Sunday, 29 October 2023 20:36

Traveling Alone Vs Traveling Together

“Transitions are almost always signs of growth, but they can bring feelings of loss. To get somewhere new, we may have to leave somewhere else behind.” ~Fred Rogers 

For the past two years, I have traveled to a number of places on my own. I made these trips because after my divorce, reality hit: nothing is guaranteed in this life and I wanted to make sure I enjoyed as many places as possible. I was still a living, breathing, functioning human being. Losing someone that meant so much to me was not in my plan, but traveling was, and always will be. I set about making lists of all the travel destinations I wanted to pursue, along with times and dates for these journeys. Then I started planning and preparing. 

In 2021, when I was crawling out of the depths of depression and the world was crawling out of the turbulence of the global pandemic, I was in a good spot financially. I was working as a teacher from home so I didn’t need to spend money on gas each week. Production and supply hadn’t caught up with our country’s consumerism yet, so inflation had not taken effect. The war in Russia and Ukraine hadn’t started. I was also looking to get as far away from my grief as I could, and travel made that possible. 

I drove to popular cities in my adopted state of Florida, and boarded airplanes that took me across the country. I’ve taken countless selfies and gotten lost too many times that I care to admit. I met some amazing people along the way, ones that I will never forget. I learned a lot about myself, most importantly that I was fully capable of living my life without someone by my side. 

Even though I was alone and sometimes felt I was the only person without a partner, surrounded as I was by what seemed to be couples everywhere, I knew I was becoming a stronger version of myself. Each time I came back from a trip, I had changed in a way that I couldn’t explain. I felt capable, adaptable, and closer to the person I was becoming.  

But all good things must end. Eventually, thanks to inflation taking hold and the delayed economic consequences from the pandemic, I had to budget my money and slow down my traveling. But that meant I was stuck in the same city as my ex-husband and all the triggering memories. I became restless.

I researched teaching abroad opportunities in Europe, and signed up for a year in Barcelona in early 2022. Unfortunately, the war in Russia began shortly after, and I decided to put that opportunity on the backburner. Working from home was also making me stir-crazy, so I applied for a job with another company. As fate would have it, I was offered an opportunity at the new company. It paid more than my work-from-home gig, so I was able to save up a little bit more money. With the extra money, I flew across the country again to attend a Writing and Grief retreat that you can read about in one of my other posts, “Healing Retreat".

But I couldn’t keep up with inflation for long. The cost of food, gas, and my monthly rent increased. Traveling alone was not in the cards anymore. I had to stop spending so much money.

Just when I thought my adventures were at a standstill indefinitely, I met someone who had the same travel bug inside him. We had many other things in common, including our past relationships, our family backgrounds, and shared interests like music, movies, and activities. After more than two years of being on my own, the universe seemed to finally answer my manifestations. 

But traveling on my own for so long, traveling with someone took some getting used to. I have to be more mindful that someone else is with me and consider him in my itinerary. And when I get lost because I am directionally impaired, he will know about it (he also needs a GPS for everything so I don’t feel so bad). And of course, I don’t have to take so many selfies anymore.

The benefits of traveling together allows for deeper connection and problem solving within the relationship. We are learning more and more about each other with each trip. And financially it takes less of a burden from my bank account since we split the costs.

From my experience, even assiduously thought out plans don’t always work out due to circumstances that you have no control over. But then again, what doesn’t always work out for you, actually does in fact work out. My travels will continue after all.

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