When Two Becomes One: Breaking Up and Traveling Alone Again

We broke up.

I invested 9 months of my life in a relationship with a person who is not who I thought he was. I changed my travel plans, lived in a city I’m not crazy about for way too long, and invested my heart and my time.

In return, I was profoundly betrayed.

I’m furious beyond the point of comprehension, I’m wounded to the core of my soul, and…

I’m excited.

How can I be excited at the same time that I’m enraged and dejected?

Because now I get to do whatever I want – again. There’s no one to consult, consider, or think about before I make a decision. It’s all about me. Jasmine living life on Jasmine’s terms, not anyone else’s.

Does that sound selfish? Maybe to you, but to me it is the essence of freedom. I can live it up in vacation home rentals in Spain, check out an eco retreat in the Caribbean, or chase snakes in the Amazon. It’s my decision. I decide, not anyone else.

free

free

In the how we met post, I talked about how love is not really my expertise and how I don’t have much experience with relationships. I’ve been traveling full time for 3 of the past 3½ years and have met only a handful of people who share my nomadic lifestyle. Getting shacked up with some static non-traveler, popping out a few babies and signing up as a wage slave is my idea of hell. I had half written off the idea of finding a life partner, instead accepting my fate as a nomad without a tribe.

Then I fell in love. With a non-traveler. I weighed my options carefully and at every step of the way. At some point I had to ask myself – which is more important, my love of travel or what could possibly be the love of my life?

In the end, I chose love. I told myself that love is worth the sacrifice, that travel is always an option but that I could never live with the “what if” plague forever, and that I had to see where this could go.

What did I know?

I suffered for my decision. I moved in with the family, I worked most of the day, and revolved my life around one person. I felt my inspiration and creativity diminishing and the resentment and feeling of constriction growing exponentially.

I felt like a smaller person.

That’s why I’m excited. I’m free again. I have no more social obligations to consider (intensified by the fact that I lived with his family) nor self or externally imposed limits to stop me.

I’m excited to get to know myself again, to thrive, to evolve. To focus on establishing myself as a writer. To exploring new regions of the world, making new friends, and doing what I am most passionate about in this world – travel.

Freedom is a beautiful thing.

  • Onebutterfly4us

    and so it is my beautiful friend.

  • http://www.foggodyssey.com/ Anonymous

    funny but related to this post in to many ways.  Living with my girlfriends family in Ecuador for 6 months, thought it was what i wanted and in the end knew we both were just holding onto something that wasn’t going to be happy for us both.  Was why I didn’t write anything on my blog for 10 months bc i said the hell with everything and went out and tried to just have fun (which Colombia was a great place for that).  I to agree that maybe my lifestyle just isn’t compatible with with 99.98% of most people out there, bc settling down and getting a boring job just to be in a relationship would kill me.

    Enjoy the new freedom Big Boss and just don’t pull a T-roy and stop writing though (that I would hate to see)! :)

  • http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com Nora

    You go girl! I’m glad you’ve put a positive spin on your situation. And I’m sure the relationship itself had good times as well…there’s probably a bunch of really good experiences in there that are critical to who you have become. That’s how I tend to reflect on my relationships (at least, after initial pangs of bitterness – if applicable – subside)!  

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    Thanks for sharing your experience. You’re right, Colombia is a great place to have fun, especially Medellin, that’s why I came here directly after the breakup!

    I always wondered why you stopped writing for so long…

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    You’re right, though all I see is red right now… which I’m grateful for because it’s helping me keep my distance in the most sensitive time period after the end. Hopefully like you said I’ll be able to take a step back and see things from a more neutral perspective.

  • http://www.binaryelysium.com Casey

    I would say sorry, but it sounds like congratulations are in order. I’m sure you’ll harness your anger and frustration as fuel for whatever adventure comes your way next.

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    Thanks Casey… let’s hope that’s the case :)

  • Ed Herzog

    I´m reminded of something I recently read in Sam Keen´s book Fire in the Belly.  (the book is for men which explains the language but I think it can apply to women also)  Anyway, he says that there are two questions that a man needs to answer in his life 1) Where is he going 2) Who´s going with him.  He goes on to say that if you try to answer the second question first, it will mess you up.  Sounds like you´re getting the questions in the right order!  Best wishes on future adventures!!!

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    That’s deep… very succinct but deep. I think I tried to answer the second question first and it did mess me up. Thanks for the book recommendation :)

  • Osagephantom

    Congrats on being free again! You’re blog is an interesting inspiration to me, keep up the good work.

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    Thanks :)

  • http://twitter.com/thecandytrail MichaelRobertPowell

    Greetings from China. Freedom works for me. But yeah, that ideal partner shattered and then heart-break, is the worst thing for us lone travelers when we know that we want someone but never seem to find them … Believe me, been there many times across the world (last time was in Mexico in 2009). Anyway, you’ve got much going for you Jasmine and whether you are partnered or alone, time & the road will soothe your way. 

    Regards – Michael Robert Powell | the candy trail … a nomad across the planet, since 1988

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    I’m sure you can relate after so much time on the road… and you’re right, a bit of time and distance has done wonders in the healing process. I may not have anyone but I will always have the road.

  • http://www.vagabondjourney.com Vagabond Journey Travel

    Yes, finding a partner to live and travel with is very, very, very difficult. Before getting married I had  many partners who I traveled with full time. It is really difficult, and I pretty much gave up on the idea until I happened to get with Chaya — who is unbelievably understanding and tolerant (there is something wrong with her). I always say this, for a relationship to work it needs Love, Compatibility, and Circumstance. Love is the easy part, a human can fall in love with an old boot if they had the desire. Compatibility — meaning, do you get along, find each other interesting, have the basic mechanics of character to make it work — is a little more difficult. Circumstance — are you going the same way — this is perhaps the most difficult, especially when traveling. If any of these elements is missing in a relationship it is just not going to work. 

    I have also found it very difficult to maintain a relationship long term in the travel context. The basic logistics of the lifestyle — ALWAYS being together, not having a lasting support network of friends to bitch to, seek advice from, and not having the proper distance is a set up for break up. Long term travel is perhaps the prime litmus test for a relationship.

    But add to all this the fact that you were in a multi-cultural relationship, and, man, you were in challenging circumstances all the way around! 

    I am sorry to hear this, but don’t feel bad, Jasmine, you went in for something that is very hard to pull off for a long time under somewhat extreme circumstances. Looking forward to hearing of your solo adventures again!  

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    I like that breakdown Wade… you could work as a traveling relationship counselor! :)

    Challenging circumstances is an understatement! The multicultural aspect was definitely an obstacle in many ways.

    But I don’t mind a challenge – after all, how many of us are traveling like nomads? :)

  • None

    Selfish much? I hope traveling can provide all the support and love a person can. Find the right person to love you its one an a million. Give up the one you love for something so selfish and stupid. That’s why I know that traveling is best when both people are retired and have no responsabilities.

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    What does love and support count for if you’re not fulfilling your dreams and finding your own happiness? I’m no expert at romance or life, but it sounds pretty unhealthy to me to rely on someone else to fulfill you.

  • Chrysyl

    While I can completely relate to how you feel, that exhilaration of not having anybody or anything else to consider about what to do with your life, I will also say that when I was in love, and during the time that I chose love over everything else, that though it didn’t last they were the best moments of my life and I would do it all over again. I think the key to those of us who are afraid to be tied down is to embrace life as it is, that there are times when you will meet someone worth being still for and to enjoy that part of your life as you feel it is right and that there will be times that moving along on your own is the best thing to do. 

    Love is a beautiful thing. People come and people will go, the most important thing is to make the moments count. I think the same goes for family, friends and lovers. It’s never easy, especially for those who don’t necessarily think that finding Prince Charming is the end of the story. It is neither selfish nor wrong to follow your heart. Sometimes your heart will belong to another person, sometimes your heart will belong to the road. 

  • http://dev.jasminewanders.com Jasmine Stephenson

    Thanks for sharing your sentiments. You’re right, in retrospect I think sometimes you have to make sacrifices for love and other times you’ll have to do the same for your life’s passion.

  • DT33445

    I realize it has been quite a while that you have been out of your relationship, but you may enjoy the way a similar event was handled by Fanny Lu, an Engineer from Cali, Colombia who is my favorite singer because, like Madonna, I can understand her words. There are actually many blondes in Cali. I do not recommend Cali for you because it is an industrial city with little for tourists although you might enjoy going for a ride with my motorcycle club there. I am sure that many members would enjoy you riding behind them, and they could lend you a helmet. Colombians who have Harleys for Sunday toys are likely to own private jets as well. Here is a link to her very funny Youtube video, “Tú no eres para mi”. It may be blocked in Colombia for copyright reasons, but works here in Florida.
    youtube.com/watch?v=d_kjdCYC_o0&feature=related