*Originally published on Solitary Wanderer.*
Date a girl who travels. Date a girl who would rather save up for out of town trips or day trips than buy new shoes or clothes. She may not look like a fashion plate, but behind that tanned and freckled face from all the days out in the sun, lies a mind than can take you places and an open heart that will take your for what you are, not for what you can be
Date a girl who travels. You’ll recognize her by the backpack she always carries. She won’t be carrying a dainty handbad, where will she put her travel journal, her pens and the LED flashlight that’s always attached to her bag’s zipper? In a small purse, how can she bring the small coil of travel string, the wet tissues, the box of cracker, and the bottle of water she’s always ready with, just in case something happens and she can’t go home yet.
Yes, a girl who travels knows that anytime, anything can happen and she just has to be prepared with it. Nothing takes her by surprise, she takes everything with equanimity, knowing that such things are always a part of life. She’s reliable and dependable, traits that she’s learned while on the road.
You’ll also recognize a girl who travels by the fact that she’s always amazed at the world around her, no matter if she’s in her hometown or in a place that’s totally new. She sees beauty all around her, not just the ones featured in travel guides or shown in postcards. A girl who travels has developed a deeper appreciation for life. She won’t judge you, or pressure you to do things you don’t want to do. She knows too much about the importance of identity and self-efficacy, and she will appreciate all the more if you won’t pretend to be who you’re not.
You can make mistakes with a girl who travels, and you can also be as idiosyncratic as you can be. Trust me, she has seen so much worse in her travels, and knows firsthand the vagaries of human nature.
Date a girl who travels, because when you’re with her, you’ll realize that even though she’s napped at a temple in Angkor Wat, went boating down the Mekong Delta, ran by the streets of Saigon, or went skinny-dipping in the caves in the Philippines, she still retains that humility that is the mark of a real traveler. She knows she’s been to a lot of places, but she’s humbled by the fact that the world is still a big places and she’s only seen a small part of it. Seeing this in her can make you feel all right with yourself too; there’s no need for you to do more, to be more. What you are is enough.
When you meet a girl who travels, ask her where she’s been and what she’s going to do next. She will appreciate your interest, and if you’re lucky, she may even invite you to join her. When she does, do. Nothing bonds people better than traveling. On your trip, you will both see each other’s best and worst characteristics, and you can then decide whether she’s worth fighting for.
It’s easy enough to date a girl who travels. She won’t want expensive gifts, you can buy her (or both of you) cheap ticket to Thailand for the weekend, and she’ll be more than happy to take you to the longest wooden bridge in the country. You don’t even have to go overseas, you can take her out on day trips, caving or hiking, or treat her to a full body massage.
You can also buy her the little things that she keeps forgetting to buy for herself; that carbine that will attach her backpack to her seat so that she will feel easier about sleeping on her bus trip, or a backpack cover, a small alarm clock, a money belt, or many another sarong that will replace the one she lost in China.
She won’t mind if you get lost on your way to a date. She knows that often times, the journey is more important than the destination. She will help you see the lighter side of things. She’ll walk along with you, not behind you, pointing out the interesting bits of things you’ll see on the way. Before long, you’ll realize that yes, the journey has been more memorable than the destination that you’ve planned to take her to.
Is a girl who travels worth it? Yes, she is. So when you find her, keep her. Don’t lose her with your insecurities and doubts. Because when she says she loves you, she really does. After all, she’s seen so many things, met so many people, and if she has chosen you, better grab that opportunity and thank the gods that you were lucky enough she’s chosen you and not that bloke she met while watching the sunrise in Angkor Wat, or while whitewater rafting in the Padas Gorge in Sabah.
If she says she loves you, she must have seen something in you, something that can always call her back from her travels, something that can anchor her to the world in the way that she wants to after weeks and months of being on the road.
Date a girl who travels. Make her feel safe, warm and secure. Make her believe that no matter where she goes, and however long she’s gone, you’ll always be there for her, the one that she can call home.
Find a girl who travels. Date her, love her. and marry her, and your world will never be the same again.