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How Blogging Saved Me

breaking up to travel

Now, I know what you’re thinking. What a pretentious blog post title! I can’t argue with you there. But I really mean it, that blogging saved me that is. Seriously.

And I mean “saved” in a good way, not the whole Bible-carryin’-crucifix-wearin’-honk-if-you-love-Jesus kind of way. Because I hate those people with the fire of a thousand suns (sorry, I’m not sorry if that’s one of you).

Where do I even begin?

Do you ever feel like you are floating through life, unhappy with what you are doing but unsure of where you want to be?

I always felt like I was waiting for something to happen. Waiting for some perfect ray of sunlight to burst through the clouds and illuminate my face one day, and then I would just KNOW; oh yes, that’s what I am supposed to be doing with my life.

breaking up to travel

Well, that was me up until a year ago. I didn’t even realize how unhappy I was until I was happy. Does that even make sense?

It hit me about a month ago when I went to see Les Miserables. About halfway through Anne Hathaway’s performance of “I dreamed a dream,” I was sobbing, with big old tears running down my face, mascara everywhere, like some overgrown blonde panda. Sniffling and wiping all my make-up off my face 3 minutes later, I had a stunning realization.

I couldn’t remember the last time I cried. Like really cried. It had to have been at least a year. For me, this was huge. Growing up, I was a weeper, a stubborn, moody only child, prone to tantrums and tears. It didn’t get better when I got to college, in fact, it was way worse. Combined with a disgusting coarse load and an overachieving competitive mindset fostered at my fancy pants university, I was in for 4 years of hell.

And you know what made it worse? Boyfriends.

breaking up to travel

Some significant people (who shall remain nameless) used to tell me I was missing direction in my life. Ok, f*** you, I have direction. I want to make money and travel the world. If that’s not direction, I don’t know what is.

So I said goodbye to my American life, sold all my stuff, and moved back to Spain for two years. Except I still had a boyfriend in NYC. Mistake #1.

Take note people! I am going to dish (word vomit) all about my love life on here, something I never do. A. because people who overshare their relationships online are annoying and B. because I prefer to throw those skeletons in a closet and forget about them forever.

However, I can’t do that here because my ex-boyfriends have all been a huge part in helping me find myself through writing. So thanks, assholes.

breaking up to travel

I started my blog my senior year of college (2010) before traveling to Peru with an ex. You should start to notice a pattern here, that pattern being I’m an idiot when it comes to dating. By the time I boarded a flight at JFK to Europe, I was head over heels in another relationship. What was I thinking?

Needless to say, my first year back in Spain in Córdoba was miserable. Late-night skype sessions, text messages and emails, and too-short international visits didn’t cut it. Cue, a weepy, moody, over-emotional Young Adventuress. Again. Things started to go downhill after I spent Christmas in NYC; I didn’t even want to go back to Spain. I’m pretty sure I cried all the way through customs, and the first hour of my flight to Madrid until the red wine and 3 Tylenol PMs I took kicked in.

breaking up to travel

All this time I started blogging. I had a little Blogspot account that I would update a few times a month with 5,000 word posts with 50 photos about the history behind the places I was traveling to. Really fascinating, I’m shocked that I didn’t win any newbie blogger awards (read: sarcasm).

Eventually I started to write more and more, and I would chose topics that were not necessarily narrative accounts of the places I visited (which is what many new bloggers tend to do, myself included). I barely used the Twitter, I didn’t know what Instagram was, and the only blogs I read were about fashion and food.

By spring I faced a dilemma. Renew my visa and stay in Spain for another year or give up and come home. This was a really, really really gut-wrenching decision to make, and it took me many months of doubt and regret afterwards to realize it was the right one.

breaking up to travel

I had been really depressed for most of that year in Spain, and not only because of the guy back home. It seemed nothing was going right; I had problems with my coworkers and roommates, and overall, I was just sad. It was if Spain wasn’t living up to my expectations. I was so homesick, and I felt like I was missing out on having a normal life like other girls my age. I would spent my free time at work looking up apartments in New York and picking out my dream furniture at IKEA. I hated being poor, I hated that I couldn’t invest in anything for my apartment or life in Spain because who knew when I would be leaving, but most of all, I missed him.

We were drifting apart, and I blamed myself for it. I felt like I finally had the chance for love and happiness, something most girls dream about, but I was throwing it away on some stupid fantasy of travel and Spain, a fantasy that wasn’t even living up to expectations. He had made it perfectly clear that things would be very different if I was still living in the US, which made things that much more worse. Should I just give up on Spain and move home, with the hope that our relationship would improve? Or should I stay and give Spain a second chance?

breaking up to travel

breaking up to travel

During the spring I started blogging more and more. Writing became an outlet for me when I didn’t want to deal with those dark thoughts.I started to travel around locally, trying to see Spain in a new light. I distracted myself with new friends, hanging out with kids my age in the village where I worked. Eventually people started to respond to my writing. People were listening to what I had to say, and left warm, fuzzy comments (most of the time). With the spring sunshine and flowers, new hope and possibility grew within me.

Then I did something really naughty. I renewed the program and didn’t tell him. Things weren’t going well, and what if I gave up on Spain, moved home for him, and we still failed? I would regret that choice forever. But I wanted one last chance. By the time I came to NYC that summer, he knew I had renewed the visa, and I could tell we were done, though it dragged on for months before we finally cut off contact with each other.

That was the year I chose travel over a relationship. And it took me another year not to regret it.

breaking up to travel

How do you get over something like that? By that point in my life, I had had not one, but TWO boyfriends tell me they didn’t want a girlfriend traveling and living abroad for so long. Talk about a sucker-punch, right at what’s the most important thing to me. How do you move on from that? Breaking up to travel is one of the hardest decisions you might I ever have to make, but I knew if I had moved back to the US, I would have resented my decision and resented him. I’m not going to lie, it made me bitter and angry for a long time. To me, it seemed like I was following my dreams and being punished for it. Why couldn’t I have both? If I chose a life of travel, was I destined to be alone forever?

I chose not to believe that, even after all of this. In my heart I have to believe when I meet the right person, it won’t matter where I am living or what my travel plans are. Now folks, while this is something I have come to realize myself, it still makes me want to punch anyone in the throat who tells me, “oh hunnay, don’t worry. You’re young, you’ll meet someone.”

Am I allowed to have priorities and goals in life that AREN’T finding a boyfriend? 

breaking up to travel

I’m a real catch, gentlemen. Just line up at the door, no shoving.

Anyways, I think you all know how the story ends; I moved back to Spain, this time to Logroño in the north, and had without a doubt the most fantastic year of my life.

And what kept me sane those dark months? My blog. It became my passion. Putting all my thoughts and feelings, and most importantly, my travel and expat advice on my blog, and seeing its success was beyond satisfying. When I was sad, I would write, though sometimes I would drink first.

I was mostly single for that year, with a few dates and flings here and there but nothing serious. And that was the best medicine. A year of being alone with yourself is one surefire way to get to know yourself real well. I really recommend it to anyone. How can you ever get to know yourself if you are constantly with another person?

breaking up to travel

breaking up to travel

Ladies, joining in on Italian bachelor parties just doesn’t happen when you’re in a serious relationship

I didn’t realize how lost I was when I was in those relationships. I forgot who I was, what my goals and dreams were. The number one girl-code was broken: I let my happiness be defined by a boyfriend. A big no-no. But by scribbling on my blog a few times a week over the course of two years, I rediscovered myself, and reevaluated what was important to me. I found my passion: travel blogging. And no one was ever going to yank it away from me.

Cue Katy Perry. This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me!

breaking up to travel

I’m a young twenty-something girl. I have my whole life ahead of me to get married and do the baby thing. Even buy my dream bed from IKEA. I’m not some radical female spurning men and children for the sake of “independence.” I want all those things, but not yet.

Right now I am determined to have the most memorable years of my life, doing what I love: traveling and writing. And anyone who makes me feel bad for that is a douche and isn’t worth being in my life.

It only took Anne Hathaway making me cry publicly at the movies for it to finally all sink in.

Have you ever felt the same way? Has a relationship ever made you reevaluate your life? What’s your passion? What keeps a smile and your face and motivating you to get out of bed in the morning? Share!

breaking up to travel

breaking up to travel

**All quote images came from my Pinterest words page

172 Responses to How Blogging Saved Me

  1. Dana Cain February 12, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    Very smart young lady. Have a blast!!

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Thanks Dan xx

      • Liz March 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

        Dana *** damn phone

    • H February 3, 2015 at 10:06 am #

      This article came across at the exact moment in my life.

      Travelling is what I want to do but at the same time I feel so trapped as to try and please others in my life and do the norm.

      Ive been pushing my feelings aside for over two years now and I think im about to burst! “Its just a phase. Its just a travel bug phase” Id tell myself. Id tell myself to be grateful for the job im in because “so many people would love to be in your shoes”.

      I cant thank you enough for this article. So refreshing to hear and see that if we are passionate about something as much as we think – we can make it!

      Tomorrow – it starts for me. Let the research begin.


      • Ashley February 4, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

        I second this!

  2. Kirstyn February 12, 2013 at 4:11 am #

    Both of my past relationships have made me reevaluate life. I was willing to give up travelling both times, and since the end of the last one, I’ve decided to put a hold on relationships and explore the world while I’m in my early twenties! I applied for Auxiliares de Conversacion last month and I couldn’t be more excited! This post reminds me of every miserable long distance relationship that kept me from being happy exactly where I was.

    There’s time for marriage and 9-5’s later. Right now, I’m ready to graduate and hop on a plane!

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Sounds like we are on the same page!

  3. Lorenzo February 12, 2013 at 4:30 am #

    Love the message. I’m happy things worked out great for you! Question: did IKEA sponsor this post? JK

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      :) thanks!

      Ha nope! No links! I wish they would sponsor me! Have any contacts there?! 😛

  4. Pablo February 12, 2013 at 4:38 am #

    Love the post, very honest! I tend to have a lot of things in my life that I’m constantly investing time and effort into. Many times, at the sacrifice of committing to a relationship. I’m starting an indefinite trip this fall around the world to focus on writing and travel and sometimes wonder if I’m making the right choice. I consider the option to stay in the states and build a lifestyle like everybody else, but I just don’t see myself being happy like that.

    I’m viewing life in the same manner. Like you said, “I am determined to have the most memorable years of my life, doing what I love: traveling and writing” : o )

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      Sounds like you are in for an incredible year!!!

  5. Anna February 12, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    Loved this – gave me goosebumps! Love your blog – I’m planning on doing the programme this year and your blog has been soo helpful :)

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks Anna! I’m glad you find my blog helpful!

  6. Julia February 12, 2013 at 6:30 am #

    What a wonderfully written post, Liz. As much as I’m sure it was difficult to share this story, it is nice to see someone talk about the struggles involved in living abroad, pursuing your dreams and the sacrifices you have to make. Not always rainbows and butterflies :)

    It was so hard for me to leave my boyfriend of 3 years before I studied abroad in Granada last year, but I knew I needed to take that time to find myself and explore a land, language, and culture I am so passionate about. We broke up and I got on that plane feeling heartbroken but excited with what the city I had dreamed about while reading Lorca all these years had to offer.

    But then, on my first night out in Granada, I met the man I would fall in love with over the next 6 months. It was a whirlwind romance, one girls always dream about, falling in love with a handsome stranger in a foreign land…Even though I had left a man who I thought was the love of my life to “find myself,” within a month in Granada I was in a relationship with a local.

    Although I wouldn’t say it limited my immersion in the culture or language, in fact constantly speaking spanish with my boyfriend and his friends and having locals show me the city gave me a very unique and special experience, I definitely found myself thinking about him when I would travel on the weekends, distracting me from seeing and experiencing new places.

    My whirlwind romance ended in heartbreak for us both when I moved back to my city 3,000 miles away, and I found myself alone for the first time since I was 17. That was 8 months ago. Finding myself and defining myself outside of a relationship, priding myself on who I am, what my dreams are, and my values, as opposed to basing who I am on who loves me was one of the most difficult and painful things I’ve ever had to do, but I’ve never been happier. I focused on myself, exploring my city as if I was a tourist, trying to learn and absorb as much culture and as many lessons as I could. I’ve found that as terrifying as it is to leave someone that loves you, nothing is as valuable as the time you dedicate to pursuing what makes you happy.

    I found out 2 months ago that I was accepted to a graduate program that would allow me to spend a year studying in Madrid followed by a summer in Buenos Aires. I accepted immediately, feeling liberated in knowing that I had nothing holding me back from going after these dreams. About a week ago I got an email from CIEE notifying me that I had been accepted to teach in Andalucía.
    Meaning I had the opportunity to move back to my beloved region and, more than likely, to Granada. As much as it pained me to turn down the offer to go back to the man I love(d), I knew I had to move forward for me, for my dreams, to make myself happy. That CS Lewis quote popped into my head as I was weighing my options–“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

    The greatest gift we can give ourselves is self-love and a commitment to doing what makes us happy. I firmly believe that that’s also the greatest gift we can give our future partners. I actually wrote briefly about this in the first post of the blog I am attempting to start up, maybe I’ll share it with you when I’m ready :)

    Sorry for the novel of a comment, but this post really resonated with me. Spending the past 8 months reflecting and building confidence in myself has brought me to a near identical outlook, and it’s nice to see that there are other empowered women out there who share it. Especially in this college environment of whiny, needy, dependent girls scared to do anything out of their comfort zone, hahah. You’re great Liz, and I love that you own it. xx

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      Thank you for such an amazing comment and sharing your experience with me. It is so nice to hear that other people have gone through similar experiences. I agree with you wholeheartedly! Please share more when you are ready! If you ever want to write something on here, send me am email xx

      It sounds like you are going to have an amazing year back in Spain and Argentina!

      • Julia February 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

        Haha I’m only now realizing how over-sharey that late night comment was, but I’m glad it was well-received!

        Oh my goodness, I’d love to write something for you, I’ll definitely shoot you an email when I have something more interesting than midterms going on :) Thanks girl!

      • Amanda May 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

        Ah, I needed this. I’m living in Japan for what was supposed to be a year and is now becoming a year and half…maybe. I tried to maintain a long distance relationship, and it’s been dragging ever more messily to an end. As I was watching everyone around me successfully stay in their long distance relationships, I was beginning to feel pretty lost. I’m glad that the Internet led me here, because it’s taken a weight of my shoulders. I’m not closer to finding the answers, but I’m more OK with it now. Thank you.

      • purna February 1, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

        Hi Liz,

        I broke up with my ex yesterday and am about to leave a very unhealthy relationship with my family and travel.

        Your storie strengthens me as I am afraid and question whether or not I have made the right decisions.

        I am scared if I will fail and I will be laughed at and I will be poor but here I feel stuck and bored and hurt and I just want something new.

        Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Myeshia Townsend March 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      I stumpled across your blog because I am a beginner traveler along with being a beginner blogger and I wanted to get some tips on travel blogs before I got started. After wondering through your site I must say that it is amazing! You are saying everything that I have been feeling for years and this post in particular really hit home. Unfortunately I was the chick who chose the guy over traveling…..whomp whomp whomp!

      In my undergraduate program I had the opportunity to spend a semester in London and with all of those other countries right there at your fingertips who knows what I could have experienced over there or where I would have ended up. But of course I played that same ol’ song of “I dont want to lose him. What if its over if I go. What if he cheats on me because I’m so far away?” And what do you know? We’re not even together anymore because he cheated anyway and I was only 2hours away. Shocker huh? But enough of that playlist.

      It was definitely something that I consider to be one of the biggest regrets of my life. Not so much that I missed out on a semester abroad, but the fact that I let the fear of losing a piss poor relationship dictate whether or not i was going to miss out on that semester abroad. All in all, I have received a second chance. I am in my Master’s program and with one of my business classes we are going to Mumbai and Delhi for Spring Break. I leave in about 5 days actually. Also, I will be spending the summer in Denmark with a week long course in Germany for a study abroad adventure.

      Currently I do have a boyfriend, but from my previous experience I have learned to not let men stand in my way! And I think he’s awkwardly aware of that fact because I told him I was staying over there for a little while after the sessions were over in the summer to explore Italy and other neighboring countries and he opted to join me because he knew that I wasn’t coming back!

      Thanks for the refreshing entries and pictures. I am going to continue to look around :)

  7. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas February 12, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Did I ever feel like this?! Hombreeee when my college loverboy broke up with me for good, it was the best feeling in the world. I felt like I got some clarity into who I was and what I wanted out of life. One goal stuck out: moving abroad, so I found a way to do it.

    Meeting Kike was unexpected, but I’m thankful he lets me be who I am and encourages me to travel and blog. He’s helped me realize who I am and what I like, and we both know that it could just as easily go a different way. He said way back at the beginning of our relationship that my happiness is important, with or without him.

    As for college loverboy, he came to his senses a few years ago and asked me to consider coming back home forever to be with him. Saying no and turning on my heel felt good.

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      Wow! I had something similar happen, I guy I dated in college messages me for the first time in years last year, ended very very badly. Not wanting to get back together or anything but just to apologize. Still felt good!

      I hope I can have what you and Kike have one day :)

  8. Elizabeth Bostick February 12, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    People who ramble on and on about their boyfriends drive me nuts! Online or offline! But you haven’t rambled, and you’ve done a tasteful job, lady!

    I think travel brings out the independent side in all of us. If I were to compare the person I was five years ago to the person I am now, I could probably chart my personal growth. Good for you for throwing caution to the wind and doing what was best for yourself. Look at where it has gotten you :).

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      Thank you so much! I was really nervous to write this because I have made it a point to not to talk about boys on here, but I think it was necessary to explain who I am now :)

  9. Mimsie February 12, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Lovely post!! I share many of the same sentiments and have always had a hard time finding the right words for my feelings about choosing “the road less traveled” but you’ve hit the nail right on the head. It’s great to hear that someone shares the same sentiments when I have very few friends at home who can’t seem to understand why I don’t want to get married and pop out babies like the rest of them are doing.

    Also, I love following your blog. I’m planning a one month trip to Spain in March and your posts have been so helpful! Thanks so much!

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      Thank you!

  10. kami February 12, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I love this post! and I’m totally with you here! I’ve been in such relationship as well, even when I went travelling alone then I didn’t enjoy it all that much as my mind was constantly back at home :/ and now, when I’m single I know I’m much happier. I still want a relationship etc but there’s time for everything and since these are the best times of our life let’s spend them enjoying them!

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      It’s a really tough decision but ultimately you have to do what makes you happy :)

      • kami February 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

        exactly! and if travelling makes us happy at this stage of our lives then no regrets :)

  11. Trevor Huxham February 12, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    I’m always a fan of your confessional posts, Liz. This one really inspired me not only to keep pursuing my dream to travel but also to keep building up my blog one post at a time (and not necessarily “narrative” blog posts–a good distinction).

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      Yay thanks Trevor!! I’m glad you liked it! Keep writing and don’t give up!

  12. Alana - Paper Planes February 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I have to admit, I was a little wary after reading the first few lines with the TMI warning 😉 I thoroughly enjoyed this though and as someone having a bit of a quarter-life crisis moment, it’s also nice to hear about other people’s situations, feelings and how they dealt with them to move on and become stronger and happier!

    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

      Haha thank you! I’m glad you kept reading even after my disclaimer!

  13. Yishy February 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Yes it’s definitely true that sometimes you don’t know how unhappy you’ve been until you realise how happy you ARE. I ended a long-term relationship about 1.5 years ago and I’ve never been happier.. I’ve learnt so much more about myself and I feel FREE. It’s the best feeling ever. 😉

    I now love and enjoy travelling solo.. and I’ve met so many new people who are more like ME!


    • Liz February 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm #


  14. Edna February 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Actually, you can still join in on crazy shit like Italian bachelor parties when you’re in a serious relationship…you just have to be lucky enough to have a very secure boyfriend who trusts you and isn’t jealous :)

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:20 am #

      I guess, but you can’t make out with any of them which is half of the fun 😛

  15. Mary @ Travels with Mary February 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    The first man I gave up traveling for… I married! And that was probably because he and I travel so much together that I knew it was worth the short term disappointment. Spanish and Spain ended my other two long-term relationships in my life, so I knew there was something different about J when I put off going back to the Camino.

    (Also, confession! I went to Spanish camp with you and totally creep on your blog- you’re living the dream!)

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:19 am #

      OMG that was so long ago!!!!

      I hope I find someone like that one day 😀

      Want to go on the camino together? I still haven’t done it yet!

      • Mary @ Travels with Mary February 28, 2013 at 4:04 am #

        YES TO THE CAMINO. I’m dying to get back there. I’d love to do the whole thing again but 5 weeks of available vacation time is hard to come by!

        I think I could swing a summer trip next year… but J wants to go to Brazil for the World Cup so that may eat up our travel fund for 2014.

  16. Andrew Forbes February 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Very cool post – very honest, heart warming!

  17. Alex @ ifs ands & butts February 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Love it Liz, we’d get along IRL all too well. Also, I am an only child. Not many of us out there to prove that we’re not a completely selfish breed. Anyway, it’s like a constant mission here to try not to feel attached to people so I don’t let it influence my decisions. Thus why I never write about it, either. Oh life.

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:16 am #

      sounds like we’re soulmates. It’s funny how that happens online. Come meet me at the frankfurt airport. I have a 5 hour layover there next sunday 😛

  18. Jeremy Branham February 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Those decisions weren’t easy at the time. However, looks like you made the right one. Having a boyfriend isn’t bad. Not having a boyfriend isn’t bad.

    In this decision, you discovered yourself – who you are, your identity, without needing someone else to tell you who you are. Not an easy decision to make but probably the best one that you could have made.

    Now when the right guy comes along, you’ll be ready and have a stronger relationship for it. It’s a matter of timing and finding someone who understands your life, goals, passions, and who you are.

    I don’t think you’ll have any problem finding a guy – just make sure it’s the right one for the right reasons. You have an incredible natural beauty – one of the best beautiful women (travel bloggers) I’ve seen :)

    • Jeremy Branham February 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      Oops, meant ‘most beautiful women’ not best. You got the idea though :)

      • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:15 am #

        Did my beauty leave you tongue tied? 😛

        Thanks for such a sweet comment. I needed to hear something like that after publishing something so incredibly personal

  19. Nicole Marie February 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    love this… after getting out of a 4 year relationship, finishing grad school, finishing my first year of teaching , i knew that was my chance to move abroad, no more excuses…of course a few months before i left, i met a guy I was really really into… but the way he handled the situation of me leaving (and that trip i was only going for 6 months!, 6 months, nothing!) just proved what a douche bag he was and i’m so so so glad i didn’t stay and drag myself through another guaranteed failed relationship.

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:09 am #

      nothing tests a relationship like travel and living apart. guys are crazy. I’m glad things are finally working out for you 😛

  20. Sapphire February 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Wow, that was really really deep. I am in the same situation you were in, so you have definitely opened my eyes to what I need to do to start living my dreams…. thank you! <3

  21. Abby February 12, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    What a great post! I feel the same way about relationships at this point in life and am so glad I have the next few years (hopefully!) to travel and spend time figuring out the type of person I want to be before adding someone else into the mix.

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:08 am #

      couldnt have said it better myself abby!

  22. Jennifer February 12, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, Liz! I’ve learned that you’ve got to be happy with your own life and live it for YOU, otherwise a relationship is never really going to work out. When the time is right, you’ll meet that special someone. Until then, just have fun and travel on!

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:07 am #


  23. Rod February 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Interesting to read your stories (love them most of the time) and I would love to share with you (if you ever come Down Under) a beer or wine =)

    I love to travel as well and for a very long time I was confined to a relationship that made me incredibly unhappy, now I want to catch up and the interesting thing was I found (unwillingly) somebody that shares my passion and will be travelling with me to the end of the world.

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:07 am #

      only most of the time? 😛

      I will be down under for a year or so starting in July! We should get a beer (or 5)!!

  24. Ali February 13, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    Great read. :) Whenever I announced that I was moving to Vietnam, nearly everyone’s first question was something along the lines of “What about your boyfriend” or “What does he think?”. It struck me as odd because I had very much made the decision because I knew it would be good for me and was surprised that everyone was so worried about my boyfriend that they had most likely never even met. We’re still together and he is very supportive. He understands my need to “see the world”(for lack of a better term) and has never once questioned why I moved or what about him. It’s funny though that it seemed the rest of the world’s automatic reaction was to judge my decision as unfair to my boyfriend. Good for you for choosing what’s best for YOU. It’s not always the easy thing to do!

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:18 am #

      That’s really good! I hope I find someone like that one day!

  25. Anne February 13, 2013 at 12:42 am #

    Great read, and yes, I have been through this (oddly enough, also while in Spain) and my relationship at the time didn’t make it, though I didn’t find out until I had arrived back home.

    I’m about to embark on another extended period of time abroad, and this time around, it seems I have a relationship in which my partner is truly supportive. Still, I think we take a chance every time we leave others behind to follow a dream (travel or not,) and I applaud you for following your bliss, unapologetically!

    I can also relate to finally finding some happiness in traveling and writing…and so I say…rock on, sister! If I’ve learned anything, it’s that it’s during the times we are true to ourselves and rocking out in our happy place—those are the times we find the right people in life. And I hate to say it…maybe even love? (The eternal optimist in me is talking.)

    Thank you for the personal post. You are a joy to read!

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:06 am #

      Thanks Anne! It was hard to share this but ultimately it was a good exercise for me 😀

      I wholeheartedly agree, even though I have had relationship after relationship fail, I feel like once I am truly happy with myself and my place in the world, I will meet that “special” guy *swoon*

  26. Arielle February 13, 2013 at 1:12 am #

    AMEN. Two years of being single and traveling and I have never been happier! Luckily my parents have enough “practice grandchildren” (friends’ kids) that there’s no pressure on me! Good on ya :)

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:05 am #

      haha sometimes I feel bad about that, though my stepbrothers are having kids, so that occupies my parents some. Otherwise, theyre just gonna have to wait!

  27. Linda J February 13, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    You are very wise!! NEVER let another person define you! You can do and have it all eventually, when it’s right for you. Live you life on your terms and enjoy the hell out of it!! That’s what I always tell the Little Mermaid at Sea!

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:04 am #

      exactly! Thanks Linda 😀

  28. Caroline Eubanks February 13, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    This has basically been the last two years of my life. I thought what I had was what I wanted, but it wasn’t and I probably still feel guilty about it. But I wouldn’t change the way things have turned out because, like you said, I’ve found my passion as well. Good post, Liz!

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:03 am #

      Thanks Caroline! Great to see someone has gone through something similar, I’m not the only one. I still feel guilty sometimes, but I’m finally moving forward :)

  29. Sharon February 13, 2013 at 3:10 am #

    It definitely sounds like you made the right decision. I’d hold off on the long-term relationship until you meet a man who enjoys travel as much as you do (they do exist). Then it becomes a shared joy rather than a barrier.

    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:18 am #

      Thanks Sharon, I’d like to think I did the right thing, it was so hard though

  30. George February 13, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    Luckily I realised a lot of these things earlier than most when I went to uni with a boyfriend and disastrously tried the save the relationship.

    I was 18 we’d been going out 6 months and I thought we were gonna get married. Of course he cheated on me.

    Since then I’m pretty much a relationship denier, but sometimes I do see the flicker of something between me and a guy and I then ignore them until that flame goes out because personally I don’t want to have to deal with disgusting messy emotions.

  31. Val February 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Right on sister! It’s like sometimes, you take the words right out of my mouth. Sometimes it gets really lonely being in another country by myself, but then I look at the alternative. Being stuck at a job I probably don’t like, surrounded by other people who hate their lives? Yeah, I would get to see my awesome friends/family/dogs but they’ll still be there when I get back. Having just graduated college, it amazes me how many girls my age are already married/having kids or not being able to wait to do just that. I can’t imagine myself having that kind of life right now. Now is the age where I am supposed to not have any responsibilities and explore the world and find myself. These are probably the only few years of my life where I will be get to really be alone, without a house/job/boyfriend/husband/child(ren) tying me down, so why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of that??

    I am now in the midst of deciding whether or not I want to renew my contract and teach in Spain for another year. I keep thinking I have my mind made up, but then I keep changing it. I keep thinking about how much I miss my friends and family and that I have a ‘real life’ to get back to. But who’s to say I can’t make this my ‘real life’ for a little longer? ay ay ay.

    Anyways, I love this blog more and more with each post. Enjoy Turkey, I can’t wait to read all about it! 😀

    • Liz February 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      Stay for another year. You won’t regret it, I don’t know anyone who has stayed in Spain longer and regretted it. Though I know a dozen people who gave up and regretted it forever. Just my two cents :)

  32. Steph | February 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    This was an amazing post! Sounds like you have come a long way! I’d love to have the courage to write as openly as you! :)

    I feel lucky to be with my Colombian boyfriend who loves to travel and encourages my hobbies, passions and most of all, my happiness, regardless of him.
    Our whole relationship has been revolved around travel and only now are we (temporarily) trying to settle down for a bit and we love it too! :)

    Love your blog!! Glad you kept at it!

    • Liz February 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      I hope I have that one day! Thank you :)

  33. chimoeneas February 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    As we say in Spain: pasa de todo y vive tu vida, que ya es bastante intensa como para preocuparte por lo que digan los demás.

    • Liz February 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm #


  34. Petite Adventures February 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Fabulous post – so much of it describes my current situation. Honestly, reading parts of it felt like reading my own diary!

    Kate xo

    • Liz March 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling this way :)

  35. a. February 13, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    What an amazingly honest post. Thank you so much for writing this. I, too, had a relationship blow up in my face because of moving to Spain, and it’s just so comforting to read about someone else going through this kind of stuff–it’s silly, but I really feel alone sometimes (especially since like all of my friends in Spain are in relationships!), and start second-guessing whether living abroad was worth ending the first relationship I’ve had where I could, you know, see myself marrying the guy. But, like you, I know it will be worth it :)

    • Liz February 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      We girls have got to stick together :)

  36. Kaley [Y Mucho Más] February 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Great post, Liz! I was reading you back in the olden days — amazing how far we’ve come since then!

    Good luck on your adventures!!

    • Liz March 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      I know! I feel like we’ve known each other for so long! You were one of the first blogs I ever read :)

  37. Mandy February 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Liz, I absolutely love your blog! Way to push through and go with what you knew was right, which so many people avoid because it’s not necessarily the easiest path! Yea for travel!

    • Liz March 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Thank you so much Mandy :)

  38. Gao February 19, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Hey Liz, so I’ve been reading your blog all afternoon today. As if I should be doing something more adventurous on my last few traveling abroad days in Chiang Mai, Thailand. BUT, you are hilarious. I love it!!!
    Was actually referred to your page by a girlfriend of mine, who is an expat in Madrid. Now, this comment maybe a little off the subject.. but its the association I have had with traveling as a single woman.
    Falling in love abroad.
    Coming from a girl, that came out of her last semester in college, I thought this was it!! Great guy, had our 2, 5, 10 year plan. Jeez, I forget how much of a domesticated, control freak I was. Maybe, still a little. Long story short and a reason why I began blogging, was that he passed away. It has been hell and back (believe me). Analyzing and learning the identities I gave myself and the limitations I sometimes subconsciously bound my consciousness to.
    Even through this process and taking the plunge of “finally doing this trip” of volunteering and traveling (for the past 7 months)… I find myself on the common themes of what was discussed… the idea of “romance abroad”.
    Maybe this is just the hopeless romantic in me, thinking and knowing that in any relationship… it can work out. The roughing, the hardships, the planning, the compromise, all of it. And it makes me weary some days, this thing we call commitment. Knowing that in between this thin line of not living for others, not being so narcissistic, and yet not expecting my spouse to live up to the standards and values I have. Do I quit? Expect nothing? Or not cut myself short by expecting nothing less?
    Honest truth is, there are some standard in which we all subconsciously have, but what becomes excessive and if we do give lee way for potential… knowing all of these things, how do we not scare our spouses into the acknowledge of it all? I mean, for all I know.. I really know nothing of this matter, that is except the endless possibilities of what can/might happen, in once again.. something we call life within timing.
    But what I love about traveling (because of the time restraint), any relationship (with given time and objectiveness) creates a means of clarity for what it is (whether invested into or not), and I’ve learned we kind of have to make terms with the fact that.. we either can enjoy what “this is” as it is or have a tough time, fitting it in a shoe box, too small for it to store away.
    Traveling helps sift these romantic idealism(s) and gives you a better since of direction, of what your heart is really after.

    Anyhow, a little off the subject. But, most of all.. I just wanted to say, YOU ROCK! Looking forward to reading your blogs!!!


    • Liz March 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Wow what an incredible comment! Thank you so much for sharing that with me :)

      I can’t even imagine going through that. You’re amazing! Would you write me a guest post!??!

  39. Kristen February 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    I just recently started reading your blog and love it, but this post especially hit me! I am having similar relationship vs. travel doubts in my own life and your story helped me look at things from a new angle that none of my non-traveler friends can provide. I love seeing how passionate you are about traveling; it is really inspiring!

    • Liz March 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      It’s so hard going through this and it’s something that took me so long to come to terms with, let alone write about publicly!

  40. Jenny February 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    As much as I love this post, I’ve also loved the positive responses so many people have also shared! When I read this, it made me feel like “yay! I’m no longer a freak” and there is someone else who has had spookily similar experiences – but turns out there are loads of us!

    • Liz March 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      Yay!! I feel exactly the same way!

  41. Danica Martin February 26, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Wow, really enjoying your blog! :) Danica

    • Liz March 4, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      Thanks Danica xx

  42. Wakas March 7, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    Great blog. This post was very relatable and worked for banging some sense into me just like Anna Hathaway worked for you:p. Never let someone come into your defination of true happiness unless its their happiness too.

    • Liz March 27, 2013 at 12:10 am #

      Exactly :) Thank you!

  43. Bob March 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Hope you have the best year ever. Enjoy every single minute. Life is soooo short.
    Good Luck

    • Liz March 27, 2013 at 12:11 am #

      Thanks Bob <3

  44. Katie March 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    What a relate-able post, thanks! My pattern has been a bit different in that my dream to travel has been stifled by a boyfriend, then when said boyfriend goes away, the need/urge/hope to find a new boyfriend keeps me at a standstill. It has taken until now (March 2013!) that I have finally made the decision to stop waiting around and go explore!
    Love the honesty and wit in your posts! I’m hooked!

    • Liz March 27, 2013 at 12:11 am #

      Good for you! Sounds like we are quite similar!

  45. Adam - TropicalNomad March 11, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    Hey Liz,
    Another great article. I am lucky to have my girlfriend that I met working in Salou for a summer still with me in New Zealand after 3 years in Australia. There are time you think it is never going to work but then it is all sweet again!

    The plan for our next adventure is a collision course… She wants to go to South America, I want to go to Asia… This is when traveling with a partner becomes difficult.. Do you stick to your own desires or plan a potential year long life trip around someone else’s..

    Time will tell but you have to be ready for every eventuality. I believe everything happens for a reason so if it is meant to be, everything will work out..

    All the best


    • Liz March 27, 2013 at 12:12 am #

      Sounds like you are in for a tough decision Adam! Good luck 😀

  46. Yulia March 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this, Liz.

    I must say I’m your age and most of my life I’ve been alone – I have never really dated anyone for long or with a serious intent. I’ve also had a long-distance relationship once – and it was a weird experience. Anyway, my point is I have always been on my own and I value this circumstance of mice. This is not to say it’s a good idea to stay alone till you die, no! 😀

    But these days I think most people don’t know what to do with themselves once they’re face-to-face with themselves. I’ve learnt to appreciate myself and my own company – you really get to know yourself better, you have time for yourself to grow and develop. Just any relationship is not worth it if it doesn’t bring you anything valuable. And if this is the case, it’s better to be on your own.

    Also, because I’ve been like this for a long time – and I’ve learnt to value this me time – I now know that my partner shoud be somehow like me, He should also appreciate me time that he allocates for his own activities and development. And in this case he would also understand me and wouldn’t think I am selfish and insensitive. I have also resisted people who I feel make me feel not myself, so to speak, who somehow make me deviate from who I want to be or what I believe in.

    All in all, I value inner harmony most of all – harmony with yourself. That’s how you can stay true to yourself and the world around you, saying that this is who you are, with no pretences. I was once so heart-broken that in hindsight I realised what had gone fundamenally wrong – it was the way I’d lost myself somewhere along the way with that person, to the point that I hated myself for that, hated myself for that weakness because I stopped respecting myself.

    Hope this makes sense. And thanks for your blog!

    • Liz April 2, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      Thank you and I totally agree! I love me time :)

  47. Ami May 8, 2013 at 2:43 am #

    Hey sweetie :)
    it was real good to hear your story!
    I feel like I’m the same situation.. stuck in an IT degree for four years. I’m just curious, what degree did you graduate with?
    Also my family is quite conventional.. they would get real mad if I chose to travel the world. I’ve never been a solo traveler but next year I am planning to go to the Middle East solo.
    Much love,

    • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      I graduated with a degree in Spanish and Medieval Studies, not exactly useful lol.

  48. Farrah May 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    I’m going to brag for a moment–I’m very lucky to be getting married to my best friend, who has the same passions as I do: travel, helping others, and theatre. We have no plans to settle down anytime soon, and will be doing a lot of traveling in the years to come. We’re actually planning a few month trip through Central America, volunteering along the way. We’ve been to 15 different countries together, never spent a summer between college years in the same place, and our relationship has grown stronger because of it.
    That being said, in our case, I really do believe we can “have our cake and eat it, too.” The “right” person for you will love you for who you are, and that includes your passions. “The one” will be excited to share such amazing adventures with you, and won’t hold you back.

    • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      That’s awesome, I hope one day to have what you have :)

  49. Jaryd @ Aus Globetrotter June 15, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    This is awesome and I am so overjoyed for you. From a guys perspective I can still relate as I too had fallen for someone. Every time I came home we would start seeing more of each other although we liked to keep distance because travel is my truest passion. Before I left on my last trip i nearly pulled the pin and stayed for her but was also hesitant. Later I found that she lied to me about seeing one of my “then” friends to which he grew some balls to tell me about it and I am ever grateful to him for that. It just goes to show that travel keeps you in line and your right when you say that one day when you find the right person, where you go an how long for won’t matter.

    Great post, I really enjoyed it

    • Liz June 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  50. Meg June 17, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    I am finding your blog inspiring! I am currently planning to move overseas and love reading about others experiences.
    I also found it interesting how you quoted C.S Lewis, a notable Christian author and apologist at the end there (after saying how you hate those sorts of people at the beginning of your article). I’d just like to point out that the ‘things ahead’ he mentions are not of this life, but the afterlife, namely, heaven for believers. Anyway, I was wondering if you were aware of the background there, as it seemed to contrast with your earlier sentiments.
    Thanks for the interesting article!

    • Liz June 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed my blog. I think you might have misinterpreted my use of CS Lewis’ quote. I immensely dislike “preachy” Christians, which I haven’t found to be the case with Lewis at all. but I don’t really see how my use of a famous quote by him makes me a hypocrite in any way, shape or form. Am I not allowed to enjoy his works because I hate Bible-thumpers?

  51. Shannon June 18, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    When I broke up to travel, someone told me, your life should be like a cake. A significant other can be the icing on the cake, but they shouldn’t be the cake itself. Looks like your cake is doing pretty well, with or without the icing 😉

    And just for the record, I met my travel loving husband while pursuing my dream of living abroad…so, you never know!

    • Liz June 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      One can only hope xx

  52. Anna @ Go Live Wild June 30, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    I’m embarrassed to say that all of my major life decisions have been catapulted by a breakup. I would have never dreamed of leaving a steady boyfriend behind or moving away from a good relationship.

    But I’ve been told I’m the perfect ex-girlfriend, because the first thing I do is get the hell out of there. I’ve moved after every major breakup, and the last one pushed me to leave the country and buy a one-way ticket to Thailand with a week’s notice.

    Kudos to you for being independent and putting your dreams first, with or without a relationship. Serious strength there.

    • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:25 am #

      Thank girlie :)

  53. okely July 1, 2013 at 1:42 am #

    Hi liz
    Lv ur blog.Thnx for shaing.
    God Bless You
    Keep smiling
    Ur new subscriber
    Okely (:

    “one of the simplest ways to stay happy is,,,letting go of the things that makes you sad- unknown…”
    stay positive

    • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:26 am #

      Always smiling :)

  54. M July 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Love your posts! I’m moving to Bilbao this fall for a couple of years and I love reading your blogs about the Basque country and elsewhere. I’m 31 and have been in a serious relationship for almost two years. My boyfriend has been completely supportive of my decision to take the job in Bilbao and really encouraged me to take it as he knows it’s likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. I traveled as a single girl to several spots in Africa in my 20s during graduate school. We are planning on staying together while I’m in Spain and just taking each day as it comes. I know it will be extremely difficult at times, but I’m heading into this uncharted (by me anyway) territory with a hopeful heart. I’m past wanting flings anymore and am really looking forward to immersing myself in my work and new culture, and traveling around the region as well. I’m quite excited and nervous! Best of luck to you and I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:28 am #

      Good luck! It sounds like you have a really supportive bf, that’s awesome! Most of my friends in really “successful” relationships have had to go long distance and one point or another. If you can make it then, you can make it through anything, right?

  55. Kirsty July 3, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    This was a really lovely blogpost, and it really hit home with me. I started writing a blog about 2 years ago too, and I loved doing it – it gave me a bit of purpose and something to focus on. Over the 2 years though I’ve grown out of the subject matter somewhat and want something a bit meatier to sink my teeth into. I’m off to Australia for a year in September and I’ve decided that I want to give travel blogging a go, as I think that will suit me better. Your blog is a great inspiration, so thank you Liz!

    • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:28 am #

      Thanks so much :)

  56. Amy Hayes July 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    I can relate to your story. My travel started with a break up. My 6 year relationship ended and I moved to London to pursue my studies for a year. Once that time ended, I thought I wanted to move back and get back together with said ex, only he had different thoughts (i.e. a new girlfriend). As devastating as that was at the time, it left me free to do as I pleased, for me. So I moved to Paris, originally for 4 months, and stayed 3 years. That one “shift” opened so many doors for me, and I now look back and laugh that I would have even considered wanting it any other way. :)

    • BkChickTravels August 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      Love this post! You’re so real throughout it and not afraid to write it, it’s so inspiring and always a great reminder that you have to put yourself and your happiness first. I may not be the happiest in my current job but recently began blogging and life has been better than ever. I’ve started to travel much more often since last summer and its only going to become more and more frequent until I have enough money to do it for life. I have to say that I luckily ended up with a man who loves traveling as much as me and him being supportive makes all the difference.

      • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:31 am #

        Thanks guys :)

  57. GG August 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it…. Your blog, your adventures, your travels. I am 33, happily married and living in the States since ’98. I came here for college and had so much fun that decided to stay and get some more. I also made some funny mistakes while learning English (Spanish is my first language… I once said I don’t like to eat grass-(grasa) instead of grease, my friend said “of course you are not a cow!)
    I wish you the best in your journeys and that when you are ready to settle you find a fantastic person that loves, respects, and cherishes you every day.
    Best of luck!

    • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:32 am #

      Thank you :)

  58. Jen August 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I went through the same things! As a young traveller this blog is like reading my own thoughts written down. Last year when I left for South Africa for the year there was a boyfriend in tow and for the first 7 months I was there all my money went to internet costs, I felt miserable not being with him, and all my energy was focused back home to where he was. It was awful. The unexpected breakup call was the best thing that could have possibly happened to me the whole year. I was devastated, obviously. But after the first month or so of crying I noticed I was growing closer to the people around me and starting to fall in love with South Africa.

    Also, more importantly, my dreams grew astronomically bigger. Instead of planning on staying back home with him my new plans include working in another national park (one of the best experiences ever) and moving abroad for a few years to Uruguay or Chile. And then MAYBE (slight possibility but not really) settling down. We’ll see. It’s a long, beautiful road ahead with far too many siren calls around the world to ignore.

    Thankfully, I never sacrificed travel for being with him because, like you, i knew I would regret it forever. I’ve left South Africa now with a few adopted families, memories of climbing mountains and doing everything under the sun in Cape Town, making incredible friendships, and, just maybe, having found the love of my life. The best part is knowing how much more I believe in my dreams now that I have had to stand up for them and fight while finding the right people to walk with me on the journey.

    From one young wanderer to another, keep following your dreams and the rest will fall in place. Which it sounds like you’re already doing, so keep on keepin’ on!

    • Liz September 9, 2013 at 6:33 am #

      Glad you can relate!

  59. Emily September 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Liz, I can so relate to this awful, torn in the gut experience! I really admire your attitude and passion and your ability to write about this big decision so candidly. Reminds me of Eat, Pray, Love.

    I’m 24 as well (25 on Saturday!) and travel and writing are my passions…my boyfriend and I (rather amazingly really) stuck together after 3 + years of traveling (separately) and this fall, got married (in Fargo, North Dakota, no less!). In making this decision, I knew my travel opportunities would be more limited, but I do passionately believe that when you know, you know.

    My then boyfriend/now husband never guilt-tripped me about pursuing my dreams and so when we did decide to settle down, I knew it was the right choice.

    I think that when it’s the right person, you’ll know. Until then, travel ON!

  60. Rachel September 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Thank you for this particular page in your blog. I am going through the exact same situation- I was dating a guy for nearly three years and decided to live in Spain. He immediately broke it off saying he couldn’t handle it. With the overwhelming feeling of being in a new country, trying to understand what is going on, not being able to afford anything but bread, etc., it really is awful to have someone you thought was there for you just leave you when something so incredible is going on in your life. It’s exactly as you say it will be. I’m sure this year/s will be amazing for me and I wish I had someone there to support me- that’s how I knew he was not the right one for me. And I agree about not being in a rush to have a family and the perfect house!

    Fantastic words. You have encouraged yet another expat in Spain! Thank you!

  61. Jacinta September 30, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    I wholeheartedly agree! There is someone out there who is perfect for you and you won’t have to sacrifice your own dreams and desires to make it work, it will just work!

    I was head over heels in love with someone from work for 3 years and kept waiting on my life to start with him. But also thanks to him, after much pain and sacrifice on my part, I had finally realised what is actually important to me and how I really wish to live my life. And that gave me the courage to quit a job and company which everybody else envies but I was no longer passionate about, and to go travel around the world.

    So now I have been travelling alone for nearly 4 months now and with no end date or plans of when this will stop. The joys of discovering about myself everyday and loving myself are my best healing. And I have more faith and trust both in myself and in life than ever before. And when the timing is right, that person will just show up in your life. And the precursor to that is? As long as we keep on living our best lives :)

  62. Shaz Lake November 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    I had the opposite problem. It took going traveling WITH my boyfriend for me to realize how much I didn’t want to be with him. Breakups on the road are tough, but I think that traveling really teaches you that you don’t need to settle, there is so much more out there than unhappiness and conformity.

    My motto has always been that you need to be okay by yourself before you can be okay with someone else. And once you are OK with yourself, don’t let anybody change that.

  63. Danielle November 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    I am really so glad I found your blog. I recently moved to Germany, and of course, as always I left some guy behind in the US, fortunately having some sense to break up with him before leaving. I haven’t been single for the past 3 years or so, it’s just constantly in and out of relationships, and then I come here and it’s like I can feel myself searching for one again! But when I read what you wrote, I know you’re right. Why do I have to give up my dreams in search of some guy? Hopefully this mentality sticks, but I finally feel like I can stop looking… and be happy.

  64. anthony February 6, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    well, i am here representing the other side of this equation … as someone who is heartbroken that their significant other is following their dreams to travel.

    i met the love of my life almost 2 years ago, she was 22 and i was 29. over the first year we became friends and our lives began to get more and more intertwined until last june we had our first kiss and began a committed relationship. at this time i knew she had plans to travel but i had the mindset that “we are here now” and i just wanted to be with her so bad. in august she went to germany for 2 weeks. (to the town she plans on moving) when she returned we had a very emotional talk about how she knew our relationship would need to end when she made her move in approximately one year. again, we discussed that we were in love and both “here now” … and in my heart i just thought our love was so strong that nothing could separate us.

    4 more months went by, we had great holidays together and we met each others families, went skiing, etc. i was on cloud nine and thinking that she might not be planning on moving any longer or maybe postponing it. then on new years day 2014 we met up and she just started crying saying shes so confused and feels our relationship getting stronger and stronger which will inevitably make the break up harder. she said we needed to end things that day. i was and still am absolutely devastated. we had returned from an amazing vacation 3 days earlier where we celebrated our 6 month anniversary and had a fabulous time just the 2 of us.

    reading your post has helped in a way, particularly the line that says “any guy who makes me feel guilty for wanting to travel is a douche” … i never want her to see me in that way, and i know i need to be strong. she is the love of my life and im trying to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. she is an amazing person who finished school and has the entire world open to her. i fully understand that she wants to spread her wings and travel without any ties or inhibitions, but my heart is so broken adjusting to life without her. right now its so hard because we are still in the same town, just cutting off contact until she leaves. i just have to do the best i can taking things one day at a time.

    • Zach August 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      Woah, literally am in the exact same situation… like literally sentence for sentence. I am in the same city right now with SO who is getting ready to leave, and sadly part of getting ready to leave, is ending the relationship, like you said, to ease the transition. Hard being in the same city right now.

  65. Devan Knobloch March 25, 2014 at 5:02 am #


    I stumbled across your blog from Ashleyabroad. And in looking at ways to save money (because I am broke and in debt) so I can move to Paris and au pair I found the link to this blog post. I am so glad you wrote this!! Seriously it reminded me of why I actually got divorced from the perfect man. Because I knew I wouldn’t get to travel or explore and learn the way I always wanted to. I made such a hard choice to not let my marriage pigeon hole me and I parted ways. I am still figuring out how to live as me and not need a man. But I digress. I love your blog and its been wonderful!


  66. Julianne Nolan March 26, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    YOU ARE MY SOUL TWIN!! This actually is 100%the story of my life. 2 boyfriends who I was wildly in love with, one in spain while i was in the states and one in the states while I was in Spain…. Im single now after a brutal break up and have just realized how WILDLY AMAZINGLY happy I am for the first time in years. Its almost scary how much I relate to you and how much I believe in being single and persuing your own happiness. Lesson learned through blood sweat and tears and I think we are all the better for it!!! You rock girl, such an inspiration for us all :)

  67. Richelle May 21, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    I had a similar situation to your when I was in college. I fell for an Australian who was studying abroad at my school in America. After a semester he went back to Australia and we kept the relationship up long distance, and I even flew to Australia and lived with him and his family for a month. That next fall I had a choice: study abroad in Australia that spring and be with my boyfriend and probably have a great time, or study abroad in China. I’d been studying Chinese for the last year and a half, with the sole purpose of going to China, which was my dream. I even TOLD my boyfriend the day we first met that I wanted to study abroad in China. I thought I could study in Australia in the spring and do China over the summer and have the best of both worlds. All my friends and even my parents said it was a good idea. But my best friend knew better. She, for lack of better words, “bitched me out” and “set me straight”. She said, “If he really loved you he would threaten to dump you if you DIDN’T go to China”. My boyfriend couldn’t understand how I could “choose China over him” and we broke up.

    Now I can’t imagine how different my life would have been if I went to Australia. I’d probably be engaged, working some stupid job I didn’t like in Australia just to be with him. Going to China made me realize he was never the right person for me. Studying abroad in America was a big deal for him. I can’t imagine him backpacking around SE Asia with me, or keeping calm while being jostled on a Chinese subway. I laugh when I think back to a time I thought we might get married. Any guy that ends a relationship because you want to follow your dreams isn’t worth having.

    Now I’m single, living in China teaching English. I’m almost fluent in Chinese, I’m extremely independent and I haven’t had a boyfriend in almost two years. I know exactly who I am and exactly what I want, and someday I’ll find a guy who I can take with me on my adventures. I’ve always been afraid to write about this stuff on my own blog, but reading this post makes me feel like I can address it in a mature and thoughtful way without seeming too emotional or “oversharing”. Thanks!

  68. Patricia Lorraine June 10, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    Liz, the whole time I read your post I kept saying “Me, too!” and “Yes, that’s it!” I’ve never found another person who shared so many of the same feelings on writing, travel, and life. I’m so glad I found your blog, and will keep reading your every post. I want to follow my own story, like you did.

  69. Amber June 17, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    Oh girl! This post is helping me with what feels like the most difficult decision of my life right now. I have a boyfriend of 5 years who is fully supportive of me returning to live abroad for another year. The thing is, do I leave him and find myself? I don’t remember what it’s like to be single. I am 21 and ready to see the world forma whole new perspective, to grow and develop myself without anyone else. I guess its just another one of those decisions.. Thank you for your article! It’s giving me food for thought!

  70. Hill August 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    Hey Liz,

    It might be a little late to comment here, but I just came across this post from your facebook. I’m leaving for Madrid as part of the auxiliar program in three days (!!!) and my boyfriend and I just celebrated our eight month anniversary yesterday. I’ve been struggling all summer with what to do about it…we got together with the intention (on my end anyways) of breaking up before I left but you clearly know what happens…you just get too invested. I was always afraid of making this move into a bad thing instead of the good thing that I know it is. It’s just a really scary thing. But your post and the comments it sparked are comforting. I know I’m far from being alone in this situation, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that breaking up with someone you love isn’t always the worst decision. Thanks.

  71. Kate August 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    Sigh. I get it. I went to Cancun for a week and my guy lost it and I said what if I want to travel more in the future he was like not without me or just don’t go…I just don’t understand being in relationships unless that person supports you 100% you can always work it out they could travel with you, but it’s just not that common I suppose. In the mean time I’m home and it’s fine, but I want to get out more. This in turn makes me incredibly private and I get it I’m 29 and because I’m so private about my relationships that it makes life far more interesting than I’d like. Why people care so much about who you date or why you are single is beyond me shouldn’t people just care if you are happy? Why does it always have to be about them or something you’re suppose to portray in society? I guess I just don’t get that.

  72. Genny @ Genny's Journals August 31, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing this! I just moved to the Netherlands from Canada and I must confess, the decision was brought on by a bad break-up. I’m so much happier now that I have put my own dreams and goals first and stopped worrying so much about making a guy happy! I can really relate to your story, I feel less like an oddball now :)

    Awesome post!

  73. Ashley September 3, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    Wow, I must say this article is far beyond inspiring. I am faced with a similar issue as I prepare to embark on my current adventure to New Zealand! I have actually been following multiple other blog entries of yours and I’m very intrigued. It is an insanely fun outlet although I wonder the difficulties of those significant others finding their way to this comment section.

    Now to spill my relationship dilemma. My current boy or shall I say man for flattery and myself have been dating for a little over 3 years now.’re telling me. But I will be beginning my adventure to Auckland in a little under two weeks. Where I will be leaving him behind for 5 months, unless I fall in love and opt for a longer stay. This has been an internal conflict of mine for quite sometime as you mentioned. The decision is far from every being an easy one. I will take the advice you have given into deep consideration and the possibility of starting my own blog for my adventures as well!

  74. Char September 22, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    LOVE this post! I’m not usually even a big commenter but this one really rung true to me. Unfortunately I have the opposite problem of staying in a place for a boy even though every fibre of my being really wants to be travelling. So inspiring that you stayed in Spain! I’m off on a solo journey next May for the first time, boyfriend or no boyfriend. I like to think that the person I’m meant to be with, instead of simply tolerating my wanting to go travelling/constant talking about it, is already there, travelling the world and ready to inspire me. A bit romantic but it should be that way!

  75. Marianne October 3, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    I know I’m late to comment on this by a year or so, but I just ran across this post and I can’t emphasize enough how much I needed to read this. I actually just posted a blog post about why I moved to France for a year (a month ago) and much of it has to do with breaking up with my boyfriend of almost three years. While we broke up for more reasons than just my desire to travel, every day I think about him and what it would be like if I hadn’t left. I don’t regret my decision but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss him and contemplate “what if’s” on a fairly regular basis.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for writing this because I’m glad I stumbled across it today, it definitely helped. And oh man I totally agree with you – the people who say “oh hunnay, don’t worry. You’re young, you’ll meet someone.” need to just go find a hole to crawl into and never come out.

    p.s. this might be really random and possibly wrong, but were you on an episode of House Hunters on HGTV? because I think I saw it. :)

  76. Anonymous October 16, 2014 at 4:27 am #

    I have a similar dilemma I’m going through right now…I just spent the past year living in Spain through the auxiliar program and loved it. My boyfriend was also teaching English in another European country so we were able to make it work long distance, even though we only saw each other once every 2 months. We are both in the US now but I want to go back to Spain next year and he doesn’t see how we can make it work from different continents with the time difference and everything…plus after being apart all last year we said we didn’t want to go through that again. But I told him if he wanted to make it work he would at least be willing to try! I want to be with him in the future, but I feel like now is the time to travel and see the world while I’m still young and not tied down with kids or anything. I know it’s hard to do long distance, but it’s been done and can be done…it just seems like he doesn’t even want to try. He also thinks it would be a waste to do the auxiliar program again. I don’t know what to do…I want to travel and I want him to support me…

  77. Angela February 1, 2015 at 2:33 am #

    This post is perfect. I am participating in the Auxiliar program in Madrid this year, and I too just went through a shitty breakup. I came here last September with all the hope that me and my man would make it. Then it’s like he turned into another person. He would call me selfish and irresponsible for participating in the program. Umm, sure, like packing up your shit and moving across the world is easy? After listening to all of that and thinking wow, maybe he’s right, I found out that he cheated on me after 3 months. Needless to say I was crushed. And right now I just feel so angry and bitter. I also wanted to have my cake and eat it too; a relationship while traveling. I’m not sure if it’s the winter blues or the breakup or both, but since coming back to Madrid after Christmas I’ve felt so lonely. It’s hard for me to get motivated and I feel like I’m wasting my time here and feeling mad at myself for not enjoying my time here. Some days I just want to pack up and go home. But in the back of my head there’s a voice saying don’t let that asshole win, don’t let the loneliness get to you. I really want to stick it out and stop feeling sorry for myself, but I’m also scared of what to do next. Should I return home after this year and call it quits? Or should I renew and try again, this time completely free?

  78. Amy Proctor February 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    It’s funny how you say “not the whole Bible-carryin’-crucifix-wearin’-honk-if-you-love-Jesus kind of way. Because I hate those people with the fire of a thousand suns” and then quote CS Lewis.

    • Liz February 2, 2015 at 11:04 pm #

      Why is that funny exactly? I never said I had a problem with religious people or religious writers, rather the fundamentalists who shove their religion down other people’s throats. There is a huge difference.

  79. Honey Bee March 17, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing. I lost my love of 3.5 years recently. Well, 8+ months ago, but still recent. I broke it off to get some perspective. My perspective was that he’s the person I would stay home for. His perspective was that he can’t love a gypsy anymore. So… I lost him. And it’s this sucking wound in my chest.

    But reading your story, and the stories in the comments, helps. Maybe one day I’ll find someone who will run as far and as fiercely as I do.

  80. T March 31, 2015 at 7:40 am #


    I’m not sure how old this post is, but I got here from reading a bunch of your other posts. I am currently applying to teach English in Spain through CIEE as well as the Spanish government. This post is exactly what I needed because the number one source of stress in this entire process is my boyfriend at home (we live in the US). We have been together for almost 4 years now and it feels foolish and selfish to get up and throw that away for an opportunity to go into the unknown and do… I don’t know what…in Spain. I try to push off feelings of wanting to go and have new adventures and experiences, but I know that I will resent him/ that decision if I don’t go. This might be my only time to just GO, but it doesn’t make it an easy decision. Your post really helped me in feeling like I’m not alone. Thank you.

  81. Angelo April 29, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    I can say that a relationship changed all my life, and it is such a great memory. Even if I have been crying all day. Yes it was a long distance relationship with a spanish boy met in Barcelona, and it ended not so far away. He helped me doing th “coming out” with everyone and while I had some trouble with my life and my parents, I have been to his home in Seville 2 weeks. I met his parents and his friends. Was such a great experience. I learned a new language speaking just with him, I don’t even know how i talked with them. But a long distance relationship is the opposite of a life full of travels and adventures as i want (even if it was an adventure). At the end we broke up after 6 months of 2000+ km of travel because I knew he wasn’t for me..
    But we remained to be friend, even if it hurts at the beginning (now). He saved my life and my prantes one involuntary. But now I’m looking to go ahead. I planned my first solo travel in Sevilla (yes.. ex boyfriend’s city) because i REALLY LOVE this city. I feel happy there. But people say is because of him, when he was. Will it be true?

    Great blog
    Cheers. :)

  82. Amanda P June 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    Oh man I have had long distance relationships that I probably shouldn’t have but I also can’t regret how any of them ended up because I think everything has lead me to experiences I might not have had otherwise.

    I have had to re-evaluate my life in my relationship. My husband and I thought we’d eventually come around to wanting kids when we got married. He later decided he didn’t want any. I had to figure out if I didn’t want them then or wouldn’t ever and landed on never. I’ve stuck by that choice. Lately he’s changed his mind, and I haven’t. My ideal life involves zero kids and lots of travel. Whether he’ll decide he wants to be married to me more than he wants a kid remains to be seen, but I know that if I go against what my heart tells me and don’t keep pursuing the life I want, I won’t be happy.

    I have so many passions that sometimes it’s hard to balance them all and decide what should be primary. I’m sure there is some way to tie everything together and I just haven’t quite worked it out yet but some of them are: writing, travel, music, exercise that’s fun and challenging, and helping others. These are all things that keep a smile on my face and getting out of bed (though lately it’s been more in the afternoon than the morning).

  83. Firefly June 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    Right in the feels. In a few weeks’ time I’ll be breaking up with my boyfriend of seven months when I move to Spain as an auxiliar. It’s still gonna suck, even though we knew it was coming from the very start, but I’m young, I have plenty of time to find love later on – preferably with someone who’s willing to globe-trot with me!

  84. Josh September 18, 2015 at 7:32 am #

    Liz, I feel compelled to write to you and express my gratitude for sharing your story. It’s a relief to know that I’m not alone when it comes to the topic of relationships & travel.. I recently broke up with someone who actually meant the world to me because of my plans to travel later this year.

    We knew when we got together that I would be going away for up to 6 months and how difficult that would be, it broke her before it broke me and the thought of it consumed her. I told her I’d go for a shorter period but something inside me rebelled and just couldn’t settle for that, it’s this burning desire to find that ‘perfect ray of sunshine’ somewhere in a foreign environment. I had to call things off because I knew that I needed to be free to explore but my mind can’t help but wonder if I’ve thrown away something I’ll never find again.

    I think ultimately I know deep down that this is the right decision, to travel, to see the world, to sacrifice what’s great now to realise the potential of what could be amazing in the future.. It’s warming to hear that it paid off for you, that you found yourself, so I wanted to thank you for the support you’ve unknowingly given me on a night where I came so close to giving up on my dream and giving in to the side of me that wants that ‘normal’ life.

  85. Katie Uniacke October 23, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    Your latest email on creativity sent me here, and I’m so glad it did! I have vowed to myself to never let relationships get in the way and it’s good to be reminded of that! Cheesy as it is, you’re such an inspiration! I’m a few years behind you in the university and messing around with a blog faze, who knows where I’ll be in a few years time?! xxx

    • Liz October 24, 2015 at 9:38 pm #


  86. Rachel October 31, 2015 at 7:28 am #

    As I currently sit in Calahorra, La Riojia visiting a friend (who was in the teaching program you were in), I find myself missing my ex-boyfriend. Whom I left in NYC 3 months ago to travel the world. Feeling down, I googled information on the teaching program only to come across your blog and article… Coincidence? Nah, fate. Thanks for the pick me up and a sign to keep staying present and not look back. :)

  87. khaled December 31, 2015 at 1:00 am #

    i liked this post ..brave and inspiring …i really like all your blog :)

  88. E March 5, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

    Hi Liz, this is a great post. I really agree with “Why can’t we have both: passion and partner?” I really advocate pursuing passion in life, because you only live once, and if you live someone else’s life, you are not living your life. Thanks for great article.


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