Why I Love the Posts About Dating a Girl or Boy Who Travels

Ani minaret

You have probably seen them floating around Facebook and Twitter. Date a Girl Who Travels. Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels. Date a Boy Who Travels. There are probably a dozen different versions and rebuttals out there too.

As a much-maligned or much-praised “girl who travels,” I found each of the posts resonating with me to a certain extent. So I was surprised to see some backlash, especially from women who travel. Sure, they generalize and stereotype, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bits of truth to be found in them as well. And I don’t read any of the posts as referring solely to men or women who travel full-time but also to those who enjoy and appreciate travel and consider it a large part of who they are.

For me, they represent how I have changed. Ten years ago, I was not the girl who travels and I had no interest in dating the boy who travels. I was on my way to becoming a successful lawyer and I was drawn to guys who were equally ambitious and career-driven. I wanted to date a guy who worked 60 hours a week so he would understand when I had to cancel dinner plans to stay late at the office. I was perfectly content with a couple weeks of vacation each year and my idea of “budget” was a hotel for $100 a night or less. I spent my money on clothes and shoes and purses. I saved up for Coach and Kate Spade and Burberry, not for travel.

But now, after quitting my job to travel for a year and then starting all over again, everything is different – especially when it comes to my priorities and the kind of guy I want to be with.

Date a girl who would rather save up for out of town trips or day trips than buy new shoes or clothes.

Yep, that’s me now. I’m still wearing pants I bought three years ago and my last pair of new shoes were running shoes to replace ones that completely wore out.

You’ll also recognize a girl who travels by the fact that she’s always amazed at the world around her, no matter if she’s in her home town or in a place that’s totally new. She sees beauty all around her, not just the ones featured in travel guides or show on postcards. A girl who travels has developed a deeper appreciation for life.

And that’s me too. I appreciate the little things now. I notice things I never noticed before.

She knows she’s been to a lot of places, but she’s humbled by the fact that the world is still a big place and she’s only seen a small part of it.

Again, I can totally relate. Sure, I’ve been to x number of countries, but there is so much more out there I haven’t seen. And I want to see it all.

When it comes to the post about not dating a girl who travels, I read it from the perspective that a guy shouldn’t date a girl who travels unless he can see some of those allegedly negative characteristics as positives and unless he possesses some of those characteristics as well.  And some of those were soooo me.

The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures.  She will be unimpressed with your new car and expensive watch. She would rather climb a rock or jump out of a plane than hear you brag about it.

Dinner and a movie are not my idea of a fun date. I’d rather do something active. And give me the guy who takes public transportation over the guy with the fancy new car any day.

She won’t party at Republiq. And she will never pay over $100 for Avicii because she knows that one weekend of clubbing is equivalent to one week somewhere far more exciting.

I’ve never heard of these clubs, but yep. Totally me now. Can’t imagine spending $100 on a night out when that could get me a few days of travel somewhere else.

She will never need you. She knows how to pitch a tent and screw her own fins without your help. She cooks well and doesn’t need you to pay for her meals.

I don’t cook well, but I am independent and any guy I date should appreciate that. I’ve traveled around the world solo. I don’t want to be with a guy because I need him, but because I want to be with him – there’s a difference. And I especially don’t want to be with a guy for his money.

She’s busy living in the present. She talks to strangers. She will meet many, like-minded people from around the world who share her passion and dreams.

If a guy is intimidated or put off by this, he’s not the guy for me. I’d want a guy who does the same. I’d want us to travel the world together, chatting up new people everywhere we go.

And this is why I want to date a guy travels – or more specifically, a guy who has traveled and wants to travel more. I want to date a guy who thinks it’s awesome that I spent a year traveling around the former Soviet Union. I want to date a guy who doesn’t give me a weird look when  I say I spent 3 months in Russia but instead asks me if I went to Kamchatka while I was there. I want to date a guy who doesn’t just know where Uzbekistan is, but who would want to go there with me. I have loved traveling solo but I would love to date a guy who wants to join me on my travels.

Date a boy who treasures experiences over toys, a hand-woven bracelet over a Rolex. Date the boy who scoffs when he hears the worlds “vacation,” “all-inclusive” or “resort.” Date a boy who travels because he’s not blinded by a single goal but enlivened by many.

 

Date a boy who’s lived out of a backpack because he lives happily with less. He’s seen how a life without luxury can mean a life fueled by relationships and family, rather than a life that fuels fancy cars and egos. He’s experienced different ways of being, respects alternative religions and looks at the world with the eyes of a five-year-old, curious and hungry.

I want to date a guy who is open-minded. Who has seen how things are done differently in other parts of the world and who recognizes that the way we do things in the US isn’t necessarily the best way. A guy who has seen how people struggle in developing countries and appreciates everything we have here. A guy who cares about what is happening in Egypt and Syria and Ukraine.

And yes, I’d eventually like to marry a boy who travels and when I do, this is how it will go:

You’ll get married somewhere unassumed, surrounded by a select few. Your honeymoon will not be forgotten to a buffet dinner and all-you-can-drink beach bars, but will be remembered in the triumphant photographs at the top of Kilimanjaro and memorialized in the rewarding ache of muscles at the end of a long days hike.

 

Have you read these posts? What did you think?

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17 thoughts on “Why I Love the Posts About Dating a Girl or Boy Who Travels”

  1. Personally, I’ve rather enjoyed seeing so many different posts circulating the web. It’s really interesting to read what different people and fellow travellers think about the topic, and what qualities they feel are the most important in terms of the whole ‘dating/travelling’ issue. I think you’re right – being open minded seems to definitely be one of the most important qualities!

  2. Great post and I am 100% with you Katie! It’s incredibly important to me that the person I am with has similar interests otherwise you will spend your life pulling each other in the wrong direction. I am lucky enough to have found that.

  3. Thank you for writing this! I too was surprised to see so many women in travel disown or discredit these articles…I prefer to take them for what they are. Of course there are sweeping generalizations, but in their defense…they’ve at least proven to be thought provoking and discussion generating.

  4. Beautifully put Katie! I also didn’t see those posts as travel snobbery, there are kernels of truth in all of them.

    I think people were taking them as 100% literal when they are metaphors for a different viewpoint on how to live life and who you want to include in that life. For the longest time I bought the B.S. that there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t attracted to the man with a gleaming watch and car. That the kind of man I’m attracted to didn’t exist, but I know he does, I’ve met versions of him as I’ve travelled, it’s just a matter of clicking with the right one.

    And the Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels resonated with me on the way the writer describes her looks, I, too, am that woman with scars from her travels. A burn on my leg from the tailpipe of my Lifan motorbike, scars from mosquito bites on my shins, a cut that I got from a hike that’s finally healing.

    I use to think they were ugly and made me less pretty, but nah, they are part of my travel memories and I wear them with pride now. We all should!

    1. Thanks Jeannie! And you’re so right about that kind of man being out there – I met several on my travels who made me just think, ugh, why can’t I find a guy like you back home?? Sometimes I think I need to keep traveling more in order to find him… 🙂

  5. I guess we’re pretty much looking for the same guy! To love travelling is definitely one of my deal breakers in a guy. I can’t even imagine being with someone who wouldn’t share my passion for the world. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, he must be out there somewhere!

  6. I personally do not think there is an excuse to stop being and looking like a woman even if you like to spend your every free second on the road. It doesn’t have to be achieved through expensive jewellery or exquisite clothes, but femininity and elegance certainly attract many a man – the fact that the lady likes hitting the road rather than sitting down for a dinner with him is infinitely less important when the lady in question is worth waiting for.

    I think the main problem of dating a “girl who travels” (being one myself – I spend over 120 days outside the UK every year notwithstanding a full-time banking job) is that she tends to have a firm travel plan ahead for a year or longer. She is a dreamer, you see – having visited a myriad of countries already and restricted by a finite holiday allowance, she has no choice but to plan carefully. Involving others in her plans (or, God forbid, building plans around somebody else’s preferences) is quite difficult. Revisiting places she has already been to for somebody’s sake is admittedly boring and rarely worth it. I have had quite a few men turned off by such a clear priority of travel in my life. It was however impossible to give budding relationships a chance as missing out on precious travel was simply not worth a very tiny chance of success in a new relationship.

    I used to think I would never come across a man who would be fine with my habits until I met someone who likes travelling a tad less, is self-employed so has less holiday and has commitments from a past marriage that keep him busy while I continue travelling on my own. He joins me on some travels but doesn’t mind in the least that I zoom around the world while he is busy anyway. I think this is the only way this ever could have worked. Not everything in life needs to be done together in a relationship as long as you keep on making each other happy, together or apart. It is built on love, trust, friendship and plenty of understanding. Just a thought for you, Katie : )

    1. Thanks for your comment. I’m a little confused by your point about there not being an excuse to stop looking like a woman even if you’re on the road. I don’t think I said anything about that in my post. I think it’s important for everyone to just go with what they are comfortable in. I spent years when I first moved to Chicago getting all dressed up to go out to fancy restaurants and clubs because that’s what all my friends and co-workers did, but it wasn’t me. I never felt comfortable. I am much more comfortable in jeans and ballet flats but I don’t think that means I can’t still be feminine. If a guy is looking for someone who has perfect hair and makeup all the time and struts around in 3 inch heels (what many guys who call “elegant”), he should look elsewhere. Regardless of whether I love to travel, that’s just not me.

      Even if a guy I date can’t travel with me all the time, I would want to date someone who has that passion and understands why I love to travel as much as I do. As much as I love traveling solo, I want someone to share some of those amazing travel moments with me. I just can’t imagine dating someone who has no desire to experience the rest of the world.

      1. Coming from Eastern Europe, we equally fail to understand Western women who think they can just pull it off with jeans and ballet flats : ) sorry. You do not need 3-inch heels to look feminine. Up to you what you wear – I just always get to chuckle meeting “girls who travel” on the road sporting greasy hair and cycling thermals next to, say, local Asian women looking phenomenally pretty with little effort – and wondering what choice any man in his right mind would make.

        It is also up to you what qualities you choose in your partner. Just remember, nobody’s perfect – but, since you are older than me, you well know that already.

  7. Yep, I can understand all of what you’re saying! I spent my 20s mostly single and couldn’t relate to the few guys I dated who didn’t have much interest in travel. Or the one guy who’s match.com profile said “I love to travel and really experience different cultures” and on our first date I found out he had only been to Bruges, Belgium on a business trip and a bachelor party trip to Costa Rica with his buddies. Nothing wrong with those trips, but that’s not getting to know the culture. I dated a guy seriously who only wanted to go to Utah every winter to go skiing, and he had no interest in going to Europe or South America or wherever with me. Since he was an otherwise good guy, I panicked. Would I end up with someone who seriously wouldn’t travel with me? Luckily I realized there were other problems, but I never could’ve ended up with someone who wanted the fancy car, house, etc. and didn’t want to travel.

  8. YES! I love these too, and I get annoyed with people who take offense to generalizations. Sure, not every single thing is going to describe every traveler exactly, but people just need to lighten up and appreciate what does resonate. Currently I am the “girl who travels” without her significant other for 5 months and some days I don’t think I’d make it if he wasn’t so supportive. He can’t be on the road with me right now but he thinks my lifestyle is awesome and he loves my adventurous outlook!

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