I’m looking out the window with a mug of coffee in my hands, enjoying the quiet of the morning, while everyone sleeps in the house. Staring out to vivid blue skies, a brilliant Australian sun and swaying palm trees on Christmas morning is surreal after a good few years of frosty British festive seasons, but a dash of exotic heat always makes my life sparkle a bit more. The only thing missing right now is my partner in crime and the light of my life (well, he at least gives it a little glow): my boyfriend.
Leaving him far behind in the U.K. for Australia and beyond, I won’t see him for the two months that span over Christmas/New Year’s and you know what? That’s ok. We got this, and you should try it too.
After meeting in Australia and continuing our relationship in the U.K. once my visa expired, we’ve been on many trips that haven’t included each other. Like that time he spent his 30th on a solo surf trip in Morocco, or that time I spent a chunk of my holiday allowance traveling out for my BFF’s wedding, and that time he spent a whole Christmas in Tasmania (his motherland)…. it’s tough being apart from your partner, and those goodbyes at the coach station will always get you slightly choked, but it can be damn healthy for a relationship.
Have you ever gone on an epic trip without your partner? Could you leave your partner at home and bear the weight of missing them? If you haven’t done it before, here are some reasons why it’s not so scary and how it can make your relationship stronger than ever before.
5 reasons to leave your partner at home
1. You’ll be reminded of what makes you an individual
Taking yourself away from your partnership can remind you of your previous independence and what makes you you. Not everyone loses their identity when they enter a relationship – you can still retain your unique wit, fun-loving charm and keep the twinkle in your eye whilst being loved up – but sometimes it’s too easy to slide into unnecessary dependency. Taking a step back from your united front against the world and traveling apart can help you learn about your own capabilities outside of the usual routines.
When I was single, I was fiercely independent and not afraid to strike out on a solo trip. I’ll admit, I get very comfortable in a relationship and I don’t put myself out there as often… so now these trips are real important. They can help give me a kick up the butt and remind me that I am still the same girl: I can still survive without a man and nothing will hold me back from seeing the world.
2. You’ll get the chance to miss them
Living in each other’s pockets day-in, day-out, means you’re both so readily available to each other. A trip apart will shake up those usual habits you sink into and give you the opportunity to miss them. And they’ll get the chance to miss you too.
When heading off, you may be celebrating new found freedom and be running into the arms of adventure, but after a few days/weeks, you’ll get those first twinges of missing your love. Don’t be scared of the feeling – embrace it. Feel the rustle of romance as you gaze at a sunset daydreaming of them, and when it gets too much, they’re only a Skype call away…
3. The little things will melt away
When spending time apart, missing your partner will also evoke feelings of appreciation. When you’re hundreds of miles away, you won’t remember that they leave their dirty socks all over the floor. Instead, you remember the way their arms feel wrapped around you or the feel of their silky hair in your fingers. Bits of their personality will shine bright with the added distance and you’ll replay memories of happy times in a slideshow through your mind as you take in new, beautiful sights on your own. You’ll find appreciation of them as an individual and any mundane annoyances of everyday life with them will melt away…
4. Remember that you don’t need a man/woman to be happy in life
Travel is the best way to remind yourself that there is so much more to life than being in a relationship. Sure, it can make you insanely happy to share a life with someone you love, but you don’t need someone to make your life. Wandering the world, eating new cuisines, meeting new people and soaking up alien cultures will highlight how much joy the world alone can bring you.
Having time by yourself will help you re-familiarise yourself with the mechanics of your mind and your spirituality, and give you the space to work through any of your own issues that may be holding you back. Your partner is the icing on the cake, but they shouldn’t be the only thing that makes you happy. Use travel to find happiness and peace in yourself, then return to your partner with clarity and a lighter heart.
5. Be completely selfish with your time
Being in a partnership means you have to fully get to grips with the C word: compromise. Decorating your home may mean striking a balance between tastes, going out to eat may have you looking for restaurants that cater to opposing palates, planning a weekend away may have you compromising the experience to include your partners passions. But when you head off on a trip without them, you can completely dictate your itinerary. Enjoy being selfish with your time and throw off any responsibility of compromise – make sure you don’t let an opportunity slip by and revel in the freedom to pursue whatever route, restaurant, hike or island that takes your fancy.
Travelling with a partner (see our couples who travel & blog together series) and travelling without them – you’ll always learn new things about yourself and them. There isn’t a correct way to travel, but don’t be afraid of going off on an adventure without your love. If they get worried about you going solo, just show them these reasons… or perhaps get them a pillowcase with your face printed on if they’ll be a bit lost without you.