You catch his eye across the room, looking down shyly at your drink. Will he take the bait? As if reading your mind, he’s suddenly at your side, introducing himself. And just like that, you hit it off. Countless people without names or faces trickle in and out of the bar, but you are the only two that matter in the whole place–lit on fire by the palpable attraction and the night’s endless possibilities.
The above scenario happens to everyone, not just to travelers and the restless at heart. But my fellow backpackers, thrill-seekers, and study abroad participants know that there is something particularly conducive to falling in love while traveling. Why is that? What is it about being in a foreign place that seems to summon that fat little baby, Cupid, and his entire quiver of arrows?
1. We are looking for an escape.
A bad relationship, the death of a loved one, trouble at work. We need to get out, we need to get away and flee to the furthest corners of the world where no one knows us. Falling in love can be a welcome distraction from the crushing pressure of whatever our “reality” is back home.
2. We are less afraid.
Travel mode is switched on and we are up for anything; we’re looking for adventure. Surfing? Skiing? Sampling strange and tasty new cuisines? You got it. Falling into the arms of a mysterious and attractive stranger? Sure, why not?
3. We are lonely.
We’re alone. And while we’re fierce, and brave, and don’t need anyone thank you very much, it’s nice to have someone that has your back. It’s nice to be held and have someone to hold. It’s nice to feel like part of a team. Maybe it’s instinctual, something biological. Two heads are better than one, and that’s something that has been proven through the ages. While one caveman slept, the other kept the fire roaring and the saber-toothed tigers at bay. So while we’re traveling on our own and struggling with feeling a tad bit lonely and more than a little vulnerable, we are quick to seek out companionship.
4. We have our guard down.
We’ve been hurt before and we learned our lesson, damnit. So now we’re skeptical, overly cautious, and push people away. But when you’re in a faraway land, all alone, sometimes you don’t have the luxury of doubting everything and everyone. You’re always lost; always asking for help and directions and suggestions and recommendations. You are pushed to be more trusting and more open; relying on strangers like you never thought you would. Maybe the world isn’t such a horrible place after all, you start to think.
5. We are anonymous.
Friends and acquaintances, though they usually mean well, are constantly up in our business like white on rice. But while traveling, if things go badly, we never have to see that person again. No running into one another awkwardly in the grocery store, or seeing facebook photos of them kissing someone else. They only know what we want them to know; we are protected by our anonymity and the certainty of leaving.
So whether you are traveling to get away from a difficult break-up, or just looking for a little bit more adventure in your life–embrace any romance that comes your way. Even if it doesn’t turn into true love or marriage like it did for me, you’re bound to have the whirlwind romance of a lifetime… or at least an incredible story.