It is something that my friend wishes she could say to her hubby without causing havoc to her relationship when she wishes to travel alone. There is concern not to upset him and there is sense of guilt in spending family’s budget on her personal indulgence. For many, travelling alone appears as a selfish or strange thing to do. Or is it?
No judgment here, relationships are powered by different dynamics and as individuals we have unique needs too. What works for some, doesn't work for others, but my friend's reaction and people's comments about me traveling alone - usually to beautiful places leaving my man behind - triggered me to write about this subject.
Huh? Traveling on your own?! Weirdo! Who will you share the fun with?! ;-)
Travelling on your own when you are in a relationship can definitely be a forbidden fruit. Eat it, or not? What is there to loose and what is there to gain if you go for it? How might it put your relationship at risk? Can solo trips actually be great for you personally and for the relationship? How can you manifest what you want and do it without making your beloved one feel abandoned or threatened in any way by your desire for some freedom and (precious) time alone? All these questions and more have been a part of the conversations I had with my girlfriends while writing this blog post.
To begin, here is my disclaimer: a life-threatening illness, followed by extensive and unpleasant check-ups of my post cancer health every six months for the last almost ten years, means my approach to life is quite clear. First and foremost, it’s me, my health and happiness that matter the most to me. It’s an approach that makes it easy for me to choose solo trips or mini solo escapes when I want or need them. For many it’s a concept too difficult to comprehend and accept. It surely is for my father, a man of a post-soviet union regime and culture, who completely does not get it and is disappointed somehow that I do it. He strongly believes it is not good for my romantic relationship. But a relationship is not a prison, a confinement that constrains and limits, but is a force stronger than each of you - how can you have that strength if one or both of you is unfulfilled?
Travelling solo is a big gift of self-love for me, it's what keeps me sane, maintains my health, individuality and sense of self. I believe these are important elements of keeping a healthy relationship with yourself as well as your partner, children, family and friends. It is grounding and life affirming and gives me the chance to miss those closest to me and to want to return. A relationship should be able to survive such a simple test.
Actually, forget about illness. We don't need to experience near death situations to make this approach apply to every single one of us. The mantra for us, I believe, is simple - make yourself happy first, be comfortable in your own skin and others (including your lover) will be happy as a result.
I agree, the matter can be complicated and it can provoke hidden fears or insecurities in you or your partner. I know from my own experience and I have heard from others,that if your partner’s response to you wanting to travel on your own makes you feel in any way guilty, chances are he is reflecting his own fears and insecurities onto you. If your partner fears that you might not return then they should be addressing that issue in any case. Definitely something to talk about and reflect on.
So, are there times when you catch yourself feeling an urge to go away somewhere, anywhere, on your own? No partner, no family, no friends and pets. Just you. For a day, or longer. Perhaps escape to nature, because nature has a tendency to call us when soul, mind and body need some nurturing. Or maybe a city break to satisfy your architectural, cultural and yummy food buds. If that's the case, it's better to respond because it’s a sign that perhaps
You abandoned yourself and your needs
You need to show more love to yourself
You gave all your love and attention to everyone leaving not much for yourself
You are feeling tired
You need clarity in some area of your life
City, work, commuting is kind of suffocating you and you need to properly switch off, maybe not even talk to anyone
Yes, so much noise around you, you need peace and quiet, and
I’ve seen time and time again that when one responds to the nature’s call, one comes back stronger, calmer, more aligned, more in tune and more in love with oneself, the world and those around us.
Oxygen from breathing nature’s fresh air is a good drug too! We need more of that.
Clearly there are many good reasons and benefits to choose nature for your solo travel - it simply does wonders!
So what urged me to escape on this occasion?
The last few weeks had been really busy for me with consulting work, personal projects, many meetings, preparing and delivering an event for a client, interviewing people on camera, commuting into London more days than I wish, the home, the routine, and I didn't even have a proper summer holiday either! A typical entrepreneur's life. I felt quite tired, needed head space, wished for inspiration, visual and mental stimulation and had a strong feeling to retreat. Mountains and water were calling me. Gladly I learned to listen and respond with my intuition. Randomly, or not, Mont Blanc popped up in my vision and I couldn't get it out of my head or replace it with any 'sunny' deal from Secret Escapes. You know, the warm beach holiday somewhere in Italy or Mallorca.
I got so excited about the idea of a spontaneous trip, challenging hikes and autumn colours in the mountains, so that no one and nothing was going to stop this from happening. "I am totally manifesting it, I feel it in my bones, I’ll have a great time! Oh, and I want to enjoy sauna, jacuzzi, and warm indoor swimming after hiking every day. That combo would make me happy", I was talking to myself. Booking.com gave me a few great options, one especially was ticking all my boxes, but it was a bit outside of what I was prepared to spend bearing in mind I need a new laptop and have an eye on a new camera. Internal dialogue. You know what I am talking about, right?
While this is happening my man comes back from work and sees the state I am in. I tell him what I have spent last three hours on (no guilt at all, it’s a good investment) and he relaxes me with: “Don’t worry, I’ll cover your accommodation cost”. Instead of being grateful my internal voice was drumming my usual “Thank you but no thank you, I am an independent woman and I can handle my desires myself”. Thankfully I managed to turn my negative defensive thought around and reaffirmed myself – "that’s exactly how manifestation works, you silly, gratefully and with appreciation accept the gift that someone is kindly giving to help you to be happy".
And so I book myself a room at gorgeous spa hotel 0.3 miles from Mont Blanc, with a window view to the mountain. Don't you love when things like that fall into place?
And that brings me to the initial "Am I selfish?" question. I believe carving and owning the space for yourself is healthy, in all its forms. I know my man will be building his dream while I am away, reaching his goals and I am at peace with how he will be spending his free time. I know he can handle a woman who is confident and comfortable to travel on her own, who is fulfilling her heart’s desires. He also told me once, that he finds me sexy and desirable when I do what I want, that includes taking time to be alone, even when it involves traveling abroad, to a beautiful destination. He trusts me as I never gave him a reason not to. He is also secure in himself. We know that everyone needs to have a feeling of freedom, whatever that means to each of us. For me, it’s a freedom of choice, it’s a freedom to retreat to my feminine cave when I need or want it. It’s a mental freedom which is not easy to maintain, but so important to nurture. I respect that for me, and I respect when my lover needs freedom too.
So that brings me to how you can communicate your desire to travel somewhere alone without making your partner feel unwanted.
- Be genuine, make them feel secure and in no way jealous.
- Explain lovingly that experiencing things and creating memories together is wonderful and you love it, but it’s also important to you to give some undivided attention to yourself while exploring nature or the city. You feel like some alone time will benefit you both short and long term.
- Make sure you will communicate while you are away so they don’t need to worry about your safety or anything else. Agree with them before leaving how frequently you will communicate so maybe once a day (messaging or calling every hour is not going to give that desired headspace). Consider if you want to tell them about your whereabouts in case they have to track you if you get lost and they don’t hear from you for a while (for solo female travellers that can be particularly important going to more challenging locations).
- Feel confident about making this decision to go solo traveling, don’t doubt yourself, which can be an easy thing to do. Resist the temptation to cancel your plans because someone is making you feel guilty. Talk it through and remember that sometimes challenging an established routine is a healthy thing to do.
I am not advocating any sort of separation with unethical intentions, playing games or trying to prove something to others. I am advocating confidence in following your heart’s and soul’s desires, making decisions that benefit your wellbeing and the wellbeing of a strong long lasting relationship. As when you do things with the best intentions to love yourself, love comes back to you in many ways.
If you are curious about how my last solo trip to Mont Blanc went, here are some photos for you. This place as you can see is very charming ;-)) Was it worth it? Hell yeah, I got all I wanted and more. Good to go until the next adventure calls me out.
Posing yoga in front of Lac Blanc and Lac de Chesery in Mont Blanc
Lac de Cheserys and Lac Blanc in Mont Blanc
After sauna in the ice room before the cold plunge in this tiny pool
What do you think about solo traveling? Have you traveled solo before or would really like to do it guilt free? What stops you or why do you hesitate?
I'd love to hear your views and what you think of my approach, comment below or on Instagram @sandradonskyte .