Brutal Truth: “My Girlfriend Says She’ll Leave Me if I Travel Solo”
Kae Lani Kennedy
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My situation is different from Mike’s in that my wife and I have been married for almost 28 years now, but we’ve been traveling both together AND separately for the entire duration of our marriage. To my mind, I don’t understand how any couple could NOT take occasional time away from one another…if the relationship is right/strong, it only becomes stronger when either of you returns from your travels with a fresh perspective and appreciation for each other.

In 2013, after a long-term contract job I had came to an end, I took a sabbatical and took my dream road trip up the Alaska Highway (and to other places)…solo. My wife long understood that I needed to do this. We were in communication in one form or another every day I was away, but the extended time on my own (and on her own) was life-changing for both of us. Here’s an excerpt from the final entry of the blog I wrote during my travels (paste):

Solo travel, or travel without one’s spouse/life partner, is not for everyone. You have to be self-motivated. You have to adjust and prepare for what you might want to do during the travel experience to doing so alone, including accounting for personal safety factors. You have to prepare for contingencies that might include not having a travel companion (such as roadside emergencies, etc). You have to be prepared to confidently interact with strangers more often along the way. You have to be prepared to find yourself in settings where the majority of other people around you are with companions (having a smartphone and/or other reading material on which to focus, like in restaurants, makes this easier). You have to be prepared to spend a few more dollars in some venues because you don’t have a travel companion with you with whom to divide the costs.

Despite our 24-year marriage, I have been traveling solo for years. my wife and I have certainly done our fair share of travel together, but we’ve also learned that we prefer some very different things when we travel, and so we travel separately as well, and then happily share our solo experiences with each other along the way and when we reunite. One thing we are certain of is that we are not extended-road-trip compatible. I consider the road trip an essential part of the experience; she prefers to just “be there” at the eventual destination and then go from there. And even when we do travel somewhere together via air, we’ve learned to set aside some “solo time” during each trip so that we’re not in each other’s faces 24/7. Your partnership may vary.

The solo travel experience can be incredibly rewarding. You set your own schedule and agenda for each day without having to establish agreement with your travel partner(s). When one person is “ready to go”, he/she doesn’t have to wait for the other(s). The car radio is solely controlled. Think about how these seemingly insignificant factors have affected your own travel experiences over the years. I’m not saying solo is the only way to travel…I love traveling with my wife and also others with whom I’ve shared wonderful journeys over the years. I AM saying that those who reflexively say “Oh, I could never travel alone” and thus sacrifice some of those experiences need to open their minds to its benefits. (end paste)