When I first decided that I wanted to travel after college, there was no question about who I was going to go to. I was in a long-term relationship at the time, so I planned for my boyfriend and I to pack, grab a one-way ticket and get out of there.
After sharing these plans with him, I was thrilled when he admitted that he always dreamed of seeing the world, and he was totally down to doing it with me. We bought tour guides, printed maps and started to plan a trip for a journey that was sure to change our lives.
And then we broke up.
Oddly enough, my boyfriend had been traveling across the US for three months and, one month into the trip, decided he no longer wanted to be with me. I left the house and went back with my parents, trying to rebuild my life and put my travel plans aside.
I mean, it wasn’t like I could travel alone. Why would anyone choose to do this?
Unless they have friends, of course.
No, I was going to study hard, work to rebuild myself and hope to find someone who was as interested in traveling as I was in the future.
I immediately made the announcement to friends and family: I would travel the world on my own.
I was fascinated by the idea of traveling on my own and filling my days by reading articles praising the many benefits of jumping into a backpack and experiencing unlimited freedom. I started to create my itinerary that would see me going to the places I wanted to visit and doing the things I wanted to do most. Not having to worry about what anyone else wanted to do was liberating, though it was a bit intimidating at the same time.
Of course, life had other plans, and while I was busy planning my adventure around the world, I met someone new and started falling in love.
I could have invited them to come with me on my trip. We could have compromised and shortened its length or added the destinations they wanted to visit. I could have gone back to square one and started planning a trip for two instead of one again.
I didn’t want to do that.
I was so in love with the idea of traveling alone that I wanted to do it on my own. I wanted to see the world on my terms and connect with sexual strangers and build my confidence and independence. I wanted to be selfish and throw myself completely into my experiences around the world without having to worry about spying on someone at home.
I broke up with him to see the world and consider it one of the best decisions I have ever made
Traveling on my own changed my life.
I gained everything I was hoping for and more. I have developed a sense of independence and levels of trust that I have never had before. My anxiety disorder has melted away and my panic attacks are over. I fell in love with food, fell in love with hostels, fell in love in Southeast Asia.
I also fell in love with a boy. A traveler with whom I have been roaming the world for seven wonderful years. He is a man who encourages me to see the places I want, on my own if necessary. He is not trying to cut off my wings, so we often travel separately. He understands why my jam is traveling alone, but is only too happy to accompany him if I want to. It’s the best possible solution for me, and it wouldn’t have been so if I hadn’t traveled alone before I met him.
So here is my story.
But let’s get to the core of this post. Should you break up with someone to go on a trip?
Maintain a long distance relationship while traveling
Let’s be honest: no one thinks long-distance relationships are great. They are not. They are hard work, stressful, tiring and require a lot of trust and commitment. You need a strong and stable relationship to make them work, especially if you plan to be away for even a year or two. But sometimes they are a necessity, and if you really need to go out alone into the world, you need to find out if you can handle it.
You will probably have to pull yourself out of your travel experience to spend time with your partner more or less on a regular basis, because as supportive as they may be, they will not love to be neglected for months on end while the time of your life. This could mean skipping a trip with friends, avoiding crawling a bar, and saying no to a Skype invitation with your partner.
The good news is that keeping in touch is easier than ever, so in 2018 you won’t need to write postcards, chase payphones and swear in internet cafes, just carry your phone or laptop. and using Facebook / WhatsApp / Skype to stay in touch.
And there are some benefits to maintaining relationships as you travel. In my experience, traveling makes the heart grow bigger. Whenever I take a solo travel adventure away from my boyfriend, I spend much of the journey missing it, realizing how much I appreciate his presence in my life, and see the relationship as a bigger star shining in my universe. There are times in our relationship when we spend so much time together that I really need a break, and as soon as I have one, I long to go home with all my forgotten hostility .
I have written in great detail in the past about how amazing it is to travel for personal transformation, and developing into a better human being through travel will only improve your relationship. Leaving and gaining more independence, confidence, life experience and self-esteem will help you become a powerful person, and the open-mindedness and patience you are likely to get will help improve the relationship.
A huge benefit of traveling alone with a partner at home is having a connection with reality. Long-term travel can be a bit of a Peter Pan existence. One where you drink beer for breakfast, relax on the beach all day and party all night. It’s a lifestyle where you can do whatever you want where you want when you want and with whoever you want, and while it may sound amazing, it can make it difficult reintegration into normal society after many months of freedom. Having a partner at home keeps you on the ground, keeps your connections with daily life, and talking to them will give you habits and routines in a life that usually has little.
Consider opening the relationship
Skip this section if the right thought of non-monogamy sends tsunamis of terror to your soul. Relationships are not open to everyone – they are not to me – but monogamy is not. For people who open relationships well, they are good for them.
If you are open to an open relationship, it can provide the perfect way to see the world without leaving your needs unmet.
You will need to make sure that your relationship is strong, that your partner is as open to the idea as you are, that you both trust each other, and that you can have excellent communication skills. You will want to make sure that you are both on the same page for what will and is not allowed, willing to spend many hours working out ground rules and deciding how much information to disclose to the other.
If you are unsure, keep seeing the relationship
One of the main reasons I wanted to leave my partner to travel was because I didn’t want to meet someone on the street and felt like I couldn’t go after him. And yes, the fact that I feel this way has probably proven that they were not the person for me. If you feel the same way, but don’t want to take such a huge step in case you regret later, postpone making the decision.
Yes, it may not be the most ethical decision, going on a trip to see if you meet someone better, but I know that if I were in the job of the person who was left home, I would much rather my partner leave open-minded., find out I’m the one for them and come back to me after a wonderful tour of the world, rather than break up with me because they are hoping for something better.
There is nothing wrong with going on a trip while in relation to the mentality, if you meet someone else or realize you no longer want to be with that person, you run out of things from your dorm room. Try traveling alone during a relationship and see how it works. It may be easier than you expected and you may start to find out that the person you are waiting patiently for is at home.
So when to make the right decision?
Statistically and realistically, your relationship will probably not survive.
It’s cruel, I know, but it’s also reality. Why? Success rate is low, people change, and you are bound to change.
It’s like seeing college guys show up at the beginning of the year. Every year they reach back in the thousands, with many determined to maintain a relationship at home. Predictably, these relationships die one by one as people embrace new experiences and romantic “opportunities” open to them. I should know: A previous partner went to college, found someone else, and broke up with me within six months of starting class.
New experiences change people and this changes relationships. When you travel, you are constantly bombarded with new experiences. You will constantly mix it with new cultures, people and situations. Your mind will be open, you will change your life and you will share nothing with your partner. Don’t underestimate the impact this can have: voluntary projects, in particular, can change your life.
So you change and your partner at home stays basically the same. When this happens and you end up being together, there is often an awkward situation where you come home and you both realize things are not the same.
You are strangers.
You changed your life and they weren’t there to do the same, or to really understand what you went through.
Also, being young, free, single and backpacks is a once in a lifetime experience. Want to shed it by staying true to an untested relationship? You won’t want to regret one day for not throwing your whole heart to the opportunities that travel offers you.
Find the right answer
As I said at the beginning of the post, the right answer depends on your situation. If you have something unusual and are in a proven relationship, staying together might be the right choice. But if things are pretty random, on the rocks, or your heart is no longer involved, it might be best to leave with a clean slate and come back without regret – loyalty is not the main reason best to keep things up.
For me personally, the best thing for me was to break up with my partner before leaving. I met some great people, had amazing experiences and met the perfect person for me four months after my journey began. I’m so glad I don’t have someone at home to bother me when I meet the love of my life in Thailand.