“What we all want in life: to travel, fall in love and be happy”
Long distance relationships and travelling go hand in hand; one does not exist without the other. Whether it be the first, or tenth time, travelling solo is almost always unavoidable in an LDR. We’ve seen a lot of our community struggle with the idea of travelling on their own as we know it’s a huge step out of the comfort zone, but there are ways to make it a positive experience, rather then a dreaded period of time you have to endure before you get to be with your loved one.
Personally, I knew I wanted to travel on my own, even before I was in a long distance relationship. By the time it came around, I ended up having terrible anxiety; I couldn’t sleep, I was overthinking everything and I almost cancelled my trip. But instead of feeding the worry, I forced myself to prove that I could beat the beast that made me so unsure of myself. I could pull myself out of the headspace of weariness and into one of a confident and competent traveller by planning, determination and excitement.
THE HONEST PROS AND CONS
Travelling alone is one of the truest forms of adulthood. You can either take that and run with it, or let it overwhelm you. Now this doesn’t have to be just by plane, it can be by train, bus, boat; any of these forms of transport can trigger negative feelings if you’re doing it alone. Be prepared to not rely on the usual safety net of family or friends. Your fears won’t have the creature comforts to hide behind when you’re out of your comfort zone. Boredom is prevalent and there isn’t a whole lot to do apart from mindlessly watching movies or taking dissatisfying naps that put your neck out. For most first time solo travellers, it’s usually that you just have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing or whether you’re doing it right; How do I find my gate? What do I need to get out of my bag for security? When am I allowed to get up to pee?
Yet the rush of independence and pride that sprouts from travelling solo can do wonders to your confidence. Taking the time to learn about the world by indulging in the experience without the influence of others is pure, enlightening and refreshing. It’s a time to get to know yourself in this setting and your natural reaction to the experiences of travel. You will learn as you go that you are more than capable of doing this independently. Most importantly, you’ll gain the advantage of being better equipped for the distance once you’ve experienced how to physically get to your partner.
QUELLING ANXIETY AROUND SOLO TRAVELLING
Remind yourself why you’re doing this
Anytime you have a moment of doubt, reflect on the reasons for your trip; For yourself? For your partner? For the experience? No matter what it is, focus on the road ahead as a growing opportunity and remind yourself that you’re doing this for a reason. Imagining yourself in the place you want to be will help quiet the negative thoughts and give you a moment to enjoy the excitement of the trip.
Knowing what’s coming can take a lot of pressure off the unknown of travelling alone. Study your travel itinerary and give yourself enough time to arrive on schedule. Being there extra early will give you time to collect your thoughts rather than rushing to the gate at the last minute – it’s not as simple as the movies make it look. There is often lots of awkward shuffling through lines just to get to security and getting your passport out more times than you expected.
There are tonnes of travel sites out there with advice on how to navigate airports, the do’s and don’ts, how to pass the time while in transit etc. Take time before your trip to research the norms of travelling so you feel educated and confident. Every country also has specific entry and exit requirements so get familiar with their expectations by visiting their government site.
Talk to people
Interact with other travellers. Older couples are great to chat with because they are usually very well-travelled with wonderful experiences. Young travellers are likely to have the most in common with you, so if they seem like they’re up for a conversation, go for it! The only tricky thing is that you don’t want to be the person that talks your neighbour’s ear off, so be mindful of those who would welcome a conversation and those who would rather sit in silence.
Indulge in the excitement of travel
For those of us lucky enough to travel, it is a phenomenal experience from start to finish. Try to immerse in the culture of travel. People watching is a simple pleasure, imagining yourself in their shoes and where they’re heading is a soothing reminder that you’re not alone.
Focus on the end game
Remember, you are meeting someone on the other end that you adore and who adores you! As soon as you see their face, whatever travel hours you just experienced are going to disappear and be replaced by them possibly smooching your face off. It will most certainly be worth the effort you made. (Very brief side point: If it’s your first meet and your nerves are heightened, remember that you’ve gotten to this point because you want to meet this person and they want to meet you. Avoid having any expectations of how exactly things will go when you meet and enjoy the moment as it comes.)
Be proud of yourself
Going so far out of your comfort zone is not an easy feat, so allow yourself the pat on the back for getting on whatever mode of transport and literally going the extra miles!
How far do you travel to see your significant other? What do you do in preparation for the trip? Let us know so our community can get ready to see their lovers!
- Meeting for the First Time: How to Cope with Nerves - November 8, 2017
- Storytime: Our First Physical Hello - May 27, 2017
- Balancing a Social Life in a Long Distance Relationship - May 16, 2017
- Travelling Solo to See Your Long Distance Partner - March 25, 2017
- Online Date Night Suggestions - February 25, 2017