You Don’t Have To Be Single To Travel Solo

August 24, 2016

You dont have to be single to travel alone

“Well you won’t be able to travel alone and move abroad anymore then!”

Not the reaction I expected when I announced I was engaged.

I’ve had more than one person mention how I won’t be able to travel or move abroad anymore, since I’m now on the road to marriage. I’m so happy to have met the person I want to spend the rest of that life with, but I never ever thought that would mean I would stop looking for adventures.

You don’t have to be single to travel alone.

It might sound obvious, but then, why would I feel the need to write about it? Not everyone who is travelling alone is single, and all sorts of circumstances can contribute to that. So why are people so surprised when you tell them you have a partner back home?

Travelling solo and moving abroad solo aren’t so uncommon anymore, and not being able to travel with someone else should never stop you from chasing your dreams. You’ll meet friends on the road when you travel, and you’ll learn to make new friends when you move abroad.

Just take a look at all the solo female travel blogs are out there in the world (and solo male travel blogs, but show me one that actually promotes itself as that…) and you can find endless articles of inspiration, solo female travel safety tips and encouragement about going it alone.

So why would that change when you’re in a relationship? Suddenly, you’re expected to be glued to the side of your loved one. In an ideal world I’d say most of us would love to travel with our other half, but unfortunately it’s not always possible. If you really want to do something, then your partner should support you, even if it means some time apart.

I know avid travellers who are juggling the challenge of going from solo travel to couples travel. It can make a huge difference! Having that opportunity to be able to share some of your best moments with a loved one is fantastic, but it doesn’t mean they won’t head off again on their own sometimes if need be. Should they not do that, should they instead sit at home and wait? It sounds ridiculous when you put it like that.

I’m about to be living abroad solo again, despite my engagement. The hows and whys are really no one else business, but they always seem to be. I might be a bit of a walking disaster sometimes, being both prone to walking into things and unobservant, but I don’t need a babysitter when I travel. My fiance and I have had so many adventures apart I’m ready for us to be having them together, but it’s just not possible right now. I would love to not have the raised eyebrows and “oh…you’re travelling without him?” thrown my way every now and then.

So if you don’t have to be single to travel alone, then not everyone who is travelling alone is solo right? Some people are, and should be proud of themselves for going out on their own after what they want. But some of us go even when we’re in a relationship too, and yet, it seems like it’s a little unexpected. Sure travel can change our relationships, but a change in relationship status is not the end of travel.

Just because someone’s travelling on their own, doesn’t mean they’re alone and open to be chatted up. Actually, even if they are single doesn’t mean they’re up for it! Some people don’t want to be in a relationship, they just want to travel! I love to meet other travellers, guys and girls, and have an awesome night out in a new place. It would be nice to do it without any kind of awkwardness…

I’ve also met people who think travellers in a relationship won’t be as fun, so they don’t want to travel or hang out with them. Wait, WHAT? Did my personality disappear when a ring got put on my finger? I’ve talked about travel snobs before, but that’s a whole other level.

Travelling is about exploring new places, having new experiences, and meeting different people. If we were all the same, it would make it very boring! So let’s all stop with the assumptions and the judgments, and treat people as people alone, not as part of someone else. Whether you’re single AF, engaged, married, divorced, in a long distance relationship, or it’s complicated, then you can travel, and you can do it however you like.

What do you think about people travelling alone while they’re in a relationship?

Sonja x

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You Don't Have To Be Single to Travel Solo

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20 Comments

  • Reply Clarissa Hirst August 25, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Sonja!

    I love so many of your posts. You aren’t afraid to shy away from the bigger issues, whether it’s depression, long-distance relationships or just generally the realities of being an expat away from your home, family and friends. This one really hit home for me and was very timely. Like you I’m also recently engaged though unlike you I am living with my fiancé right now. BUT that could change as I’m really unhappy in my current job and want to quit and focus on travel writing. Unfortunately that might mean moving somewhere else in Europe or back home to Sydney. Up until now I’ve kind of felt like that’s not an option. It’s weird to move away from your partner when you’re engaged, right? But then again reading this post I realised that not everyone is engaged to a person who lives in another country, and that we all have a choice as to how we live our lives, whether it be in a conventional or a slightly-less-conventional way. I’m wondering, do you guys have a plan to do a future trip together, or to eventually live in the same place? Or are you just taking it as it comes for now?

    Anyway thanks for writing this post. I don’t always comment on your blogs but I read most of them and it always feels better to know that someone out there isn’t afraid to tell it like it is! Makes me feel like someone out there is going through a similar thing 🙂

    Clarissa

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Clarissa,

      Firstly, thank you so much for your comment! It’s lovely to know people are reading and following along and actually relating to and enjoying stuff! Sometimes I wonder who’s out there haha. I have felt like I haven’t been writing enough about these kinds of things lately, so I have some more posts in the works!

      Secondly, it is out of the ordinary to move away from your partner, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it! You need to do what’s best for you and your partner, and if you’re really unhappy in your job then that’s not great for you guys either. Ideally you’d have future plans so you can be on a path to be back together, because not knowing can be really really hard. If you have to take it as it comes for awhile though then you can get through, knowing you are still working to be together even if you don’t know the exact details. In my opinion anyway! Plus, you’re engaged, that means you really want to commit to each other and you’ll naturally go towards making that happen anyway.

      My fiancé and I do have plans to be back together. I need to apply for a visa to come back to the UK from outside of the country, so I’ll do that from Spain. Then once it comes through we have 6 months to get married!

      Feel free to get in touch if you ever wish to, and best of luck!

      Sonja x

  • Reply Paola August 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Sonia! I just stumbled upon your blog! Love it!
    Totally agree with you and gonna tweet it now!
    To me travelling solo (despite being in a settled relationship) it’s a great sign of a healthy relationship.
    He supports my love of travel, whether it’s with him or alone.

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 25, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      Hi Paola! Thanks so much :). I agree with you too, and I’m so happy for you that you’re in that kind of relationship!

  • Reply Franchesca August 25, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    It’s like you read my mind! I’m currently travelling in Cambodia solo and everyone (from locals to other travellers) seems surprised if I mention my partner.

    “Why is he not travelling with you?” asked a Vietnamese guy sitting next to me on the bus.

    A girl selling postcards was more straight up: “Where is your husband?” she demanded (which actually made me laugh out loud. She seemed a weird mix of concerned and suspicious that a female would travel by herself).

    Every traveller who I’ve met so far is either single or with their partner.

    This is the first trip I’ve done solo since meeting him and I am finding it a bit tough to some extent. Communicating via dodgey internet connections is less than ideal and seeing other (obviously loved up) couples enjoy some of the gorgeous sites does make me wish he was here.

    But not doing this trip simply because I’m now in a relationship was never an option! Imagine never seeing the temples of Angkor just because he couldn’t get time off work!!!

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 30, 2016 at 9:16 am

      I find it hard to travel without my boyfriend, but it’s unfortunately a case of do it without or not at all sometimes at the moment, so I know what you mean! In some cultures it’s definitely different for a woman to be seen travelling on her own, single or not, but like you say mention a boyfriend and everyone’s looking behind you waiting for them to arrive!

      Go you for doing it anyway though, I think it’s important to. Maybe in the future you’ll be able to do more together, but in the meantime you do what you have to for yourself too! Plus I think, I wouldn’t be as happy if I wasn’t travelling so it’s a win for both of us haha.

  • Reply Rose August 26, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Hi Sonia!

    Great post, I can really relate to it because of my love for traveling alone, despite the fact that I have a relationship of 7 years. For us it works great. During my solo travels I get to reflect on myself, gain confidence and courage and when we travel together it’s just plain FUN!

    I, too, have had these comments you’re referring to and from my point of view they come from ignorance but mostly fear. I know a lot of people who are afraid of being themselves completely in a relationship (taking time for yourself is a big part of it, I believe) and therefore they judge people who can. Keep setting the example!

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 30, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Thanks so much for your comment Rose! I definitely find I have more time to reflect and have a different kind of confidence when I travel alone, just like any other solo traveller. The benefits of solo travel don’t stop when you’re in a relationship!

  • Reply Neiman Catley August 27, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    This is such an awesome article!! I have been going through that now with my gf. I’m the one that loves to travel all the time. I am currently in Holland while she’s in France and its weird. We were traveling together for 6+ months earlier this year. This is my 3rd trip without her and she supports my fernweh.

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 30, 2016 at 9:24 am

      That’s really great that she supports you! I think that’s important too. If she supports you and you’re happy then no one else’s opinion matters!

  • Reply Maja August 28, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Hi, I also sometimes travel solo, although I have partner. I like long and demanding hiking trips in mountains which my partner doesn’t like and that’s why I travel alone or with friends. My partner doesn’t mind it. I phone or write to him every day when I’m out of home 🙂

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 30, 2016 at 9:25 am

      I quite like those kind of trips too and I can see that happening with us in the future haha. You both should be able to do what you enjoy!

  • Reply Cliodhna August 28, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I love this post! I’ve been with my boyfriend for 8 years now and my last 5 trips have been without him. This was for a number of reasons. Either he couldn’t get time off, had exams or just wasn’t interested. I always feel like I have to explain myself and have even had people suggest that I’m somehow doing a horrible thing by going without him. I’m 24! There’s no way I’m passing up opportunities to travel just because we can’t go together. I’m so glad to see other travellers with the same experience. Life is too short to not do what makes you happy and fulfills you. Thank you for writing this!

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 30, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Thanks Cliodhna! I’m glad you liked it :). You’re only young once with that kind of freedom so you should definitely take the opportunities you can! I find it can be hard without him but hope in the future we can travel more together. In the meantime you do what you can!

  • Reply Jaimee August 28, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Totally agree, girl! When I was first thinking of moving abroad to be closer to my boyfriend, I had other options (like England, Scotland, etc) – places that are closer to Belgium than Canada was (obviously) and to me it didn’t really matter which because even if I wasn’t living in Belgium WITH him, I’d at least be closer and it would be fun to live somewhere new. SO many people thought I was crazy and said “if you’re going to move abroad why not just move to be with him and leave it at that!?”
    I’m not ONLY moving abroad for him, I want to see things and live in other places! :p

    Also, congrats on your engagement – it looked like such a sweet day when he proposed in England!!

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 30, 2016 at 9:31 am

      Thank you so much! It was a really lovely day :). Exactly! I could maybe have moved to Ireland which is closer to Scotland (and easier/cheaper flights!) but I went to Spain because it was for me! You’re the one moving to give it a go so you have to be happy wherever you are! So glad it worked out for you two as well though 🙂

  • Reply Kiara Gallop August 28, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I’m another example of someone who travels solo but who’s not single. Sometimes because of work schedules, finances, and different interests (he doesn’t particularly like hiking; I couldn’t be happier doing so / he hates the idea of visiting India; I can’t wait to return), and other times just because I love solo travel. I love the sense of independence, discovery, and adventure that you experience when travelling alone. I also find it incredibly liberating, and good for my soul 🙂

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 30, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Solo travel is so different from travelling with friends or a partner, and I don’t think we should miss out on the experience/benefits just because we are in a relationship! In a way I think we are super lucky because we can have the best of both worlds!

  • Reply Michael Quesada September 7, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Very interesting read! I think both ways can be difficult. Traveling while your single is amazing, but there are many times that you wish you had someone there with you to share an experience. But traveling with a partner can be difficult in a different way. It would definitely put your relationship to the test, especially if you’re going somewhere chaotic like India.

    At the end of the day though, there’s no correct answer. It will always come down to the individual and what works for them!

    • Reply Migrating Miss September 7, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      I agree both are difficult! I definitely miss my fiance when I travel and wish he could be there. There is no right answer, as long as we can try and do what we want to and what works for us then that’s the main thing!

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