Life on the road is one full of unexpected joys and ever-changing plans. If you remain open to experiences, you will find that a world of adventure awaits you. For most working-age travelers, this is a solo adventure.
Along the way, we meet amazing people. But, unless they have also recklessly abandoned themselves to a life of travel, making it work can prove difficult. So, what is it like to date when traveling full-time on the road?
1. Women Are Not the Dependent Sex
Before I started my travel adventure in 2015, I admired the travelers I had met for their ability to strike out alone. Every single one of them was a man working and traveling around the world.
Now that I’m on the road, I find that those pioneering men are rare. I meet a lot of women traveling by themselves or with each other. I rarely meet traveling men who aren’t lugging along the wife, the kids, three dogs, and a mortgage.
2. Stationary Men Are Often Intimidated
Most stationary men are, at first, intrigued by the idea of full-time travel and having a partner who lives this life. However, eventually, it begins to take a toll when they realize you aren’t about to quit to live in a house with them.
In my experiences, they rarely just back off. First, the sly remarks start regarding your freedom, your travels, or the privilege of doing what you love. Well, what do you want me to do, eh, Bucko? Apologize for living the life I want?
3. Van-Lifers Are Often Smelly
I once read a book that said you can identify van-lifers by smell alone, no matter where they are. It was written by a van-lifer and I laughed when I read it but didn’t take it seriously. Since being on the road, I have to admit that there’s some truth to this.
People without adequate shower facilities in their rigs have thoroughly convinced themselves they don’t smell. They do—especially the guys. I have met very few exceptions and they are all women.
4. You’ll Find a Lot of Your Matches Online
Full-time travelers are often more solitary than part-time travelers. For most of us, being in a new location is not a vacation. We’re often not at the clubs or public beaches or other big events. This can make it tough to find each other.
Thankfully, the internet comes to our rescue. You’ll connect with a lot of other full-time and long-term travelers via MeetUp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Groups, and dating apps. Keep an open mind. Not everyone online is a creep!
5. Safety Is a Bigger Issue
The week before Gabby Petito made the news in America, my mom called to reflect for the millionth time that she would prefer that I have male company on the road. I replied for the gazillionth time that women are more likely to be murdered by their romantic partners than strangers.
Gabby Petito’s incredibly sad story is a strong reminder of not just how true this can be, but also how difficult it is for family members to know when you’re truly missing. After all, if you’re thousands of miles away and often without service, how would they know? So, security is always a bigger issue on the road.
6. Commitment Can Feel Like a Burden
For women secretly looking for a reason to halt their travels and plant roots, commitment sounds like a great idea. For the rest of us, those roots bear a striking resemblance to chains.
It would be lovely to be with someone else who travels as much as I do, who shares a similar — not the same — itinerary, and who has his own rig. But, until then, I am perfectly content with traveling solo.
7. Most Travelers Are Incredibly Interesting
The people who throw their things into a van or trailer and hit the road alone are unlikely to be your average Joes and Janes. Most of them have remarkably interesting stories and fascinating ways of looking at life.
Even if it never works out and you’re horribly incompatible, boredom is unlikely to be the reason. These are often the people who will go ATVing, hiking, climbing, paddle boarding, and offroading with you. So, enjoy it while it lasts!
Dating as a full-time traveler brings a great deal of diversity and intrigue into your life. There is rarely a dull moment. However, if you’re a secret romantic looking intently for commitment, you might have a tough time on the road.
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