Over mango and sticky rice, as soon as I sensed that things, at least for him, were beginning to lean towards romance, I broke the news:
Not only did his face showed confusion, betrayal, shock and catatonia all at once, I also saw how his jaw gave in to gravity.
There are no two ways to go about volunteering information about my civil status to people I meet while traveling solo.
Laying such card on the table on day dot would only open flood gates of questions as to where is my husband or why am I alone or what is wrong with my marriage. So I keep the hint worn on my ring finger hoping that it would explain itself.
I enjoy traveling with my husband. We agree on food, alcohol, 4-star and up comfort and party music. We do not mind sharing ear phones, toothbrushes and razors when need be. There is no other shoulder I love resting my head on, on long bus and plane rides than his. We look good together in photos.
But when I gave my whole self to him in marriage, he allowed— nay, insisted— that I retain the very strength which drawn him to my love spell: my individuality.
I get to earn, keep and spend my own money. I get to have a womancave— a spare room where I house books, cameras and all other armaments necessary for my Writing. Most of all, I am free to travel solo, mostly to places that are poetry-inducing to my muse but a little rough and rowdy for his taste.
1. When I travel solo, I get to make friends.
In real life, I suck at social interactions. Familiarity is something that I am unnaturally accustomed to just bestow on anyone.
On the road, I am able to breathe with less pressure attached to name, stature, and the expectation of long-term comradeships. As a result, I get to relish in conversations with people of like minds without necessitating small talk such as dipping a finger on a neighbour’s business.
2. Unspoken rule on the road: three is a crowd.
When traveling as a couple, everybody assumes that couples are single units that need to be left alone. Whilst that is true in most cases, it is never bad to have company– a third perspective during mealtime banters or 1PM beer sessions.
With solo travel, I get to have x number of street food buddies, beach bum girlfriends, and beer pong mates.
3. Solo travel allows me to be by myself, with myself.
Solitude is a physiologic need to those who, like me, are slaves of the written word. Such is the reason why writers get up at 2AM.
When I embark on trips by myself, it’s 2AM all the time. Not only do I get to do what I love, I also get to do what I do best.
4. Am I always responsible for the freedom that my husband gives me? Not necessarily.
Travel creates a backdrop that blurs out the insignificant and zooms in the interesting. It filters in all that is wonderful; funneling endorphins down the throats of magnified emotions.
Back to the mango and sticky rice business: it was always possible to gravitate towards certain personalities. It still is.
But this is where the best use of me preaching individuality comes in: If I ever screw up, it is all on me, and not in any way a reflection of my husband’s flaws as my better half. Because he has none.
5. Coming home is always a good idea.
When Jonathan dropped me off at the airport on my first solo trip as Mrs. Campanilla three years ago, I realised that his desire for my happiness sat over and above his own.
Every day since, I carried that with me with so much appreciation, admiration, and everlasting love.
Whilst I go away for myself, I always come back home for him; to him.