Thank you guys!! I was stoked to have received such a positive response to my last blog post about spending time with yourself 🙂 But while I was putting it together and investigating more of the “Women Should Travel Alone” thing, I found something else that got to me a little, so I wanted to write a bit of a part 2 today…
Writing last week’s post, I came to realise that I really am in the minority. At 31 years old, I’m not settled down with kids and doing the family thing, nor am I a sassy, independent single lady ready to go out and take on the world alone. Instead, I’m somewhere in between; I married relatively young for my generation (a few weeks before my 25th birthday), and have had almost 13 happy years with my best friend. I obviously don’t identify with the single ladies, but I’m also not ready to “settle down” just yet. And I discovered that there really just isn’t much of a market for the “happily married, without kids, still up for adventure” women of the world!
I typed into Google “WHY WOMEN SHOULD TRAVEL” and found the following results over the first two or three pages:
– Why Women Should Never Should Never Stop Traveling Alone
– Why Women Should Keep Travelling Solo
– Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone At Least Once
– 15 Reasons Every Girl Should Travel Solo
– Solo Travel: Why Women Should Travel Alone
– Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone
– Why Woman Should Travel Alone
– Why All Women Should Travel Solo Once In Their Lives
– Why All Women Should Travel Solo
– Why Every Busy Woman Should Travel Alone
– 10 Reasons Why Women Should Travel Alone
Next, I tried “WHY WOMEN SHOULD TRAVEL WITH HUSBAND” and got…
– Why Women Should Holiday Alone
– How Travelling Alone Can Affect A Marriage
– Why I Travel Without My Husband
– Why Women Are Travelling Without Men
– Why Every Woman Should Travel On Her Own Before She’s 40
– Why I Travel Without My Husband
– No, I Do Not Need My Husand’s Permission To Travel Alone
– Is It Healthy For Couples To Travel Apart?
– Traveling Alone Benefits – Woman Travel Without Husband
Seeing a theme here? Like I said last week, I’m all for anything that helps women see that they’re not helpless little girls. Of course we can travel alone! And yes, it’s great – in fact, I highly recommend trying it! But at the same time, for the minority like me who fall somewhere in the middle of the SINGLE – FAMILY spectrum, travelling with your significant other can be every bit as rewarding, empowering and fun 🙂
So, for the other ladies out there who are in the same boat as me, who have and can travel alone, but who choose to travel with their significant other because they want to, maybe you can relate to my reasons for choosing to travel with my husband (which, coincidentally are many of the reasons a lot of the aforementioned articles recommend travelling alone…):
1. LESS NEGATIVE MENTAL HEALTH EFFECTS
My mental health struggles aren’t something I hide, so I’m not scared to say that travelling with depression and anxiety can be a big challenge. It certainly doesn’t stop me (in fact, I’m travelling more than ever, now!), but I find that I get a lot more out of my travels with my husband by my side. He’s my best friend, he understands the challenges I face, and he’s patient with me. Having someone who knows you inside out and is patient and understanding can make all the difference between working through an anxiety attack and enjoying the rest of the day, or letting it win and going back to your hotel with your tail between your legs.
2. MORE CONFIDENCE
Following on from that, not only am I more comfortable with him around, I am actually much more confident. I’m a classic introvert and am usually quite reserved, but I’ve also always had a very pronounced independent streak; if I’m not anxious on my travels, that comes out. It’s almost like having a security net around; I’m not scared to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I’m not scared to try my local language skills. I’m not fussed by walking into the café first and placing our order. I’m not worried about wandering off the main street and down an alley to get that photo. I can get out of my comfort zone without freaking out too much, and that brings out my confidence.
3. DO SOMETHING NEW
While we’re very similar in a lot of ways, we’re also very different, which means that we’ve both seen and done some amazing things we’d never have done on our own. I didn’t think I’d enjoy an NFL game in San Francisco that much or a visit to Westham United’s grounds, but they ended up being two of the best travel experiences I’ve had!
As much as I hate to say it, there is safety in numbers. We live in an increasingly scary world, and travelling solo (whether you’re male or female) inherently increases your risk.
5. INDEPENDENCE, TOGETHER
It may be a little different for us that other couples, because we are both very independent and like to have time alone, which means that even if we don’t both want to do the same thing when we’re travelling, it doesn’t matter. We’ll quite happily go to a sports bar so he can have a beer and watch a game while I sit there reading the new book I just picked up. Compromise isn’t always neither party getting what they want.
Yes, it’s great to have someone to take photos of you when you’re travelling so you don’t have an album full of selfies, but the best thing about travelling with your significant other is that because they know you so well, they can capture you so perfectly. When someone who really loves you takes your photo while you’re doing something you love, especially without you knowing, they’re able to capture you as they see you, not as you ask them to while you’re posing. And it often reveals a lot about the things they love about you!
7. LEARN YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
You learn this travelling on your own, too, but I think it’s magnified when you travel with your significant other; they’re generally not afraid to point out when you’re doing a great job or letting the team down. Personally, I’ve learned through travelling with my husband and having him point it out that that planning and organising are big strengths of mine (which makes his life easier, because they’re his weaknesses), but an associated weakness is an initial freak out when flights are cancelled last minute or a hotel can’t find our reservation (whereas one of his strengths is keeping his cool and going with the flow).
8. STRENGTHEN YOUR BOND
Inevitably (hopefully). Every time you and your significant other are in a situation that isn’t your norm, you’ll be tested and given the chance to strengthen your bond. You hear about things like one partner getting sick, losing a rental property, or returning to full time study making or breaking relationships. And even then, you’re still going to have familiar surroundings or other people around. When you’re travelling, you’re thrown in the deep end with all the challenges that come with it. And not only will you only have each other to turn to and trust, you’re simultaneously stuck together basically 24/7. And that can often be a lot harder than travelling alone. So far (touch wood), we’ve come away from all of our travels stronger. We’ve had dramas and arguments on the way, but we’ve always come home more solid than when we left.
I’m hoping I’m not the only woman in this situation, so would love to hear from other childless women travelling with their husbands, and welcome you ladies to add your thoughts, too 🙂