Reflections

Why I’m Traveling Without My Boyfriend

September 18, 2015

Yes, I’m heading off to travel the world alone. Without my boyfriend.

And I’m okay with that. He is too.

Charlie and I have been together for a while and living together for almost two years. We’re in a good spot. In fact, I love him now more than I ever have (awww, Rachel has a heart). And we get along better now than we ever have. Like, we’re really happy. Hey, I haven’t even yelled at him in a while (just kidding guys, like I would ever yell).

So why am I leaving?

Traveling Without My Boyfriend

Because I’ve Got to Go

Because I want to travel more than is possible with two or three weeks of vacation a year. I want to travel long-term, to stay in places longer if I like them and be able to leave if I hate them. I want to travel for a while without making plans in advance. And at this point in Charlie’s career, he’s not able to do that – he doesn’t want to do that rather, because right now he’s building a business that he loves. I admire that.

And he admires me for going after my goals as well, even if it means going without him.

So that’s what I’m doing. Because I know that if I don’t do go now while I have the chance, I’ll regret it forever. I also know that if Charlie wasn’t okay with me leaving to travel, I’d end up resenting him – I mean we’d be broken up, but also I’d resent him (ha, I’m actually not joking, because really, who needs that kind of unsupportive boyfriend?).

He understands that I need to go. And I understand that he needs to stay.

And if there’s anything I’ve learned from people who’ve just learned about my travel plans, it’s that the phrases “Now is the time” and “I wish I’d done something like that when I was your age” come out of their mouths way too often. I don’t want Charlie to be the cause of any future regrets.

Traveling Without My Boyfriend
My lips are almost blue in this picture, but I’m not dying – just a little cold.

I Want to Travel Solo

I like being alone. I like doing things by myself. Hell, I don’t even mind eating alone, something tons of people dread the most about solo travel.

So I’m actually very excited to be traveling by myself. I’m excited to make new friends and learn more about myself. I want to be independent, pursue self-sufficiency (something that’s not easy when you’ve got somebody taking out the trash for you all the time), and have some time for introspection. I’m hoping this solo trip helps me figure out what I want to do in the future in terms of my career and other life goals.

They say travel can be very transformative – especially once you remove outside influences, find a little perspective, and start doing what you love. (Seriously, click that link, it’s a great blog post.)

I mean if 20-year old Rachel can fly solo to Argentina, make friends, and find an apartment in Buenos Aires on Craigslist, imagine what 27-year old Rachel can do?!

Traveling Without My Boyfriend

Freedom!

Do I wish Charlie was coming with me? Of course! He’s my best friend. And don’t worry, the offer is still on the table for him to join me whenever and wherever he wants! Through Thailand and Mexico, we’ve had some great travel experiences together. What’s better than going somewhere new and seeing awesome things with someone you love? Travel is such a bonding experience, and it will be a bit sad not to have him there to share these new experiences with. Also, splitting costs along the road would really be preferable, but let’s not delve too much into my cheapskate propensities right now…

On the other hand, I cannot wait to be able to head out the door into a new city right after I’m done getting ready and not having to wait on anybody. (As I’ve discussed previously, Charlie is a bit of a diva traveler.) I want to go where I want to go when I want to go there. I won’t have to worry about whether anybody likes the destination, the beach, the food, the activity, or the restaurant that I picked as much as I do. And that, my friends, is SUCH a relief.

To be fair, Charlie is usually a very roll-with-the-punches kind of guy on our trips together. I pretty much plan everything, he does what I say, and he will eat anything. But it is a relief not to have to worry that I’ll disappoint him or anybody other than myself.

Selfie - I Bought a dSLR Camera and I Don't Know What I'm Doing

We didn’t get here overnight. When I first started rambling about taking a round the world trip or maybe living abroad for a while, Charlie’s reaction wasn’t nearly so positive. In fact, it was more like, “Um, you want to get away from me so bad that you need to leave the country?!”

Once he figured out that it wasn’t about him or our relationship, but rather something separate and fulfilling that I wanted to do with my life, he began to understand. (Plus talking about something over and over again for a year and a half will beat anybody down, am I right?)

I still haven’t quite convinced him that he could go with me and work remotely from anywhere in the world, but yes, he’ll be coming to visit me along the way when he has time. I’ve got WhatsApp and Viber downloaded to keep in touch, and there’s always Skype. No worries, guys, we’ll be communicating.

Once I finally bought the plane ticket, Charlie was really excited for me (like, surprisingly so). Dare I even say he was proud? He started telling his friends about my trip and even bringing it up in conversations with acquaintances. I think he was happy that I was taking action instead of just talking about it for once. Charlie is very ambitious and motivated to achieve his goals, so I think he was proud that I was finally taking substantial steps toward mine. And that felt good.

Traveling Without My Boyfriend

No, it won’t be easy. Yes, we’ll miss each other. But we’ll find a way to make it work.

For more women currently traveling without their partners, check out The Wandering Blonde to read about how Kelly is traveling without her boyfriend and The World on My Necklace to read about how Katie is traveling for a year without her fiancé.

Would any of you guys ever consider traveling without your significant other or am I just nuts?

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16 Comments

  • Reply Katie September 18, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Good for you Rachel! The first three months of my trip has been amazing and I feel like I have gained so much more confidence by travelling by myself and have met so many more people than I would have if I was travelling with Trav. It has definitely been hard at times but you guys will be OK. Distance makes the heart grow fonder after all 🙂
    Katie recently posted…Eating Anchorage and other tales from the cityMy Profile

    • Reply Rachel September 20, 2015 at 10:32 am

      Thanks Katie, it means so much to hear you say that! Especially coming from somebody who’s actually on the road. Glad to know it’s working well for you guys. I feel the same way – when you’re traveling as a couple, you’re WAY less likely to talk to new people. I may have to get you to advise me later!

  • Reply Tempesst September 18, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    This is SO interesting to me! I could never ever ever travel without being single, but I find it so interesting that you and the others are able to do it. I’m so proud of you for going on this trip because I know soooo many girls who would never even think about leaving their boyfriends!

    • Reply Rachel September 20, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Oh for sure! I’ve already heard some people say they wouldn’t even want to go travel if their boyfriend/husband couldn’t. I’ve just gotta go, or I’m positive I’d regret it later on. And I wouldn’t want Charlie to be my excuse for not going.

  • Reply Sue T. September 18, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Caio Rachel!

    • Reply Rachel September 20, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Thanks for reading, Sue T! Ready to get on the road and give y’all some updates! Making one last trip home before leaving I believe.

  • Reply Christina C September 23, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Brian defends Charlie saying that wanting to shower once a day (unlike us) does NOT make him a Diva traveler 🙂

    • Reply Rachel September 23, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      And I’d still have to disagree. (Charlie also isn’t the biggest fan of budget accommodations.)

  • Reply Ashley September 24, 2015 at 8:36 am

    You’re going to have such an incredible time, Rachel! I’m sure Charlie will love hearing all your stories. 😊 Hope to see you on the road!
    Ashley recently posted…Less than 48 hours in Mui NeMy Profile

    • Reply Rachel September 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks, Ashley! Yes! When I get to the SEA portion of my route, we should try to meet up!

  • Reply Anna September 25, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Awww I’m proud of you too. A relationship that support each others’ dreams and interests is the best kind. 🙂 With me in LA, and Daniel traveling, this is the first time we’ve been apart and it’s surprisingly a lot easier than I thought it would be. I’m actually having fun being able to do my own things without worrying about whether he’d be interested too. And I know that he is making friends a lot faster on his own than when we were a traveling couple. I think at some point, I would try solo traveling too. Best of luck to you!!
    Anna recently posted…A Day in the Life: Los AngelesMy Profile

    • Reply Rachel September 28, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Thanks! It’s a bit nerve wracking. After reading your blog, I SO wish Charlie and I could travel together as a couple! You guys seem to have a great time, especially since you both love food! I’m so glad that everything has continued smoothly for y’all since you’ve been in LA – can’t wait to see what y’all get up to when you link back up. We’re hoping that Charlie and I will be able to meet up on the road occasionally, and it will certainly be quite a change (and a little sad) going from living together to being apart for a while. But I think I’d hate myself if I didn’t go, so we’re gonna make it work!

  • Reply Ariana October 13, 2015 at 9:01 am

    NO you are not nuts or alone!! Ive just done the same.- four months without my fiance, cos our work schedules didnt align doesnt mean one of us cant go, He went in april/may (he had just quit his job and had five weeks before his new job.) and i went june-october. We could have joined the two holidays at the end of his but that meant changing my flights, costing me almost as much as the original ticket, which wasnt worth for the week together.I am heading back home in 2 weeks, and as sad as i am to leave my birth country i am happy about returning to see loved ones. Solo travel esp in the last 6 weeks taught me so much, and though i wish my fiance was with me, i am also happy i got this time to grow as a person and become more independent.
    Ariana recently posted…Top 10 things to do in MostarMy Profile

    • Reply Rachel October 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks Ariana! I’m so glad to hear that it’s working for other couples as well! The first couple days were tough, but now I’m settling into the routine (or non-routine?) of travel and I fell like if I keep a good balance of socializing, alone time, and talking to Charlie, I feel really happy most of the time! I do feel like I’m learning a lot and it’s been very interesting so far! That’s awesome that you both went solo! Thanks for the comment!

  • Reply Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine November 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    YES! Yes, yes, yes. I love my boyfriend to the moon and back. We’ve been together for almost five years! But if going on a solo long-ish term trip is what I have to do, it’s what I have to do. Would I miss him like crazy? Yes, absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to go! Gosh, you reached into my soul and put it in a blog post. Ha!

    • Reply Rachel November 19, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks so much! Hahaha it helps that he’s super supportive, and I understand why he can’t go with me! I just wouldn’t want to NOT do it because of him. And we’re getting the hang of it. Still text all the time and stuff, so it’s not been bad!

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