Way back in my digital nomad days, one of the first questions I would get when returning back to my home city was, “So, how did dating work while you’re traveling?” Generally, my answer was, “Awesome!” but I recently realized that there are so many aspects of this aspect of a location independent life that I take for granted and most people don’t realize, so here’s an article to clear some of that up.
What Are You Looking for?
I know you might groan and roll your eyes as I “start with why” here, but why should something fun not have some intentionality as well? Can your dating life actually be hurt by taking the time to think about what you’re looking for? No. So take just a little time to make sure you’ve thought about your dating goals and don’t let a total focus on fun alone take you away from what it is that you really want.
A Clean Pair of Eyes
One of the reasons we love to travel is to get new perspectives by seeing places we have zero familiarity with. But it works that way with dating too. I can’t even begin to tell you what it’s like to be walking to a date as a stranger in a strange place to meet a fellow stranger. The possibilities seem endless and there’s almost electricity pulsing through you. That carries into the date, making you more vulnerable, more open to sharing, more likely to find yourself saying something you might say on a tenth date, or never at all, to someone on a first date.
This is also how people see you. You’re often this unique person in the crowd when you travel and that often (but not always) makes you attractive to both locals and those passing through: your TAM gets larger (okay, last business reference, I promise!).
The People You’ll Meet
When you’re in your home base, unless you live in a very touristy city like New York or Paris, you’re mostly surrounded by locals. When you travel, you’ve got four additional groups to choose from:
- Digital nomads — you might run into people who, like yourself, are location independent and are “on the trail” with you
- Expats — these people might be location independent, but more often have simply chosen to work or reside in a country outside of their first citizenship
- Travelers — my people from my hostel adventures: friendly, positive, adventure-oriented
- Vacationers — a subset of the traveling group who might be on an extended stay in a city of one to two weeks…these people are only around for one or two days…
As for locals, I often get the “but what if I don’t speak the language, Neel?” Well, you could let that be a problem, but I happen to know someone who has gone on multiple dates with Google translate in hand. I’m not going to recommend that you go on dates to learn a language (that can be rough on both you and your date) but I will say that if you are already learning a language that going on a date in that language can be fun for both parties, especially if, as I’ve so often experienced, you run into someone who loves their city and wants to show you around. Wonderful food, great conversation, lovely person, and a free tour? Are you kidding me? Try getting that wherever you’re from.
If you think about it, the sort of person that is willing to meet a foreigner is someone who is open-minded and adventurous already, at least in one aspect, and that’s a good sign of other things to come.
That said, why I push the intentionality behind dating while traveling is because I wasn’t intentional enough when I first started doing so and that led to some misunderstandings.
For example, I had no idea how easy it is for Americans to travel. There are over 100 countries to which we have visa-free access. This means we just get to waltz right in, or pay a small fee online right before waltzing in. If you date someone with a lower ranking passport, it might be harder for you to meet up in third places or even for that person to visit America.
If you’ve found someone you really like, you might take a moment to think about a future: where are you going to live, what languages will your kids speak, what religion will you share…I know so many couples who’ve navigated all of these issues and none of them will tell you that it’s easy but all of them will tell you it’s easier to have these conversations sooner rather than later. I had introduced a girl to my family before we had the conversation about “where are we going to homebase” and when I said LA due to business and family she hit the eject button. I totally respect that decision but I could have saved the both of us some heartache if I had just brought that topic up much sooner in our relationship.
Okay, grandpa hat to the side: go out there and get to know some amazing people. You’ll find you’re accelerating that all important process of getting to know yourself even better.
This article was written by Neel from MaidThis Franchise, a remote-local franchise opportunity for people looking to escape the rate race and reach financial freedom. Learn more here.