When you are on an Erasmus program, you travel for a short time or move abroad as a single human being, you inevitably end up dating and meeting with people from other cultures, which is something we, travellers, take for granted, but which does not come as easy if we were sat on our arses back home. To share a bit of personal story here: I’ve had special encounters with an Estonian, a Brit, an American, a Dutch, a Spanish, a Kiwi, an Australian, an Italian and the list goes on…and on. I am not saying you should go out there and collect STDs, but simply be open to meet people from around the world which makes everything more…spicy and intriguing. And if for example, the fire doesn’t start, this could just be a very peculiar social experiment. I am actually considering to write an essay about the different dating styles of men from all over the world. Any single friends you want to hook up with me? Only joking (not!) but you know that dating people from the four corners of the world is like a full cultural, political and historical immersion that is not available online or any books.
Well….Not really. But one of the people I’m currently seeing speaks Russian and during our horizontal language exchange sessions, we share a few words in Italian and Russian. I am not sure I could ever repeat out loud the words I’m learning, but I never had so much fun learning a new language.
Jokes aside, meeting people from all over the world puts you in the position to learn a language faster than ever. I remember when I firstly moved to London with a broken English and my 3-year relationship with a Brit got me to get an 8 at the IELTS test. #yeahbragging
Let’s pretend you are at the market to buy some apples: Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, Belle de Boskop, Discovery and Jonathan. So, I was saying, it’s like picking your favourite apples in an ideal shop where you can give a bite to all of them (nope, don’t be obscene, it’s a metaphor!) and move along to the next one if you don’t like it or finish it all if you want. At my apple stall, I’m gathering ideas of what are the essential elements that my future partner needs to have. Meeting so many people, from so many different background and cultures also helped me understand better who I am and what do I want from a future relationship. Entering the world of someone else, it’s always a self-discovery journey and I’m enjoying this one at the “market”.
4. If you are not ready for a long-term relationship, no-strings-attached flings are better on the road.
Of course, you could have them at your home, but for the reasons above they would all taste pretty much the same. Jumping from one flirt to the other while travelling instead, add romance and interest and even magic to it. Why? Well, most of the people you meet are going to leave or *you *are going to move on so nothing is permanent, everything goes fast and for this reason, you skip a few steps and live things at 100km/hour right from the start. If a commitment isn’t something you are after, then this fast approach can be the perfect speed dating game over a few days/weeks where you actually get to know the person, feel something and then move on to a new one.
I think I am one of the eldest backpackers in the world.
But this isn’t always a disadvantage. On top of the senior discount on some hostels, I am in that age frame where I can easily pick above 30 and below thirty without feeling guilty or be arrested. If I felt grossly outnumbered by 18 years olds as I was travelling by bus in New Zealand, I started noticing the interest of boys only when I got to Fiji and Samoa. And yeah, let me tell you, millennials might be a bit needy and arrogant, they also bring a breath of fresh air to our 30-something lives.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I know that travelling alone can get quite lonely and tiring, but trust me: dating has totally changed my perspective on it as a whole. Since then I no longer spend nights alone sipping on half a dozen cocktails chatting to hitting on the poor barman. I no longer go alone to fancy restaurant to be stared at the entire time, I ask a date to take me there (yeah, that’s another reason why you should date while travelling, AKA: go to all the places that are normally socially forbidden to us, single people, like dinner in fancy restaurants, couple-tailored things: gondola alone anyone? One of the saddest things I have ever seen! Or even split costs on rides and things like that.