For many, life as a military spouse means a lot of time alone. I often joke that between training exercises, courses, and deployments, it’s more normal for my husband and I to be separated than together. Fortunately, I’m introverted by nature and very comfortable with doing things alone—whether that’s going to see a movie or traveling across the world for a solo vacation. Here are my tips to help you embrace solo adventures as a military spouse.
TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME
This is a big one. If you want to dip your toes in and try solo adventures, start small and gradually build your confidence and experience from there. This way, it’s more likely to be positive and enjoyable because if you jump in headfirst it can be overwhelming.
It’s a good idea to start with day trips, then move to overnight, weekend, and longer trips. Think about local outings you could take in your area to help you get comfortable with the feeling of adventuring alone. It could be a visit to a nearby town, national park, hike, or festival. If the thought of doing this seems extra intimidating, you can even start with something as simple as a dinner, movie, or coffee alone. The main goal is to start small and gradually build as you gain confidence.
PUT YOUR SAFETY FIRST
With any solo adventure, it’s important to be very proactive about your personal safety. Tell someone where you are going and when they can expect to hear from you, keep your belongings close to you, and be vigilant of your surroundings. If you will be spending time outdoors, it’s always important to check the weather forecast and stick to your limits.
These are all common-sense safety tips, but they are especially important when you will be on your own. You can find a more detailed guide on my blog.
REMEMBER THAT SELF-CARE IS IMPORTANT
One common theme I have noticed when talking to other military spouses about solo travel or outings, is that they are apprehensive because it feels selfish to be enjoying themselves while their spouse is away working. The life of a military spouse can sometimes feel like a life of service to the needs of your partner’s job, but it’s important to remember that you are entitled to a fulfilling life as well. Give yourself permission to put yourself first for once. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
It can also be helpful to ask yourself if you think your spouse would prefer for you to be home alone and miserable, or out experiencing life. I’d hazard a guess that most wouldn’t want their spouses home alone, counting down days.
FOCUS ON THINGS YOU ENJOY
Your solo adventures are a great opportunity to do things you love to do that perhaps your spouse isn’t as interested in. There are some destinations that I’m far more interested in visiting than my husband is, so I keep those for my solo adventures. But, even if it’s not travel related, it could be something as simple as going to local markets or watching a movie you’d like more than your partner. Whatever it is, this is your time to focus on your interests and needs.
DON’T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF
Lastly, remember to give yourself some grace. Things are going to go wrong at times. I’ve had just about everything from walking around completely lost in Marrakech, to endometriosis flare-ups while hiking, to missed flights. It’s all part of the process. When things go wrong, before you stress too much, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can handle whatever is in front of you.
If you’re open to it, every experience is there to make you stronger, smarter, and more confident. I hope these tips can help you to embrace some solo adventures and make the most of the inevitable alone time that comes with being a military spouse.
Katie McIntosh is a solo female travel blogger determined not to let a chronic disease hold her back from living life to the fullest. Visit The Katie Show Blog for travel guides and tips to help you plan your own adventures and join her Facebook group for weekly live videos.