I am made of photography,stories from the road and a good dose of passion. I am Ophélie, French-born traveler always on the go. My travel photography blog is about sharing my travel experiences, tips and my addiction for adventure. To help you explore countries on your own… as an independent and curious traveller.
Crazy. Stupid. Love.
Sounds familiar? To me as well. Travel love stories equal to this combination. How to deal with unexpected feelings and a nomad lover on the road? As solo female traveller, I had to write about it, because… it is part of my travel life and for sure, it is the same for you.
Crazy... Travel love stories – modern tales of the solo romantic backpacker
How I ended up, again, in an upside down travel love story.
I want to tell you a story. One of these stories which normally happen in movies. A story which started unexpectedly and gave another turn to my travels in Asia. I am on solo travel, like you. And I ended up, maybe also like you, in one of the craziest travel love affairs I have had. While writing these lines, I am actually between two planes. From Asia to Australia, thinking back about the guy I left this morning at the airport after two months of… we still don’t know what exactly, but a crazy travel love adventure, that’s for sure.
Let set up the scenery. A paradise beach somewhere on a hippy Cambodian island. Soft blue sea and pastel sunset sky. Me and no one else… so I wish.
Imagine… This is one of these evenings when you just want to be alone. Deeply lost in your thoughts, enjoying the absence of people around, and willing to have a chat… not. Of course, it’s just at this point that he comes… with one of these absolutely not subtle flirting lines.
Random flirting tips on travel
I am not an expert but the art of flirting on travel is something I had time to examine… and to practice.
Be detached… you want nothing but a beer.
Give nice smiles repeatedly.
Make use of your accent – the Frenchie one works well, I still don’t know why…
Laugh at his jokes… at least, at the first ones. Then, there are good chances the beer will have made its effect. You will laugh, anyways.
For you, guys… Note that I am not judgmental, life is hard for you, but as a tip, asking at what time is sunset when it’s already sunset is not the best try ever. Any other kind of similar dummy questions falls into the category. Even if, I have to say, we will at least remember you as the funny guy on the beach later on. It’s still a start.
Be detached… you want nothing but make conversation.
Back to serious
And if you thought that after having solved the problem by giving a polite but firm reaction a la “no offence but leave me alone”, you were mistaken. By the force of Destiny or Randomness – depending on your philosophy -, this person who annoyed you on the beach will cross your way again. And from other random encounters to some full moon parties, rum coke and happy cookie, you become unexpected travel mates. That’s how I ended up traveling for a month through South East Asia with the backpacker met on the beach…
The reality of love on travel – the modern nomad lover in our backpacking love stories
I am not the most romantic person on Earth. I am even quite rational when it comes to sentimental matters.
Wait. Correction: I was. Before starting traveling and finding myself in the middle of a Bollywood movie – one of these crazy, unexpected and intense stories from the road. Especially on a long term solo travel, I know that we can’t count with the prospect of peaceful love relationships. So, how do unexpected love relationships look like on solo travel?
For a start, the elegant prince on his horse who should stick around for a while (modernity obliges, “forever” is not in the dictionary…) becomes a nomad backpacker in swimmers who jumps from plane to plane.
Then, the fairy tale castle (or let’s say the cosy apartment) gets transformed into a hostel dorm, a hazardous camp spot in the middle of nowhere, a tent next to the beach or a hippy van.
Third, the first date at the restaurant, the cinema or at the park become a crazy motorbike ride on magnificent mountain roads (but totally unsafe, especially with the cute nomad backpacker as driver… yep, he can’t be good at everything), jumps and swims into oasis of clear blue water, sunset watching in a timeless Nature scenery, crazy parties on paradise beaches… and of course, other adult activities at unexpected places.
All of that, on a daily basis. You see my point? When you experience every day such adventures together, it is hard not to fall in love…
The little message for the special someone…
Stupid… the non-sense of falling in love on the road – ephemeral and chaotic
Yes, even in a world of paradise, sex and adventures, when you are backpacking, love stories can be hurtful. It’s even more real than in regular life. Within a few weeks or even days, you will fall in love, then feel like a married couple and finally split up… for a while or forever. The trick is here. Your feelings will play yoyo – a confusing quick succession of intense happiness and sudden sadness.
So, be sure that saying goodbye at the airport will look exactly like in the romantic movies – just that we have no clue if there will be a happy ending. And that’s another teaching moment. Travel love stories are by definition ephemeral. If you will meet ever again your nomad charming prince is a big question mark. As solo travellers, we are independent spirits. And no one knows what the future – for us travellers, that’s to say, the next days – will hold. Of course, it always gets tricky when feelings invite themselves into the otherwise perfect plan you had at the start – love just for fun. Hard to know if this starting feelings could be more than just a travel crush.
Relationship on travel - Just for fun, you said?
Today in the plane, after having said goodbye to my travel mate slash nomad lover slash smoothie provider, I feel confused. I am both sad and happy. Sad to have to renounce for now to a potential relationship, happy to have lived such an intense experience.
That’s why falling in love on the road – or whatever we think it is – is not a piece of cake… In fact, it’s a crazy life experience in itself. I’ve noticed, in the chaotic course of my solo travel, that love stories on the road have their own rules. They are basically like a ride on a rollercoaster. They start with an adrenaline kick, they make your mind upside down just like that. Finally, they end up before you could notice that they had started. But you shouldn’t miss them when they come to you. Because Life is full of surprises… and what starts just for fun might become something else.
Love.. Why you should go for the unexpected romance on solo travel
Travel love stories are even more unpredictable, irrational and chaotic than the ones in our regular life. Because they are first not supposed to last, our travel sentimental experiences are amazing life lessons. They force us to live in the present, to enjoy every single moment at its full intensity.
They are also inspiring. They teach us, solo travellers, so much about ourselves. And not counting that they give pepper to the journey. It’s impressive how quickly you come close to a complete stranger when you travel together. First, you learn a lot about yourself – how you react in unknown situations, how you adapt yourself to someone you probably wouldn’t meet in regular life. Then, you experience intense feelings by living lifetime adventures so far away from your usual routine. It’s outside of the comfort zone, it’s exciting, crazy and you love it.
For guys or girls, relationships on travel can be also lighter than in regular life. Because they happen so unexpectedly and are based on the unsaid but obvious fact that they are most of the time ephemeral. Meaning, there is no pressure. No expectations. We, travellers, are uninhibited. We are here to dare new things, to step out from the regular System… and not to get enclosed in a relationship. Love stories become wild, insouciant.
Not mentioning that your travel budget will thank you, if you choose wisely the travel mate. Make sure you get a nice one, he will get you smoothies and rum cokes when you need it.
How to deal with love stories on the road
A little thought for all the romantic solo travellers out there… who fall in love for their travel mate and (sometimes) end up with a broken heart. I count myself in this category and I want to give you my tips to overcome the post romantic road trip depression.
While being on the road with your new nomad lover, try not to idealize too much the love relationship. Keep in mind that you are on travel and the context is out of the ordinary. So, just enjoy the moments without thinking too much.
Communication is gold! It is not about making hypothetical future plans. It is about saying how you feel, being honest at all times. It will avoid problems and disappointment.
The tricky moment will be the goodbye part. For us, solo travellers, coming back to our independence can be a bit challenging first. So, if you feel somehow lost after your travel lover left for another destination, keep busy. Plan the next steps of your solo travel as you had it in mind.
Now, my favourite mantra and from far the most difficult one to achieve – let it go! Don’t force Destiny. If you are supposed to meet again, it will happen – somehow, somewhere.
Because the nomad backpacker in swimmers might be your charming prince, after all…
And if you shared me?