From 2 to 1 – the conversion to a solo traveller

(This post is 2 days late behind schedule. By the time it’s published, we’ll already be in separate countries.)

Tomorrow we’ll be on a plane leaving Morocco. Separate planes that is: I’ll be heading towards Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while Jack will be on a much shorter flight to Paris.

Yup, Jack and Jill are splitting ways.


No worries, I meant that solely in our travels.

I’ve mentioned the reason on our Facebook page, but in short, Jack needs a reliable Internet for his work, and we were unable to find a place that fits his requirements and will also let me in without a visa (or at least without making us go through fiery hoops in order to get one).

So I’ll be traveling by myself in Ethiopia

This kind of sucks. We have always traveled together for the past 8 years. This will take some getting used to.

I am worried about the mundane stuff that I will, all of a sudden, have to start doing myself. Stuff I had never had to worry about before. Ever.

For example, in the past 7 months of traveling together as a couple I had never had to pay any bills whether it’s hotel, restaurant or taxi, I had never taken money out of ATM. I didn’t even hold my own passport. I had never had to worry about backing up photos, running around looking for hotels, or being the spoke person in confrontations. See, Jack took care of all that.

Furthermore, I’m nervous how I’ll like (or not like) this different traveling experience.

I will have no one to share my inappropriate jokes with and I’ll have no arm to grab when spotting something interesting. In short, I’m afraid I’d get lonely.

But others seem to enjoy this whole solo travel thing just fine, so maybe there’s something to it.

I intend to find out.

It won’t be easy for Jack either. Now he has has to pick up the slack in what usually is my department: researching destinations, hotels, and transportation options. Although he told me that he might just cheat in stay in Paris the whole time. Tsk!

It’s almost like a divorce

Trying to figure out how to split our common stuff feels almost like a divorce. I get the camera, he’s got the phone. We’re fighting over the adapters and the credit cards.

So, what’s going to happen to Jack and Jill Travel?

Don’t worry, I’ll still be sharing stories from Ethiopia and Djibouti (as much as Internet access allows) and Jack has promised to send his 1000 words contribution in the form of a picture every chance he’s got.

We’re planning to meet up again after the holidays. Originally in Turkey, then I found out that Turkey is kind of dead in January. So we don’t know yet. Maybe Jordan? Maybe further South – Madagascar? Or East – Thailand? We’ll see.


For the next few weeks, stay tune for twice the stories and twice the photos from 2 different parts of the world!

Got any tips for these newly converted solo travelers?


  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.

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19 Replies to “From 2 to 1 – the conversion to a solo traveller”

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  3. That's so funny, my boyfriend and I were the same! He paid and held the passports, I researched everything. After a year of traveling together around Southeast Asia, I've moved to France so we're 'divorcing' as well. I kind of enjoy getting back to solo travel though, to be honest! Tell Jack he's free to look me up in Paris for coffee if he's still there 🙂

  4. Congrats! Shawna and I actually have something similar planned. Her sister is coming to meet us in Thailand in the spring, and she will be there for 6 weeks. I figure it will be awesome for them to have some bonding time, and in the same sense, I will may take this as a chance to check out another part of the globe (although I am sure I won't be that far away). Honestly, it is probably even healthy for the relationship to try this…. good luck!!

  5. Huh, I have to hold the passports in my relationship or Mike will lose them! Traveling as a couple is definitely easier but in a lot of ways I still really enjoy solo travel. Every once in awhile Mike and I will spend a weekend or a week apart and it really reminds me how capable I am. I'm sure you will feel the same way- enjoy!

  6. This is a unique chance for you to go solo and I'm sure you'll enjoy it so much that you'll do it again and again. This is the ultimate freedom for a female traveling alone abroad. However, some areas of the world are safer than other ones and as suggested before do not walk out after dark, even accompanied!, have your money belt with you always even when you take a shower, of course just wrap it in a plastic bag, do not always trust strangers by using common sense and evaluating each situation individually. I've met very nice Ethiopians in the U.S. but I have not been there yet and is on my list to go by myself. Therefore I'm looking forward to reading your adventures in this ancient and friendly country.
    I couldn't pass up the opportunity to communicate with you this time because I started my travels with my younger sister when I was eighteen, continued with three friends when I was nineteen and at twenty I did it alone for extended periods of time anywhere from one month to four years. I just turned 64 last Friday and two weeks ago I returned from visiting five Eastern European countries feeling recharged by the one of a kind experience that provides going "sola".

  7. I'm about to go off and do the same thing! I've traveled alone as well as with my boyf, and both are amazing for such different reasons. I am already missing him in advance and dreading saying goodbye to him tomorrow morning, but I know I'll soon be so busy and writing him so many postcards that the time will fly by and I'll get to feel badass and girltastic during the whole adventure. And skype is a lifesaver!

  8. I am sure at first that you are going to miss Jack and might not like the solo traveling aspect. But I guarantee that will change and you love it. (side note it isn't for everyone but I bet you will love it.)
    Whatever you do number one tip for a solo traveler is to trust your gut and be safe. Avoid being out in the dark in unfamiliar places and things like this.
    Also don't enjoy it too much otherwise it will be hard to travel with Jack again and not be a solo traveler anymore! 😉

  9. You got some major cojones, Jill! Gerard and I have talked about throwing in a solo travel during our upcoming rtw but like you, it'll be like a divorce. I the travel organizer, navigator and passport holder and he the calm, cool and collective credit card holder. Lol. I'm nervous but at the same time excited. Not exactly sure which country we'll split yet. We look forward to reading your journeys apart and best of luck to you both. Safe travels.

  10. Good luck Jill! I think you'll learn a lot, even if it doesn't turn out to be your favorite way to travel. I think solo travel is very brave, maybe Brian and I will do something like that at some point during our trip. A month will fly by!

  11. Awwww that's sad, but I think at the same time it will be a good thing to experience. (Said from someone who travels half the time with her partner of seven years and half the time alone for work.)

    Also, after this RTW voyage, I too am completely used to never having to take out a dollar or hold my own passport, etc. Must be a guy thing! =)

  12. Bummer! I hate traveling alone,and typically refuse to do it unless I've got a writing assignment that's simply too good to pass up. Hopefully you guys will be able to Skype regularly? I find that helps…

  13. Is this your first time traveling solo? I'm so used to it, I can't imagine what the transition must be like. Hmmm….solo travel tips? I've never traveled to the African continent EVER and therefore haven't been to Ethipia so I don't have any regional tips for you. Just the usual: Trust your gut. Be aware of your surroundings. And as a solo traveler, people may find you to be a bit of a curiosity, so it's easy to meet people that way. Have fun–looking forward to hearing all about your Ethiopian adventures!

  14. This should be an interesting "experiment" for you! I've been bugging Pete that we should do something similar and give the solo travel thing a "go" just to see how we fare. Largely because I feel I am too dependent on him. But he is the one that doesn't want to do it….so I guess I can just keep getting him to do these things for me? He obviously likes it. 🙂

  15. OMG, come to Thailand!!!!!

    I'm impressed that you and Jack are traveling separately, and that you're tackling Ethiopia solo. I don't know if Kali and I could travel apart… mostly because we wouldn't want to take on the tasks that the other person handles. 😛

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