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?
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
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.
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
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 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!