Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on August 25, 2022.
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One of the unfortunate sides of long-term travel is that we alter the subtle details about our lives in a way to fit in and be inconspicuous.
If two Americans walking around gawking at food and architecture with giant cameras isn't obvious enough, we really don't want to draw more attention to ourselves and the valuables that we may or may not be carrying.
So while we may look like tourists no matter what we try, we do our best to make sure we don't look like rich tourists, especially ones that would be easy prey for pickpockets and robbery.
When looking at the items we typically carry with us, one stood out as being something that would easily jump out to all would-be robbers.
So sorry, wedding rings, but you have to go.
We Left Our Wedding Rings at Home for 1.5 Years
In what is perhaps one of the saddest items we're giving up for our trip, leaving our wedding rings at home makes us quite distraught. While wearing them would truly be a risk due to the flashy sparkle that they give off, the monetary value is something we cannot risk carrying on us at any given time.
Sure, our cameras are expensive, but everyone has those. Several thousand dollars of wedding rings? Well, that is something to target.
But where being concerned with the monetary value is one thing, we're mostly upset that we have to stop wearing the rings that we've only had on for just over 12 months.
To put this into perspective, we were engaged longer than we have been married prior to our departure (16 months engaged, 12 months married). Our trip will be about the same number of months that we were engaged (14-18 months).
So by the end of the trip we'll have been traveling without our rings longer than we were wearing them to begin with, Angie's engagement ring excluded.
Something about that is kind of terrifying when you think of it.
Take an Alternative Band, Like a Plastic Wedding Ring
As a way to get around having a naked finger for so long, Angie and I have cheap bands that we bought in the past few months to wear instead.
The primary reason for this was to get over the ghost band feeling that all those who wear a ring know too well.
The second, and more practical reason, is to keep the symbol of our marriage alive during the trip.
After all, 10,000 photos of us during our travels will look a little odd if we don't have any rings on, right?
But there is one more reason that travelers wear fake or plastic wedding rings, and that is to not draw unnecessary and unwelcome attention.
Its a very common trend for single female travelers to wear a band to have unwanted pursuers stopped in their tracks.
A make believe husband is good enough to stop many aggressors, unless you're in Egypt and the men offer to buy the female from any male nearby in exchange for dozens, hundreds, or in one case on my last trip one million camels.
We're not as concerned with this in our own situation, but it is something we have kept in mind when getting fake rings and is worth mentioning for those non-married couples or single travelers heading out to explore the world.
The Practical Side of Things
In reality, there is one reason above all others that we would leave our wedding rings at home, and that is it is not practical.
As with most expensive rings, we bought an insurance policy that would replace any damage or missing diamonds without question.
The downside to this policy is that we have to take our rings in to be cleaned and inspected every 6 months. While the jewelers are lenient with this “6 month” policy, we know we'll probably have issues after a year and a half if we came home with diamonds missing and no inspections to show for it.
Considering Angie has already had one diamond fall out on her wedding band in the first year, you can imagine what could happen when we're active on the road every single day for a year and a half.
Something about explaining to a jeweler that we lost one diamond in India, another in Brazil, and a third in Central America over a year and a half doesn't have an honest sound to it, does it?
So with that, we'll be leaving our rings at home. Hopefully our parents will take them in periodically for their cleanings, and one day far into the future we'll be reunited. That is to say, if we ever come home.
Our fingers already feel naked just thinking about it.
About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.