So are you perpetually on the road? Or are you about to become a nomad? As is obvious to us all, the life of travel can be exciting and fulfilling and romance may be a big part of it too. However, as you can imagine, dating as a travel nomad is completely different from travelling as an expat. Travelling is involved in both cases, but a lot more in the former than latter. A LOT more.
You’re always on the move when you are a nomad. It doesn’t matter if you stay in one place for two days or for two months, your time at a place is finite – and that’s the beauty of travelling the world, isn’t it? That’s why you chose that lifestyle.
Making connections, meanigful ones, is a huge part of the attraction of travel. But it is also incredibly painful to leave these connections behind, as you inevitably will. It makes romance difficult. There is no point in dancing around the issue: dating as a travel nomad is hard.
So let’s look at your options, dear human about to see the wonders of our planet. Here are the three types of relationships you may choose to pursue as a traveller without a home address.
Number one: one-night stands or very short flings with no strings attached
Clearly, these types of hookups are the most conducive to nomadism in its stereotypical sense. You get to a new place, meet a few people at your hostel, like someone enough to have some fun and spend some time with them exploring the place, and then hop onto your next flight or train, while they hop onto theirs or stay behind.
If you are into this, great. If you like short and casual relationships or seek out casual sex, more power to you. It is not for everyone, though. Depending on how easily you get attached, it can still be painful to let go and say goodbye. But this is an option nonetheless.
Number two: short-term relationships
As a nomad, you may decide to linger in one particular place for a bit longer than a few days or weeks. Maybe you like it so much you just want to hang out for the summer. Maybe you need to take a break from the road. Take a few months or even a few years, who knows! But you are always acutely aware that eventually you’ll be back on the road without looking back (mostly).
In this case, the advice for dating as an expat applies quite well. Short-term relationships and casual dating is what you will be going for if you are looking for romance. It is doable. But it will also end, unless you decide to settle down in your new place. So be mindful of your feelings and protect yourself from heartbreak – which is, by the way, inevitable. The sooner you accept it, the easier it will be. As a nomad, you probably agree with living in the moment – so try to do just that.
Number three: long-term relationships
Oh boy, would that be difficult! Unless you meet another nomad and travel the world together (which happens, and it’s awesome if you do!), you essentially have two choices: continue travelling while going long-distance with your significant other until one of you is ready to settle down or get on the road, OR just forget about long-term relationships altogether.
Long-distance relationships for travellers are another topic entirely, but the widely shared consensus is that the only way it can work if it’s temporary. You may have a plan to re-join your love in a month or in two years, but you have to have a date set, otherwise it will fall apart. And very painfully, at that. So tread carefully with serious romance, my friends.
If there was one characteristic of dating as a nomad, it would be the sense of an ending. I cannot stress this enough: if your wanderlust is the force behind all of your life choices, there will come a moment when you will have to decide between nomadism and a person you love. Either your romance ends or your nomadic lifestyles goes. Unless you meet another nomad that is.
Remember, too, that it is not wrong to decide that you do not want to travel the world anymore. It is not a betrayal to the mythical idea of a free travel spirit. It is also not wrong to continue wandering the Earth till your hair goes gray. There IS no right or wrong. It all comes down to what you want at every point of your travel journey. Your priorities may change – due to circumstances, to a fabulous person you meet, to anything else or just because. And it’s okay.
When you get involved in romantic relationships while on the road, regardless of their nature, it is very important to clearly define boundaries and establish expectations, both for your own sake and for the sake of your partner. Don’t lead anyone on; don’t make promises you feel you will not be able to keep down the road. Don’t let another person judge you for your life choices either or guilt you into staying when you want to go. Check in with yourself regularly and recognize when you develop feelings and attachments. Getting attached isn’t bad! It just all comes down to what you want in the end.
The hard truth is that dating as a nomad is incredibly hard… but not impossible. And I wish you all the luck in your travels and romantic pursuits!
If you enjoyed this post, check out Katya’s previous post on dating as an expat.