Thursday, December 5, 2013

Don't Date a Girl Who Travels

Don’t date a traveler. If you know what’s good for you and you like your little corner of the world, don’t date a traveler, because she’ll want to pull you out of it.

Don’t date a traveler, because she’ll get antsy when you play video games. She craves real conversations instead of text messaging across a table, even if one of her “must haves” in hostel amenities is free wifi. Don’t date a traveler because she’ll constantly be converting the amount of money you spent on flowers for her into nights of stay at a hostel; she’ll have problems sitting still through sporting events that don’t teach her something she doesn’t already know, and she’ll ask you not if you had fun at a friend’s house, but if you met anyone interesting.

Don’t date a traveler, especially if you’re hoping to tame her. Don’t date a traveler if you’re hoping that by dating her you will give her roots, when in reality she is more likely to want to use her wings. Don’t date a traveler because even outside of traveling she will assess her shoes and yours by their ability to stay on during river crossings; withstand rusty nails found sole-first in the street, and whether they’re breathable in tropical climates.

Don’t date a traveler if your idea of excitement is signing a five-year lease, or taking out a mortgage, because a traveler has seen people with bigger, brighter smiles sweeping the dirt floors in their houses; she has swum with dolphins and listened to coral crackle like Rice Krispies in warm oceans, and she is not impressed by matching sheets or new towels.

Don’t date a traveler, especially if you find yourself saying to her, “When we get married you’ll stop traveling, right?” because that means you never really understood your traveler; you never really listened to the stories she told you about all the stars she could see from the top of the mountain in the Alps, or the way she wished she could cry at the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef but couldn’t stop breathing into her scuba mask long enough to get the sob out. Don’t date a traveler if you aren’t at least willing to let her continue traveling, because it means that you don’t notice that nothing lights up her face or her demeanor like meeting another fellow traveler and swapping notes on the most terrible bathrooms, the worst cases of Monteczuma’s Revenge, which country produces the best lovers and which tiny surf village in Costa Rica boasts the best Mexican food.

If you want to date a traveler, buy a backpack. Be willing to hike in the dark – albeit slowly; she’s adventurous, but not necessarily superwoman – to a hidden hot springs, an untouched powder field, or a clearing where you can lay out and look at the stars outside the city lights. If you want to date a traveler, don’t buy her foot cream when her feet start to get itchy, check your bank account and look for tickets with her. If you love a traveler, be prepared to love someone who can always tell you another way to see a problem – the way they would see it in the Amazon, for instance – and to be reminded that the world is much bigger than the little corner you call home.

If you love a traveler, it’s best if you travel with her, because then you can finally see the world through her eyes: a world full of wonder, of new chances for connection, sunsets from new beaches and mountain tops, new birdsongs, and new cultures that show that the way to happiness is not through something you can buy, but through things you can walk through: rivers, valleys, over mountain passes, amongst the crowds at an Independence Day parade, or weaving in and out of the masked and costumed at a Day of the Dead celebration in a small mountain village in Mexico.

Love and travel addict kisses,

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