Travel Has Killed My Love Life

I wish I could say that making travel one of my top priorities in life has been easy, but it hasn’t always.

I am sure that many people who read this post will disagree with me, and that is fine; but in my experience, making travel a top priority just cannot come without other sacrifices. Such sacrifices can present in many forms, including money, stability, career, family, love and more.

I have written before about juggling the two passions in my life – midwifery and travel – and though it is hard, when considering only those two particular passions, I think that I have managed to carve out a fairly balanced life for myself. My time is distributed fairly evenly between both catching babies and planes. I spend half the year up to my elbows in amniotic fluid and the other half unable to close my purse because it has become too full of old boarding passes. It’s busy, it’s insane and it’s hard work, but it certainly isn’t a bad way to live.

However, when I look at my life on a larger scale, I have to admit, being so focused on these two areas of my existence has resulted in a few other parts becoming casualties along the way; and this is especially true when it comes to my love life.

Captured at a glacier not far from Reykjavik with a Nikon Coolpix S31
Captured on a glacier not far from Reykjavik with a Nikon Coolpix S31

Describing my love life as a train-wreck would be one of the biggest understatements of the year.

So can I completely blame travelling for my lack of a normal love life?

As much as I would like to say ‘yes’, that would not be completely true. There are numerous things that contribute to me being a failure in the relationship department.

I am not great at compromise. I am so used to being on my own that my independence has driven people away. Special shout out to the guy who dumped me because – and this is a direct quote – “you are so independent that it makes me feel emasculated”. I am always choosing the wrong people and I find it really hard to fall in love.

However, despite travel not being the sole cause of my ‘more often than not single’ status, it definitely plays a role.

Meeting someone is really hard when you travel and work as much as I do. I work mostly night shifts and when I am on nights, I sleep all day long. When I am not working, I am travelling. On the rare occasions when I am not working or travelling, I am writing, editing photos, answering emails, planning upcoming adventures and catching up on The Walking Dead.

Even if I do manage to meet someone, then I have to deal with the fact that dating me, well, it kinda sucks.

I am never around. I get bored easily. When I say I want to travel, 9 times out of 10 I want to do it on my own and not with whoever I am dating. I work really weird hours. I might meet someone wonderful only to find out that they want completely different things in life, and I refuse to compromise, even just a little bit. I am endlessly stubborn and at the end of the day, I am always thinking about my next adventure instead of my significant other. Always.

It’s not that I’m cold, it’s just that there are other things in my life that mean so much more to me.

For the most part, spending a life alone suits me. I need alone time more than I need ‘people time’ and I really do enjoy my own company. I almost never feel lonely and I have never, not once, found myself truly longing for a ‘normal’ love life.

That being said, it can be hard to watch everyone around you hit all these stereotypical milestones. My friends seem to all be suddenly in relationships with the people they will most likely marry, or they are getting engaged or actually are already getting married. They are moving in with their partners, they are buying houses, they are getting puppies and they are even having babies.

My friends are doing all the things that society expects them to do, and despite loving the path I have chosen, it is hard not to feel a little bit like I am getting left behind.


But, even though I do feel like I am getting a bit left behind sometimes, and despite having some days where I do find myself cuddling a baby at work and thinking that maybe I could want one of my own, such a life just wouldn’t suit me.

As much as I love being in love – I’ve never met someone who I loved enough to make them a higher priority than adventures. It is possible that I have not yet met the right person, but I think it is more likely that seeing the world is so important to me that I will never meet someone who trumps travel. Though that may not sound ideal for everyone, I am okay with it.

At the end of the day, travel may have killed my love life, but it has given me a love of adventure, a passion for exploring and a life that is endlessly exciting. For that, sacrificing a normal love life might just be worth it.

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30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

99 thoughts on “Travel Has Killed My Love Life

  1. While I do not travel as much as you do (or even as much as I’d like) I do travel more than most of the people in my circle of peeps and it’s the same thing-they have these milestones and I have travel tales. It’s always a give and take and you’re so right-you gotta focus on what you have and what makes you happy. Sure it sounds super over stated and simple, but the truth is the truth is the truth.

  2. Ellen, you’re being too hard on yourself. You’re in your twenties. You’re still becoming the person you’re going to be. And you can’t say where you’ll be in five years, or 10 years — or who you’ll meet along the way. What I can tell you, as someone who has lived on his own for a very long time, is that feeling you sometimes have that you’re missing out on that normal life your friends are living is that feeling never…goes…away. All the best.

  3. I love what you’d written here, I can’t help myself but to leave a comment. I am much more like you, but don’t loose hope. Just enjoy what you have at the moment and you’ll find love in company.

  4. Everything worthwhile costs something. I remember, when I started my own wandering and writing life, seeing a poster that read, “Happy are those who are willing to pay the price for their dreams.” It’s true — and why dreams prove elusive for so many. No sacrifice, no dreams. Or, as a wise friend said to me once very early in my career, “You can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.” The trick is finding a dream that is worth the cost. And it’s not just travel that has a cost. Relationships cost a lot, too. There are sacrifices involved in commitment of any sort. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t the possibility of changing direction at some point, if you find someone who is worth more than the open road. Hasn’t happened for me, but I know it has for many. Independence can wear thin. But rejoice in where you are now. And if it’s ever not worth the price, remember that it’s okay to change.

    Oh — and thanks for visiting my Midwest Maize blog. There are adventures everywhere. Cynthia

  5. well I would say the most important thing is that you follow your heart and follow your passion. Living with someone is not for everyone. A lot of people prefer to be single and maintain their total independence, there’s absolutely no wrong in that. I can say though, for more than 5 years all I did was work and travel (mostly for work too) quite a lot and it wasn’t always easy for my other half to cope with it. A lot of couples give up or they end up living with someone with a similar life style. It’s a real relationship breaker. Looking forward to see your new adventures 🙂

  6. Wow! This was a very interesting post. First off I would like to say very inspiring! You are so brave to follow what you are truly passionate about =) I would love to travel all over but I am too afraid of the unknown & risks. Also good on you for being comfortable by yourself. I hope all works for the best for you

  7. So great to read this. I was married for a bit, in a seven year relationship that, had I stayed in it, would have severely limited, if not completely ended how I wanted to live in travel. I read Eat Pray Love towards the end of that part of my life, and it may have been a catalyst in helping me realize I didn’t have to be married, and wanting to see the world instead of that wasn’t completely bizarre. Now I am single, have been for years, and I wouldn’t go back to living in that constant state of compromise for anything. Maybe I am selfish to always want to do things the way I want to do them, but I’m happy and selfish, and not a bit lonely to be honest! Planning a trip to Japan right now and I’m sourcing your blog, so thanks!

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