Relationships on the Road: 5 Things to Remember
If you plan to be traveling for a long time, romance becomes an inevitable part of travel. Whether it be one night stands, drawn out flings with travelers, or miming-filled relationships with locals who don’t speak English, you cannot spend a long time traveling without getting caught up in some drama of some sort.
But these relationships can be tricky as well. Your life is different than the life most people live, and it comes with its own complications. Here are some you might want to think about before you get too caught up in relationships on the road.
1. You Don’t Know Someone You Can’t Speak To
It’s hard enough to know someone who shares a common language, and yet, put a person in a tropical paradise with some exotic man or woman who doesn’t speak their language, and they somehow fool themselves that they can know a person by the subtle flick of an almond eye or the way they move in bed.
This is nothing but foolish dreams, and it isn’t the way the real world works. Unless you or your lover speak the other’s language (fluently), you are in for some hard times ahead. Even if you begin learning their language now, you are likely to find upon finally accessing their thoughts and beliefs later on that they are not who you thought they were.
And that can be a rude awakening.
2. You May Have More in Common With Other Travelers
I’m a huge advocate of imbedding yourself in another culture, and I’ve had my own romances with locals that were truly wonderful experiences. But it strikes me now that even as I avoid other travelers in search of true experience, when it comes to love and romance, they are more likely a much better match.
This is not only true for the cultural similarities but also for the simple fact that you share similar life paths. I always found it interesting how so any travelers run away from relationships at home, cutting off ties with the kind of lovers who just want to get married and settled down, only to come across the ocean and settle down with the same type of person in another country.
Unless you are ready to end your travels now, avoid getting too involved with the locals. Unless, of course, the local you are involved with is just as worldly and footloose as you. Now, that’s different.
3. Your Culture Matters Too
When in another country, it’s advisable to stick to the “when in Rome” philosophy. This is a great common sense philosophy to follow, but things change a little when you are in a relationship with a local man or woman.
It’s important to respect their culture and understand the way they do things, but since they chose to get involved with a foreigner, it is important for them to respect your differences as well. If they don’t seem ready to open their mind to those differences, you may be better off moving on.
4. Tread With Light Feet
Tread with light feet when getting involved with someone from another culture—in other words, try not to leave too big of a mark if you don’t plan on sticking around. This is especially important when dealing with income disparities as well as cultural expectations of marriage.
Realize that even mere actions can sometimes make a promise, and be as vocal as possible about your intentions and future plans.
5. The Only Constant is Change
The only thing certain is change, and this is truer for the traveler more than anyone else in the world. You might get caught up in another culture and think you want to stay there forever, only to return after a trip home thinking that the other side of the world seems worth checking out as well.
You might spend two months romancing a European backpacker in Bali, only to find you don’t get along so well when you go to visit them in Switzerland.
And as a traveler, you are always changing. It’s in your nature, or you wouldn’t have gotten addicted to the road in the first place. So be careful about the commitments you make, and try to leave yourself an out if possible.
You may very well need it.