Today’s guest post is from Matt Kepnes, blogger at NomadicMatt.com
Matt agreed to write this post after I asked him about a rumor I had heard in the travel circles that if you enter long term travel single, you’ll stay that way. As a married traveler, I was curious on the singleton’s perspective and I’d also like to hear your stories! So if you have a “found love” story (or love lost), please post it in the comments.
If you’d like write to guest post: contact Almostfearless with your story idea and a bit about yourself.
As a single guy, I often get asked about relationships on the road- do I have girlfriends? Can you maintain relationships on the road? Or do people just have casual affairs? For me, I’ve had a few girlfriends while traveling but it’s been a long time since I’ve had something that lasted beyond a few months. Long term travelers are always on the move and thus it’s a bit hard to maintain a long term relationship because, pretty soon, someone will be gone again. Relationships on the road end right as they get going.
There’s a bittersweet nature to love on the road. There’s a short shelf life to them. Relationships tend to last as long as the people are traveling together. But they tend end better than relationships back in “the real world”. I dated a Swedish girl I met in Cambodia for many months but when her time in Asia ended so did our relationship. But since relationships on the road don’t end because of a big fight but because circumstance, one of the upsides is that you remain friends with them.
In the backpacking movie “A Map for Saturday”, the backpackers talk about how compressed relationships can be on the road. Things happen fast when you travel. There’s no real dating period where you get to know the other person. You meet, you see a few attractions together, go out with everyone from the hostel, kiss, and then suddenly, you’re in a relationship. Everything is much more compressed while traveling on the road. Relationships may begin quickly but they can also end quickly. In the matter of days, you can start a relationship and end one. Either they move on or you just have had enough. A relationships can begin, blossom, and end all in one city.
So is it possible to have love on the road? Yes. Occasionally you meet that special someone who also happens to be going your way. You end up traveling on the road for awhile, spending months together, and having a great time doing it. However, the end result is usually the same. One of you ends up leaving before the other, there are heartfelt goodbyes, and you continue on…single again.
Rarely, does one have the flexibility, as much as someone might want, to just go home with that person. I’ve stayed in touch with many girlfriends I’ve had on the road. We’ve met up in other cities and had a great time. However, that is where it usually ends as neither of us is will to pack up our lives and move.
There’s a romanticism about relationships on the road that is well founded. For that time and place, you had a special someone to share it with. You bring no baggage to the table, your life at home is left at home, and there is simply you, the other person, and the excitement of discovering a place together.
I’ve never tried to bring a travel relationship into the real world so I don’t know if it works with the rush of life going by but I do know that relationships on the road are bittersweet. For that time, they are wonderful. They happen quickly and passionately. There is constant excitement and joy. But you both know that one day too soon it will probably end and when it does, you’ll be alone again, only to repeat the cycle.
About the Author:
Matthew Kepnes has been traveling around the world on a budget for over three years, but still hasn’t found love on the road. You can find out more at his website, Nomadic Matt. If you want more travel tips, photos, and stories from his upcoming 3 month trip to Europe, you can also subscribe to his RSS feed.