with ourselves. It is time well spent, and I highly recommend it to anyone in a relationship.

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Thanks so much! I absolutely agree,sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are still our own person when we’re in a committed relationship and spend a lot of time together. Reconnecting with ourselves is important! Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. This is a great post, Marta and I completely agree with your whys. Travel goals for both of us this year include travelling solo. Travel teaches you so much so I think traveling alone will definitely be good for self discovery. I can’t wait!

  6. Dawn says

    I’m 2 months away from embarking on an 18 month travel adventure (aaahhhh!) To the other side of the world that I’ve had planned since before I met my partner. Initially I was reluctant to enter into any relationship knowing I would have to leave, but equally decided life is for living and you have to enjoy the time you have, rather than worry about what may be. Time apart does make the time together more special. I don’t know how the next 2 years will go, but if I did, it wouldn’t be an adventure!

    • Her says

      How is your trip going? Are you guys still together? I’m curious! I’m asking because I went on a 12 month long journey and my boyfriend and I split after two months. I wasn’t planning on meeting someone before my trip either.

  7. Lulu says

    Just got to this post today. I live in Malta and i really want to go to colombia. My boyfriend does not like to travel long distance and we agreed that unless he changes his mind to come by, i should go alone. I was a little bit unsure about this but this post gave me the courage to just go.

    All i have to do now is pick a date …

    Thank you!

  8. Jared says

    I hope you’re still responding to comments. I’m 26(M), and just entered a new relationship with an amazing girl 6 weeks ago. It has been thr healthiest and happiest relationship I have ever had so far.

    So my girlfriend has never traveled abroad from the US, just got her passport, and spontaneously decided she wanted to go on a solo trip. I’m not taking just without me, she specifically doesn’t want any friends or her sister to go either. Even more, she chose Bali because supposedly it is safe and plans to go for an entire month. This is 2 months away, but I can’t help but feel stressed about it. I love traveling internationally, but considering our relationship is still so new, a move like this is tough to swallow. It isn’t like we have been together for years and have a ton of foundation to wheather the distance.

    I’ve also traveled enough to have seen things. I have seen girls cheat on boyfriends they left behind (not with me), I have unfortunately talked to girls who have been drugged and raped, I have been to countries where sex slavery is huge and real. She hasn’t traveled at all, and I worry her lack of experience along with her insane beauty will make her a prime together to prey on.

    I’m looking for advice on how to handle this, I’m on that ledge where if I take another step I am gonna fall head over heels in love with this girl, but this trip has me scared. It isn’t just a week away, it is an entire month, and with no purpose other than to just go… Any thoughts?

    • Funnily enough, my boyfriend and I were in almost the exact same situation when I left to Bali 9 months ago (except I was meant to stay there indefinitely but cut my stay short). We now moved in together and are happier than ever!:)

      As someone who’s done their fair share of solo travel, I absolutely understand your girlfriend’s motivation behind wanting to go on her own. I think it’s wonderful that she’s not only beautiful but clearly strong-minded, independent and adventurous. These are all great qualities that will add a lot to your relationship. 

      I totally understand your concerns about her safety seeing as it’s her first trip abroad – it’s lovely to see how much you care about her. While I’m in no way trying to belittle your fears for her safety, the reality is, Bali isn’t necessarily more (or less) dangerous than the States – it’s just foreign and unfamiliar and it’s precisely that feeling of unfamiliarity that often becomes synonymous with danger. A place can be as safe or dangerous as you make it, it’s all about using common sense, remaining culturally sensitive and following your gut feeling. Have a read through my post aimed at first time solo female travellers for more solo travel tips info (or even better, send your gf the link : http://www.a-girlwhotravels.com/2015/01/25/tips-for-first-time-solo-female-travelers/ )

      I’m no relationship expert but I honestly believe that as long as your partner feels strongly about you and is confident about their feelings, they are very unlikely to cheat because the location itself doesn’t play a role. Cheating is aboutthe state of mind that you’re in, not the place. Also, chances are cheating hasn’t crossed your girlfriend’s mind at all – she’s going away to experience a different culture, travel and do something new and exciting for herself. I’m sure there’s more to her trip than ‘just go’ – it’s the idea of experiencing a new culture and proving that she can do it on her own that’s exciting. I know that feeling all too well!

      So my advice would be, stay supportive, Skype and text regularly, make sure that you or her family/friends have an idea about her whereabout (this is in case of an unlikely emergency, but mainly to keep her loved ones at peace) and a month will past faster than you can say “Bali”! It may seem a like a long time now with the prospect of not seeing your girlfriend looming at you, but on a scale of things, it’s not that long at all! Hopefully you girlfriend’s next trip abroad will be with you :) Good luck to you both!

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  10. Hi there! thank you for your post, I was searching something about this because I want to travel to Europe in January, My best friend will be living there and it’s an excellent opportunity to know new places (I’m from south america). But there’s a problem, my boyfriend doesn’t feel that motivated to save the enough money for travelling, he is not very into Europe, he’d prefer to spend money in other places. So, I was confused whether insist him about it or just travel on my own. And I’m seriously thinking about the second option haha. Greetings and hugs!

    • agirlw6_wp says

      So happy I could help! :) You never know, your boyfriend may end up crashing your trip, haha! Either way, whether you go together or solo, I’m sure you’re going to have a wonderful time. It’s great to have that understanding that not all experiences need to be shared in order for them to be fun and meaningful. Happy travels, be sure to check in and let me know how it went:)

  11. Kati says

    I’m SO grateful I found this post. I am that girl with constant wanderlust and a boyfriend I just can’t seem to leave behind (He’s incredibly supportive of my passion by the way). This tug from both directions causes quite the internal disruption. This post put everything in perspective and touched on everything I feel – especially guilt. And you’re totally right, it’s not talked about. But there’s gotta be a way for a die-hard traveler to maintain a wonderful relationship with a man who’s only down to travel internationally once every 1 to 2 years. Thank you thank you thank you! You inspired me to book my first solo trip and have given me hope for the future of my relationship (disclaimer: while I’m excited for my trip, I may have to re-read this post once a day until the day I leave to reassure myself I did the right thing!)

    • agirlw6_wp says

      Hi Kati, thank you SO much for your lovely comment, I’m very glad to hear that my post helped and inspired you to travel solo – I’m beyond excited for you and very glad to hear that your boyfriend is being supportive :) Please get in touch to let me know how it went x

  12. Jack says

    Hi Marta,

    my girlfriend loves travelling solo, she traveled solo to Europe last year and her trip was awful as she had joined a group of backpackers but could not really gel well. Later this year I came to know that she had kissed a guy while she was in Paris. I am now very insecure and not sure if I can see her travelling alone and still trust her. How do I handle my insecurity.

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Hi Jack, thank you for stopping by!

      I’m no relationship expert so please don’t take my advice as definitive as I’m merely sharing my opinion on what I think is the best way of approaching the issue :)

      Since you made the conscious decision to stay with your gf and work on the relationship, it’s now up to you both to
      make it work – after all, it takes two committed people to rebuild a relationship. That being said, I feel that since you’re not the one who cheated, your gf should put in the extra effort and prove to you that she’s willing to do her best to regain your trust. What this means is really up to you – the best way of solving most issues is an honest conversation – explain to her how you feel and what your fears and insecurities are and how you’d want them addressed. The best way of overcoming problems is by working on them together. It shouldn’t be up to you alone to fix something that you didn’t break in the first place (trust), hence your gf’s support and understanding is what you need most to heal. If she truly cares and regrets her actions, then I’m sure she’ll understand and put in the time + effort needed to rebuild the trust. Last but not least, it’s easy to make the mistake of immediately associating solo travel with cheating – however, the reality is that cheating isn’t as much about the place as it is about the state of mind. The fact that she travels solo doesn’t necessarily have to mean she’ll kiss someone again – if you haven’t already, it’s best to have an honest discussion with her and find out what exactly pushed her to doing what she did and how you can both work towards fixing your relationship. Good luck to you both! :)

  13. I’m about to go away for a month internationally in a relationship that has been a bit strained from to much time together. At the moment, we’ve just got to a more honest place and balanced time together and apart by texting less and sleeping over less but being more romantic and intentional. My trip was planned over a year ago before we were too involved. I am nervous the trip will strain us more, but hopeful it will help as it builds in time for me to work on myself and give him time alone as well. I am prone to jealousy and fear he will stray going out without me and meeting other women while I am in a sort of isolated travel/work space. I care about him very much but am choosing to do this trip both because I don’t want to be held back from it by him and because I do think going will be good for me, but it might not be the best time for the relationship, which I don’t want to be tortured by or allow to manifest. Any advice? Thanks for the article, it is rare to find one like it and it has been comforting/hopeful.

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Hello there, thank you for reaching out and for trusting me with this, it means a lot! :) As I always like to point out, I’m in no way a relationship expert but I’m happy to give you my advice.

      The first thing that hit me when reading your comment was that you refer to the relationship as “strained from spending too much time together” and being “too involved”; there’s also the issue of jealousy. Would you say that this “involvement” is mutual or is connected to, or a result of, your jealousy? If it’s the latter (and that’s just me speculating really), then to me this only highlights the fact that a month away would do you both good. First of all, a month isn’t that long on a scale of things, not to mention, time flies when you’re having fun and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of it while travelling on your own! Think of all the fun experiences and new people you’ll meet. It would also allow you to focus more on yourself and perhaps hep you gain a bit of distance – not in a bad way of course, but in terms of you overanalysing your relationship. I’m not sure if your jealousy is based on something your partner’s done in the past but if he’s never given you a valid reason to feel jealous then try to think about it this way: no amount of worrying, overanalysing or being jealous will physically stop anyone (that goes for both you and him!) from cheating. If anything, unhealthy jealousy has the potential to push the other person away. If your boyfriend loves you and cares for you the way you do for him, then there’s no way he’d “stray away” simply because you’re away. If he does, which once again, I find very unlikely to happen in a healthy, loving relationship, then you’re not losing anything really as it would only go to show that he wasn’t worth your time in the first place. Overcoming jealousy can be difficult but there’s lots of helpful articles and advice circulating about it online which I’m sure would be helpful. I’m not a jealous person by nature so I’m afraid I can’t be of much help in that regard but I’m sure there’s lots of other articles that can help :)

      So to sum up, a month away really isn’t a long time on a scale of things. Think about it this way: you’ll only be away for 4 weekends! A healthy, loving relationship will not end because of you being away for 4 weeks- in fact, with you feeling that you’ve been overly attached, it only has the potential to make your relationship stronger. Take this time to focus on yourself as an individual. Let go of things you have no control of and just enjoy the moment – no one really knows what the future holds and there’s nothing worse than spoiling he present moment by worrying about something that may never actually happen. I hope this helps :) Good luck!

  14. Kersten says

    Hi Marta, thankyou for your post. I needed this and would love to challenge myself to travel solo but I feel like I’m going to regret it or won’t enjoy it as much as travelling with my partner. We are together for over 5 years now and we love each other so much. He doesn’t mind travelling together (we went to New York & LA earlier this year and he loved it) Took me years to convince him for us to go overseas and was so happy we finally did it.

    BUT… he is never keen on going to Europe at all. And I am! It has been my dream for like forever!! So I booked a flight on my own for 3 weeks in November and only told him after I’ve booked the flight and I felt so bad about it (not about the flight that I’ve chosen but for not telling him and have apologised deeply). I did it because I’ve asked him a million times and he indicated he doesn’t want to go but would be very happy for me to do it. Which is really fine and shouldn’t be a problem but I keep changing my mind. I went away once to Sydney for about a week on my own and had a great time but I was lonely and sad and promised I will never travel again on my own without my partner. I didn’t want to force him to come with me that’s why I booked it anyway. But deep inside I feel it wouldn’t be a memorable holiday without him.

    It felt so right at the time I booked the flight but not so sure now whether it was a wise decision. I feel scared and lonely already at the thought and I’m someone who is easily excitable and distracted so I know something will happen that I wouldn’t be so happy about and I’ll have to deal with that on my own i.e. losing something or missing my train. I know it’s part of the challenge on travelling solo and it will be a liberating feeling to overcome them I’m just not so sure if I’m up for it or ready for it. I’ve asked him again and still waiting if he could come with me. We did decide to go to Asia on end of December/ early Jan 2017 though for our anniversary and he’s happy to do that.

    I’d be very appreciative of your thoughts and your experience.

    Thanks you so much Kersten

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Hi Kersten!
      Thanks so much for your message. Given that you’ve been with your partner for 5 years (which clearly shows that your relationship has very strong foundations), together with the fact that your partner actually encourages you to go on your own, I think you should just go ahead and do it! :) It’s perfectly normal to have doubts but the very fact that something pushed you to booking the ticket goes to show that deep down, it’s something you’ve been wanting to do. Think about how excited you were at the prospect of the trip before the doubts crept in. 3 weeks is really not a long time – it will pass in a bink of an eye but the memories you’ll make during your travels will last forever, as cliche as it sounds. You’re not really risking anything by going (your relationship won’t change and your partner is being supportive), but there’s so much you can gain. Think about it this way – worst comes to worst and if you really hate it (which I’m sure you won’t), you can just book a flight back.

      I’d lie if I said you may not have a few “adventures” along the way but getting lost on your travels or even losing your luggage is just another fun story to tell – travelling would be boring if everything always went smoothly :) There’s this quote I often go by when in doubt, and it goes “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” – if you were to look at yourself from a perspective of a few months or a year, what would you regret more: going or staying home? If it’s the latter, then you know what to do :)

      • Kersten says

        I’ve only just seen your reply. Thankyou so much Marta!! I really appreciate the time you put into responding to my message.

        In the end we only regret the things we didn’t do. You are so inspiring!! Keep the love flowing X

        I will still be going on my trip and now considering to extend it to a month. ☺️

  15. Hannah says

    I wonder if anyone can help my predicament… My boyfriend and I, have been together for 9 years since I was 16 years old. We own a house, have a dog and were actually engaged until I freaked out and started having panic attacks and doubts about getting married. For the last 3 or 4 years maybe longer, I have dreamed of a life travelling and exploring the world. I think about it every single day, and it reduces me to tears most days. It’s probably the only thing in life I know that I want to do. My partner doesn’t have the same desire.. He’s very close to his family, and doesn’t want to move away from them, which I accept and admire. He’s told me that if it’s something I need to do, then I need to go ahead and do it, but he doesn’t think we will be together if we do. He thinks I’d be deciding between what’s more important to me, him or travelling. A colleague of mine has just handed her notice in and is going to Canada for 2 years next month. When she told me, I was so happy for her! When I got home, I broke my heart, as it was just a reminder for me that I am not living the life I want to. I’ve thought about asking if I can go with her for a month, I barely know her, so I’m worried she will think it weird! And also, I have no money, because I own a ruddy house!! I try and bury the sadness I feel everyday and get on with my life, but I want to do this whilst I am young, I want to discover who I am, what I am about but I just feel trapped. I’m scared that it will get to a point where I am too old, I’ll have wasted away my 20’s, and these are supposed to be the best years of my life!
    Sorry to be so dramatic!

    I’d love to know what you think

    Thank you

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Hi Hannah, the desire to travel doesn’t necessarily have to mean the end of a relationship – you could go away for a month or two (there’s lots of ways to travel on a budget- you could volunteer or teach English abroad which means you’d be making money while travelling – also, is there any way you could work for you existing employer remotely while travelling?) and once you’re back, you could go on little trips every month, or even travel on weekends! This way you’d still get to travel while staying in a relationship.

      If you’re thinking of travelling long-term and weekend trips aren’t quite what you’re after, then I suppose your partner is right in thinking that sooner or later you will have to decide what’s your priority in life and where you see yourself going. Being true to yourself isn’t a bad thing – figure out what is it that you want and do it (perhaps going away for a month would help as it would give you a feel of what it’s like to travel without making any rash decisions). It’s great that you’re honest with your partner – I wish you all the best :)

  16. Louise Harrison says

    I’m going away for 4 months in January on a trip to the other side of the world, on my own. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 8 months and he’s known that i wanted to go for the whole of our relationship. However plans have only started to become set in stone recently, and i can tell he really doesn’t want me to go, We’ve had countless arguments about it, and he thinks I’ll meet someone better than him out there. He says he doesn’t think he’ll be able to be away from me for that long, even though there is a plan for him to come out and visit me half way through my trip. He makes constant digs like ‘well you’re leaving me for 4 months’ and honestly i feel so guilty for going, but its something I’ve always wanted to do and i shouldn’t cancel my trip just because he doesn’t want me to go. I just wish he’d understand that although it may be hard to be apart from each other, it may benefit our relationship at the same time.

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Thanks for your comment Louise! While I don’t know your boyfriend and hence don’t want to sound judgemental, I must say that I find it unfair on his part to try and stop you from going your dream trip because of what appears to be his own insecurities. Having a passion is not something you should feel guilty about – at the end of the day you are an individual and shouldn’t have to feel that you need to sacrifice your passion and plans, which is essentially what would happen if you didn’t go. You’re not “leaving your boyfriend” as he puts it; you’re simply going away on a trip which, by the sounds of it, you’ve been planning since before you got together – that’s a huge difference. I’d suggest having an honest chat with him to help him realise how much travel (and this trip) means to you. 4 months may sound like a long time but, on a scale of things, it’s not that long, especially if he does join you like you’ve been planning. The time away may even bring the two of you closer and make you appreciate each other more.

      I hope all goes well- who knows, maybe your next big trip will be the two of you travelling together :) x

  17. Ash Dee says

    All well and good for the solo traveller, but what about the person left at home! There are no articles as to how they handle the aches, routine and jealous thoughts. Its harder being the one left at home.

    • Hi Ash,

      That’s a great point! Unfortunately, since I’m usually the one who travels solo (or, recently, with my partner), it would be hard for me to write an honest article addressing what you’ve just described… Perhaps that’s something I could collaborate on with another blogger – thank you for giving me the idea, I’ll be sure to let you know if I ever cover this topic! What I would suggest, off the top of my head, is to focus on yourself – your hobbies, passions, investing in yourself by going to the gym or taking up a new hobby, perhaps even going travelling on your own or with your girlfriends (weekend trips are always fun!). Otherwise, is there a way you could join them on some trips and share the experience? Ultimately, it comes down to how often the other person travels and whether you see yourself always being the one “left behind” long term – this depends entirely on you as a person as everyone sees this differently. I personally wouldn’t mind if my partner was away a lot (assuming he’s doing it to follow his passion/for work etc) but I can understand why a lot of people would struggle with it. Wishing you all the best!

  18. Eve says

    I’m about to do yet another solo travel but I cannot say that I really like it (still it is so much better than not going anywhere at all or only go to places of ‘compromise’). I think the best way to travel is with 1 or 2 good friends but my problem is that I never have friends who have the time and/or money to join me on my trips…When I do go alone I usually plan a mix of some days without any plans and then the other days with pre-arranged trips or similar where I know I will meet new people. Being just by myself usually drives me crazy, especially taking meals on my own in a restaurant or whatever. But it’s true you have to get over that feeling but it’s hard.

  19. Can i just say how great it is to read this? to know that i am not alone in loving solo travel and desperately want to go. I am in a very committed very loving relationship however you hit the nail on the head when you said if i feel guilty to want to solo travel to not feel that. So true, if i stop doing what i love then the relationship would suffer. Great post, keep them coming! x

  20. Sam Friar says

    I’ve noticed you’re still replying to comments so thought I’d leave mine! In a contrast to the above, I’m curious to as to what advice would you give to someone that has a partner that wants to join them and is willing to travel, but would rather go alone? The idea of travelling places together sounded great but now I feel differently. We have a really insecure (from both sides) and intertwined relationship and it’s becoming too much. I also have friends that are more than willing to travel, but I’m at the point where I’d rather just go solo to avoid the jealousy that I’ve gone without her. If I’m on my own, no one can complain! Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi Sam, thanks for your comment – sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner! I know I’ve repeated this many times in the comments, but I’m no relationship expert so my advice can only be based on my experiences and the way I approach relationships.. It’s by no means an expert advice! That being said, it seems to me that the main issue here isn’t really travel, but jealousy and insecurity. I’m not sure if there’s something that triggered these feelings or whether it’s something that you’re both prone to feeling, but I’d start off by addressing this first.

      A calm, honest and loving conversation is always a good start. There’s a big difference between wanting to travel solo because of the experiences that it brings, and doing it to escape the pressures of the relationship.. that’s why I suggest an honest chat. :) At the end of the day, even once you do travel solo, the issues will still be there when you come back, so it’d be great to try and work on sorting them out. Otherwise, in terms of approaching the topic of travelling solo…The way I’d do it (assuming that solo travel was something I wanted to do for my own benefit and self-development) is I’d explain that the fact I want to travel solo is not a reflection of how I feel about my partner but rather me wanting to follow my passion – that I wanted to experience what it’s like to travel alone, and that it’s just something I want to do (only say this if it’s how you really feel, otherwise it just becomes a lie).

      I hope this helps :)

  21. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    I’m currently in a very difficult position.
    My GF is currently in Latin America writing her thesis. We both were very much fine, before she left.
    She had plans für quite a while now, for that when she comes back, she would prepare to leave for Australia the next year. (work and travel).
    Of course she asked me at first, if I wanted to join, so we can make this experience together.
    However I declined, since I’m not fond of working physically, which is somehow connected to W&T to me. I said: Don’t worry, I’ll be fine here and you can enjoy your year off. We both never doubted, that we will get through this year. Eventhough knowing it’s gonna be hard ofc.

    Well, she is now 1month away. The first two weeks w/o her felt so horribly for me. We are together now for more than 3 years. Made plans for the future, that we want to start our own business, being selfemployed, to travel and all and eventually settle down some place we have found on that journey.
    We have never been seperated for a longer period than 3-4 days.
    As she left and I stayed behind in our apartment, not really being able to communicate with her, i felt completely lost. At this weak moment, I felt like not being able to withstand that said 1 year of hers in Australia, if this is the feeling over the whole time.
    I expressed my concerns to her, that we might try to communicate more, or else I’m not sure if I can take it – if it might not be better to break up.
    That of course struk her really hard. And she came to thinking.
    Now 2 weeks after this, when I told her about me feelings. I feel ok again. I got back to my daily routine, of course I miss her, but it doesn’t feel like this huge hole anymore.
    BUT now she is doubting herself, if this is the right thing, If I’m the right one.
    She thought to herself: Would I give up traveling for my relationship? And she came to the answer: NO.
    I can understand this, since I encourage her as well, to take her time.
    But what frightened her, was the fact that she wasn’t really struggling to make this decision.
    She is afraid now, that she is not fit for me. Otherwise she would have at least struggled to choose against me, which she didn’t.
    Now everything is undecided with her, since she believes that a healthy relationship should push her at least to be struggling with such a decision.

    The thing is, I already figured out a way, to join her all the way. I would have loved to be traveling with her from the very beginning, but wasn’t open to work on fields etc. Now I talked to my boss, and he was fine with me working remotely at the end of the world.
    That way I don’t need to worry about working, since I have a well paid job.

    Despite she tells me everyday that she finds that idea great, that she loves me, that she wants a future with me, she is still confused about how she needs to think and feel about this “in my hypthosis, I would immediately without hesitation choose to travel over the relationship”

    I don’t know what to do now. Because I don’t hold grudges on her wanting to travel. I find it somehow normal, that she would not give up this urge of travelling for me. But there is no reason anymore to breakup since I would come with her all the way.

    I don’t know what to show her, what to say to her, to give her back that seurity we had all along before.

    • Hello DuyAnh,

      Thank you vey much for such an honest and personal message – apologies for not getting back to you sooner! I understand where your girlfriend is coming from..she comes across as a very honest person who clearly loves and cares for you , yet at the same time she’s worried that, since the decision of choosing between travel and your relationship came to her so easily, your relationship may not be as strong as she thought it was.

      It seems to me that you’re both looking at the situation from two different perspectives – your girlfriend is analysing what happened from an emotional perspective while your approach is much more matter-of-fact (which, btw, is often the main difference between how men and women solve and analyse issues!). Basically what she’s trying to do now is figure out how she feels and analyse her emotions and feeling towards you – and she’s being very open about it which is great as it only shows how honest she is. Your perspective is based on the understanding is that one shouldn’t give up their dream for the sake of another person, and that to you is normal. Perhaps that’s something you should explain to her; otherwise, the best thing to do is to wait and let her figure things out. I know it’s not the advice you wanted to hear but you can’t fully move on and make a final decision regarding your trip together until your girlfriend figures her feeling out and decides what way she wants to approach this. Once you’ve explained to her how you feel about it, it’s her move and there’s nothing that can speed it up really. I really do hope that things will work out for you and that you’ll end up going to Australia together!That trip could be a great way of testing your future plans of travelling the world together and I have my fingers crossed for you!

      • DuyAnh says

        Thank you for your message. The way we left it for now, is to take a break. Let communication be to everyday stuff without pressuring each other into making a move or taking a decision. We will just see how it will turn out in Dec when I fly out to her.
        In the end you are right. There’s nothing i can do for now. Just hoping, that whatever brought and kept us together the past years will fire up again in her.
        And thanks again. Just putting feelings and thoughts into words really helps!

      • agirlw6_wp says

        You’re very welcome! I’m wishing you the best of luck!

  22. TW says

    Hey Marta et al,

    Have recently ended a very controlling eight-year relationship and met someone totally the opposite (thoughtful, kind, relaxed, conscientious etc etc) and we are very much in love.

    The downside being that I envisaged ending my previous relationship TO travel and now have the bug even more as feel a sense of freedom denied to me in the past.

    My new partner has two youngish children so travel is pretty difficult for them. Also we have been together months not years but I feel I’d rather bring this up sooner rather than later even if it’s later rather than sooner when I end up going.

    Have tried dropping hints hoping for a “… but I’d never stop you going” style answer but received one about us going as a family and one about waiting a decade (we’re late twenties) before going.

    My own personal compromise is to go for no longer than a month this being my first such experience in any case.

    Should also add that this is currently a long distance relationship where we have gone three weeks without seeing each other. I say currently as wed both me like to move in and that would make things more difficult again I feel.

    Might try more hints as they say honesty is the best policy but don’t want an ultimatum type situation.

    To be honest not sure right now I’d want to spend a month away but would be so important to know for future.

    TW

    • Hello there,

      So happy for you – everyone deserves to be in a loving relationship where your boundaries and passions are respected so it’s great that you’ve found that. I’m no relationship expert but personally, I’d opt for an honest conversation instead of dropping hints – perhaps one of the reasons you never got your “but I’d never stop you from going” answer is that your partner doesn’t actually realise that you want to go travelling on your own? It’s only fair but also important for the future of the relationship that you tell him where you stand when it comes to travel – seeing as you already go weeks without seeing each other and still make things work, and that you describe your partner as relaxed and loving, I’d imagine travel shouldn’t be an issue but just like you said, it’s best to confirm this early on so there are no misunderstandings and issues in the future. At the end of the day, neither of you should have to compromise your passions so it’s important to have a mutual understanding regarding this. An open, honest conversation is always the best way. Good luck to you both! :)

  23. TW says

    Thank you Marta unbelievably quick response!

    This blog has been a great help as it has made the idea more palatable and made me realise it shouldn’t be seen as a selfish impulse. In common with many above I have zero desire for any romantic liaison my desires are purely freedom, excitement and exploration.

    I should state that this is also the first time I have the necessary funds to do so as well.

    Yes I agree I need to be specific to give them a chance. To slightly deviate from this blog’s thrust I don’t necessarily want to travel alone but because of their children it would have to be so.

    I will explain how important this is to me to travel and state I have the means. To me that is a halfway house between hints and ultimatums.

    Many thanks and really helpful blog

    TW

  24. Daniel says

    I’ve been in a relationship withat my girlfriend for 3 and a half years, it’s great I love it, but recently thingstarted have got harder on us with work and uni and we see each other almost everyday. It was great at the beginning but I’ve realised that she’s telling me what to do all the time and if I do something without telling her like something I done at work or who I spoke to she wI’ll have a go at me telling me I cut her out of my life,I feel like I’ve completely lost who I really am, so I thought of a dream I wanted to do which was a road trip driving to scotland (we live in the south of UK). I need this for myself I don’t have any alone time except when I sleep, and it would only be this 1 time that I’d do something like this without her, I feel like something is pulling me there like destiny or something but I can’t go on my own so I was going to take a 2 of my friends, they are both guys and understand completely what I’m going through and I trust them with my life. So I told my girlfriend and I explained everythinges to her and that it’s not to be away from her or that I’m putting her second it’s just I need this to know I can still do things myself without her being there next to me I explained to her why I needed it and it would only be for 3 days.

    However, despite how lightly I put it and try to tell her thus is what I need for me she doesn’t understand and is having a go at me for not taking her and putting her second. Please help me.

    • Hello Daniel, thank you so much for your comment. It sounds to me like you need to have a serious conversation with your girlfriend. I don’t know her and I can only judge your relationship by what you wrote, however, based on your comment her behaviour comes across as overly controlling and possessive. Sure, it’s important to be involved in your partner’s life, but to a certain degree. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you wanting to go on a trip by yourself, let alone with your guy friends. It’s important to give each other space and have the time to grow as an individual while in a relationship, otherwise, just as you said yourself, you’ll begin to lose track of who you are as a person. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean giving up on having your own life – in fact, following your passions, hobbies etc adds to a relationship in a positive way.

      Have you ever told your girlfriend how her behaviour makes you feel or set certain boundaries that she shouldn’t cross? It’s natural and healthy for us to set boundaries as to what we consider to be acceptable behaviour. If we fail to do that, others may not even know that they are doing something that’s hurting or upsetting us and will hence continue their behaviour.

      The bottom line is, what you allow will continue so my suggestion is to have an honest chat with your girlfriend and tell you how her behaviour makes you feel. Has something in your past triggered her to act this way, or is it more of a character thing? All this is worth talking about -I’m not a relationship expert by any means but I’ve always believed that communication was absolutely key to a happy relationship.

      Also,I wouldn’t back down on the road trip idea if I were you – there’s no logical reason why you shouldn’t go. It’s not something you should ask a permission for, you’re an adult and you’re allowed to (and, in fact, should!) spend time outside of your relationship. It’s quite important for both of you to be on the same page regarding this for your relationship to flourish. I’m wishing you both the best of luck! :)

  25. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been feeling this urge to travel to New Zealand by myself, but I’ve been made to feel a little weird by my partner. He says he’s okay with it and that I have his support, but he says he doesn’t understand why I want to do this. This post has helped me see that I’m not alone in feeling this way. There are things I want to experience and places I want to see. If no one can come with me and I have the time and the funds, I feel like I should make it happen.

  26. Wanderer says

    Lovely post. I do agree that sometimes you do need to travel solo to discover yourself and need time away from your partner. But my case is strange.

    I am in a relationship with my boyfriend for 2 years. I love him a lot. He also wants to travel solo for sometime at least, and I am fine with it. I was planning to go on a trip with my boyfriend for New Year. When I asked him his availability, he said he wants to be alone on new year and is travelling solo to some island. I was upset initially but understood that he needs time away from me, so I was ok with it.

    Then he tells me he is going with 2 of his friends a guy and a girl on this trip for 5-6 days. I am feeling left out and dunno what to take from this behaviour. I got my leave approved for new year as well. And he says he didn’t know if I could take leaves. He could ask me? He says don’t read too much into this.

    I dunno what to do? Please advise? How do I tell him that this behavior is not acceptable?

    • agirlw6_wp says

      Hi Wanderer, thank you for your comment :)
      I think the best thing to do is to tell him exactly how you feel – have a calm conversation, tell him how his behaviour affects you, and that you feel left out. This is his opportunity to be honest with you and explain the reasoning behind his actions – I wish you both the best of luck xx

  27. Zanyace says

    Hi Marta,

    My boyfriend is currently torn between packing his suitcase and traveling the world for a 6months to a year (he’s still not sure) and taking a new job promotion that could provide future stability. We have been together for about a year and a half, and his indecision and uncertainty has affected me. While part of me wants him to stay, I understand his wanting to explore the world and I do not want hold him back, because I think this potential trip is a way for him to find himself. However, when I spoke to him about what this potential trip means for us, he was quick to say that he wants to do it single, because he doesn’t see how we could communicate or how a long distance relationship could work out. I on the other hand believe that we can make it work, precisely for the many reasons you mentioned in your post. What advice can you give to me? I do love this man, but I do not know how to explain to him that long distance relationships can work.

    • agirlw6_wp says

      Hi Zanyace, thank you so much for your comment!

      Based on what you’re saying, it seems that your boyfriend has pretty much made up his mind about the future of the relationship should he be going away. This is just my opinion so please don’t take it as definitive, but the question I’d be asking myself if I was in your position is not how to convince my bf that I’m worth his time and effort, but whether I want to be with someone who wouldn’t want to give the relationship a shot while being away. I completely understand both your points of view – they are both perfectly valid, however, I believe that when it comes to a point that you have to prove yourself worthy of someone’s time and effort, it’s time to question the relationship as a whole.

      Of course, it’s easy for me to say this as an outsider and I know how difficult these things are when you’re the one directly involved, but I hope my advice helped a bit :)

  28. Jax says

    Hi there,

    This is such a cool post.

    My girlfriend I’ve been seeing for about 8 months has travelled many places before meeting me and has just recently gone to Mexico, Cuba etc with all her friends. I must say I am very happy for her that she has been fortunate enough to do all these things and to be homes it does make me jealous kneeing how easy to was for her to do it. I guess this trip to Mexico was planned a lil bit before we started becoming serious so I can’t really say that she didn’t invite me.

    I’ve always wanted to travel with all my boys and do stuff like that and this year weve planned to do it. As much as I would love to travel with her and explore, I don’t want to go with her or invite her on this trip because this trip means so much more to me than just going over seas…for me it’s a sense of “making it” and saying that me and my less fortunate friends worked hard for this and can finally say we did it, all without no ones help. She’s a very fortunate person her grew up with a lot of life’s nessecities, where as I come from a background where life was a struggle! She really wants to go but I don’t want to share THIS specific experience with her…what do I do?

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Hi Jax, thanks for your comment!

      Why don’t you tell her how you feel, the way you’ve just explained? Even if the trip wasn’t about “making it”, it’s still perfectly normal for you to want to go away with your mates – I’m sure she wouldn’t think much of it, especially seeing as she’s done exactly the same thing. I’d say the best thing to do is explain what this trip means to you and what it symbolises. You can always go together on another trip! :)

  29. I have a older lady friend who does solo travel or solo with her gal pals. She’s been married for many yrs. Seems to work well. I think that is the key, If you enjoy solo travel be upfront about it. And when in your very early days of courting, you will learn early if the other half does not share or takes issue with such passion. Then its up to you how to proceed from there. I personally separate a Trip from a Vacation. Trips can last a month or more. Vacation is a week or two even less :) solo vacations might be frowned on more by a partner :)

  30. Hi Martha!

    Wow! This post is amazing, definitely worth reading. I really admire solo travelers, I haven’t done any solo traveling myself, but now I think it’s something every person should experience at least once in life.

    • agirlw6_wp says

      Thanks so much for your lovely words – definitely, it’d be great if you gave solo travel a go at some point :)

  31. fendi says

    hi! amazing post glad you’ve shared it. i went on a month away to europe and hated being away from my boyfriend. We have been planning to travel south east asia for a year now however i finish college in may and will be ready to go by november and he won’t for another year and 9 months. i don’t feel that i can wait that long but do not want the relationship to end if i went alone. i feel he is not ready as he has not started saving and won’t plan a route and does not know anything about what he is doing and he is not being realistic about how much it will cost etc. i’m scared that i will wait for him for the year and 9 months and he will not be ready. do you think i should wait 1 year 9 months for him (meaning i won’t have ever been abroad with him 3 years into the relationship) , go on my own or wait a year, and go a few months ahead of him. Also there are places i want to go that he doesn’t

    • A Girl Who Travels says

      Hi Fendi, thanks for your message! If I was in your situation, I’d consider going on my own – especially if it’s just a month like the Europe trip which is really not that long on a scale of things. It would be a bit of a shame to put your dreams on hold seeing as you’re the one who seem to take the trip more seriously. Why don’t you have a chat with your bf and tell him how you feel – you can always go on another trip together once he sorts out his finances. Or, if the SE trip is something you really want to do as a couple, then you could plan another trip, just for yourself, before your SE Asia adventure. Best thing to do is to be honest and upfront about your feelings :) I hope this helps!

  32. Damien says

    My partner is currently travelling and IT. IS. HARD. We met each other while travelling and started a long distance relationship afterwards, but now she is travelling for four months and not knowing where she is or when I’ll hear from her next isn’t that fun. Sometimes all I get is a 20 minute conversation over text before being abruptly cut off because she had to go to dinner, then it’s another 24 hour wait until I hear from her again. Intermittent wifi and different time zones means I’m always waiting for her while she’s having the time of her life. It’s hard to be happy for her amazing travel photos when you’re working the same boring routine. I’m happy for her and wouldn’t ever stop her doing it, but it’s hard.

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