Don’t date a girl who travels. This is the title of a blog post that went viral a few years ago and has been translated into over 20 languages. Depicting a girl so in love with exploring the world that she is no longer satisfied with normal life, it has clearly resonated with a lot of people. Many of my female friends who love travelling shared and commented on this blog post, so I was interested to know what they think about its sentiment. Are female backpackers off-limits when it comes to matters of the heart? Can love stand in the way of exploring the world? Read on to find out whether travel and romance can ever be compatible.
Don’t date a girl who travels…
“She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures. She will be unimpressed with your new car and your expensive watch.”
“I appreciate what I have – I will never take everyday life at home for granted again. We are so privileged and don’t even realise it,” said Katie, who I met in Chile, while we were both independently travelling in South America. “It’s made me less materialistic….you can survive with the bare minimum of clothes (just about).”
Kate, who I first met in Borneo, agreed, saying she now has a “greater appreciation for how many people in the world have very little and actually are pretty satisfied with their lives.”
“That ties in with me having no desire for material possessions (other than my iPhone which I couldn’t live without) and not being impressed by guys who thrown their money around in bars or drive fancy cars,” she said. “It just does nothing for me.”
“Chances are, she can’t hold a steady job. Or she’s probably daydreaming about quitting. She doesn’t want to keep working her ass off for someone else’s dream.”
The urge to travel can come from dissatisfaction with the daily grind and the freedom and independence it brings makes it hard to return to the ‘9 to 5’ routine. But taking a career break to travel often means returning to a normal office job and everything that entails – good and bad.
“Since I have been back at work, I’m a little bit miserable with the whole get up, go to work, come home, have dinner and then bed”, admitted Jayme, who I met in New Zealand while we were both on our own round the world trips. “But on the other hand, I have a steady job with good career prospects so that’s my life.”
Meanwhile Kate was planning to start work as a tour guide in Africa after her return from travelling, saying: “I can’t imagine ever wanting an office job again.” Indeed, if you still have itchy feet, there are plenty of opportunities to work abroad or find jobs involving travel.
“She has chosen a life of uncertainty. She doesn’t have a plan or a permanent address. She goes with the flow and follows her heart.”
Once you start travelling, you’ll find that you are reluctant to stop. They don’t call it a travel bug for nothing.
I met Tiffany in Penang and she told me caught the travel bug to the extent that she experienced a “disconnect from home – almost a fear of returning”. When she finally went back to her home city, she couldn’t help daydreaming about where she would go to next.
“I always need some sort of adventure to look forward to”, said Jayme, following her return home after her travels. “Even it is just a holiday to a nearby country or a weekend away, I like the excitement of going somewhere I haven’t been before”.
“I’m happy not to have a plan,” said Kate, who was on a last minute holiday to Iceland when I contacted her. “I just like to see how things go. Having a plan and sticking to it means missing out on things.”
While Kate is now happily back living in her home country, when I contacted her she was definitely leaning towards a life of travel, rather than having a permanent address, saying: “The thought of living in Scotland again terrifies me more than going somewhere I didn’t even know existed!”
“She will never need you… She is too independent and won’t care whether you travel with her or not. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination.”
The unpredictable nature of travelling is highly likely to increase your confidence and sense of independence.
“I like doing things I want to do and am now happy to do them on my own if no one wants to do them with me,” said Jayme.
“Each day I could wake up and decide my next move and that was empowering,” shared Tiffany. “Travelling made being alone one of the best experiences and I felt that I had control of every aspect of my life.”
Katie adds that, as well as becoming “more open-minded to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds,” travelling has made her “tougher – I can now handle difficult situations, whether in a first world or third world country.”
If you leave a loved one behind to explore the world, it may be because you want different things. Travelling certainly gives you time and space to consider the commitments you made in your normal life back home. But, you may just wish they were travelling with you.
“Whilst travelling I really, really missed my boyfriend, which made me realise how much I really love him,” says Jayme. “I’d get excited to chat with him and tell him my stories. I wanted my boyfriend there, because I wanted him to experience everything I was experiencing; because I know how much he would have loved the places I went to.”
She is lucky that her partner shares her passion. “I now know when I go travelling again I will go with him, as we share the same interest to travel and see the world.”
“She talks to strangers. She will meet many interesting, like-minded people from around the world who share her passion and dreams. She will be bored with you.”
It is said that you should live as if you are the star of your own movie, and the opportunity to see exotic places around the world certainly feels unreal sometimes. The connections you make on the road can be powerful, though these friendships are often transient by their very nature.
“I started to think of it as being OK for relationships (romantic or otherwise) to still be meaningful and complete even if they were finite,” said Mary, who I met at a yoga resort in Thailand. “Because when you’re in this travel landscape, forming friendships, a lot of times they sort of have a timestamp on them from the beginning.“
“It’s as though every individual (including myself, as the traveller) is sort of a character in this ever-changing series of short plays and scenes,” Mary reflected. “You’re just happy for the moments in time that your plays overlapped and you were in the same scene together… And if you’re lucky, then you might get to keep in touch and actually see them again, and the whole spectrum of it is all so wonderful.”
“So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.“
For non-globetrotting guys whose girlfriends have flown off to follow their dream of seeing the world, perhaps it truly is love. While it must be heartbreaking, to let her go could be the very thing that keeps you together as a couple.
If you are dating a girl who travels, she will (eventually) come home with a new vigour, a fresh perspective and a wide smile. While it may take some time for her to adjust to ‘normal’ life again, everything she has learned while on the road will make her so much stronger and more capable.
That said, it may be wise to book a weekend break for you both pretty quickly.
Now, discover more about the surprising benefits of travel and why it’s good for you.