Today is my birthday. And as a gift to myself, I’ve decided to put in writing my opinion and experience in dating while you are traveling. For some of the guys out there reading this and identifying to one or the other personas, it’s not a coincidence, I am really writing about you:).
I keep saying this in most of my posts, but I think it’s important: I am single and traveling extensively for the past 2 years, sometimes for a week, sometimes for a month, sometimes for 3 months, and almost all the time alone. And it gets lonely, boring, sometimes very lonely and very boring :).
The first question you might have is Why? , which I think it’s a very easy and straightforward one: you are either lonely and bored, you are either curious about the cultural differences between the nations, you have needs that need to be fulfilled (yes I said it) or you are actively searching for your husband and traveling won’t stop you :). Guess which one really does not apply to me? 🙂 🙂
Then you might ask How do you do it? This is pretty easy as well, as there are only 2 possibilities: either you meet someone in “real life”, or you meet them virtually. Both options happened to me. And yes, I admit, I actively used virtual tools to find people to date while traveling (Tinder, OkCupid and so on), and why not?, it’s an interesting and easy way to meet people that at least you find pleasantly looking. I’ve met men while sitting alone in a restaurant (as I was traveling alone), on a rooftop bar on New Year’s Eve, in a supermarket, on a beach, or in a hostel.
Why would you do it? Because it broadens your horizons, takes you out of your comfort zone, it makes you see and understand the cultural differences that are actually real and impacting decisions more than you think, because you won’t stay bored and lonely inside a hotel, and most importantly because you might get to meet some really nice people, from whom you actually have things to learn and get ambitioned by. And last but not least, because most of the times you meet similar people like you, travelers, who love to wander the world, and with whom you actually have things in common. And, aren’t you curious to see how each city’s dating life looks like? Trust me, it’s different.
Why wouldn’t you do it? If you are not careful and vigilant, it might be dangerous, but this applies to any type of dating, so stating the obvious here. Meet in a public place, where you feel comfortable, especially in a foreign environment. But that’s the obvious “danger”, which can be easily avoided with some common sense (on the paranoia side: I’ve even asked for a copy of their ID and sent them to my friends 🙂 ). The hidden danger is that you sometimes meet really nice people, and leave bits and pieces of your heart behind, with every travel, because as life is, you might not see that person again.
Anyways, worst case you lose a couple of hours from your lonely and boring trip, so it doesn’t sound that bad does it, right? Or you meet someone that nice, that any other man after him will mean nothing and you will be broken forever :). Who knows?
I’ve had good and bad experiences. I once drove 1 hour from my hotel to meet a guy midway, in US, and ended up being a total failure that I had to leave after 30 minutes, starving :). I was once reluctant to meet a guy during a 2 weeks stay in a city, and only met him the last evening of my trip, and I regret even now that we didn’t have more time together as he was a really funny and nice guy. Not just once I’ve changed my travel plans to stay longer with a nice guy I met, and I never regretted it. Sometimes they were the ones changing their travel plans, and I hope it was worth it, right? 🙂 I’ve met men so boring that they never went out of their country, or didn’t know that other countries have different mobile phone numbers format. Others were so experienced, they traveled the world, and they lived in different countries that I had so much to learn from them. I’ve met 26 years old more mature than 36 years old.
I’ve dated in a couple of countries, and a couple of nationalities, I won’t name them as I have the feeling the list will grow ( haven’t met my Prince Charming yet, and definitely won’t happen in the next 3 months of full travels 🙂 ). And I can honestly say, without being racist, or mean, or generalizing, that according to my experience, there are real differences between nationalities. Some are more skeptics and calculated, others are more passionate and open, some are more family oriented, others are lonely wolves, and some are pretty narrow-minded, mainly because of the environment they are living in. I’ve learnt that some jokes really can’t be translated or don’t have a similar point in the other’s person language. Or that some are more open to “breaking the law” rather than others. I tell you guys, this is a real thing.
The dark side of all of this is, when reality strikes and you realize you met a really nice guy, whom you have lots in common, but lives in a different part of the world, with a different and complicated life, that you might not be able to see again, even though you would see yourself with that person for a longer time. The reality that, in a few days or weeks, you can’t really create a very strong connection, and you need to leave, wondering what would have happened if you only had more time, or if your calendar would allow you to see that person again, stars aligning, and leaving a piece of your heart with that person. That’s the tough side, but you know what, it’s still worth it, and more and more I am a strong believer of the phrase “if it’s meant to be, it’s gonna happen” , regardless of the country in the world or nationality 🙂
So, what did I learn from this? I’ve learnt to live in the moment, and appreciate the “now” instead of the “what could be”. I’ve learnt to be open minded and try to understand and relate to people different than what you are used to ( well, working on this on a daily basis 🙂 ). And I’ve learnt not to be afraid to care for people that might/will disappear soon from your life, because most probably that person was worth it, and in the end I am pretty sure my heart regenerates :).
I will continue to date while traveling, I will allow myself to fall in love in a few hours/days and get my heart broken, and I will try to learn at least 1 good thing out of each experience/date. 🙂
So dear traveler, go ahead and open that Tinder account while in a foreign country, wide open your eyes in a supermarket, restaurant, bar, hostel, and don’t be afraid to live the moment and get carried away, because these memories will follow you for the rest of your life and will influence you going forward. That’s the best way to know yourself 🙂
And for my “partners in crime”, some are still present in my life, others not, thank you for sharing with me those nice moments, and for participating in creating the person I am now.
Logging off now, need to prepare for my Birthday date, haha 🙂