Solo travel was never my first choice, but one that I’ve learned to enjoy when my options were go alone or not at all.
I had been dreaming about a long-term backpacking trip for a couple of years when I met Jack. I had spent forever and a day not doing anything about those travel dreams, secretly hoping that I would find someone special to travel with and subconsciously putting it off.
Unfortunately, Jack had little interest in travelling long term, preferring to put his time and energy into a career change, so I knew it was time to start planning a solo trip.
We been together for a year when I left for a six-month trip around Southeast Asia, and we missed each other terribly in that time. But we talked online every day, and after an initial few weeks of homesickness, I began to enjoy solo travel. However, for my next trip, Jack HAD to come, and this time he wanted to. So we travelled South America together and now Jack loves travel as much as I do.
I found that while those six months of separation had no negative effects on our relationship. There were difficult days of course, ones where I was sick of being alone, while Jack had it no easier at home, continuing to work all while waiting patiently for me to return.
You may be worried about travelling solo now, but you’ll grow to love it. The highs are that much higher when you’re on your own. Every little success – even if it’s just ordering from menu and eating alone – was achieved by YOU and you alone. It’s a great feeling; go where you want, eat what you want. I found I lost some excess weight because I wasn’t eating the kinds of food my boyfriend likes to eat ad I was more likely to strike up a conversation with another traveller when I didn’t have Jack to lean on for company. In short, I adapted, and of course, so will you.
But- solo travel isn’t your only option.
So if you’re in this position, where your partner doesn’t want to travel with you, you still have a few options, each with their own pros and cons:
1: Travel solo
It’s not a break up, it’s not even a break and you can Skype each other everyday if you want. If your relationship doesn’t survive the time apart, it probably wouldn’t have worked even if you had stayed, and besides, what’s a few months out of a lifetime together. If you do this, make sure your partner understands this is what you want to do and is fine with staying behind. Should solo travel not work out, you’re only a flight away from home.
2: Stay behind together
It’s not the end of travel, there will be plenty of travel later – but giving up your travel dreams even short term may make you resent your partner. So instead look into weekends away, spend vacation time together – go to destinations where there are plenty of young people are travelling long term (like Thailand), you’d be surprised how contagious the travel bug is. Maybe you’ll eventually convince them that taking time out together to travel will be good for you both.
3: Continue to talk it out
Sometimes the idea of leaving your job for a while just to travel is such an alien concept that it seems utterly crazy. You may have been reading blogs or have friends who have done a backpacking trip, but for them, the idea is completely out of the blue. So give it some time for the idea to stew (it’s a pretty life changing decision!) and be happy that you have a partner who isn’t impulsive.
I ummed and ahhed about putting this one in here, but if you’re having a few doubts about the direction of your lives together then you’ve probably already thought about this as a possibility. My first recommendation is my first option, to stay together but travel solo as the time away will give you some better perspective on the relationship.
Pin it to your Travel Tips board:
Have you ever been in this position? What did you do?