I’m writing this blog 38,000 feet above the Australian outback while Alex is at sea level in Cottesloe, packing for a trip to Bali. I’m heading to Australia’s Gold Coast for a conference and she’s about to embark upon a journey to finalize her bathing suit samples for her new swimwear brand, Amalfi Swimwear. I do my best blog writing on airplanes, and today, the importance of solo travel as a couple crept into my mind and became a thought I couldn’t purge.
At home, Alex and I do most activities together. We have our separate hobbies and friend groups, we work out separately and in different capacities, and we spend the days apart while we each go about our daily work. However, we do most other activities together. We spend most of our free time together, bring one another into the minutiae of our daily lives, and of course, travel together frequently. We grocery shop together, eat most of our meals together and go for walks together on the beach. We take annual vacations together, venture on weekend getaways in tandem, and join one another for most gatherings with friends. We’re married, and we love to spend time together. We truly each married our best friend and we absolutely love hanging out and traveling together.
Regardless, we have made sure to always make time for solo travel or travel with friends – even since we got married a couple of years ago. This is a crucial variable in our relationship and one that I highly recommend to couples that I’m friends with.
Maintaining some semblance of individuality in a relationship is absolutely imperative. Couples who do EVERYTHING together and never take time for themselves, their friends, etc. are not only impeding individual growth but also hindering the relationship.
Solo travel while in a relationship has benefits for you, your partner, and yourselves as a couple.
Most of the solo travel that Alex and I experience is business-related, where it isn’t tenable for the other to join. There are many instances where we will join one another on business trips, but often we need to be in different parts of the world at the same time. Such is the current case as I head to the Gold Coast for a conference and she heads to Bali to deal with her suppliers.
Perhaps you want to visit a destination that your partner isn’t quite keen on seeing? Or maybe you want to experience a city or country in a way that your partner wouldn’t find exciting? This could be that you want to go to Tanzania and hike Mount Kilimanjaro alone or with a group of friends while your partner goes to the Bahamas to bask in the sun and swim in the sea…
Alex and I love to travel together and 90% of the time we love to fill our days with the same adventures, activities, and food. There are, however, times that our bucket lists conflict and we need to travel solo – or compromise – and explore alone!
Continuity of your sense of individuality is imperative to the human condition. You need time alone to be yourself, think for yourself, go where you want to go for dinner, see what historical sites you want to see, and to truly allow yourself to continue to flourish as an individual. So many couples get lost in their relationships that the individuals lose their identities. This is unhealthy and easily avoidable if you’re willing to invest time in solo travel.
Give yourself a chance to miss your partner. Even if you don’t think you need it, maybe they do. Give your partner a chance to miss you. He or she might not mention that they need some alone time, but it’s a natural, human trait to need alone time. Be cognizant of that and create opportunities for your hearts to grow fonder of one another. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder and time spent an ocean apart from your lover will strengthen your bond and remind you just how incomplete you are without your other half. Typically after 3 or 4 days, we get to the, “OK you can come home now!” point.
All too often couples get caught up in one another’s friend groups and over time, these groups blend, often leaving the members of the partnership without individual friend groups. Having “boys” or “girls” time is imperative. Having time with friends of the opposite sex, even, is extremely healthy and ought to be encouraged in relationships. Solo travel places an emphasis on interpersonal relationships and acts as an impetus for interacting with strangers of both genders. Alex has made both male and female friends while traveling solo, and I have as well. We encourage this because we trust one another and place the highest value on fidelity in our relationship.
In relationships – especially marriages – individuals take roles. We (as a couple) are a team and each of us has a position to play. We typically get really good at that position, but our muscles tend to atrophy in the areas they aren’t exercised. While living (and traveling) as a couple, we become so comfortable in the position we play on the team. Solo travel without your partner will challenge you to become a more well-rounded person, enabling you to develop skills in a variety of areas. Typically when we travel, I take care of the logistics (flights, accommodation, transportation, driving and directions, etc.) and Alex takes care of the details of the trip (what we see, where we eat, etc.). This creates a great balance and we work AMAZINGLY as a team (yes, we could win the Amazing Race). So, when I travel solo, I get a chance to plan the minutiae of the trip including what I see, where I eat, etc. and Alex, similarly, must handle the logistics when she travels solo. Traveling solo will remind you that you’re a badass or at the very least, turn you into a badass!