Love is a quintessential feature of travel. Love may be the central force that propels us to travel at all. Love for the world. Love for people. Love for ourselves.
And then there’s romantic love, the kind that ties you emotionally to a particular human being. We’ve all sought this kind of love during our travels. Whether it was with a partner, by ourselves, consciously or unconsciously. The potential of finding an unknown human being in a faraway place to become intimate with is a thrill incomparable to anything else.
Whether we like it or not, love commands the path of your journey like no other. Love is what makes you stay in a place you didn’t intend to and begin a life that you never thought you wanted. Love is what makes you go back to a place you left and cut your journey short because the road ahead doesn’t seem as exciting as a person you left behind. And sometimes love is what tears you apart and makes it impossible for you to return to a certain place ever again.
When you’re traveling is the best time to fall in love. Your heart is willing to dive in head-first into every kind of thrill because that’s what you sought out when you left your doorstep in the first place.
But you have to understand something. There’s nothing more intoxicating than falling in love with a person while you’re also falling in love with new parts of the world. The love you feel when you’re traveling could become the height of everything you’ve ever felt up to that point.
For a few precious moments in your life, you get to live in an alternative universe. Combine the rush of falling in love with the thrill of traveling and you exist in an unreal world where everything is new, stimulating and beautiful. You feel lovesick to your stomach all the time because you’re living the love story of your dreams. Life is more electrifying than you ever thought possible and your world is on fire. You barely exist in reality. It’s the ultimate high that you’ll never get over.
If traveling is an intoxicating high, coming home is a shattering hangover. Not long ago your whole world was on fire and now your former life is in ashes. Your so-called “real life” is colorless, tiresome and infuriating. Every quotidian task is heartbreaking and you angrily question why you can’t exist in that parallel universe all the time.
But you can’t be there all the time because once you leave that particular place and time, it’s gone. That was a moment when the universe colluded and brought together all the right times, places and people to create a paradise just for you. It only happens once and even if you travel back to the same geographic location, things will never be the exact same way again. The extraordinary circumstances that make love happen in unexpected places is what makes falling in love while traveling so electrifying but also fucking heartbreaking at the same time.
But of course, none of this ever stops travelers from falling in love over and over again, as many times as they need to. Because travelers live the most extraordinary love stories and we see it happen to our traveling peers all the time. Like the Turkish girl who met an Australian boy in Buenos Aires and moved to Madrid with him after two weeks, only to get married and move to Malaysia together two years later. Or the Russian girl who traveled to Bali to learn to surf and ended up marrying her instructor and having a beautiful half-Russian half-Indonesian princess. Or the Hawaii girl who moved to a small pueblo in La Rioja looking for a Spanish boyfriend but met a super sweet boy from Wisconsin instead.
Love just happens to travelers all the time, with their open hearts and fearless adventuring souls. Love naturally follows those who expose themselves to the world out of curiosity, out of empathy and of course, out of love in their own hearts.
So here’s the truth about falling in love while traveling. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and will supply you with some of the most beautiful memories of your life. But it’s heartbreaking and will also leave you with infinite longing for something you can never get back. And lifelong travelers never stop falling in love. There’s always so many places to see and people to fall in love with. And because they can never stop looking, travelers will find love anywhere they go until the day they die.
Photos: Nadia Cho
Have you ever fallen in love abroad? Share with us in the comments.