Tips for single travellers
Particularly if there’s a little lovin’ on the cards
Your passport’s in hand, the bag’s packed and you’re counting down the days ‘til you flit off on your solo, I’ve-not-a-care-in-the-world overseas adventure. Sure, you’re about to experience cultures, view vistas and form friendships that will create life-long memories, but you’re also kinda hoping you’ll get a bit of loved-up action as well. You’re only young once, right?
Holiday romances have often been referred to as the ‘swine flu of emotions’. That’s because travelling can be a surreal experience, where you chuck all sense of reality and reason out the door and embrace the delicious anticipation of a world of newness. Including new could-be amours. But before you drift off into a heady world of cupid-filled, rainbow-hued dalliances, let’s take a look at some of the facts.
Types of holiday romance
The Random Coupling
You’re in a strange country with a plethora of new hotties to friend-up and you’ve no ties back home. Whether you share a cocktail-fuelled pash on the beach with a Norwegian backpacker, a romantic one-on-one sojourn with a French student or a sultry sumba in the arms of a too-hot-to-handle Spanish globe trekker, these are often one-off, fireworky affairs.
The Fellow Traveller Crush
If you’ve ever met a like-minded traveller on the trip of a lifetime, it’s easy to see why coupling up might seem like a good idea. You’re both single, love experiencing fascinating cultures and exotic locales and share a unique kinship that you’re sure you’d never find back home. Not surprisingly, these types of romances can work. If you’re prepared to face the reality check at the end of the journey, that is.
The ‘Getting to Know the Locals’ Manoeuvre
If you’re spending a bit of time in the one place, you’ll be no doubt meeting a truckload of locals, many of them single and oh-so alluring.
However, steady on with the commitment fantasies. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and it certainly won’t be fun if it’s you. Particularly, if you discover your new love interest is only after one thing – and that’s a meal ticket back home with you.
The Globe-Trotter On the Prowl
It’s no secret that you’re bound to run into some fellow travellers on your adventures whose life-long calling is to ‘bag a babe’ in every country they visit. Like big game safari hunters, they can sneak up on you and before you know it, you’ve become the next notch in their philandering belts. Happy to be a notch? Great, but bear in mind you’re probably one in a long line of them.
The Pseudo-Single Adventure
OK, so you’re not entirely single. But ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’, right? Well, yes, but if you’re planning to travel for an extended period and have an inkling that the grass might just be greener on the other side, do the right thing and be honest with your partner before you go. Travel, after all, is about minimising your baggage. And that includes what’s waiting for you when you get home.
What you can learn from them
So you’ve met an alluring stranger and you’re experiencing all the pheromonal delights a provocative new romance can bring. Reality check time. Relationships (even short-termers) are all about learning – whether it’s about love, life or even yourself. And no relationship is perfect and yes, it may not last forever, but if you can walk away with your dignity (and heart) still intact and a better understanding of the ways of the world, then it was worth it. So what’s to learn?
You’ll learn to embrace the present
Travelling can give you an intoxicating high and make you confident, bold and often uber-attractive to others. And in the midst of an endless array of crazy adventures, you may find yourself falling for someone who, back home, you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Suck it. Don’t let thoughts of tomorrow destroy what’s happening now. And if (and when) it’s all over, realise that you’ve got a little tale for your grandkiddies that’ll up your legendary status.
You’ll learn about companionship
True companionship can blossom in strange places – particularly if you’re travelling alone and craving someone to share your exploits with. Experiencing life-changing moments (and all the dizzying emotions that go with them) with a bunch of virtual strangers, often means friendships form quite quickly. And companionship is a critical part of any relationship (even for married types), so exploring the world may just have you forming a bond with someone else that supersedes even lust.
You’ll learn memories have no time limit
In a nutshell, there’s no time limit gauge for a successful relationship. And often relationships abroad can teach you how to appreciate things for what they were, not how they panned out. Focussing on the here and now and the amazing memories you’ve created with someone you’ve connected with, can broaden your worldliness and if you’re open-minded about it, still create warm fuzzies long after your trip’s over.
You’ll learn about reality
Be honest with yourself and your romancer and realise that the hot and heavies you have now will most probably fizzle out in the long-term. Some long-distance relationships can work, but the brutal truth about life is that nothing really lasts forever. So cherish it, be seduced by it, be thrilled by it and ride it out as long as you can possibly can. And then leave it where it all began.
A final word of advice
Exploring the world can be an unforgettably life-changing experience, and if you’re lucky enough to find a special someone on your travels who makes the journey even sweeter, then good for you.
However, it’s not all glamourous. There are downsides to travelling solo (particularly for women), so keeping your smarts about you is vital.
Drinking excessively or taking drugs can increase your vulnerability, placing yourself in high-risk situations can make you a target for innumerable low-lifes and many countries have particular cultural standards that must be adhered to. But if a bit of ’romance’ is on the cards, play it safe, because if your idea of a holiday souvenir excludes the kind that antibiotics can’t shake, you need to pack protection and use it.