We’ve all been there, admit it. Your eyes meet in an old pub with dim lighting that makes their eyes sparkle, and the next thing you know, you’re falling in love while traveling.
You approach because heck, you’ll be on the move soon anyways, so there isn’t much to lose. A drink here, a shot there, and the next thing you know, your life sagas are on the table. You do things normal couples would do in a year in a few days – diving, dancing, and drinking like it’s your last time to experience the world. You’ve found someone gorgeous in an exotic place, and you want a fairytale romance, dammit. You start believing you’re the exception to the universe’s long-distance rules and plan out how you’re going to come back to visit them again. Which brings me to my first lesson.
The high wears thin and fast
Imagine yourself being in the same situation at home. You probably wouldn’t have shared your entire lives in the first meeting. That enough should have set off alarms.
Yes, you’ve grown together through all the waterfall showers and breathtaking mountaintop views full of open-ended conversations about life and infinity, but what happens when you’re back to your boring 9-5 job and rush hour commutes? There is a routine that once again takes over, and the adventure that feasted the conversation seems to dry. With all the chores, errands, time zone gaps, a skype call a day turns into a hand full of texts and the flame quickly calms. The magic of it all dims like the bar light, but this time, it’s reality on the other end.
You’re in love with the idea of love
There’s probably a bigger chance you were in love with the notion of love than love itself. I mean, come on, we set ourselves up for it.
While planning our trips, we prioritize places with a rich history, art, and culture. Our travel goggles are on, and we are hunting for new possibilities, especially love. You know the saying “if you listen to anyone’s story, you can’t help but falling in love with them.” You give this city an ear, and you fall in love. All this romance in the setting starts to reflect itself into people, too. You get so involved with wanting to understand better the place you’re in that finding a local or a traveler in the same boat as you comes naturally. Mix your need for adventure and loneliness with a cute guy/girl; you’ve got to ask yourself: Am I really in love or is this a breather from my mundane life back home?
Put yourself first
I don’t want to say that every guy/girl you meet abroad is a schmuck but use your judgment. As a traveler, you know there is an expiration date, even if you don’t want it to happen. Chances are, they know it full well too. Most people travel to escape and have fun.
While you’re planning the wedding and naming your future kids, your partner might only be taking it as a fling. It’s better to keep your expectations low and have a happy surprise later than have them high and have them unmet. Especially if you’re dating a local, keep in mind that it might not be their first time in the tourist rodeo. Again, not everyone is a jerk, and it is possible to be an exception, but it’s also better to be safe than sorry.
It will probably end
The promises to stay in touch are genuine but lack foresight. It’s all easier said than done.
Days, weeks, and months pass, and you sit and wonder what went wrong. The saddest part about travel isn’t that it almost always ends, perhaps it’s that we make the deepest connections with the people whom we know it won’t last with.