I’m that girl…
At least I was that girl, and some people still seem to think of me as her.
The one that travels, apparently, or at least so my Facebook friends tell me anytime there’s an article titled “Date a Girl who Travels“, or something along the lines of Dating a Guy who Travels or not dating a girl who travels (make up your mind people). When these posts go viral I get anywhere from 25-40 private messages with links to the articles telling me how the article reminds the reader of me.
Truth be told I have been there, I was the girl who took off for months on end to various corners of the earth, ending up back in Toronto only to bartend for a few months or long enough to fund my next escape.
I’ve travelled solo to over 50 countries for the better half of the last two decades.
Yes there’s glamour and romance in it, being a single traveler and without worries or responsibilities is amazing, there’s that whole wind in your unkempt hair stuff, plus the fact that if you don’t like a situation or place you are you can simply hitch a ride, get on a bus and leave. The liberation of being comfortable in solitude and happy alone with your own thoughts is an amazing feeling to have; I think yogis call it enlightenment or something?
However, there’s more a nomadic lifestyle than the articles let on, despite the sun kissed hair, permanently bronzed skin and collection of selfies across the world, there is also heartache, heartbreak, and a false sense of reality.
The romance that these articles allude to is real, though sometimes only temporarily, forging relationships and bonds with people in a heightened environment where you’re convinced you have met your soul mate… it’s not everyday you go sky diving over the Namib desert with someone, kayak down the Nile, jump off a bridge in South Africa, dive the Andaman, or ride the Yungus trail. These amazing experiences are full of adrenaline and when your heart is pumping that fast it’s quite easy to mistake the eye contact as a shared intimate moment and I dare ANYONE in that situation not try to think it’s fate. Yes there’s love on the road, and romance, and simply fun but at the end of the day when you arrive back to home or wherever you’re permanently based you’re stuck with a reality check and culture shock that easily equates depression.
Love is love, and everyone falls differently. I did fall hard, honestly and with my entire being when met my boyfriend (and current travel partner) at an airport in Dubrovnik, however what the articles fail to mention or simply overlook is that for every soul mate one meets, there are a good 5 or 6 travelling heartbreaks along the way. Separations at airports where one is heading to a different continent, people you meet admiring the ancient wonders who go back to work while you still have 5 months of travel holding on to a shared night of laughter along a river or a stolen glance somewhere in a mosque. Travel is beautiful, travelling relationships are great but there is so much more to the stories.
There are the people who fall for you and then don’t trust you because they deem you to be a flight risk, the ones who you meet travelling who change your life, while they go back to their own routine back home, and sometimes even their own old girlfriends. There’s the Casanovas who promise you the world upon your return and are so overwhelmed by their love for you and your free spirit that they literally suggest a life together when you are done your travels even though you’ve only known each other 4 days.
The worst ones are the ones you actually fall for in return and together you picture, envision and make plans of grandeur of the two of you gallivanting across this planet, only to find out later that they have made said plans with countless other females.
Ladies be careful, there are many lifetime travellers who prey on those who have finally left behind their baggage and are enjoying being independent travellers. They are the ones you will never see coming. You will be happy and content travelling solo and secure with the decisions you’ve made, and all of a sudden you will meet them at an airport, have an encounter at a food market, or a chance meeting in a staircase and they will make you feel like you are the only person in the world they think are worth living for. The problem with ones are that you will give them your all, and trust them wholeheartedly, only to start second guessing yourself when you are seeing photos and messages online from other females who clearly shared the same connection, albeit in different parts of the world.
Just be cautious, travel is absolutely incredible and you will meet a million great people, about a thousand potential life mates, but also hundreds of assholes before you meet the one who has been waiting to meet you all along.
Do enjoy: travel, buy that plane ticket, fall in love, never return (or do if that is what you want) but do not beat yourself up or change your travel plans or life direction if you meet someone and it’s not as easy as all of the articles seem to say it is. Just don’t beat yourselves up while you’re waiting for your nomadic knight in shining armor and you meet a couple of travelling idiots in tin foil first.
Whatever you do though, don’t stop, keep traveling and I promise you there is somebody better, and better suited, waiting to meet you at the next train station, bus station, hostel, airport or beach.
xx lil miss planet