Traveling Solo… When You’re Married

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

Enjoying sunny Sri Lanka sans Mike

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

Exploring the Plain of Jars in Laos back in 2011

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

Exploring Hyde Park in London

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 SoloNotes of Nomads

No, I Do Not Need my Husband’s Permission to Travel AloneTo Europe & Beyond

Married Solo Travel: Here’s How it WorksThe Suitcase Scholar

Traveling Solo While in a Relationship at HomeTwenty-Something Travel (by Kay)

Are you in a relationship and choose to travel solo? Tell me about it in the comments!

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48 thoughts on “Traveling Solo… When You’re Married”

  1. I started traveling solo for pleasure in my 60’s and wish I had done so sooner. I have always traveled solo for work and three years ago after going to a conference in Dublin decided to take a dream trip touring Ireland. Hubby was not interested, he does not like traveling especially if it entails plane or cruise ship. I have more of the travel bug than him and he is happy to give me rides to the airport and stay home and mind the home front. Makes things easier actually. I am now planning another solo trip in the coming year and he is fully supportive.

  2. I’m so glad for this article, because I want to go on vacation and my husband doesn’t have any interest on going with me. He’s a boring person. I feel much better now, knowing that there are many people who think that is very normal to travel solo. I was feeling guilty thinking about it, but know I’m more determine to do it. Thanks for all the posts. It helped me a lot.

  3. I am so envious of people in your situation. I always took for granted the ability to travel when I was single or in past relationships, but my husband is not a fan of me going off on my own for long periods of time (he doesn’t do well alone, whereas that’s when I feel most me). I’ve managed to score one long solo trip in our 4 years together, but was only able to do so because I was invited to a wedding back in my hometown. Thanks to my job, I can afford to travel and also easily get the time off, but he does not make enough to travel with me. My options have dwindled down to a) take him with me and pay at least twice what I would have paid because I’m covering him as well or b) forgo long solo trips. I guess I’m just whining here, but I really miss the freedom to take a trip when I’ve got the time and cash. It doesn’t help that travel with him is kind of miserable-he’s a cranky person who hates crowds and bugs and any kind of surprise or change in plans.

  4. Thank you for this post. I recently got married and whilst we have been together a long time (8 and a half years) with half of that long distance when we were younger, and spent time apart (he is military and often away and I have been away several times volunteering) I haven’t stopped wanting to see the world. I’ve decided to go away for my 30th and want to do it alone but I am getting mixed reactions from other people about this. I’ve asked him not to come with me, as I really want to do it by myself and I think he understands. Your post has made me realise that I am not alone, and that it is normal to still want to explore the world occasionally alone even though I am married!!

  5. I am really happy I came across this post. I love my husband and we have a great relationship but he hates traveling but he doesn’t want to deprive me of the world. I am not a seasoned traveler by any means. I am actually in my 30’s and have never stepped foot in Europe (sad, right?!?). I am currently planning my gap year set for 2018 and my husband is helping me research my trip. We are also fortunate that he gets a lot of vacation time so he will be able to meet me while I am globe trotting. Thanks again for your post. It puts my mind at ease knowing there are happily married couples/globe trotting spouses out there 🙂

  6. Nice escape to get laid. Man travelling alone after marriage or women… they are getting laid.. and like how.. simple as that.

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