We talk a lot about solo female travel here and around the internet in general. I think that’s great, but there is a subsection of travelers who are often left out of that conversation: the women who are in committed relationships but travel alone anyways.
Yes, we exist.
I have been married for over two years now and it is great. I love being married, although truthfully it’s not that different from before we tied the knot. We hang out, we laugh, we cook dinner, we plan adventures and we plan our lives.
In the past two years however, I’ve taken something like a half dozen solo trips to places like Canada, Sri Lanka and Boston. Mike stayed home in Seattle. Many of these were work related, but even if they weren’t I would probably still travel without my husband at least some of the time.
To me, that is not weird, but to others it has been very hard to grasp. Here are a few reasons that I occasionally choose to travel solo:
Married Doesn’t Mean Merged
When Mike and I got engaged quite a few people asked me if we were going to merge our blogs. This question always perplexed me for a few reasons. One, it’s not great business strategy (two blogs make more money than one), and two, we’ve discovered over the years that we are great at working in close proximity but not that great at collaboration. We like to keep our work sepeate.
But most importantly, we are still separate people with different business, writing and travel styles. Getting married wouldn’t change that.
Fast forward a few years and I was right. We are most definitely a team, but we are individuals as well. Two independent people with separate interests, hobbies and styles. Our goals are the same but the way we get there differs. We both have jobs that keep us busy and involve travel. It’s not feasible for us to always accompany each other, and we would never want to hold each other back.
Time Apart is Healthy
Mike and I have had an admittedly unorthodox relationship history. The first year of it was characterized by long periods of intense togetherness punctuated by long stretches on separate continents. We survived that somehow and then moved into several years of basically living on top of each other. We travel together, we hang out together and we both work from home- and our last apartment was 500 square feet. Cozy.
So we get plenty of together time. But we also value our individuality and one of the ways we preserve that is through time apart. Mike has his meetups and his coworking space, I have my friends and various work related stuff.
And we have travel. So if I want to spend a week in Alaska with my Mom or go on a work trip to Sri Lanka or accidentally wander around Barcelona for a few days, then our relationship will be all the better for it.
I Like Solo Travel
This one is the most important.
All those years I was banging on about the benefits and hidden bonuses of solo travel, it wasn’t just because I didn’t have anyone to go with me. I love traveling with Mike and sharing experiences with him, but I also genuinely enjoy traveling alone. I like setting my own schedule, I like wandering aimlessly, and I like listening ot my own needs without worrying about anyone else’s. I like the pure selfishness of it. And I like the opportunity for growth and self-discovery that solo travel affords. Those moments are rare in real life, but travel makes them possible.
I’ve traveled solo all throughout our relationship, and I like to think that independence is one of the qualities that drew Mike to me. So why would stop now?
It Makes the Reunion That Much Sweeter
I’d be 1000% lying if I said I didn’t miss Mike when I’m away. I really really do. I think that it’s important to go away once in awhile so that I CAN miss him and remember the many reasons I love him so much. The reunion is so much sweeter that way.
Not to mention the present buying opportunities! I love picking up little trinkets for Mike on my travels and he does the same. He brought me a thick alpaca sweater from Ecuador, and I brought him a lucky fish banner from Japan. It’s always nice to know someone is thinking about you across the world.
I’m Not the Only One
You might say that Mike and I have a unique relationship, but I don’t really think so. I think there are actually plenty of men and women out there who travel solo despite being in a relationship, either because their partner can’t come, doesn’t want to come or for some other reason.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, because I’ve seen a couple articles on the subject over the past few months:
Married Travellers: Why I Still Love Flying Solo– Notes of Nomads
No, I Do Not Need my Husband’s Permission to Travel Alone– To Europe & Beyond
Married Solo Travel: Here’s How it Works– The Suitcase Scholar
Traveling Solo While in a Relationship at Home– Twenty-Something Travel (by Kay)