‘Men hate independent women’
‘He’s intimidated by you’
‘Your dreams scare him’
How many times do us women that chose not plant roots in one place tell these things to one another?
Do we say it and believe it, or is it simply another case of ‘he’s just not that into you’?
6 years on the road and I was beginning to think maybe I had turned into some kind of alien. Someone so crazily disconnected from the real world that nobody could even vaguely start to understand my thought processes, never mind find them attractive.
You see, dating on the road is next to impossible. Even if you did meet someone you’d at least consider dating, what’s the point when you have plans to move swiftly along to the next country before you even get chance to ask his surname?
So, whilst all my friends were busy getting struck by cupids’ arrow, settling down, buying houses and having babies, I was busy considering that travel had made me totally undateable.
Surprisingly, this is a story with a happy ending, but first I need to tell why I spent 6 years sat on the shelf labelled ‘completely and utterly undateable’:
I was always moving around
The most obvious problem in attempting to hold down a relationship. You see, I was already in a committed relationship. With travel. Not only was I not sticking around for long, but I also had little time to spend on a guy when the only thing my heart truly desired was new experiences in brand new places.
The truth is, travel can sometimes be lonely. In the early days I let all kinds of people into my life. But as time went by, I learned valuable lessons. I learned that I didn’t want anyone to stick around for me, and I certainly didn’t want to stick around for them.
Dating a girl that travels can seem exciting at first, some guys even joke that it’s the dream. A girlfriend that’s hardly ever around. But when it all boils down to it, I was never in one place to establish anything beyond a first date.
I became too good at being alone
There was a time in my life that the thought of being alone terrified me. These days it’s the other way around. The thought of having to consider someone else is what terrifies me.
Travelling makes you notoriously selfish. Being able to make your own choices and totally please yourself is a novelty at first. But before you know it that novelty has turned into a habit, and over the years, that habit effectively becomes part of your personality.
And all of a sudden, you’re wonder woman. This crazily independent, strong minded individual who travels the world off her own money, finds her way with only a map, talks to strangers, learns new languages and immerses herself into new and weird worlds at a moment’s notice.
You don’t’ need anyone and that’s the way you like it now. Me, myself and I.
All amazing skills to have, but not totally compatible with meeting a potential suitor.
I was scared of monotony
I was living in this world of incredible stories. I was meeting people who had all kinds of exciting experiences to share with me. I was spending time with those from totally different backgrounds to mine and our conversations were exhilarating and inspiring.
I found myself in a place where I became increasingly bad at small talk. A place where I was aware that I really risked sounding like a pretentious fool. I began to pick who I had certain conversations with. I would only let myself go with those I felt would understand me. I lost my desire to talk about day to day things.
The more I thought about it, the more I realised, I had become hopelessly terrified of monotony. And there was no way I was risking that being brought into my life.
My desire for freedom was only increasing and no guy was going to hold me down and force me crashing into a normal life.
I was thoroughly terrified.
I truly thought travel had made me undateable
And then the unthinkable happened.
I met him in a hostel in Toronto. We were both on separate trips. Me on route to Iceland from Turks and Caicos and him on his way to Las Vegas from Amsterdam. It all started with the usual traveller type conversations, followed by the usual traveller type hang out. But the difference here was that he embraced my free spirit. He enjoyed my stories and he shared his. Our different backgrounds and different languages are exciting. He supports and encourages my dreams. This wasn’t the usual destination romance. It’s just coincidence that we actually met on the road, a million miles away from either of our homes, but very symbolic of both our personalities.
He stole my heart the moment I asked him on a trip and he said he would come. That was the defining moment in our relationship. A guy who actually wants to travel with me.
For now, we manage a long-distance relationship. We know our relationship isn’t conventional, and maybe it never will be. But what really matters is that we both like it that way.
Maybe travel doesn’t make us totally undateable after all?
Maybe it simply takes us a step closer to finding the right one. The one that loves us for all the quirky traits travel has ingrained into us.