Finding Love on the Road

The beer is cold, the sun is beaming, Bob Marley is playing overhead, and the water is shining with that crystal clear blue decadence. You don’t have a worry in the world, and that foreign guy sure has a great accent. For a moment your heart flutters. Travel love is looming. We’ve all been there, but is it a good idea to get invested abroad? There’s something thrilling about meeting another traveler in a foreign land. You both have a natural propensity for adventure and the appreciation of culture, and the connection can be exciting. A bit of an Eat, Pray, Love kind of story. But is it truly genuine?  

It’s easy when you are outside of the comfort zone of your home environment to behave differently than you normally would, where everyday isn’t always an adventure. You may become more unguarded and more free to take risks, or to try new things with a fresh set of eyes.

There’s always that mystique about finding romance on the road. With the myriad of different people and different cultures you encounter, windows of opportunity open up to all kinds of potential love matches. Maybe he speaks French or Italian? Or has traveled to 95 countries, and has a collection of foreign films and fine wines. Who knows.

There’s something exciting about sharing new experiences with someone and seeing the world. But let’s get real, unless this person is the love of your life, there are many more factors working against you than are working for you. It does work out for some, but for the majority I’d say there’s realistic roadblocks to consider when pursuing love abroad:

1. People can put on any persona abroad.

When you are away from family and the accountability of friends, it’s difficult to get the full picture of who a person truly is. And people can, and do, act differently when they are on vacation. Without seeing that person in the context of real life stress like bills, jobs, and rent, it’s difficult to get an accurate picture of true character. Anyone can seem appealing on vacation, so be cautious if you’re looking for love. What are his parents like? How does he act with his friends at home? Is he a functioning member of society? Things we don’t consider in the moment.

2. You may just be the love of his…week.

People on the road could be with you one night and be in Paris the next. They may be in a bar tonight, a club tomorrow night, and meeting more people in a hostel the next. Some people make it a habit to move from place to place without forming any real roots. Before you get overzealous about the attention you received, just remember, you may not be the first or the last one this week.

3. Eventually it will end.

Unless you plan on staying in the country you met together forever (and all the power to you if you do), then eventually there’s a termination date. You will go back to your country. He will go back to his. Is it even possible for him to get a Visa to your country? Would you be willing to relocate to his country?  If you are willing to do long distance, or he happens to work for an airline, then it could be promising, but chances are you won’t see each other again. Or you’ll get home and realize you just aren’t that into it anyway.

4. Your upbringings are most likely drastically different

Foreign love interests always seem interesting. You are intrigued by how different they are, and all the interesting facets of their culture are probably what drew you in the first place. But when the shine wears off, the aspects you once found endearing may actually work against you.  What is the male/female role in their culture? What kind of communication barriers will you be facing? What kind of misunderstandings could arise because of culture and upbringing? Very valid questions to consider.

This article isn’t to persuade you not to pursue love abroad if you are considering it. Every situation is different and it works perfectly fine for some. Just make sure to consider real roadblocks and think practically about if it will work for you or not. Many people glamorize the idea of foreign love interests, and we can thank TV and movies for creating the appeal – but in hindsight, you will always see with 20/20 vision. So make wise choices and decide for yourself if it’s worth it.