“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
When I travel alone, most people assume I am single! And it comes across as a shock to them when they get to know that I am married and I travel alone! Most people I meet on travel are either single or travel as a couple. But I suppose it’s totally cool to be a married woman and travel alone for leisure and experience the nature and the world in your own way. We all have our own ways to do things. He likes sports, I don’t. I like art, he doesn’t. I like to travel; he does too but a bit differently. There is always a speculation if you are leaving your husband behind and travelling, so to break the ‘stereotype’, we always have a reason or more for things we do-
1. Traveling alone is sign of healthy relationship: I am often being confronted with this question- Oh you are married? Does your husband allow you to travel alone? Well, I am married but not a prisoner certainly and we surely let each other do things we love and allow to grow with each other and not pull back due to insecurities. I guess if travelling together is a sign of happy marriage, then traveling alone is certainly a sign of healthiest marriage/relationship. I love traveling with my partner but when he is not in the mood for travel or not in a position to do so, I don’t let that stop me from doing “my things”. I just travel solo even though I’m in a relationship and this is why I love it.
2. Making new friends: When I am traveling alone, I have more space to meet new people and share personal space with them. I have time to start a conversation and know them better if I choose to. If you are traveling with your partner, you would socialize much lesser with other people as you already have a company. And the best travel story starts with a conversation with locals or otherwise. And when you find something fishy, the wedding ring always does the trick!
3. Knowing ‘myself’ better: When you are travelling alone, you are on your own. You are responsible for your own decisions. In such situations, I can choose to wake up at 4 and go for a hike on the mountains or don’t sleep at night to explore a night market. My choices are not influenced by my partner’s decision. Knowing that I am not forcing anyone to like things I like which makes me guilt-free. This pushes me to rediscover my likes and dislikes, stronger and weaker points.
4. More observant : I am usually more focused when I am traveling alone, be it observing the directions or making a conscious decision about traveling to a particular place. I feel more responsible and not rely on someone else that if things go wrong they are there to handle it. It puts me in a discomfort zone at times, but I guess that’s okay as it helps to improve me sail through the situations and boost my confidence. While traveling alone, I can focus more on photography which always remains the primary focus of my travels and knowing that nobody is waiting for me as I click the same thing even for a 100 times is a huge relief. And it turns out to be a great learning exercise for me.
5. Experiencing the world: When I am traveling alone, I think I can have much more experiences than traveling as a couple. I am more flexible to change my plans; I have a free mind to see things, smell the aromas around and just be with nature. I am not constantly worried if the other person likes it too or not. I have stayed in basic accommodations with locals, travelled with a social activist to remote villages of Meghalaya, saved a lot of money by asking lifts, made travel friends from all over the world, learnt the tips and tricks of photography and much more!. Though I would always admit that I miss being with my partner when there is a beautiful sunset or I am eating my dinner alone in an otherwise romantic setting. Well, then the technology is there to compensate to an extent, by sharing pics for instance!
6. You are never alone: Well even if you go alone for travel, you would never be alone so don’t feel scared about going on your own. The world is full of nice people and you would always come back richer in the experiences and having more friends. These friends could be momentary, but the important thing is to live that moment and make beautiful memories. I wouldn’t have had all the girlish fun in my trips if I wouldn’t be travelling alone. There has been situations when I ended up crying waving goodbyes to travel friends. Thanks to social media which lets us remain connected and share our worlds.
7. How I make it work-
* We communicate about the travel plans and ensure that he is happy too.
* I make a few plans as a family trip for our common dream destinations when we both can travel together.
* I don’t stay away too long, the maximum has been two weeks though I travel frequently. And I know to the core that I can’t be a full time traveler, I love my routine life too and start missing it after a while.
* And when I am back, I try my best to compensate for the loss time. I cook his favorite food too J It surely boosts the romance in life.
So ditch all the awkwardness, let your soul be alive and travel the world. And yes, you don’t need to avoid the relationships and commitments for travel, just make a way for it. Do you have more reasons to add? I’d love to know your thoughts.