Well, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYBODY!
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking oh god, look at you, falling into that commercial trap of Valentine’s Day like I’m the poster girl for Clinton Cards. You’re thinking, here you are, trying to promote the idea of love to your readers (hey Mum!) when really you’re being duped into some sort of marketing ploy and falling naively into what society WANTS you to fall into and believe.
Well, actually? Incorrect. I’ve just finished a book about looking into the many positives of being independent and single and not doing that at all. Yes, perhaps society does focus more on couple happiness than single happiness on this day but needless to say? I don’t care. I really don’t care if I’m one of those people who is an undesignated spokeswoman for Thornton Chocolates because I enjoy the sentiment of Valentines Day. I don’t care that I “shouldn’t be dedicating all my love to just one day” because I wouldn’t do that ANYWAY. If I was in relationship, I would be treating my loved one every day as fantabulous as I would be on the 14th February and why, WHY is it such a big deal to have another day dedicated to love – unless you’ve got a heart made of STONE. In my opinion (you don’t have to take it if you don’t want) I think we should chill the “I’m anti everything Valentine” views, write “I love you” on a post it note, and make someone special a coffee – because that’s always appreciated. It doesn’t have to be a huge declaration of love, it’s just a nice thing to do. Celebrate your loved one every day INCLUDING the 14th February and quit yo’ whining.
Now, since I am currently single and actually a content Pringle, I shall be celebrating myself today! I decided to book a mini Valentines holiday to Queensland not JUST because it was Valentines Day (coincidental) but why shouldn’t I dedicate the day to a day of love? And every day. And to myself. YES. TOTALLY GOING ALONG WITH SOCIETAL EXPECTATIONS AND LOVING LIFE FOR IT.
So anyway, as it’s Valentine’s Day (yay!) I thought I’d write an article a little more dedicated to romance. As my good friend Taylor once quoted, “everyone needs a travel romance” and I mean, it’s not the be all and end all of your trip if you don’t but it’s definitely fun. I’ve been in situations this year travelling the world that have required me to take a good, hard look at myself and the people I fall for – because it’s inevitable that you can fall for people, you can get attached and you can get played like a mother fucker. Travelling and romance DO go hand in hand, but it’s important to realise that when you’re on the go the whole time, the mentality is different. You know that you’re not looking for something serious, and the majority of people you meet are ABSOLUTELY in a billion and five years NOT looking for a relationship, and therefore it can be hard to determine how to deal with situations involving your feelings and fuck boys (or girls because hell do they exist too). Travel romances are the best and the worst part of your travel journey, so get ready for the pros and cons.
Before you get excited Mum, I’ve still been on the move a lot and not spending my time searching the world for a good Jewish boy to bring home to you – but there’s definitely been a few stories. In my year and four months spent in so many countries, cities and hostels, I’m lucky to have met a few special ones I’ve shared some time with and with that, have had fun experiences I can store in the memory bank – life feels great when you have no commitments to anything or anyone and can just live in the moment.
So with that intro nicely done, welcome, ladies and gents, Valentines lovers and extreme haters – shout out to my exes – to the 5 Pros and Cons of a Travel Romance. I hope today you are showering yourself or whoever you love the most with one more compliment than usual because life is busy and what’s wrong with a nice big marketing ploy to remind you to be all nice and sentimental.
1. LEARNING ABOUT YOURSELF
My parents have been married for a lifetime. They got together when they were super young and they’ve been great role models. I think one of the main positives of having a romance aboard is the intensity of how you feel about yourself (and not just to the other person). You don’t have TIME to put up the same barriers you would if you had all the time in the world at home and therefore you can start to question why you would have had those barriers in the first place and what you’re afraid of. Similarly, if it goes tits up, because said travel romance needs to move on, OR you continue travelling OR they’re a complete asshole without any care for another person’s feelings, you can examine why you let them in so easily and ruminate over why you were so hurt by someone you knew for such a short amount of time. I’ve learnt the hard way that I find it difficult to let people in, but that doing so has let me get accustomed to feeling loved .. and in turn that’s helped me to love myself.
Fuck boy or fuck girl reading – quit your fuck wit ways and remember it is quality OVER quantity. Travelling, whilst boosting my confidence in some ways, absolutely ruined it at one point. Walking into hostels, I felt like a piece of meat, being judged solely on my looks alone, especially if it’s a party hostel and everyone is just looking to shag. Not even party .. shag.
A lot of people I’ve met and spoken to have felt the same – that people they’ve fallen for have been super interested them and having a great Deep Meaningful Chat and then Mrs Long Legs up to her Armpits walks in, and all eyes have left the DMC and are focused on her. And just like that, your man has left. What a sure hot fire way to blow your self esteem in smithereens, especially when you’re only 5ft 3. So if you are someone who gets easily distracted by a pair of a legs, boobs, a bum whatever .. perhaps just avoid the deep and meaningful conversation with the other girl/boy you’re talking to – it’s just slightly rude and crushing.
2. TRAVELLING TOGETHER
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve just started a relationship, it’ll get to maybe summer and I’ll think, is it too soon to ask to go on holiday? A weekend break is fine, but a week or two weeks .. is it too fast? Will they think the next thing I want is marriage? Whereas, do you know what’s SO great about a travel romance? You can be like HEY shall we find some funky hotel that looks like it should cost a million dollars but is in fact pennies (because we’re probably in some cheap country) and go travelling together? AND YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE A KEEN BEAN. And then boom, they go home and you’ve had a travel boyfriend/girlfriend for a bit without all the arguments, disputes or annoyances and can get on with your life and focus on yourself again.
Oh hey annoying thing called FEELS.
I’m a romantic. I believe in the notion of a true, travel romance. I want to be sitting at the table surrounded by my grandkids and they’ll ask me how I met their grandad and I’ll be all inspirational and be like “well kids, I was absolutely hammered in a hostel and he turned out to be the sexy bar man giving me all the Tequila shots and now here we are”. Unfortunately, in the words of “He’s just not that into you” that is most definitely the EXCEPTION and not the rule, and most guys are not looking to find their wife travelling. Not even open to that idea, so that kinda ruins it and makes it difficult if you get emotionally attached. Not that if I have a travel romance I’m expecting wedding bells, it’s just that I’ve realised you won’t be the first person to engage with someone in a romantic way on both of your travel journeys and it’s highly unlikely you’ll be the last.
3. DO REALLY CRAZY SHIT YOU WOULDNT AT HOME
You can do some really crazy shit and most of the time there’s no judgement. You can’t go out in London, meet your Tinder date and just be like, “hey do you know what would be fun? Let’s hire a moped and go stay a night in a homestay in London surrounded by a family and their annoying roosters that will wake us up at 5am” partly because obviously your work wouldn’t be that happy and also I don’t know many rooster raising families living in central London. When you’re travelling, you can stay at 5* hotels for like £20 a night and pretend you’re this incredibly rich couple and hide your backpacks in the cupboard. You can do fun things straight away you’d probably do on Tinder date 4 like exploring cities, homes and authentic country life and really learn about cultures together. You’re sharing this experience together! I mean, yeah you can probably do this is in London but I dunno, it’s just not as EXCITING and how much authentic London life can you really learn about before you get bored? Hmm.. debatable.
THEY’VE PROBABLY DONE IT WITH SOMEONE ELSE SO CHILL.
I’m not being negative here, and I’m not trying to not be a generalist but don’t fall head over heels for the first guy who says “wow, I’ve literally never met anyone like you before” whilst you’re both sitting in a fancy restaurant which costs less than ten dollars for three meals. He has. Like he just has and he’ll probably use the same restaurant with the next girl. Been there, done that, fallen for the fuck boy and eventually moved on. It’s likely that if they’re a model or a hostel rep they have and will be continuing to meet other girls who are probably as fun and funny as you are. DON’T FALL FOR IT BECAUSE EARTH CALLING EMILY YOU’VE KNOWN THEM TWO DAYS – and choosing a nice hotel, a nice restaurant, going on a date in a cool bar does not mean jack shit. But hey, if you have met your boyfriend or girlfriend and they’re a hostel rep or a model, then I salute you and wish you the best of love. This is simply speaking from my own (and quite a few other’s) experiences.
4. MEETING PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
If I think about the romances I’ve had at home, they’ve all been very nice you know? Normal, British, probably Jewish to win over my Dad etc. Nothing wrong in it, but not very EXCITING compared to if you’ve met someone from let’s say, I don’t know.. Latin America? Who can just bust out the Salsa moves on the dance floor and teach you. Or maybe, German and they can help teach you German and include fun phrases like ICH BIN GLUTEEN INTOLERANT in case you ever visit Germany and for some strange reason, the restaurant owner can’t speak anything other than Duetsche. Or maybe they’re from Italy and can tell you all about how their great grandma made pizza in her little Italian home from scratch. This is not stereotypical, I’ve actually had these conversations with people and it is always SO awesome for me to hear about a person’s culture, their language and their country. I love Spanish, so hearing (if, for example I am in a Spanish speaking country and with a Spanish speaking man) said Spanish “travel romance” speak in his own language so easily is like music to my ears. I love love LOVE it. Me F***ing GUSTA. (Google translate this, non Spanish speaking reader, minus the cussing).
With incredible cultures come incredible differences. With incredible languages come incredible barriers and with an incredibly short but intense amount of time getting to know someone, come reactions you don’t know how to respond to. I’ve realised that things I might say in England to a partner or a person I like (or maybe even a friend!) can be translated absolutely terribly when A) the person doesn’t speak the best English or B) even if they have the best English, they just don’t understand why I’ve said something the way I have. Similarly, phrases or questions that said “travel romance” have mentioned can come across rude or insulting or plain feisty – even if they don’t mean it to be.
5. DEEP, MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS
ALL ABOUT THAT DMC
You get to know someone so closely in the space of about three hours that you would sharing over four dates. Straight into terribly, tough things that you probably wouldn’t even tell your best friend about in the ten years of knowing her. What is it about being away that just lets you be able to talk about everything so easily, with hardly any care in the world? It’s the most freeing feeling made better when chats like these are amongst the sunsets.
I’ve been one of those fools that has believed every stranger I’ve met is authentic and real. There I am blabbing my personal life story to someone I’ve known for a day and thinking that they’re the best person on Earth. Thing is, although the majority of people I’ve met have been honest and lovely, there’s that 1% I’ve believed, let get into my head, and then I’ve just let my boundaries down .. and they turn out to be assholes or have appeared incredibly single.. and then I’ve added them on Instagram and their page is littered with them and their girlfriend. The amount of stories my friends have about meeting guys (and then my friends find out the guy they fell for was on his own STAG DO is a joke). And it’s not just the men! My good friend recently told me about a girl he’s fallen for and been with for a while – turns out she’s engaged and flying back to get married in Italy. Ridiculous. For me personally? I always feel stupid for letting them in and telling them so much about my story .. realising they’ve been playing this line with everyone to just get into their pants. Lesson learnt and relearnt – remember you don’t know these people despite them being your great friend and potential “travel romance” after an hour. Take time to get to know them before anything happens – if you can that is. The journey is always about you, you, YOU before anyone else.❤️
AND THERE YA HAVE IT. List done! It’s been fun to recount some of these memories, both great and terrible.
Happy Day of Love to everybody, today and every day of the rest of the year. Celebrate yourself, your cherished one you were blessed with – because not everyone is as lucky – your family and your friends. Life is too short to moan about one single day being a marketing ploy, just enjoy it ❤️
I’d love to hear your stories! Have you had any fantastic travel romances or have you been left shocked by someone’s behaviour? Let me know in the comments below!