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If you had asked me six months ago whether I could see myself traveling without Justin, I would have definitely said no. If you had asked me if I could envision Justin traveling without me, I would have told you, “No way! I would want to be there, too!”. As it turns out, Justin and I ended up planning separate vacations. As he is returning tonight from his week-long holiday to the Dominican Republic, I’ve taken the time to reflect upon his vacation away from home and my feelings about it.
Most of the time, I would much rather Justin and I travel together. There’s nothing like discovering new places together and creating wonderful memories with your special someone. Whether it’s while we are traveling or in our daily lives at home, I cherish our moments together. Justin and I work and live together; most of the time, we’re inseparable. Much of this travel blog focuses on our times spent as a couple providing stories and travel tips for fellow traveling couples.
So, why did we plan two separate vacations apart?
It all started when my sister, Robyn and I were discussing the possibility of attending Women In Travel Summit in Boston together. We thought it would be a fun getaway to an event focusing on women who travel. Clearly, Robyn would get more out of this than Justin would, so it was a no-brainer that she attend the conference with me rather than him. The more we started researching the trip and looking up prices, the more we realized that this was going to be more expensive than we thought. As I explained in a past blog post entitled, When Travel Plans Spontaneously Change, we switched gears from Boston to a Caribbean cruise (around the same price and twice the vacation time – a week instead of four days). Robyn and I haven’t traveled together since we were kids on family trips. At the same time, I couldn’t help but feel guilty that I’d be taking a holiday without Justin. If that had been the other way around, I wouldn’t be too happy or impressed. I would want to be on that cruise ship with him. Of course, before booking the cruise, I asked Justin what he thought about it. Immediately, he said that he thought it would be really fun if I took a holiday with my sister and that I should go ahead and book it. Justin is such a sweet person with a very kind heart, not feeling jealous or disappointed by my decision to take a vacation without him. Instead, he was happy that I would have a good time.
A couple of weeks passed and the weather started to get chillier. In the Toronto area this winter, it has been ridiculously cold. You really can’t spend much time outdoors without wrapping yourself in knitwear from head to toe. Justin wanted to experience some warm weather for himself and I could hardly blame him. He’d mentioned wanting to take a week-long vacation to a resort before, though it isn’t exactly my kind of holiday. While I do love relaxing on the beach, I enjoy it for about a day. Then, I want to move on to the next place to explore. I’d likely spend more time taking excursions or finding my way around a country or island than I would on the beach. With that said, Justin truly wanted a beach vacation where he could relax on the beach and do nothing if he wished. It ended up working out perfectly as two of his friends wanted to jet off to a resort. And, for the past week, Justin has been soaking up the sun in La Romana, Dominican Republic.
My Time Alone
Well, not completely alone. Our little kitty, Chickpea has been keeping me company. I should also mention that we deliberately planned our holidays on two different weeks so we wouldn’t have to find a cat-sitter. That isn’t to say that Chickpea doesn’t wonder where Justin has gone. I can tell that Chickpea misses him as he is extra cuddly at night with me, spooning right in next to me in bed (and he’s there when I wake up in the morning, too). The first couple of days without Justin were rough. Since we started dating almost three years ago, we’ve never been apart for this length of time. Even before we lived together, we would hang out a few times a week or I’d see him at work. For those days where we couldn’t see one another, we could at least send text messages. Justin has limited Internet access in the Dominican, so he’s only been able to send me an email once a day. My days seemed rather boring and mundane without him. I would wake up, go to work, go to the gym, and go to bed. I felt lonely. I was thinking about what he might be doing at that particular moment. When someone told me a funny story or something interesting happened, I would usually pick up my phone and text it to him. Not anymore. It felt very strange and very wrong.
However, after a couple of days, things were getting better. The end was in sight for my work week. I had made some plans with a good friend of mine for Friday night, and made some more plans with go clothes shopping with my sister in preparation for our trip. I was researching the itinerary for mine and Justin’s upcoming trip to Italy in May. I had some extra time to myself to do the things that I enjoyed, like cooking, reading, and knitting. It isn’t as though I don’t do those things when Justin is around, but it was different. I could do whatever I wanted without thinking about what he might like to do, too. I could be completely selfish.
What I’ve Learned
Justin returns home tonight and I can’t wait to see him! It will be so great to have him back and I can’t wait to hear about his trip. I hope he took lots of great photos and video so I can share them with you guys, too! I really look forward to getting back into our daily routines, like going to the gym together, having dinner together, and of course, traveling together. I think that our time apart has been a good thing and it’s quite possible that every couple could benefit from some time apart.
First of all, I have learned that I do cherish some quiet time by myself. I can read, do yoga, or even just think to myself in silence. Second of all, having this time apart has made me realize even more how much I love him. I miss him so much, and sometimes to realize how much you truly love and miss someone, you need to spend some time apart. The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” holds true. In a relationship, sometimes the moments apart make you truly appreciate the relationship you have.
What does the future hold? Well, I definitely see Justin and I continuing to travel together most of the time. However, if there’s something that he’s not that into that I’d like to do (for instance, a yoga trip), I will just go on my own! If there’s a time when he is unable to travel but I’m able to, I will take the opportunity and go whether it is a solo trip or with friends. And at the same time, if he wants to take a vacation that I don’t find particularly appealing, he is welcome to go on his own. Even if we can’t share all of our travel moments together, we’ll always return to one another with fantastic stories. I’m happy to say that we are secure and trusting enough in our relationship that we can spend time apart because we know that we’ll be reunited soon. And I’m happy for the moment that I’ll get to see him walk through our front door.
What do you think – should couples take separate vacations? Have you ever traveled apart from your partner?