• Ankita Mahabir

Opinion Piece: Being Married & Travelling Solo

Updated: Jun 21, 2018

Marriage, wanderlust and independent personalities - what sort of a recipe do these ingredients create? A deeply personal piece.

A view for two in Cape Reinga, New Zealand

Find the sort of person who encourages you to soar – without exception, without conditions. The one who motivates you to follow every single dream no matter how tiny, massive and crazy. The one who doesn’t judge you during your worst moments and celebrates your best ones to the fullest. The one who makes it a point to tell you how proud they are of you – not just of what you look like, wear or say but who you inherently are. The one who doesn’t take your achievements as a personal affront or threat. The one who realises that love and relationships aren’t fairytales but tangible things that need to be worked upon.

Find the person who makes your heart soar

To be with a man who offers support selflessly has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. He hears out every single vision and adventurous plan I have, helps me organise my thoughts and then encourages me to chase after them with abandon. He makes me step out of my comfort zone and holds my hand when I panic.

When I get back to bed late in the night my head buzzing with frenzied ideas, he often does this thing – no matter what the time… where even though he’s half asleep his arms reach out and envelop me. To me, that tiny gesture is the most comforting and calming thing in the world.

Remote pitstops in Talala, Sri Lanka

Life with Jon has been the most incredible adventure – we’ve hopped continents, lived in multiple countries, overcome external cultural bias’, lived apart, lived together – been there, done that and yet there is so much more to do.

The beginning of our relationship started with 2 – almost 3 years apart and every time he left, my heart would drop to the pit of my stomach because I didn’t know when I’d see him again. I know that feeling so well because you see, the heart is a muscle and it remembers. Even though we’re no longer in that situation – every time he leaves or I leave, my heart still goes through the same old motions – it clenches, twists and then drags itself down to the bottom of my belly. I cry – not just a few tears, I’m talking proper sobs – every single time. It’s a real, very physical feeling of heartbreak that refuses to disappear. My brain sends messages of logic to my heart but the heart is a muscle and it remembers.

Without him, I feel unsettled. As someone who chooses to constantly be on the move my concept of home is only one – him. Without him, I am untethered – floating weightless in an endless ocean of people, places and ideas.

Exploring new places, Athens, Greece

But here is where things get interesting: we both have very different ideas about travel and we’re both fiercely independent. I love the mountains and him the ocean, I work on projects in India and him in Australia so we often choose to do things separately and then find our way back to one another. I’m not talking a few days or weeks away, I’m talking months at a time. And despite my dastardly clenched heart, when I’m at the end of a solo hike or when I am exploring a new place that takes my breath away – I have zero regrets. And I know when he’s off surfing the best waves of his life he has none either. When we make our way back to each other – we’re always the best versions of ourselves. Two individuals who haven’t been held back by what society thinks a marriage should be and who’ve followed their passions and their heart 100%. It’s no wonder that after 7 years of being together things still feel brand new.

Yesterday, 2 weeks after our 2nd wedding anniversary, we said goodbye again and we’re off in different directions. My heart rests in my belly and as I sit mid-air 30,000 ft above the ground, I’m writing to cope. When I’m at that mountain, I know I will breathe easy a little bit more because while the heart is a muscle and it remembers, I’ve also taught it to travel, soar & explore.

Hiking solo in Slovenia

NOTE: This article was also published on Huffington Post

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