My dating life as a nomad is super weird and here’s why.
I’ve been a nomad (and also single) for a bit now, and I gotta tell you, people ask about how I work remotely, they ask about the places I’ve gone, managing friends and clients, the list goes on and on...
BUT, the question I get the most? How the HELL do you date while traveling full time?
So here I am to answer that question for you, in the best way I can.
I’d like to start off by saying that it’s kind of amazing, but it also gets really, and I mean really… weird at times.
Why it’s weird:
Most nomads are pretty open and outgoing if we’re really meeting new people while on the go. To me, it’s one of the best parts of traveling. It’s all about the people you meet and get to share the experiences with. But because of this, some people (in my case, men) can make assumption. What do some of the ones I’ve experienced look like?
“She’s traveling full time and must have a lot of money” (me: Eyeroll, I WISH).
“Oh she’s on the move so she probably isn’t interested in dating and probably just wants to hook up” (me: again, eyeroll).
“I can say anything I want cause I’m never gonna see her again” (me: why do some people forget we‘re probably connected some way through the internet?)
And then there’s the opposite, the local dude you talked to for like 2 minutes at a waterfall in Costa Rica and didn’t even tell him your name and SOMEHOW he still manages to find you on FB and add you (me: yeah that request is getting ignored.)
And the weirdness goes on:
The same rules don’t apply.. for example, when you have a home, you go on multiple dates, if it keeps going, you’re on the way to something, if it doesn’t, your not. But this nomadic lifestyle doesn’t allow you to go through these steps. Either you like someone, or you don’t, and you gotta know in the first 10 minutes. In most cases, you don’t have a week to decide if you want to stay in touch.
You meet SO many cool people that lot’s of guys (even if you *liked* them) end up just being friends eventually (so pretty much everyone is friend-zoned, even if you might have hooked up, unless you decide to do something about it).
Not to mention the dudes that tell you they really like you but then don’t make any effort to keep it going as if this lifestyle doesn’t allow you to plan a spontaneous romantic trip literally anywhere in the world together (dreams come true, right?)
But also the ones that make WAY too much effort and keep texting you every day saying they miss you and you’re just not sure where they got the idea that this could be a thing (why is it always one-sided?)
For some reason, seeing you do all this traveling really amps up guys you might have known or dated before. For example, men I haven’t spoken to since they were boys all of a sudden are getting excited by my travels and reaching out.. If I haven’t spoken to you since middle school it’s probably not going to be a thing. One of my exes even told me he thought I was hooking up with all the new guys I’d followed on IG… and was actually paying attention to them. Consider yourself warned, exes can be nuts, but crazy exes might get even crazier when you’re traveling and living the good life.
The fun parts, why it’s really freakin great:
Honestly, I’ve met so many incredible people while traveling that while it’s nuts sometimes, I wouldn’t change a thing. These are people that I wouldn’t meet if I was just living in LA. Even the kind of man that I thought I was attracted to has changed. Before, I felt like what I wanted was more specific and ironed out. Now, I’m so open to life and experiences that everything is possible. Here’s my highlights:
I’ve got friends all around the world. Whether something happened between us, or we wanted something to happen between us, or nothing happened or ever will, I have new friends around the world, and if they’re nice and I visit the city, I’ll get to have someone to enjoy a glass of wine and do some adventuring with!
Dates can be way more fun when you’re in a new place!
They downright know your lifestyle. When you’re dating someone that’s not used to dating a nomad, they’re not always okay with you being spontaneous and just picking up and leaving, but the men you meet while traveling usually get it.
Your idea of friendship changes. When you’re traveling you can make a connection with someone in a 10 minute conversation, then not talk to them for a year (except maybe liking each others IG posts) and then run into them randomly and you still feel like you have a connection! Relationships are totally different when you’re open to the experience and don’t put expectations on them.
Speaking of… you don’t have expectations or requirements. You’re open to what might happen. You’re not living for them or a relationship. You’re both on your own journey. Not having expectations is so helpful for something happening naturally for the right reasons!
And why sometimes its downright tough..
There’s been a couple times in the past year when I developed feelings for someone (even if it was in just a short amount of time) and I would want it to keep going, one one way or another. But I haven’t quite figured out the right way to go about it.
It’s really freakin tough to say goodbye to someone you really like when you don’t know when the next time you’ll see them will be.
Those feelings don’t necessarily go away just because you’re traveling, you’ll move on and keep it going but it doesn’t mean you don’t feel them still (we’re all human after all).
It’s kinda crazy to go somewhere just to see someone you had a crush on but at the same time, you kinda want to sometimes.
People don’t always understand your lifestyle, and trying to explain that you’re both happy being single, but also, slowly getting to the point where you could consider a relationship but don’t believe in long-distance doesn’t make for much of a conversation (“hey perfect man, wanna travel with me full time but still be cool with me disappearing and being fully independent and still not really knowing what I want?” Exactly..)
And finally, the tips for actually doing it:
I should start by saying that at this point I’m not actively *looking* for a relationship, and that if I was I might be really frustrated right now since it’s been a pretty crazy year full of lots of great stories and lessons but clearly, not a relationship. But, I’ve still learned a lot about communication and knowing when and how I want something, especially when it comes to dealing with people I might like.
Also, I feel like these could be helpful even if you’re not traveling or living a nomadic lifestyle, but hey, you decide.
Traveling full time means you’re moving around and don’t have the chance to play games. If you like someone, tell them. If you want to keep talking while you’re halfway around the world, tell them. If you’re not interested, tell them.
Keep your options open:
Too often I’ve heard people say they don’t want to try something with someone just because they’re not their type. Traveling and meeting different people really helps you step outside of these boundaries. Cherish that and keep your options open and your judgements at a minimal.
Nothing is impossible:
Don’t assume that you won’t see them again or that this isn’t possible just because you’re leaving. I’ve meet people in countries on a different continent that I never thought I’d see again. If you want something to happen, it will (or at least it can), and even if you don’t know you want it to happen, it still might.
Dating apps are tough:
Okay, so I’m very biased here because I really love meeting people in person and tend to be confident doing it, but I have met a few guys on dating apps and have actually had a couple really great experiences. My tips? Don’t spend hours doing it. Just connect with people you’re actually interested in meeting. Don’t waste time chatting (unless you’re just doing it for entertainment) set a time, meet (in a public setting pleasseee), and take it from there. Also, if you’re not just looking for a hookup and they know you’re traveling full time, you’ll probably wanna mention that. Actually, you might just want to mention that regardless.
It’s okay to not know exactly what you want:
Last year I started seeing someone (for a couple weeks while I was in a different city) that I actually really liked but I was nowhere near ready to start thinking about dating someone. It wasn’t too long after a difficult breakup and my mind was all over the place. I felt so guilty for almost a year about not being ready for that and not having known for sure that I wasn’t ready. But now I know that it’s okay. We don’t need to know what we want, we have the right to experiment, and try, and feel, and fail. It’s all okay. Just because we’re traveling doesn’t mean we don’t have intense feelings too. I love being independent and on my own, but I still develop feelings. I’m not bullet proof just cause I’m having a good time and am confidently on my own.
Have fun, dating shouldn’t be a chore:
If you want so badly to be in a relationship that it’s driving you a little mental, try to remember why you want this to begin with. It’s to share experiences, to know there’s someone that loves you when you get home, to build your future. Start doing these things on your own, surround yourself with people you love without needing a label, and begin to expand your circle and community. It’ll happen. You’ll get there, this isn’t something you want to force or rush just because you want it badly. The person you’re looking for might just be in a different country or a different circle, and that’s totally cool. And if you’re like me and not even sure what you’re looking for yet, that’s cool too, own it, enjoy it, learn from it!