Love & Dating On the Road

by gigigriffis

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from a woman who had recently left her stable, rooted life behind and taken off around the U.S., working remotely along the way. After a few months of travel, she had a question:

What about love and dating?

Because, really, she eventually wanted to fall in love and maybe even settle down and have a family. And she wanted to know if her newfound life of travel was at odds with that desire.

I mean, how can you meet anyone while you’re always moving?


It’s a tough question to answer, really. Because love is unpredictable. Certainly, I know plenty of people who met their partner while staying put…but, of course, most people do stay put, so that’s not surprising. What’s more surprising (and sweet) is that I know a number of people who met their partners in less conventional settings.

Like Annette, who met her partner in Africa and who now travels the world with him.

Or Ali, who married a man she met on Twitter and moved to Germany to be with him.

Or Emily, who moved to Chicago for a year, met the love of her life, and then took him along with her to California, Colorado, and then Arizona.

Or Warren and Betsy, who may have met each other while standing still, but who now travel the world together.

And that’s the thing. Travel and love aren’t mutually exclusive things. In fact, living an unconventional, untethered life might just make it possible to find love somewhere you never would have expected.

After all, what is full-time travel except freedom? If you’re in charge of your schedule and your home base, why not stay an extra month and see if that handsome surfer has long-term potential? Or invite that sassy world-traveler you met in the hostel to come along with you to Venice? Or go visit that witty pen pal who wants to show you her city?

Taking the risk of full-time travel, of living an unrooted life, might just make you more capable of taking a risk on an unconventional person.


But I bet you are reading this because you want to know some of my own stories, right?

The truth is that I’ve met more men on the road than I did living full-time in Denver. Working crazy hours at my job and going out over and over with the same friends makes it really hard to meet new people. And so most of the people I met in Denver, I met online.

But now…

Now I am always putting myself out there. I’m always making new friends and meeting new people. I’m always introducing myself to people on the train and in the pubs and just sitting at the top of hiking trails.

And now I have made a home base in a place that attracts scores of travelers and adventurers from all over the world.

So I meet people all the time and in a variety of contexts. I have sweet, platonic first dates that never go any further, but that I still smile about. I have week-long romances and mountaintop kisses. Sometimes, I get my heart broken. And many, many times, I flirt and I laugh and the person moves on or I move on, with just a conversation or two to remember.


And so the answer, like any answer about love and relationships, is complicated. You can meet someone standing still. You can meet someone in motion. Or perhaps you won’t meet anyone for a while, because love is unpredictable and sometimes unfair.

Which is why, back in September, I stood on top of a Swiss Alp after a 7,000-foot altitude climb and I asked myself a few simple questions:

If you knew you would always be alone, what would you want for your life?

If you took relationships off the table, would that change how you lived?

The idea behind those questions was this: if there was anything I was putting on hold, anything I was holding back, I wanted to stop. I didn’t want to spend my life waiting for something else.

That’s when I decided to move to Switzerland. Simply because I want to be here, man or no man. Flings or no flings. Relationships or none at all.

Whatever happens, I want to be here, surrounded by mountains, writing, laughing, and hiking.

And that’s what really matters.

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12 comments

gigigriffis June 16, 2014 - 4:44 am

The photo in this post, btw, is my super adorable little sister and her charming, fun boyfriend.

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Ali June 16, 2014 - 10:08 am

There’s really no way to know if/when you’re going to meet that special someone, so it really is important to just live your life and not worry about it. Right before I met Andy on Twitter, I made the decision to get out of my job and travel more. I was in the process of researching possible career switches and options to teach English abroad, and it was actually the first time in my life I truly DIDN’T want to meet a guy. I was convinced that meeting someone at that point might screw up my plans. And so goes the annoying cliche we all hear when we’re single, just when I wasn’t looking, right when I least expected it, there was Andy. Now I’m out of the awful career I hated, I live in Germany, I have a new (though barely paying) career, and I travel tons more than I ever have before. So yes, go after what you want in life and don’t wait around for someone else to show up and make your life “complete.”

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gigigriffis June 16, 2014 - 10:14 am

Agreed. So many people seem to think there’s a formula. Yet, if you really look at it, love is complicated and random and oft unexpected.

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Christian Nommesen June 16, 2014 - 10:57 am

Thanks for sharing! I agree love is an unpredictable, but beautiful thing. I met my wife in Ukraine while I was traveling, and she was staying put. We parted ways when I went back to America, and I didn’t know if I’d see her again. We kept in touch, got engaged in Cambodia, and have now been happily married for a few years. I could have never predicted any of this in a million years. I documented our adventure in pictures on my blog…

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gigigriffis July 30, 2014 - 4:30 am

Love that story!

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Kira June 16, 2014 - 6:08 pm

I met my last boyfriend while traveling. He’d lived around the block from me for years, worked next door to my old company, had many of the same friends as me…but I never met him until we both took an impromptu trip and met on the plane. (It didn’t work out long term, but still! Goes to show travel could be just as good or better odds than staying put!)

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gigigriffis July 30, 2014 - 4:32 am

Awesome!

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Priscilla June 22, 2014 - 8:17 pm

True story…
My BIL after finishing at his prestigious law school was still not sure about what he wanted to do with his life. One thing he always wanted to do was to hike the entire Appalachian trail. So he started at the beginning. Early in his hike he met a very nice hiking companion. He said she was really funny and they also had great conversations.

Well they finished hiking the whole thing together and have been together going on eight years now. They married soon after the hike. This spring they welcomed a little one, totally unplanned, but super loved!

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gigigriffis June 22, 2014 - 11:40 pm

Oh, I love that!

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Danielle June 23, 2014 - 3:22 pm

Great read!!

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gigigriffis June 23, 2014 - 4:16 pm

Thanks!

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Full-Time Travel | The Ramble December 6, 2015 - 9:53 am

[…] What about relationships on the road? Personally, I haven’t had much experience with this (but don’t blame it on the travel; I was single for three years before I left Colorado). So here’s some advice from one world-traveling couple and here are some other thoughts on the topic. […]

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