Are you a fan of romance novels? The meet cute story threads on Tumblr that come with half fanfiction storylines and a lot less truth than they seem? Or maybe you’re just the kind to fall in love with travelling, and let that roll over to every aspect of your adventures?
Well whatever it is, falling in love is great, relatively easy, and an absolute blast while you’re abroad.
New foods to try, new places to visit, new people to meet…it’s easy to have a great time and make great connections. How do you start though? Is there a secret code or guide book that will help move things along?
I don’t think there’s any one answer to these questions, but I do have a pretty good set of rules (built from personal experience) that I keep to when I’m travelling that so far hasn’t lead me wrong.
You get what you ask for
If you’re frequenting a place where a lot of tourist go, guess what? You’re going to get a lot of people, a mix of tourists and locals, who are looking for a hook up. Don’t believe me? Check out this kind of guide out there; it’s the easiest way to not be naive.
Now, having said that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dipping your toes into that pool of adventure (and worldwind mess it will be), but I do think it’s better to know what you’re getting into.
If you like to take it slow, try an outdoor market, a library, a cafe, someplace you feel really comfortable (and make sure it’s in daylight). People are much more themselves, and less influenced by lights, music, or drinks, during the day, so a real connection is much more likely.
Opt for friendship first
When you meet someone for the first time, and the sparks fly….well, that’s just the best scenario isn’t it? But just because you’re feeling someone, doesn’t mean you should head straight into it; my advice is to be friends first. Why would you waste precious time on a friendship when you’re travelling, right? Wrong. There’s so much to be gained from being friendly with someone, and you never know when you might reconnect.
And on the second hand, if you’re travelling with friends, and your collective mission isn’t to get as many foreign boyfriends as possible, then don’t make that your personal mission. Finding a travel buddy (or buddies) who really fits your style is hard, so don’t ruin it with one vacation where you went balls to the wall crazy over someone. Perspective is key, and when in doubt, go with the relationship you’ve had longer!
Some things will get lost in translation
When you come from a different place and start to interact with a new culture (or even an old culture, or one you’ve read a lot about), you’re going to run into some things you aren’t prepared for. Being a fly on the wall of a new place is easy, but getting into interactions and not making a misstep can be hard, or if not hard, certainly daunting.
Don’t fear. Some cultures are more relaxed; they like to flirt alot and they know it. Others tend to be more reserved, taking it slower or just not being so aggressive. There’s no need to take a guide to international dating with you wherever you go, just go with your gut. If you want to talk to her, just do it; if she’s into you, you’ll know it.
Nothing lasts forever
It’s just like a normal relationship (okay, even the ones that do last don’t really last forever…if you catch my drift…you know, because people don’t last forever), things end. And while it may seem premature, my advice with relationships while you’re travelling is to assume they have a sell by date.
Call me a nonbeliever, call me a hater, but in my experience it’s better to be pleasantly surprised than terribly disappointed when something doesn’t work out. When you’re on the road, you should be taking everything day by day, not just relationships; it makes your travel life a whole lot better.
Let loose—it’s dangerous advice right? Haven’t I seen Taken 1, 2, & 3, don’t I know the dangers of being too optimistic abroad? Please.
Hollywood gets a kick out of making the kidnap stories blockbuster hits (I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying it’s not the norm), but for me, it just hasn’t been the case while I’ve been travelling. Thailand, Poland, Alaska, Brazil, Australia, Japan…never had a moment where I felt like I was going to end up in a hostile situation.
So here’s my piece of advice: let yourself have a little fun.
Don’t go crazy or anything, but novels and movies and entire cultural and generational movements are written about experiences people have had while abroad, and if you want love to come into it, you have to put yourself out there a little. Seems dangerous, but for the most part, I think you’ll be okay.
Stick to your guns, and your plans
It’s easy to get waylaid because of a gorgeous boy (or girl)—who hasn’t been blindsided one way or another? But more than just wanting to change all your plans to accomodate whatever they’re doing, instead ask them to join in on what you’re doing (or offer to make some extra time for them after your plans are over if you’re on a set schedule).
Pro tip: Never cancel plans to be with someone, only make additional one.
You don’t want to one day wake up and regret the things you were supposed to do because you were lovesick and wanted to follow that person around like a puppy dog. If making plans lead to new adventures without cancelling on whatever you were already doing, I’m all for it.
Stay in touch
No matter how it ends, stay in touch. Facebook is one of those really great tools to utilize while travelling (duh!) because you just never know where a relationship will go. It will be tempting to end something that went south by hitting the “unfriend” button but truth is…you never know if you’re going to need them at all down the road. They can be useful for making connections if you’re ever in the area again, or if they come your way, it might be nice just to have coffee.
Not many people in this world were ever really in trouble because they had too many friends spread all over the world—so keep that in mind!
Have you fallen for the beautiful foreigner while on a 30 day backpacking extravaganza through Africa? Have tips on how to make it last, or how to avoid it, or how to just live in the moment?
Leave me a shout out, I’d love to hear from you.