The Decision: Travel or Love?
As you read this, my travels will have already started and I thought it was important to write this post and share what has probably been the hardest part of my decision to leave. The first thing everyone has asked me upon finding out I was going travelling was “are you going with your boyfriend?”. When I replied no on each occasion, I saw the same surprised blank faces in front of me – particularly when I announced I was going it alone. I’m not sure why it is such a shock to people as I’ve always been quite an independent person – but clearly it seems quite odd to a lot of people that we would be able to go without each other for any length of time. To paint a picture for those who don’t know us, me and Wolfy have been together for well over eight years. We’ve survived all sorts, including me moving away for university for three years, and defied all those who said we’d never last or that we weren’t suited – amazingly there were a lot of people who felt that way. But we made it this far and we seem to be doing better than okay. So I can totally understand why people think “they love each other, therefore they must not be able to live without each other”.
Relationships always face difficulties at some point – a hurdle that pops up out of nowhere, whether a problem between the two of you, or interference from outside sources. But when you’ve been together as long as we have, and from as young an age, sometimes the problems that crop up are actually just dreams that pull you in opposite directions. We’ve all got dreams, big ideas and hopes for the things we want to achieve, see and do – but what happens when they clash with those of the one we love? Well we’re faced with a big decision about what to do. This is actually something that’s been playing on my mind a lot lately because I have a few friends who, although in slightly different situations, have struggled with similarly big decisions. I guess it is a common theme in our twenties that we will be faced with big choices over our relationships – our teens are the easy time, although they may not feel like it, when nothing really tests us other than ourselves. Even the separation of university is something that can be easy to live with because to an extent we still have a choice over distance and whether we want to go the distance. But by the time we hit our twenties, we are looking at careers, new homes, marriage and babies in some cases, and travel. There are so many more factors that will affects our relationships and we will be forced into difficult decisions.I’m not the only one who has found this, I actually know several people who have found lately that they have had to choose one aspect of their life over another. One friend has chosen to move two-and-a-half hours away from all of her friends and family, leaving behind a job she had worked her way up to, in order to follow her boyfriend. He was moving to a much better job and she had to take a pay cut in order to be with him, but for her the decision was the right one for her because she loves him and wants to be with him. Now they are able to live together, instead of breaking up or living hours apart. A couple I know came to an end after the subject of travel was broached, they had been together for years but he didn’t want to travel and she passionately did – so they finished and she started planning her trip. I know of another couple who broke up because the guy wanted to settle down together, with big plans for marriage and babies, but she wanted to keep her freedom and to work on her career first, so they broke up and moved on. What do all of these couples have in common? They’re all in their twenties and their lives are ever changing and evolving – sometimes couples are on different wavelengths and that can mean different directions.
For me and Wolfy, I know that we are on the same wavelength but that after eight-and-a-half years we are being pulled in different directions. For me, I’m in a job that I just can’t do any longer and I’ve reached a point in my life where I want to experience something new. It was a choice between moving away for work or travelling, and that decision was a simple one for me. For Wolfy, he regrets not putting in the time and effort for his studies and has realised he needs a change of career, so for him, the move is to retake his A-levels and go to university. The timing for us isn’t great and we don’t want to be apart, but we also both realise that we have to follow our individual dreams in order to be happy together. Neither of us should have to put our individual dreams on hold at this age, surely we will only end up resenting each other if we try? I’m not saying it’s going to be easy – because I know it won’t be. Saying goodbye earlier this week was the hardest thing I have ever done. But for us, this isn’t a break up, more like hitting pause on things until we can resume play. We hope that it will be just six months until we are reunited in Australia – that might be naive on our part, or it might be a mature decision that works out really well. Either way, all we can do is hope that things work out for us. I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason – I’m not always sure what that reason is but I know that it will all work out in the end. And I’m treating this just like that – it doesn’t mean being separated is any easier, but it does mean we can hope that if we are meant to be together that it will work out.
I’d love to hear your stories of when you’ve been forced to choose between love and your career, or family, or even travel, like I have. Did it work out for you? Or do you still regret the one that got away?
Oh my word, a little tear welled up in my eye reading this. I so desperately want to travel/wish I could. My husband does too, but mid twenties with steady jobs, a mortgage to pay for it just never seems to be the right time…. I’m so glad you are both persuing the things you want to do & I bet it’ll make you so much stronger. This was a really inspirational read. Enjoy your travels wherever they take you 🙂
Hi Rebecca – it was a really hard post to write but I’m so overwhelmed with the amazing response I’ve had to it. It sounds like you have a tricky situation there – it is so difficult when you want to travel but circumstances prevent you – but it doesn’t mean it has to be the end of your dream. I know a couple who had the same setup and they both quit their jobs but treated it as a sabbatical and are able to go back to them after a year – they rented out their house to friends so the mortgage would be paid and went off travelling the world for a year. They say if was the best decision of their life and they got to do it together as they dreamed ☺️ Perhaps that might be an option for you guys as well? Thank you so much and I’m so happy to know you’ll be following my journey. Xxxx
I’m so glad you’ve had lots of comments and well wishes! It means you touched a lot of people and resonated similar feelings within themselves, like you have me!
We have often spoke of possibly doing something like that. We both work for small companies so it’s plucking up the courage to do that…. One day maybe?!
I hope you have the most wonderful journey and can’t wait to keep up with it! Live it for me 🙂
Thanks Rebecca! You’re right, this post definitely touched a nerve for people – so glad so many others were willingto talk about their own experiences as well. That would be great – one day the time will be right for you both and until them I shall have an extra cocktail for you
Well said… I replied on your FB link
I hope it works out for you both. I think it’s definitely possible to be apart from one another for long periods of time and stay together. Being in love surely means it doesn’t matter where you are in the world or how long you go for, the feelings are still there.
Good luck to the both of you xx
Thanks so much Chelsea – you’re right it definitely is and those feelings dont just go away. I completely agree, but it’s just difficult when you don’t know if there will, be an end to your time apart – I did long distance once before and hated it.. But this time it was my choice. It’s so hard to know what the future holds because we have such an extended period apart – first these six months and then another six when he goes back to the uk – when I finally return home I plan to move away as well so that will be even further between us… But I’m not too worried about us, just taking it a day at a time and know if it is meant to be it will work out ☺️ Thank you xxx
This was a really interesting read and is definitely something I have faced! I left behind everything in NZ to go travelling including a relationship and I was happy I did it, at 21 it is time to get out there and see the world! Now it’s tough as I have found my other half in London, so I choose to live here to be with him but miss my family in Australia and my friends in NZ. My whole life is on so many different continents that it is always going to be a challenge and I will always have to decide which is more important, it’s tough but that’s how it goes! x
Jasmin Charlotte | UK Lifestyle Blog
Wow jasmin you’re so brave – that’s a huge decision and I’m so happy it paid off for you,like you say, no time better than in your early 20s! That is hard, but at the same time how lucky you are to have so many friends, family and loved ones spread across the world! Use it as your excuse to travel whenever you can and to see them all. It is always a hard decision but luckily in this day and age there it is so much easier because of cheaper travel and the Internet – at least they are all just at the end of a Skype line
It will all work out if you want it to work out 🙂 I met my partner in crime back in 2010 when on my gap year in Australia but didn’t keep in contact. After a few years he got in contact and our friendship grew massively over a year of chatting on skype and he mentioned he was travelling around Europe in the near future, so we decided to meet up. Our friendship flourished to the next level but he had to return to Australia to work. We lived apart for 6 months and had a long distance relationship before officially being reunited again and it proved to be one of the hardest times in my life not being there for each other in person but it actually made our relationship what it is today. Last year he packed his job in and came to the UK to live with me whilst i did my masters degree, and in November when i finished we moved back to Australia together.Our relationship has never been better!
Lizzy from Nomad Notebook
Aww that’s such a lovely story Lizzy – so nice to know that it can work for people across several continents! It sounds like you have a great plan now to be together. You’re right – lets just hope the distance doesn’t drive us crazy! Xxx
I just had to say thank you for writing this. My 2,5year relationship ended a few months ago because I wasn’t happy anymore and needed a new adventure in life instead of settling down, I’m 22 🙂 It was the hardest decision I have EVER made, because I really believe we are soulmates, but we just met a few years too early in life. I found that I still had to discover so much of myself so decided to go traveling solo to NZ and Australia (leaving in February). Although I’m still not sure if I made the right decision, I also think everything happens for a reason and I believe this traveling solo experience is something I HAVE to do.
I admire you for going after your dreams like that! I love every blog post of yours and it will definitely help me trough my traveling times. THANK YOU for sharing your stories!
Hi Lisa, my pleasure, and I’m so happy you’re enjoying my posts. If they even show you for one second that sometimes leaving your reality and escaping to somewhere new can change your life and everything you’ve known then I’ve done something great with this blog. It’s the hardest decision in the world but I’m so happy for you that you were strong enough to make the decision to leave if you weren’t happy. There’s no saying you guys won’t end up together eventually but for now you have to follow your dreams. You’re going to have the time of your life – so excited for you! If you ever have a wobble amd you think you’re making a mistake just drop me a line and I’ll get you back to excitement I promise! Let me know if you end up in melbourne as I’ll be based there from February onwards! Xx
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I feel I can relate to this at the moment. Same situation. Note this post from 2015. Can I ask if you are now happily together?
Hi Sarah – I can tell you that no we are not together. We are however, still the best of friends, spent six weeks travelling Australia together and are actually heading to a festival in France next week! I’ve actually been in another serious and long-term relationship since this one. While it’s sad it didn’t work out for us, I can say that even after nearly 10 years together, I’m so glad I made the decision to travel and he is glad I did too. We were both at a point where we had to follow our individual dreams or we would have ended up resenting each other. By following our hearts, we have ended up with the best friendship and 14 years of amazing memories. Who knows what the future will hold for the two of us, but I know we made the best decision for us.
Wishing you all the luck in making this decision, I know it’s not easy. xx
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