The Importance of Personal Time

By Nomadic Matt | Published April 29th, 2011

having some me timeThis is a guest post by Elise, one half of Positive World Travel.

I’m going to be selfish for this post. I’m going to write about me. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with the details of my favorite food, hobbies, or shoe size. Instead, I’m going to talk about why taking some time out from being a couple can be a good thing when you travel. Yes, I’m talking about that popular catchphrase, “me time.”

Last month, when Anthony wrote about traveling as a couple, he spoke from the heart and really hit the nail on the head as to what couples travel is all about. It’s about the experiences and memories that you create together, and it’s about being a unit and sharing your adventures.

While all that is true, I thought it was important to mention that while having a successful relationship on the road does stem from compromise, communication, and understanding, another important factor is taking the time to do things that are just for you.

Without trying to sound too much like a TV talk show host and shouting, “Go on, girl! You deserve it! Let it be all about YOU! Do it for yourself!” I do believe it’s true that doing things for yourself can lead to twice as many benefits for a couple. Being selfish every once in a while can be a good thing.

Why is “me time” important for my relationship?

Life on the road is different from life back home. Regular routines or structure are things of the past. You have to work, communicate, and solve problems together while navigating new surroundings frequently. While Ant and I do most things together, we have days when we need our own space. Sometimes we just need to do our own thing, whether sitting on the beach with our iPod or off doing a hike alone.

having some me time

Ant got the chance to go spear fishing the other day, which left me alone all day to do as I pleased. Was I bored? Did I get lonely? No, I spent the day pampering myself! I washed my hair, gave myself a nice mani and pedi, and then lost myself in a good novel. I even went out to a local store and stocked up on chocolate.

Taking time away from your partner and doing what you want for yourself gives you time to relax and recharge, which only helps your relationship. You’ve done your own thing, so now you can be ready to listen, compromise, and be a loving partner with even more confidence.

I think some arguments that Ant and I have had simply happened because we didn’t have enough separate space. Everyone needs their own personal space. Taking some time to go off exploring on your own, reading a book, or doing an activity can really solve some problems before they even begin to bubble at the surface.

Furthermore, “me time” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “alone time.” It can quite often mean hanging out with fellow travelers, and it can be a great chance to socialize with others and let you and your partner interact in different environments.

having some me time

While Ant and I really do love and enjoy each other’s company, we also enjoy meeting other people from all over the world. Quite often we will have a few drinks with other travelers and barely speak to each other the whole night. We get lost in other people’s stories.

Taking time for yourself is such a good thing, but what makes “me time” even more enjoyable is being able to recount your day. The day after Ant returned from spear fishing, it felt like we hadn’t seen each other in ages! We were so excited to chat about what we had done! We chatted and laughed about our adventures that night over a bottle of wine and some freshly grilled fish that Ant had caught. It was just as exciting as when we go out and do something together, and it helped keep the energy and excitement in our relationship going.

Don’t be afraid to ask your partner if you can do your own thing for a while. Chances are they will want to too!

Elise completes the couple that is Positive World Travel and enjoys sharing her adventures with Anthony. She will be contributing more of her own thoughts and feelings on why couples travel is just so special. To follow Elise & Anthony on their continuous journey, head to their website or join their community on Facebook.

Want to learn more about relationships on the road? Check out these links:
The Challenges of Keeping a Relationship on the Road
Love and Romance on the Road: Can it Work?

comments 13 Comments

So true Matt….I find that even short times away can recharge a couple who might be needing “me time.” For example, we were recently in New York and I went down the street to get us some cheesecake. I was only gone 15 minutes, but the feeling of being out in the city alone gave me a needed boost.

Thanks for your comment, although I wrote the article, not Matt! :P
I totally agree with you though, having some time to yourself is always a good thing-no matter how much you love your partner! Getting cheesecake sounds like a great excuse to have some me time…alhough I’m not sure- if that was me who went out to get the cheese cake- that there would be any left by the time I took it back to Ant!

Excellent post Elise. We totally get where you are coming from. And we firmly believe it 100%. We regularly take time for ourselves.

We took it to an extreme last summer and were apart for 2 months (me being in Ecuador while Dalene had to return back to Canada to deal with some family stuff) and that we will NEVER do again. Too long and too hard. But we are not afraid to take a few day or hours excursions on our own if one doesn’t want to. We think it’s perfectly healthy.

If we didn’t we would be at each other’s throats. And we are not afraid to tell one another that we need it. It certainly makes us appreciate the time together more if we have had the personal *me space* time.

Glad you agree Pete.
I don’t think I could have done 2 months-too hard like you said, but definitely a few hours every once in a while doesn’t hurt. Quite often (espcially when we are the beach) Ant will go off for a walk and a bit of an explore while I am perfectly content in just reading my book on the beach.

I also think it is important that you shouldn’t have to worry about telling your partner that you need some time to yourself. You really do need it and like I said, I think the arguments that we’ve had-many of them could have been resolved if we just had had our own space a little sooner.

Thanks for the kind words about the article too!

:) The same happens notonly when you travel with your partner, but any person, including an unknown fellow traveler who does a day trip with you … One still needs his own time every day :)

This is definitely key when traveling together for extended periods of time. Hell, the same could be said of couples living together while *not* traveling – “me time” is important in any relationship!

Kelsey, couldn’t agree more with you! Even when you are not travelling you always need some time out to yourself or just with friends etc. I think it all just gets heightened when you are away together, because most of the time it is just the two of you.

too true – and even kids need their own time. that’s one of the reasons we rent houses, when we slow travel – room for everyone to have their own space! great article.

dafunny1

Elise,

I am going to be selfish with this comment. My favorite food is chinese, I enjoy golf and traveling and my shoes size is a 12…lol

I agree with your blog 100%….

Look forward to reading more of your stuff..

-dafunny1-

i had a blast travelling with my partner, sean for 18 days in vietnam (last month). i think either you’re travelling or not, you still need “me time” from your partner. and it does wonders!

there are times i feel released and free when i go for my morning walk alone while sean was still in bed (he’s not much of a morning person). and he had his “me time” too. i guess its good when you’re doing your own things once in awhile after being 24/7 with that person.

Hey Ayu,

i totally agree with you, that whether you are travelling or not, me time is always needed in a relationship!
Ant was much like you and went and did his own thing in the mornings ( i need my beauty sleep!) and I love it when I can go out and do my own thing too.

i think you know you have a great relationship when both you and your partner are fine with having your own space and respecting that.

Glad you enjoyed the article!
Vietnam is such a great country-we were there for 3 months and i think it is one of my favourite countries in all of my travels!!

Good reminder. We were definitely more conscious of this in the beginning of our trip, but have managed to let it slip by from time to time. I recently took a cooking class for 4 days to give my husband a few days to himself to write – I’m a classic extrovert and crave social situations, he’s a classic introvert and needs time alone to feel rejuvenated. It was really good for us.

I believe this goes for everyone that travels together, not only couples.

My favorite food is Italian, I love wine and traveling and my shoes size is a 9!

Good travels!
-Sowayfarer

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