Why I Travel Without My Husband and Baby

Posted on May 31, 2017 by

I’m married and have a baby, and I travel solo. And that’s ok!

travel without husband and baby

I’m making my way around Tibet as we speak — but this time, I’m traveling without my husband Alberto and our two-year-old daughter. After spending the last three months traveling Southeast Asia with them, I’m sad to bid farewell, but it’s time to hit the road once again on my own.

This isn’t the first time I’m traveling without my husband or baby. In fact, since Kaleya was born two years ago, I’ve traveled both solo and with friends to Cape Verde, Ghana, Togo, Benin, the Faroe Islands, Latvia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Some of them were work assignments, others were just for the fun of it.

On each and every one of these trips, a barrage of questions would ensue when I told someone that I was traveling without my husband. It often resulted in wide eyes, puzzled looks, and endless questions. It usually got worse when I threw in the fact that I had a baby back at home.

Many people can’t seem to fathom why anyone who’s married and have a baby would travel solo. Some can’t understand how I find the time since I have a family, others wonder how any mother can bare to be away from their babies at such a young age (I started traveling when she was four-months-old.).

These are some of the questions I face most often when someone finds out I travel without my husband and baby.

travel without husband and baby

Why Doesn’t Your Husband Travel with You?

My husband Alberto loves to travel too, and I’ve traveled a lot with him: we’ve been to 80 odd countries together and have shared some truly epic travel experiences together.

But he’s got a job at home in Spain and so his vacations days are limited to 23 a year. We still travel at least four or five times a year with Kaleya these days, but I’m not going to wait around for him. With the flexibility of my job and the perks I get for being a travel blogger, I’m used to traveling at least 10 or 15 times a year.

Mind you, traveling without Alberto doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with our relationship. In fact, I believe that time apart strengthens our marriage and makes us appreciate each other more. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder.

Besides, I believe that marriage shouldn’t dissolve your individuality or halt your passions. We are individuals and we ought to lead our own lives, even when we’re married or have kids.

READ MORE: HOW BECOMING A MOTHER HAS NOT STOPPED ME FROM TRAVELING

Why Would Your Husband Let You Travel on Your Own?

I get really pissed off when I hear this sort of remark. And you’ll be surprised that I get it more common than you’d imagine. I’ve heard it most often in highly patriarchal countries, especially in Iran, where people seem to think that a wife always needs to be with her family.

Let’s be clear about one thing: I’m a grown up, I’m my own person and I make my own decisions. I don’t need anyone’s permission to travel, not my husband’s, nor my kid’s. I choose to travel because I want to and because it’s who I am.

Alberto knew this about me from day one and he’s always supported me in everything I do, whether it was pursuing travel blogging, or building a career in writing. He even left his job for two years so he could join me and travel the world full-time. But it turned out that he actually prefers having a home base and his stable job, that’s why we returned to Granada and settled down here.

travel without husband and baby

Don’t You Miss Your Baby?

I’m not going to lie — it’s hard, very hard, to be away from my baby. There are times when I would ask myself what I’m doing and why I would be anywhere other than by her side. There are times when I get so guilt stricken and I can’t help but feel like the worst mother in the world. Sometimes my heart aches when I think of Kaleya and I miss her terribly.

Most mothers I know can’t bear to leave their babies even for a day, especially not when they’re less than five years old. I absolutely understand and it can be painful to be away from your own child.

So why would I still travel if it’s that tough to be without her?

Feeling guilt and missing my baby are some of the sacrifices I have to make as a traveling mother. Good things in life don’t come easy — and if you want a life that is fulfilling and rewarding, then it comes with its challenges. 

Even before Kaleya came into our lives, I was globetrotting solo around the world to places like Antarctica, Bhutan, Brazil and Zimbabwe. So why does having a kid have to change that?! Traveling with a baby is fun and fulfilling and we do that a lot too (my 2-year-old daughter has already been to 15 countries on three continents) — but it isn’t quite the same as traveling solo.

Travel is my biggest passion in my life, in fact, travel IS my life. It’s my job, it’s my hobby, my everything. I cannot imagine a life without travel. Alberto understands this and while he may not like it when I’m away, he knows this is what I have to do.

travel without husband and baby

Who Is Looking After Your Baby?

I’m very lucky to have such a great husband who’s an awesome father. Not everyone has partners who are this involved in raising their kids. I also have great in-laws who are understanding and who are always happy to help.

When I was traveling in West Africa, the reactions of people were bordering on bewilderment when I told them my husband was taking care of our baby at home. Men (and women alike) there couldn’t understand how any other men was capable of taking care of a baby.

Societal norms still dictate that mothers stay at home and take care of children. People don’t seem to understand that the roles can be reversed and that fathers are just as capable of caring for their babies as mothers.

In fact, when Kaleya was just born, Alberto took on the parenting role so naturally that he taught me how to be a parent. I really think fathers aren’t getting the credit they deserve.

Mums Can Travel Too!

Traveling without my husband and baby gives me the opportunity to learn more about myself and get acquainted with a different side to me. It make me feel strong, independent and confident. I’m reminded that I’m not just a mother and wife, but also a self-reliant and brave individual with plenty of goals in life.

Ultimately, I won’t be the same person if I gave up my passion for traveling. I’ve always traveled, even before I met Alberto and had Kaleya. Travel helps me get more in touch with myself than anything else. If I ever stop traveling, I would lose myself and my identity.

I love travel almost as much as I love my family, and I don’t see why I need to choose one over the other. I believe you can be a mother and wife, and still travel.

So stop waiting around for your kids to grow up or your husband to have time off work — just go and explore. 

You’ll come back a better wife and mother, and most of all, a better person.

 

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

11 Responses to “Why I Travel Without My Husband and Baby”

  1. Lexi June 2, 2017 3:37 am #

    Girl, you are preaching to the choir. I’ve had a lot of experience leaving those you love because of my military experience. If I’m not being sent off to some random country because of my job, I’m using my vacation days to leave the country instead. That means leaving behind friends, family, and sometimes the dog. Half the time it means uprooting your “home” for a storage unit. It can be a lot.

    But the road is definitely worth it, and there’s a lot of benefit for going it alone. Its not only good for your soul to get away from life’s responsibilities, at times, but good for your concentration – your absorption. You can walk away from a place FEELING like you gave it your all because it could hold you full attention…. potentially meaning you spend even less time and funds there as well and get back to your family sooner, happier, and healthier.

    • Nellie Huang June 7, 2017 1:14 pm #

      Wise words! Thank YOU for sharing your thoughts! It feels so good to know that I’m not the only one out here. How true that deviating from life’s routine and responsbilities can be so great for your focus. I cannot agree more with that! I just got back from Tibet and it was just what I needed to feel like myself again, to shake off all the drained emotions I had, and to be rejuvenated to give my all again.

  2. Natasha Amar June 4, 2017 10:03 am #

    Yes yes and hell yes! I’m married too and I’ve been traveling solo a lot after getting married just as I was before- it’s such a huge part of who I am that I cannot and will not stop. I’m not ready for a baby just yet but know that when I will be a mom, I’ll be just like you, still holding on to who I am as a person than losing that in my relationships as a mother or wife. Though I can’t imagine that will be easy because society thinks that all wives and mothers need to follow a set of rules and expectations and just about anyone is ready to dole it out to us. But it’s going to be so worth it ;) thank you for being an inspiration!

    • Nellie Huang June 7, 2017 1:07 pm #

      Aww thank you! So awesome to hear that my words resonate with you! Yes it’s not easy because of society norms, but even more so from the stress of being apart from your baby. But it’s so worth it. I will see you on the road!

  3. Tamara Fraser June 5, 2017 2:15 am #

    Well said Nellie. I gave up traveling for years after I had children but I found I lost myself amongst all the business of being a wife and mother. It feels good to travel again and remember who I am and that I have an identity outside my family and they love me for it. Thanks for your encouragement. I love hearing about your adventures!

    • Nellie Huang June 7, 2017 1:05 pm #

      hey Tamara, so good to see you here! I’m so glad that you came on the trip, I hope it’s kicked your wanderlust into high gear and that you will start traveling more. I’m counting down to our next trip together. :)

  4. Lillie June 11, 2017 1:24 pm #

    YESSS!!! These questions and answers are SPOT ON!

    • Nellie Huang June 12, 2017 4:20 pm #

      Thank you!!! Glad to see you share the same thoughts Lillie!

  5. Abby June 30, 2017 11:11 pm #

    Good for you! So many women are afraid to do what’s right for them when it’s not in the traditional path. You’re absolutely doing the right thing by taking the time to care for yourself and to nuture your passions, and your daughter will respect you for it as she gets older.

  6. Malue August 7, 2017 12:13 am #

    Very well written, and so encouraging for all the frustrated mothers out there in the world that just need to get away from every day life in order to find themselves again! Thank you! My own dream is to travel solo for a month to California, – maybe one day…😉

  7. Denis August 29, 2017 8:59 am #

    Interesting article, reconciling passion with personal life priorities is certainly the most challenging task all of us face, great to see you’ve been able to find your equilibrium while travelling!

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