So, it’s no secret: I’m in a relationship. As I’m sure many of you reading this as are. (Though if you’re not, don’t fret: I’m of the opinion that it’s awesome to be single. It’s self-care all the time and that’s awesome. /rant over.)
Despite having met my current partner while very loudly vocalizing on a group trip that I hated traveling with people, I was still a little nervous to explain to him that I needed space to travel by myself. Despite the fact that we’d traveled together to Nashville and after that, I’d traveled by myself to Reykjavik, I still thought he’d be sad if I traveled by myself.
Turns out I was wrong. He doesn’t mind at all. He likes traveling but it’s not as important to him and he’s told me that he knows how much I love it, especially alone.
I’ve seen women go from solo travelers to only-with-partner travelers and I didn’t want to be like that. (No judgment!)
I was super inspired by a woman named Allison Anderson. I found her YouTube sometime in the last year and in the last year she started traveling solo, despite having a fiance (now husband). Her husband was apparently really supportive of her traveling alone, too. She’s traveled to Iceland and Turkey and a few other places, too. I really enjoy her content.
So, that’s just an example that even though you’re engaged/married, it doesn’t mean your solo travel adventures are over!
One of the great things about traveling with people, though, is that you will usually realize why you love to travel solo so much.
I love my partner but I also really like just doing whatever the hell I want to whenever the hell I want to.
While I’m usually super cheap in life, one of the places where I don’t really keep a budget is traveling. I like to get the best deals on flights and stay in hostels (something that is not a thing Nick does) but after that, I generally just close my eyes and hand over my credit card to whoever I’m buying things from. I just come to terms with the fact that someone (me) will have to pay my credit card bill at the end of the next month and that’s life.
Is this responsible? Probably not. I could do a better job with keeping track of how much money I’m allowing myself to waste on lattes (though I was better about that in Reykjavik!) and snacks and paintings of cats by local artists (is that just me?).
But I usually don’t and most people can’t travel like that (yes, I’m #blessed). So if there are expensive, or just plain wasteful, things I want to do, I don’t want my travel companion to say it’s not worth the money.
But I really do like (most of the time) staying in hostels and that’s really only something you can do alone. At least my partner won’t do it. He’s a little more high maintenance of a traveler than I am so staying in a hostel to him, I think, is akin to staying in a jail cell.
I also like getting up early and starting my day when I travel by 8am. Most people don’t like this. They see a vacation as a time to relax.
I don’t. I want to get out and explore and rack up those steps on my Fitbit, ya know?
Yes, I’m a little bit difficult to travel with.
Hence why I still love to travel solo.
Me in Israel
I apologize for nothing.
I like to travel and run around and buy paintings of cats by local artists and not really keep a budget and stay in somewhat questionable and cheap hostels.
Traveling solo also makes you rely only on yourself. You can’t turn to your companion when something goes wrong and ask for help. You have to put your big girl panties on and keep going.
You also have to befriend the thoughts in your mind.
I’m quite skilled at this as I’ve been meditating on the daily since the beginning of 2013. And yes, I do sometimes fall off the bandwagon while traveling, but being aware and a witness to the shitshow that are all your random thoughts is a helpful skill when you’re traveling by yourself (or just by yourself in your home on a Thursday night).
I think one of my favorite parts of traveling solo is sitting in a restaurant with my travel journal and getting all my thoughts from the day out onto the page.
I have a daily journaling practice at home, but there’s something different about journaling when you’re traveling by yourself. You write about different things and you might start to see the world in a different way. (You’re probably also tired and dirty, but that’s another story altogether.) You’re meeting new people and probably changing a tiny bit as a person.
Which is awesome. We’re never finished human and I believe that traveling by yourself speeds of the process of your personal evolution into the next person that you’re going to be.
Finally, here’s how to keep traveling solo even if you’re in a relationship: Just do it. Explain to your partner that it’s important to you and why and (hopefully) they’ll be supportive AF.
Otherwise, and this is just me, I’d get a new partner. 😉