I’ve been solo travelling for a decade and during that time I’ve had two long-term relationships, one of which I am still in. As someone who talks so passionately about solo travel and encouraging women to feel confident to travel alone, I often get asked…

Why do I still solo travel now I’m in a relationship?

So I thought it was time to answer this in a little more depth – for those who prefer the quick version, check out this video.

Solo travel isn’t a stop-gap between boyfriends – it’s an important rite of passage I think every woman should experience regardless of their relationship status.

Okay so some context – I originally left the UK to go solo travelling when I was 25 and left a long-term relationship of nine years. You can read more of my personal travel story, but I chose to travel the world and it was important for me to experience this on my own. I wanted to face the challenges head-on and to learn every single day. Fast-forward three years and I started a new relationship which lasted a few years, but my partner was possessive and became jealous when I wanted to travel solo. Needless to say that relationship didn’t last when he became abusive.

I learned a lot of hard lessons from that relationship and it has completely framed the expectations I set for the relationship I am in now. One of those is complete trust and the freedom for both of us to follow our passions alongside each other. I think this is SO important and while I feel very grateful that I have found someone who loves to travel too, our travel styles are very different. Which leads us nicely on to…

Why I choose to solo travel while in a long-term relationship

It pushes me outside my comfort zone

I thrive off the challenge of solo travel and even the bad days are a learning curve. I’ve always felt most comfortable in that space just outside my comfort zone and solo travel constantly pushes me there. I love that I’m always changing and adapting – solo travel has taught me invaluable life skills that have helped me in my career, relationships and life. What was once terrifying and scary has now become the norm and I have faced my fears. 

Solo travel is a catalyst for personal growth

Solo travel is not easy, there are days that will really test you as a woman travelling alone. But, solo travel is part of who I am and it has been a constant catalyst in my life for personal growth and some of the biggest risks and changes I have made. I’ve left two careers and two major relationships in my life to travel alone and I credit the person I am today to those decisions. Those journeys have helped me to discover who I am, what I want from life, what I’m good at, what I need to work on and how I want to live, exist and move through this world. It’s led to a level of self-awareness that I believe many never reach.

I love my own company

I feel like this one needs to be shouted from the rooftops! Travelling alone is NOT the same thing as being lonely while travelling. The truth is, you need to love and thrive in your own company if you travel solo. You have one body, one brain and you are the only person on this earth who knows you inside and out. Our society looks at spending time alone as strange – you’re a loner, an introvert, all these negative connotations. But the truth is learning to love your own company in a society where we are frowned on for being alone is a huge strength. Those who achieve this – whether from solo travel or another way – will unlock an unparalleled confidence.

I don’t need a travel guardian, but it’s nice to have a safety net

I have always been fiercely independent and have spent years travelling the world solo and relying entirely on myself. Now I get to travel the world solo but to know that someone at home has got my back. I’ve never needed a travel buddy and I resent the idea that women should only travel with a partner/friend or guardian. I’m sorry, what is this 1920? As a mixed-race women, it’s been important to me to feel safe and confident to travel the world solo – it’s why I now support women to feel the same. It’s something I’m passionate about and that doesn’t just go away when I start a new relationship. It simply means that if anything were to go wrong, I know I have someone who will move heaven and earth to get me home safe.

Solo travel makes me value and miss my partner

My partner and I just moved into our first home together but we’ve been living together for a while. We both work from home and spend a lot of time together which is important to both of us. But as in any healthy relationship, it is important to have time apart and to follow our individual passions. I’ve always been very independent and love my own company, so solo travel is the perfect way to indulge that side of my personality. It gives us space to enjoy healthy time apart, to have the opportunity to miss each other and strengthen our relationship further. It also means that when I return from a trip I can’t wait for anything more than to return to our home and to share everything I’ve experienced with my partner. It ends up sparking trips that we want to take together!

My partner has limited annual leave

I’m self-employed and my role is very flexible with lots of potential for work trips as a travel blogger. If I only went on trips when my partner could make it, I would be extremely limited and it would mean that my holidays would double as work trips leaving us no time to just relax. By taking trips, and especially work trips, without him, that means when we take trips together we get to make the most of them and unwind together. 

If I waited for someone to travel with me, I might never go

When I first started travelling solo, I actually asked a university friend to come travelling with me. She’d just started a new job and relationship so it was the wrong timing for her, but I knew it was the right time for me. I had a choice of whether to go alone, or risk never going at all. That was a much scarier thought than what I might face alone. This one is for all the single girls out there who are waiting for a partner to come along and travel with them to amazing places – YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT! Imagine if that partner never comes along and you never take the damn trip? Well, imagine that partner comes along but they’re not a traveller or have less time to travel. What then? You just never take the trip? Or you go and have the time of your life…

Travelling solo is a completely different experience to travelling with a partner

As much as I love to travel with my partner and with friends, I think travelling solo is an entirely different experience. When I’ve travelled just with others, I have missed and craved the experience and adventure of going solo. It’s the combination of the challenge, the spontaneity and freedom when you wake up in the morning and the way you experience a place. I feel like when I travel solo, I absorb more of a place, I notice the little things and really slow down. 

Complete freedom to explore how I want

When you travel with other people, you are always on someone else’s schedule. You are always waiting for another person to be ready, spending longer in a place getting food, finding a toilet or compromising on what to see or do. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – I love the way my partner and I plan and balance our trips. But when you travel alone, you can literally wake up in the morning and be in another country by lunchtime. You can choose exactly what you want to eat, where you want to go and who to talk to. If you want to sit on a bench and watch the world go by, that’s fine and you don’t have to run it past anyone. 

Solo female vanlife tips and advice from a solo female travel expert. Absolutely Lucy in front of camper van and vanlife campfire.

I meet so many more people on my travels

I’ve really noticed that travelling with a partner or friend, I end up meeting so many less people and locals when I travel. When travelling solo, I would constantly be approached by locals or other travellers who just wanted to chat or to invite me to hang out. I think when you travel or holiday with another person, you often are using it as a way to experience more one-on-one time with each other and so you often forget what is happening outside that bubble. Solo travel pops that bubble and means you actively engage with those who cross your path which opens you up to making new friends and amazing new travel experiences.

Travelling solo is a part of my life and I’ll be continuing to take solo trips no matter what relationship I’m in, even in marriage and beyond. I think we learn and grow so much from these times spent alone and my relationship will only benefit from everything I gain when I travel by myself. I’d love to know what you think about this topic – come join the conversation on Instagram where lots of women in relationships have shared their take on travelling while in a relationship.

Would you travel solo while in a relationship? Are you already travelling solo in a relationship?