Why I Travel Alone As A Married Woman

My husband and I were together for eleven whole years before we got married, but it’s only since saying our vows that the world has expressed displeasure with my propensity for traveling solo.

Eleven years isn’t an obscenely large amount of time to maintain boyfriend-girlfriend status for high school sweethearts, but it’s a decent period in which to thoroughly get to know one another. We began dating on April 1, 2005. And by that July, I had absconded to the tiny town of Villa Del Totoral in the Argentinean countryside, where my uncle lived at the time.

It was during this adventure that I recognized my dependence on others for keeping me entertained, structured and even fed. I was 15, but I knew then and there that my reality was whatever I made of it, an epiphany common to travelers who spend a lot of time alone. It was obvious how travel and the challenges it presents could impact my self-awareness in a positive way. There was never a question of whether I would continue on that month long trip rather than prioritize my young relationship.

There was never a question of whether I would continue on that month long trip rather than prioritize my young relationship.

Sure, we were teenagers ― and at that age it’s not unusual to see friends and lovers disappear for a few weeks with their families or away to camp ― but for my relationship, it immediately set the expectation that travel would always be a big part of my life, and an important one at that. This was cemented the following summer when I once again took off, this time to Ecuador and the Galapagos.

My desire to explore the world on my own continued on that trajectory, always with the support of my partner, friends and family.

But that attitude took a turn once the rings were on and the papers were signed.

Not for my partner, who continued urging me to pursue the solo traveling habit that I had let die down for the prior few years, but among my peers and the world at large.

Immediately following the wedding, I began planning a two month trip to Central America to gather photos and stories for my wildlife magazine, The Naturalist. I was pretty damn excited to be getting back out on the road, testing my mettle and rebuilding my resilience while pursuing a lifelong dream, the kinds of personal improvement catalyzed by travel. I never once considered it an affront to the commitment my peers had recently witnessed, a commitment that existed well before it became officially recognized by the government.

Others weren’t so convinced:

“He’s letting you travel alone for that long?” they asked, suggesting that my husband is somehow responsible for my actions.“Don’t you think he’ll leave you while you’re gone?” I was warned. But let’s face it: If he wants to jump ship because I peaced out for a few weeks, then he’s probably not the person I want to grow old with. “Didn’t you just get married?” asked many, implying that being a wife means being tied to her husband’s hip.

If he wants to jump ship because I peaced out for a few weeks, then he’s probably not the person I want to grow old with.

I do wonder if the roles were reversed, would my husband receive the same level and intensity of questioning? I imagine not. Extended business trips are par for the course for men, from seafaring Vikings to modern-day executives. People are not yet accustomed to women occupying the same roles, and I suppose it undermines their expectations of how a wife should behave.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that these comments got me down. Even I questioned the validity of my journey and my priorities in general when confronted in this way by people I truly respected. Now that I was a wife, maybe it really was important for the marriage that I remain at home… but doing what, exactly? I’m a freelance writer, I’m trying to launch a business, and also I want to travel alone. Would it really make our relationship stronger if I were to be tied down?

Ali Wundermanhttps://thenaturalist.org/
Ali Wunderman is a freelance travel writer and founder of the wildlife magazine, The Naturalist. You can find her jet setting around the globe in search of strange creatures, exploring her hometown of San Francisco, and on Twitter.


  1. I absolutely love this post, the traditional way is definitely not for everyone, and yes, of course there is life ‘outside the box’ …..
    now although not quite the same circumstances, I’m also female and happily married and also love to travel, often with a male friend ….. sometimes it might be the three of us, other times it’ll be just my friend and I ….. it feels the most natural thing in the world for us and suits us all as individuals and our way of life …. my husband chooses not to travel at times either because of work or just a natural desire for some quiet time at home to just do and be what he wants to be. When travelling, I can be gone for a week or three months ……sometimes we all travel together, the bond of trust and love between us has just grown so much with these experiences, yet sadly it causes such judgement from people who live more traditional lives ….. this style of life may be out of the comfort zone of many, yet for us it gives such adventures, new experiences, new challenges and an opportunity to expand our minds hearts and life in general …… I would just like to add that this is obviously not a generational problem as we are in our sixties and seventies ….. quite hilarious when you think it can still cause such a reaction ……
    So, I would say, continue your travels Ali as you and your husband are truly blessed to have such trust and love for each other, true love really is about letting your partner go and grow because it’s what life is all about, restricting a person is no guarantee to happiness, far from it :)) love and light to all xx

  2. I would totally want to travel solo when I am married. Of course I would want to travel with him as well but I don’t see the problem of travelling along when you’re in a loving relationship and you’re both in agreement that it’s okay. I would want my husband to feel free to travel alone too

  3. have been with my husband for almsot 28 years….seeing that my family lives out of state and I had a terminaly ill father who rec ently died..it was quite common for me to travel to see them alone …..everyone has their own life and their own decisions to make…just because you are married does not mean every aspect revolves on together -you are still indepedent…I have friends and interests he does not…as well as him….if you are open and honest and respectful and trust….you do what you need to do to make you happy…it is not always possible financially or physically to do everything together including travel…and now we are in the process of becoming full time rv’ers as we are now both retired so circumstances are better for us to travel together then when we both worked….quite honestly….relationships are individual to the parties involved and no one elses business…what works for some people may not work for others….and codependent relationships are not healthy and often over time lead to divorce…we are both very happy and continue to grow and evolve together as a couple…and one thing we both have in common in our shared traits is-neither one of us really cares what other people think about us or our relationship and what we do…perhaps if the “world” started minding their own business and concerned themeselves with their path in life-they might be happy as well…do what works for you,what makes you happy and the rest will follow…other people don’t pay your bills or live your life-you do

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