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This is probably my 400th attempt at writing this post. So far, I have failed every time I tried to put my thoughts into words, but I feel like I need to finally talk about the changes in my personal life and on Globetrottergirls.

You might have noticed that Jess has vanished from the site over the last couple of months. Some of you have already suspected it, and some of you even got in touch and asked what was going on (I appreciate your emails). The ones among you who suspected it were right – Jess and I are not together anymore.

Jess decided to end our relationship and to leave Globetrottergirls quietly, which I respect. I won’t lie – this break up has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me and I am still struggling to come to terms with it. I have been trying to write about it for weeks, but always ended up with many tears and few written words. My heart is broken, I am still extremely shaken up and it will take me a while to get over this.

What happened?

We had just overcome the effects of a horrible sickness and a somewhat frustrating travel experience in Bolivia, but were on a high again in Peru where we fell in love with Cuzco and went on to have one of the most rewarding travel experiences of all of our travels: finishing the five-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

dani and jess at machu picchu
The last picture of us as a couple: Reaching Machu Picchu after a five day trek through the Andres

Just a few days later, we had an argument that blew up to such dimensions that I found myself on a plane to Germany a week later while Jess flew to her family in Chicago. Those first few days were nothing but a big blur, I don’t remember much of what was going on around me.

In February, there were days when I thought I wouldn’t make it through this, followed by days when I was even able to pursue business endeavors for which the seeds had been put in my head a long, long time ago. Terrible lows were followed by extreme highs, but then followed by terrible lows again.

I finally pulled myself together and an amazing group of friends, some of which I had long forgotten and neglected until my unexpected visit to Germany, helped me with their incredible support, words of wisdom and encouragement, getting me to begin to think I’d make it through this.

Even now, after some time has passed, I am still not able to talk about what exactly happened between me and Jess – the pain still sits too deep – but I am sure I will talk about it when I am ready as part of my healing process. For now, I just want to say that she did have reasons to leave, of course, and not unfounded reasons. I didn’t see the end of our relationship coming at all, and would be lying if I said I wouldn’t still be in shock about the abrupt break up. I was convinced that this relationship was going to last forever, and am realizing now, with some distance to everything that happened, that I was blind to many warning signs and that my image of this seemingly picture-perfect relationship was somewhat distorted. Even if you spend 24/7 together for nearly four years (we actually had a 24/7 relationship longer than we had a ‘normal’ relationship), run a business together, live your dream and travel the world together, your ideas and visions for the rest of your life can change drastically and drift away from each other.

The only thing I can do now is learn from this dreadful experience that literally shook up my entire world – not only did I lose my girlfriend, but also my best friend, my business partner, my fellow globetrottergirl – and vouch that I won’t be making the same mistakes again in the future.

Dani

What the future holds for me

I made the right decision when I returned to Germany to be with my family instead of continuing to travel through Peru on my own. Even though I barely spent any time with them over the last few years, they were exactly what I needed to get through this. Upon my arrival, I met my brand new nephew who I fell head over heels in love with. My little nieces are so adorable that they are always able to dry my tears – they don’t even know how much they have done for me.

In March, I returned to Berlin, a city Jess and I had chosen as a potential future base for the two of us after falling in love with the city last summer, spent a month there and was happy to discover that I still loved the city just as much, and will probably make it my home base sooner or later.

I took the opportunity to spend a week in Malta last month where I was able to reflect on our relationship and the break-up, finding closure and also rediscovering my love for travel and exploring new places, something that had disappeared after the break up.

For the foreseeable future, I will continue to roam the globe, taking the time I need to heal and figure out what I want to do with my life. I have to admit that I am not a good solo traveler and it will take me a while to transform from a ‘couple traveler’ into a ‘solo traveler’.

When I was offered a housesit in New York City (where we had a housesit together last May/June) I didn’t think about it twice and will be spending the next couple of months in the city I’d move to in a heartbeat. New York City is easily my favorite place in the world, and I am hoping that spending time in a place I love and I am familiar with will not only help me heal but also help me ease in becoming a solo traveler. I am actually getting ready for my flight to New York as this post goes live.

New York New YorkI am not sure yet where I’ll travel to after the housesit, except for a short road trip through British Colombia (more details on that soon) and a quick getaway to the Pacific Northwest. I have a million ideas but at the moment, my travel plans change on a daily basis. I am still taking it day by day, and I am confident that something will come up and lead me into the right direction.

The future of Globetrottergirls

After this unexpected change in my life, not only the plans for my future have been changing on a daily basis, but also my plans on what to do with this website. In the beginning, I had a breakdown every time I published a post on a place we visited together, and had a hard time looking at the pictures and video footage of our last adventures as a couple. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep the site, but realized quickly that I can’t picture my life without Globetrottergirls. I will continue to share my last trips with Jess, but will also begin to share my own travels as I transition into being a solo female traveler. The stories of our last trips as a couple deserve being told, too, which is why I will sprinkle them in over the next few weeks, whenever I am ready to share them, since it is still extremely painful for me to go through those pictures and relive the good times we had.

The emails and comments I’ve been receiving were a big part of what kept me going over the last few months, what kept me sane and helped me rediscover my love for writing, sharing stories and help you plan your own dream trip, and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who emailed asking for travel advice, telling us we’d inspired them to go on their own dream trip, or just checking in to see if everything was okay with us.

If any of you would like to get in touch with Jess, please just shoot me an email and I’d be happy to forward you her contact details.

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73 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear of the breakup. I was hoping to have met you two when you were going to lead the trip up the West Coast. If you are ever in Portland, OR please let me know! I’d be happy to show you around!

  2. I’m glad to read that you’ll continue Globetrottergirls. I’ve not been reading long, but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read thus far and it would be a shame if you ended it now.

    I have travelled solo for nearly all of my adult life and the experience has helped me grow tremendously. The independence and self-reliance couldn’t have come about in a better way. It may seem a lot harder doing it on your own, but there are some major advantages, too. Travel can be such a stressful activity and making decisions for yourself is strengthening.

    At the same time you have my utmost sympathy for your situation, having forever lost the person closest to me and all that entailed. Our joint future evaporated overnight. The feeling is nothing short of horrible and it took a long time to rebuild. It really felt uphill and I lost friends along that hard road of recovery. Rebuilding takes time.

    But as long as you’re following your passions — and it sounds like you are — then this New Chapter will also mean exciting things in store for you.

    As they say in Portugal, boa sorte!

  3. Sorry to hear about the breakup, but I’m glad you’re keeping the blog running. Solo travel can be fun too! Best wishes on this new chapter of your life <3

  4. Hi Dani. I’ve just discovered your blog today, so I’m an ultra new reader, but I just wanted to offer my condolences for the experience you went through. It sounds terribly hard. It’s always difficult to break up with a long term partner, but as you pointed out, you lost more than just your girlfriend. I just want to say that I think it’s great that you decided to continue on with the blog, as I think you have a real talent, and I am looking forward to keeping up with your adventures as you continue on as an awesome solo traveller.

  5. I too am a new reader. But I love what I am seeing and will be following your adventures with interest whether you take them on your own or with others.

  6. Nothing hurts worse that a breakup of such epic proportions. They transform you forever. Wishing you peace–treat yourself with kindness.

  7. hi dani, i would like to say im sad for you, but in truth I am hoping that you like to switch teams and give the blokes a go. ive followed you for some time. i sat across from you on many buses hoping that one day you would break up Jess

  8. I have felt your story very deeply Dani, both meeting you yesterday and now reading this. I feel fully what you are going through as I have been there myself. It has made me appreciate more deeply what I have now and for that I sincerely thank you. I wish you every success and love possible as you pick up and continue on this journey of life, and please know you will always have friends in Jodie and myself xx

  9. I feel your pain, just know life turns out better than we could ever imagine, get healed and move forward, there is one small world waiting for you out there

  10. It has been many many months when I last time visited your website, bug changes indeed. I hope both of you will manage to learn and grow from it. I know it is harder done than said…

  11. Hi Dani,

    Wow, seems I’m way behind the times… Had NO idea!

    Very sorry to hear about this. I hate when long-term couples break up. It makes me feel pain, too. I feel for you, girl.

    Sounds like you’re on the road to recovery. I hope it smooths out and speeds up quickly. I’ve always found that time heals.

    Big hugs to you, Lash

  12. Hi Dani,
    I am so sorry to hear about your break up and hope that the time that has passed has brought you some healing and joyful moments. I have loved your website and found it very inspirational and helpful. We recently sold our house and are embarking on a 5 month trip with our 4 young children to Central America. We used your packing list as a baseline for our trip. Your blogs on Central America have been instrumental in piecing together our trip. Thank you for sharing. I wish you the best in the future.

  13. Hi Dani
    I’m new here and was given this link from Jan (budgettraveltalk.com) as I have just gone/going through a very similar situation after almost ten years. Writing a relatively short post about it without going too deep (‘Everything Happens For a Reason’) was hard, not to mention what to do with the blog (when it’s been built upon you and your partner, even if it’s only in its infancy). Being blindsided by warning signs and thinking that a relationship will last forever, whatever gets thrown in it’s way, then being thrown a curve ball that you have very little, actually no say in, is a huge shock emotionally and physically. It will take time to process your emotions and I am being advised repeatedly to let whatever comes out emotionally to just be. Ha, even writing this has opened the valve again! I encourage you to continue with the blog, as hard as it is. Sending you a big virtual hug 🙂

  14. Dani,
    How do I say how sorry I am? I am more understanding than you might imagine. I look forward to learning from your healing.

    I am in the middle of a 36 year marriage that has become so full of discord, that we are beyond repair. I am just beginning the process of cleansing my desperation and sadness, I might add at the age of 65.

    I am totally and utterly devoid of feeling and thought and need to find a way to move on. My only salvation is we have three wonderful sons that can hopefully get past my issues. I unfortunately cannot afford to live in the US and will have to see where I can live and retire on my meager social security income.

    I wish you the best in your recovery and urge you to make contact if you find the need! Thank you kindly for sharing your issue. It helped me understand I am not alone!
    Mike

    1. Sorry to hear this Mike. Wishing well. I’ve been there too. No quick fix but I hope you have a good friends (and your sons of course) to help you through. Love, Kat

  15. Oh Dani, I noticed a little while ago that Jess was ‘missing’ but assumed it was temporary. So rather belatedly I’d like to say how sorry I am. Really sad to read this but I realise it was written quite some time ago and will catch-up with some more recent posts to see how things are now (good I hope).

    I’ve been through two big break ups in my life (both their decision rather than mine). The first time being by far the worse when I lost my husband, job and home in one blow. It took a long, long time to really move on but I did.

    I’ve never been so happy in my own company as I am now (although I am engaged to a very lovely man, we’re not planning on living together 24/7 when we finally tie the knot).

    Wishing you well and look forward to catching-up with your journey. Love Kat x

  16. Hello Dani.

    I’m so sorry that you and Jess broke up. I just commented on your post written in 2010 about the double or twin bed issues. And I really feel bad that I began with the “Hey ladies” sentence! I apologize for that!

    I hope you have or will overcome this breakup. I’m sure it’s not easy, but traveling the world (especially to new places – places you haven’t been together before) will certainly help you get through it!

    Have fun at the Oktoberfest in Munich! Can’t wait to know where you’re traveling to in November & December. 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll keep reading your old posts.

    Cheers, Mei

  17. I am so sorry to hear about this hard time in your life. I can empathize. When me and my ex-wife split, it was unbelievably painful. Even now — many years later — I can barely speak to her because it is still painful.

    I wish you all of the best.

    – Jessie

  18. Hallo dani

    Hab grad deine webseite gefunden und bin dann auf diesen artikel gestossen. Wow, nicht einfach deine situation. Ich wünsch dir all die kraft die du brauchst, um deine passion weiterhin zu leben!! Ich bin mir sicher, dass du das schaffst!

    Alles gute aus mexiko

    Kate

  19. I am deeply saddened by this post and hope that the wonders in the world around you, as well as the support of your good friends, will bring you some comfort.

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