How To Date While Traveling Abroad
By: Anna Wickham |
As I write this, I’m sitting alone at a beach resort on a remote island in the Philippines. There’s a light breeze at my back, and the sun just went down with beautiful fanfare.
I’m a bit of a long-term travel addict. I’ve repeatedly left my home country in search for an adventure, cultural insight, or a change. At my longest stretch, I was gone for the better part of two years. Like many travelers, I’m not sure what compels me to venture into the great unknown. I often don’t know what I’m searching for until I find it.
Travelers have a wide range of objectives when they venture far from home. Some want to get away from it all and have an adventure, while others are looking to start a brand new life or fall in love.
Love and Traveling: Soul Mates or Not Meant to Be?
For many, just the thought of an exotic location or international adventure screams romance. The ubiquitous honeymoon is one of the main reasons why many people think of love when they think of travel. A beach, a beautiful sunset, or a once-in-a-lifetime adventure can all be the perfect setting for love to blossom or grow.
On the other hand, there’s the brave backpacker who navigates new worlds alone, the group of college girlfriends who take a trip together, or the booming young-person travel industry that includes the likes of Busabout and Contiki Tours. Whether it’s a semester abroad, a “gap year,” or simply an extended vacation, the whole point of traveling is often to have freedom from obligation and not be tied down.
So which is it? Is travel for lovers, or is it best left separate from romance?
The truth is that traveling abroad is just like your normal life, only way more interesting. All those things in your everyday life that you’ve long forgotten to think about, such as going to the grocery store, drinking coffee at your favorite café, or simply taking a walk down the street all become experiences when you’re doing them in a new culture.
Therefore, just as in normal life, there are pros and cons to being with a partner as you go about your journey. You’ll experience advantages either way. But being in the position of being single while you’re traveling opens the door to several options when it comes to dating.
3 Approaches to Dating While Traveling Abroad
1. To Hell With It
This is always the mentality I start out with when leaving for a long trip. Perhaps I’m not alone. Perhaps we all start out with this mentality to some extent, especially us women. I call it the “Eat Pray Love” mentality. It goes something like this:
To hell with it. I’m going to go out and explore, meet new and interesting friends, and not be bothered about relationships.
There’s good reason why some take this approach. Relationships are one of the reasons why many people don’t venture out and see the world. If you can’t part from your partner for more than a week or two, and he or she is not able to travel with you because of work or other obligations, it’s safe to say you won’t be taking an extended trip across the globe anytime soon.
In addition, relationships take a lot of work. It requires spending quality time with another person and considering them when you make decisions regarding your time. A relationship is like a project all its own. It’s understandable for someone who has other priorities such as travel not to want to get involved.
However, be cautious, because genuinely adopting this mentality is the surest way to meet someone special while on the road. The moment that you decide you don’t want to be in a relationship is exactly when you’ll find yourself in one!
It could be that life just likes to throw us curve balls. But it could also be because as soon as you are achieving your dreams and following your passions without regard for finding a date or a mate, you are at your most radiant and magnetic.
2. “Expiration Dating”
As the name implies, expiration dating involves dating freely while you are traveling or living in a different country. But when the trip ends, so does the romance. Your relationship has an expiration date.
For the nomad who is wary of being tied down in any one place with a relationship, expiration dating could very well be the only time that the nomad truly “lets go” and lets her true feelings show. Indeed, there is something absurdly romantic about meeting an attractive stranger in a foreign country. As fulfilling and wonderful as travel can be, falling in love while traveling enriches your cultural experience even more for several reasons.
First, having a meaningful relationship (or even a non-meaningful one) will cause you to have fonder memories of your travel experiences. Whenever you think of New York City, you’ll think of the afternoon you spent in Central Park with a handsome new friend, or the night you made dinner together.
Additionally, it’s a great way to get to know a culture. You will meet more locals, sample more authentic foods, and generally experience more in this country than you would otherwise, all in great company.
With apps like Tinder taking over the dating stratosphere all over the world, mingling with the local eligible singles is fast becoming an even more popular means of seeing a new place than ever before.
And why shouldn’t it be?
Because there are some risks and limitations of expiration dating that you should at least be aware of. Most importantly, the expiration dating model relies on the assumption that you will be able to leave when the time finally comes to do so. I’ve met many people who went somewhere on vacation, fell in love, and never came home. You might think you’re in control of the situation, but you will be surprised to find how quickly you aren’t.
If you do manage to part with your foreign lover at the end of your trip and travel back to your home country, you might be in for some heartbreak. Going cold turkey after spending time with someone you’ve come to care about is not easy. But the risks may still be worth it. Only you can decide.
3. The Romantic Vagabond
We’ve covered those searching for an escape from the troubles that love brings, as well as those willing to partake, but only to an extent. But there’s a third option as well: there are some who actually leave the comfort of home for the purpose of falling in love.
To the romantic vagabond, travel is the key to meeting “the One.” The vagabond typically has one or more of the following characteristics:
– She feels that after plenty of attempts, she just doesn’t feel a connection with people from her home country. This could be because she holds different values or priorities. I’ve met many a traveler who felt this way.
– She has always connected more with people from other countries, people from a certain country, or to other travelers like herself.
– She romanticizes the exotic: there’s nothing more exciting to her than finding love across the globe.
– She is willing to relocate abroad indefinitely if she meets the right person.
Despite her resolve, the romantic vagabond does not always find the love she is looking for. But her optimistic attitude and willingness to come face to face with uncertainty and adventure makes her magnetic to everyone she meets. At the very least, she’s sure to have an adventure of a lifetime.
How to Date While Traveling Abroad
There’s no right way to meet someone while you’re abroad. Some might wonder if travelers prefer never to fall in love. After all, the nomadic lifestyle doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the demands of a relationship or the means of finding another person who wants to be in one. Being lucky enough to meet someone while you’re abroad means that you may have some tough decisions to make about your future.
But there’s one sure way to find happiness and fulfillment, whether that ends up involving love or not: do what makes you feel alive, excited, and passionate. And if that one thing is traveling abroad, then you have no choice but to travel. You must spread your wings, leave your comfort zone, and see the world. There is no better way to find someone who shares your passions than by doing what you love. You will radiate genuine beauty and light that can’t be replicated with anything less.
Whether you’re looking to go wild and crazy on your trip of a lifetime, spend quality time alone, find the perfect travel fling, or find “the One” while you’re abroad, remember that your greatest love story is first and foremost with yourself. Follow your heart, and you’ll be amazed at the places it takes you.
If you’re planning a trip and looking for a romantic travel partner, don’t forget to look online to find a date while traveling!
Image via Flickr user Mario-Mancuso