I am currently in Thailand, teaching English. I travel quite a lot but mostly without my boyfriend.  I feel it’s about time to address the elephant in the room
So far, quite a few people, friends and family have vocalised this question, but I know that others may be wondering,
“So you’re travelling the world, going from destination to destination? What about Pawel?”
It’s a fair question.
Pawel and I have been together for nearly three years and have been living together for a year.
We’ve had a slow but steady relationship. We’re both quite quiet yet complex people, which has led us to discover more and more about each other since we began dating.
I love a relationship where it’s safe to change and grow, and where I can learn new things about my partner every year, if not every single month.
We’re best friends in every sense of the word. I’ve shared many stories, fears and pieces of me with Pawel that I’ve never shared with anyone else and he’s done the same with me. We know each other inside out.
To put it in the simplest terms, he’s my other half and the yin to my yang.
But… he’s not the same as me…
As much as we fit together so perfectly, Pawel and I are very different people. We are driven and motivated by different factors and have different standards of success.
Pawel dreams of financial stability, a long comfortable career, being able to provide for his family with a comfortable house with a garden where he can sip his coffee in the mornings.
The little things make him so happy, like fixing cars, learning new skills around the house, going to the gym, spending time with his family and cooking dinner. It doesn’t take much to make him happy and satisfied with his life, which I think is fantastic. He’s so incredibly focused, is a hard worker, and has such a clear vision for the way he wants his future to be.
As much as I would like to, I don’t possess all of those same strengths or same visions for myself.
I’m quite different and always on the lookout for a new shock to my sense. I dream of running wild, getting lost, seeing the world, meeting new people and discovering the best and worst the world has to offer. I crave things new and different.
I’m pretty restless and ungrounded, a million different things inspire me, and I think that the only way to honestly know myself is to go after all of those million little things and find what really works for me and what fits well for who I am.
Without doing that, I’m not sure I’ll ever know.
To put it simply, I dream of travelling the world extensively and exploring every nook and cranny, and Pawel doesn’t.
The thought fills me with excitement and keeps me awake at night. For Pawel, it just isn’t the same. He’s up for taking a yearly trip, but he’s ready to come home after a week on the road. Living out of a suitcase, moving around to different hotels and hostels every night and constantly being on the move would be so exhausting for him and would make him feel claustrophobic and homesick.
I don’t blame him. He doesn’t want those things, and that’s okay, but I do want those things very VERY badly.
To sum it all up, travelling the world for extended amounts of time is one of my purest, clearest dreams and it doesn’t appeal to Pawel in the slightest.
We love each other. We support each other. We are connected. So what do we do? Who is responsible for sacrificing what makes them happy to bring happiness to the other?
The truth is, neither one of us can tolerate the thought of taking happiness from the other. I know that I could never force of guilt trip Pawel into pursuing long term travel with me. I could never take away the little things that comfort him. And he doesn’t want to hold me back from pursuing something I’ve always dreamed of.
As much as I love Pawel, I know that if I were to never take a trip like this because of him, I would regret it throughout my entire life. And I don’t want to put him in that kind of situation – the one where I choose to blame him for my regrets later down the road,
So, we are both making a sacrifice. We are both sacrificing our physical closeness so that we both can have what we want from life.
Pawel will stay at home, and I will go without him. It is hard, and I miss him so much that I sometimes wonder why in the world did I leave him behind.
But I’ll be following my heart and my dreams and I will be able to live a life free from wondering ‘what if.’
I guess that you could say that I’m greedy. I’m choosing to travel and love. I want to see the world and keep my relationship. I think that it’s entirely possible for Pawel and me and for anyone else who has faced this challenge too.
If I were with the wrong person, this would never work, but the fact that Pawel has encouraged me to do this and has supported me throughout my decision and has given me his blessing to go gallivanting around the world to discover myself and promised that he’d be waiting for me when I get back, has proven that I am absolutely with the right person.
I’ll admit that this is a bigger sacrifice for him than it is for me. After all, he has to watch his girlfriend take off and explore the world, meet new people and have new experiences without him. Believe me when I say that that sacrifice has not gone unnoticed nor unappreciated.
Furthermore, if the day ever comes when Pawel asks me to make a big sacrifice for his sake, I know what my answer will be: Yes, yes and yes. In a heartbeat, no matter what yes.
Isn’t that what relationships and partnerships are all about?
So…. Why do I travel solo without my boyfriend?
Because I want to travel more than he does.
Because we love and support each other and want the best for each other no matter what.
Because our relationship is so strong and deep that it can survive the distance.
Because we are soul mates and time apart cannot change that.
Because we want to live a life without any regrets.
Because we are equals and not co-dependants.
Because we have trust and faith in each other.
Because it will be better for our relationship in the end.
Because we are independent people just as much as we are partners.
Oh, a few more points…
No… did not need his permission to go travelling.
No…This decision did not come easily nor without many, many open and honest conversations and heart to hearts.
No…We will not have an open relationship or any ‘free passes’.
No…Neither of us are worried about cheating.
No…Neither of us is worried about breaking up.
If I was worried about a few weeks or months of separation destroying our relationship, then I think I would have MUCH bigger problems on my hands. If we couldn’t survive that, then how would we survive any situation where things weren’t smooth sailing? How would we survive parenthood, or job insecurity or any other big upset in our routine?
Our relationship is strong. It has been strengthed by years of love, communication, honesty and trust. It has been strengthened by seeing each other at our best and our worst and loving each other anyway. It has been strengthed by accepting each other completely and choosing each other every day.
And I believe it will be strengthened by this too.
Maybe to outsiders, this all seems odd. But is it that strange to have a relationship where freedom, independence and personal choice flourish?
Living apart for weeks or months on end with limited contact will be tough. But it will also be okay because our relationship truly has no limitations.
It will be okay because we are not the kind of people who go running from the hills when things are hard. We are willing to make sacrifices and changes to keep our relationship healthy.
It will be okay because we love each other, but we love ourselves too. And we respect that quality in each other.
It will be okay because we honestly believe that my travels will lead me to become an even happier, more well rounded, more focused, and more independent person… which will lead me to be an even better girlfriend to my partner.
So, I’m going to travel the world and follow my dreams for as long as I want, both now and in the future, without my boyfriend. But when I get back, I’m going to spend the rest of my life loving him with all of my heart.

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