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Saying “I do,” suddenly doesn’t seem so scary anymore once you get engaged. You did it, you found the one you’re going to spend the rest of your life with — GO YOU! What suddenly becomes a part of daily reality is when it’s appropriate to wear your engagement and when is it not. Suddenly the scariest situation you can be in is diamond-less and having to tell your fiancé that you lost maybe one of your most expensive possession.
Let me tell you, the first couple of days of wearing my engagement ring I felt like a klutzy teenager again and was constantly checking my left hand to see if I was still wearing it.
Now, I’ve got my ring wearing habits down to a routine. I take off my ring for activities like showering, washing dishes and going to the gym and have designated ring holders and jewelry stands scattered about to keep my ring safe while it’s off my finger. Other than these few instances my ring is glued to my finger — sometimes literally when it’s a warm day and my fingers have swelled.
I didn’t think about my engagement ring when planning my solo trip to Iceland in November.
So when I was planning my solo trip to Iceland in November, I didn’t think anything of my engagement ring. That wasn’t until someone asked me. I was stunned for a moment and did not know how to reply. (And it’s a surreal moment when I’m at a loss for words.)
That evening while I was enjoying dinner with my fiancé, I asked him what his opinion was. At this point, I hadn’t really formulated an opinion myself, so I was interested to hear his take on the subject. He hadn’t thought about it either.
Over the past several weeks we’ve talked about whether my engagement should remain stateside or journey over the pond with me. In the end, we found that there are no definitive right or wrong answers, it’s all gray and depends on how you interpret it.
Are you traveling solo?
After our engagement, we immediately started traveling. Our first trip was a camping trip with friends where we suffered through the pouring rain. We then embarked to northern Minnesota where we hiked around the shores of Lake Superior. We closed out the summer with a road trip to Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.
During all these trips, I wore my engagement ring. Iceland will be my first solo vacation since we’ve gotten engaged, so I’m unsure of how to proceed.
I never considered my fiancé a reason why I wear my engagement ring on vacation, but subconsciously I think he factored into my reasoning. If I was on those hiking trails alone, I might be warier on whether or not I’d wear my engagement ring.
Where are you traveling to?
Not all travel destinations are created equal. It’s unfortunate, but there are places in the world that are more dangerous than others. Wearing my sparkly, diamond engagement in a country with high crime rates, particularly for robbery and muggings, would be irresponsible of me.
Similarly, when I travel, I try to blend in as a local and not stand out. If a country I’m visiting doesn’t traditionally exchange engagement rings or wear high-end, diamond jewelry, I’m not likely to leave my engagement ring at home.
I also would consider what sort of accommodations I would be staying at. For instance, there are some people who don’t sleep with their engagement bands on. If I was staying in a communal setting such as a hostel or campground, I’d be less likely to take my engagement ring off for the evening. Furthermore, if my hotel or Airbnb didn’t have a safe then I probably wouldn’t bring it either.
What kind of traveling will you be doing?
This relates to where you’ll be traveling but differs because of the activities you might be doing. For instance, I might take a vacation to the Caribbean. I could plan on bumming at the beach at an all-inclusive resort or I could decide to camp on the beach while participating in water activities my entire holiday. I would be more likely to wear my ring at an all-inclusive resort than while parasailing or waterskiing.
How important is it to have your engagement ring with?
This is usually the most controversial part of the argument because there’s plenty of evidence to support both sides. Furthermore, it’s an emotional issue that can get heated rather quickly. I figured this out when I talked to a girlfriend of mine.
I mentioned to my girlfriend that I might not wear my engagement ring while traveling abroad. She thought I was absolutely ludicrous. Instead of offering me advice, she attacked me and questioned my motives for traveling abroad. She assumed that these “lavish” vacations I partake in are breaks away from my fiancé and reality. It’s a way for me to escape my problems and live in an alternate reality.
I tried to convey to her my reasons concerning safety, which she refused to believe. Again, neglecting to wear my engagement ring was a sign of infidelity to her.
Rings are now a universal sign of a committed relationship. Others think rings ward off unwanted sexual advances and predators. Both are valid reasons to wear a ring.
Another way to frame this question is “Would it matter if your wedding ring was there or not?” I assumed my fiance wanted me to wear my engagement ring as a sign that I am in a committed, loving relationship. Especially, since he’s not there as physical proof. His reaction was the opposite.
“If someone wants to cheat, a simple metal ring isn’t going to stop them,” he said. And he’s completely right. A ring won’t stop someone from cheating.
Yes, my engagement ring serves as a reminder of our loving commitment, but I don’t have to wear it to remember that.
So we circled back to posing the question again, “Would it matter if I wore my wedding ring or not?”
In the end, I decided to not wear my engagement ring while traveling solo to Iceland. When weighing the risks and benefits, I found that it was riskier for me to wear my ring. Wearing my ring would call attention to me. Iceland ranks as one of the safest places for female solo travelers to venture to. Regardless, a diamond ring screams for unwanted attention. Especially for me as a solo traveler.
We also kept circling back to why wear my engagement ring? While looking at my Iceland itinerary, there were numerous activities such as glacier hiking and snorkeling that would require me to take off my ring. Thinking of a safe place to store my ring was mind-boggling enough, so that was a huge reason why I decided to put my ring back into the ring box.
On a logistical note, cold weather makes my finger smaller and therefore my ring looser, I didn’t want to risk losing my ring in a foreign country. More importantly, I didn’t want to lose my precious ring. True you can lose your ring, anywhere. But it seemed more likely to happen while this modern-age klutz would be traveling solo.
My diamond ring means a lot to me. But if I truly think about it, I won’t feel more loved if I was wearing it on the road alone. In fact, the ring would be a constant reminder that my fiancé wasn’t with me. Also, remind me of how much I missed him.
Yes, diamond engagement rings are a big statement to the world that you’ve found the love of your life, but for me while in Iceland, it would simply state that my fiancé wasn’t with me. This certainly didn’t qualify as an important reason why I should wear my ring. (It’s important to note, I’m don’t travel without my ring to avoid shame for traveling solo!avoid shame for traveling solo!)
The white, gold band that sparkles on my finger doesn’t define our love. It does not even enhance. It’s simply a symbol of our love.
So when I finally questioned whether my ring deserved a coveted spot on my packing list, it was a no-brainer.
No. I’m going to leave my beloved possession at home, safe in its black, velvet ring box for safe keeping.
What’s most important is that I return to him refreshed, renewed and safe from my solo journey. My ring and my love will be at home waiting for me.
Editor’s note: This article was written when the author was engaged. Her relationship status has changed since then, but the thoughts and information on the topic still remain the same.