“I’ve been invited to speak at a conference in Portugal this March,” I casually say to Tom as we’re sitting on the couch, watching episodes of Fargo. “Is it okay if I go?”

Of course, I don’t need his permission to travel at all; I’m an independent woman, and travel is part of my job. Even if his answer was a sweet, polite, “I’d really rather you stay home,” I’d still go.

But he is my fiancé, and we’re a huge part of each other’s lives. I feel the need to ask him because usually my travel plans offer very short notice, so I don’t want him to be surprised. I also want to make sure we have enough time to discuss the situation, should he feel emotional towards it.


That’s the life of a person who always has to leave behind the person they love, in order to travel. Deep down inside, we wish they could pack up their bags at a moment’s notice, and fly with us to a distant land. But it’s not always possible, and sometimes it can make the decision to leave a difficult one.

Many people might say, “Well if he/she really loved you, they’d go with you!” But this is not really a fair comment. Your significant other may love traveling, but their job does not allow them to take as much time off. Or maybe they don’t have the discipline to work remotely in such a freelance, nomadic style. But just because they can’t go, doesn’t mean you have to stay put too.


It can be hard to leave someone you love at home though. There will be experiences you have that you wish could be shared with them. Or places you will get to go, that they may never see. While solo travel is awesome, there is a lot to be said about traveling with the person you love. It makes the times you are able to do it all the more special.

Discussing the trip must be part of the plan. It’s not fair to drop a casual, “Oh by the way, I’ll be gone for a week, I’m going to Barcelona, peace out!” a day or two before your trip. Your partner might have made plans to spend time with you, or they might need time to prepare for your absence. You must be respectful of their time, and their feelings on the subject. If it were the opposite situation, how would you feel?

It is important to keep their thoughts and emotions in mind, but also do not let them override your decision to travel. There will be times when they become jealous, or resentful, or left out. That is why communication is so vital – without it, you may continue to hurt the person you love, or they may hurt you in return.


Keeping in contact while away is also important, but don’t feel like you have to check in with them every five minutes. You want to enjoy your travel experience, and that might be affected from spending hours on the phone with your significant other. Set up a time to chat, once a day if you feel like it, where you can both talk about your day, discuss any news, and say how much you miss each other.

Unfortunately, a question I hear all too often is, “Aren’t you afraid your boyfriend is going to cheat on you?” I can’t think about it that way. Firstly, my fiancé could cheat on me at any point in our lives – during our engagement, after we’re married, while I’m abroad, or while I’m at home. That’s not an excuse for that sort of behavior, but it’s certainly not a reason why someone should never travel without their partner.

Building trust to the point where both people in the relationship feel comfortable letting each other explore the world on their own is important. It doesn’t come easily, but it can definitely happen with time. Communication is the number one factor; discussing issues before they start, and respectfully hearing the other person’s concerns, is all a part of it.


Your partner may not like the idea of you traveling without him or her, and it may lie less with the idea of you being away, and more from a confidence issue within themselves. This may be hard to overcome, but likely manifests itself in other parts of your life as well. Sometimes traveling is a good test to see if you are able to handle these difficult emotions. If it seems to take too much away from your experience on the road, it may be time to reevaluate your current situation.

If travel is a passion of yours, it should always remain so. Everyone makes sacrifices when they enter into a relationship, but it’s important to balance your needs and make time for yourself as well. Hopefully your partner is supportive of your decision, and enjoys hearing your stories, or is inspired by them.

Traveling without a romantic partner can be very insightful, empowering, fun and adventurous. If you are able to create such an experience for yourself, do it! And don’t let anyone stand in your way.

All photos by Katka