Dear Woman on the Road,

Not everyone who travels solo is single. Some of us have relationships back home, significant others who either can't or won't travel with us. An urge to see the world doesn't mean we have to break up or get a divorce. Plenty of couples survive solo travel - it just takes a bit of work.

I wouldn't go on a solo round-the-world trip if my relationship were brand new or in its early stages. But if you've decided your relationship is strong in trust and support and can definitely survive some time apart, then these 7 Things to Consider if You're Leaving Your Partner Behind When You Travel may come in handy.

Women on the Road News: Contents for Issue #12

  • If you like this site - please vote for it!
  • 7 Things to Consider if You're Leaving Your Partner Behind When You Travel
  • What's New on the Website
  • Travel News from Across the Web
  • Cause of the Month: Sexual Violence and Rebellion in the Congo

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7 Things to Consider if You're Leaving Your Partner Behind When You Travel

Distance makes the heart grow fonder - sometimes. Distance affects relationships in different ways. If you want yours to remain as strong as possible while you're away, here are some things you might consider doing.

1. Talk, talk - and talk.
Before you even think of going, make sure you've come to some kind of agreement with your partner about the trip: its length, general destination, and the nature of your commitment to one another while you're away. If you start from different understandings, there will inevitably be trouble. Dispel your partner's fears by communicating openly and answering every question.

2. Make sure your stuff is in order.
Sort your bills, organize your papers - make sure your partner won't have to deal with your mountains of mess before you go. Understanding and support can wear thin when faced with piles of someone else's paperwork - no matter how close.

3. Make sure your partner has a plan.
Just because your partner is staying home while you're off doing something extraordinary shouldn't mean the one staying home should be bored. On the contrary, why not help your partner achieve his or her dream while you're away? Perhaps it's finishing a degree, learning a language, taking the time to become an artist or producing a documentary. Whatever it is, encourage and support that dream. That way, when your trip is over, you'll both have achieved something special.

4. Split the trip.
You can compromise on length. Want to travel for a year? If your partner balks, settle on six months. Or split the trip in two. Hit the road, and come home halfway through. It's expensive, but what's money when love's at stake?

5. Stay in touch. A lot.
A no-brainer perhaps, but you'd be surprised at how often this is overlooked. You're on the road, drinking in new sights, sounds and smells - and home seems so far away. Meantime, your significant other continues the daily grind. You need to stay in touch - often. These days, that's not hard, with email and by phone, of course, but also with Instant Messaging, with your Facebook page, and best of all, with Skype or other online talking services.

6. Make definite plans for your return.
It's a lot to ask your partner to accept an 'open-ended' trip, however much you might want one - unless of course your partner is the rare type of person who can handle that level of uncertainty. Having a date of return will give you both something to aim for. Don't just pick a date - plan something truly sensational for your homecoming. Perhaps a long weekend away together, or a party with close friends and family, or...

7. Prepare for change.
Of course you will have changed, both of you. Even if you're only gone a month, you'll have seen and experienced things your partner will not have. It's inevitable - so be prepared for it. Be patient, and be understanding. Remember - you're the one who went away, so be prepared to make a few compromises when you return. It may take you time to 'click' back into your everyday life - and your partner will be used to living alone. Readjustment could take some time.

What's New on the Website

Travel Interviews
This month Women on the Road inaugurates a new section on interviews with women travel writers. Don't forget to send in your suggestions: whom should we interview next?

Travel Betty, young, brash and sassy
Truelifeplanet, or the life of a volunteer
Hilary Bradt Interview - writer, publisher or adventurer?
Beth Whitman - of Wanderlust and Lipstick fame
Lisa Lubin - from television producer to world traveler
Go Green Travel Green - travels if you care about the environment
The Nerdy Nomad - paying your way on the road

Solo Dining
How to eat alone on the road withing cringeing every time.

Travel Burnout
How to avoid it, and what to do if it strikes.

International Drivers Licence
Driving abroad? You'll need to cope with plenty of new rules and regulations, and might need an international drivers licence too.

Cultural Etiquette
The world is full of both wondrous and perplexing habits... find out how to navigate different cultures.

Travel News From Across the Web

The 10 best destinations for 2009

What's Under You?

World's Top 10 Good Luck Monuments

The Orient Express - Again

Antarctica Threatened by Tourism

US Government Twitters for Travelers

5 Things a Post Office Can Tell You About a Country

101 Free Things To Do in Australia

10 Most Influential Spiritual Books of the Past 50 Years - at least for one author!

Kashmir Gets Its First Train Service

Eight Women from Eight Countries to Meet at the South Pole

And last but not least... How would you like to win a (land portion) two-week trip in the Andes from Intrepid Travel? Find out more from Beth Whitman at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Cause of the Month: Rebellion in the DRC

Aid workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are moving out of Goma in the province of North Kivu as rebels advance and tens of thousands flee, joining a million other displaced men, women and children.

Fighting has broken out after a January ceasefire around a combination of mineral wealth and racial fighting (Hutu versus Tutsi).

One of the most dramatic manifestations of the fighting in DRC is sexual violence of an intensity rarely reported before, even in a conflict situation. Throughout the war-torn region, women and girls face constant threat from rape as a tool of war.

“I think it is more a desire to destroy rather than getting any pleasure out of this act,” said Angela Kishabagasifa of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). “It’s not about destroying an enemy. It’s about destroying women.”

Congo's rape crisis is considered the worst in the world - and must be stopped. Not only are the numbers huge, but the extreme brutality used against women and children is sickening.

If you'd like to find out more:

Oxfam's DRC Emergency Appeal

Human Rights Watch

The Independent

Next Month?

Volunteering to Save the Planet

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Happy travels! Leyla