The Love Life of a Nomad
By j. nambowa
As I sit here on Valentine’s Day, another Valentine’s Day spent alone, complete with Prosecco and a Martin marathon, I figure it was as good a time as any to write this post. A few weeks ago I came across two articles, One titled “Don’t date a girl who travels” and the other titled “Date a girl who travels”. Obviously we have some conflicted messages here.
Before we jump into the articles, let’s talk about the love life of a nomad, this nomad. Let me start by saying, while it would be great to have a companion to enjoy life with and some cute little babies, this is not my end goal, nor the purpose of my existence. Basically, I will not feel like a failure if I do not get married. Why you ask?? The older I get and watch people around me, coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds, I really have begun to question a lot of the things that drive many of us in life, i.e. careers, money, notoriety, marriage, you get the point. I have had to really think about the things that I want in life to understand if I really want them or if I simply have been socialized to believe I want them. I know this sounds very campfire-Birkenstock-wearing-hippie-ish, but really think about it.
I realized long ago that my career is not important to me. Many people from the outside think that I am driven by a career simply because I have been successful in the jobs that I have had. Do not mistake my work ethic, with caring about my career. I do not. I am quite happy to live on an island and sell fruits on the side of the road, bartering goods from my garden for things I need. Yes, I would actually do this! Money is very important, especially to someone that enjoys plane rides. Having a lot more money would allow me to stay in fancier hotels and fly first class all of the time, but as long as I have enough money to cover a few trips per year and allow me to go out to eat and live in a decent apartment, I think I’ve got things covered. I have never really been one for relationships, I might have a slight issue with commitment, or I rarely find people worth committing to. In the six years that I have been twirling around this here planet of ours, I have had lots of flings, trysts, dates, crushes and only one, well maybe two, boyfriends. I was madly in love with an Italian, you have likely read about him on this blog (2009-2011) and in the end, a mixture of factors broke us up, in my opinion (all things are two-sided) distance played a significant role. I was living in Rome, he was living in rural Kenya and after a very tough time in Benin I vehemently refused to do rural Africa again. There is more to the story but I will spare you.
Dating is easy depending on the country. In cities such as London, Paris, New York, Detroit, it is very easy to meet interesting people to go out with. Unfortunately, Japan and Rome did/do not offer the same opportunities. I will not expand on the difficulties that I am having in Rome, you can read an earlier post on that. So much of my decision on where to live in the future will hinge on my social life. The fact is while I am not out here searching for a husband, I do enjoy the company of interesting, good looking men. People often tell me I will not find someone until I sit still; tell that to my single girlfriends that have been sitting still in Detroit, London, and New York. I recently met someone in an airport lounge and while it didn’t work out in the end we had a great three-month run!
All of that to say dating is already hard enough, not having the same permanent address for more than nine months in the last five years makes it even harder. Plus I think people (men) are uncomfortable with my lifestyle and often question what they can bring to the table. And this takes us to the article…
When I first read the article, “Don’t date a girl who travels” I immediately posted it on my facebook because I knew that everyone assumed that the article was a manifesto on my life. I have put a few excerpts below.
“Don’t date a girl who travels. She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures. She will be unimpressed with your new car and your expensive watch. She would rather climb a rock or jump out of an airplane than hear you brag about it.”
“Chances are, she can’t hold a steady job. Or she’s probably daydreaming about quitting. She doesn’t want to keep working her ass off for someone else’s dream. She has her own and is working towards it. She is a freelancer. She makes money from designing, writing, photography or something that requires creativity and imagination. Don’t waste her time complaining about your boring job.”
“Don’t date a girl who travels as she tends to speak her mind. She will never try to impress your parents or friends. She knows respect, but isn’t afraid to hold a debate about global issues or social responsibility.”
“She will never need you… She cooks well and doesn’t need you to pay for her meals. She is too independent and wont care whether you travel with her or not. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination. She’s busy living in the present. She talks to strangers. She will meet many interesting, like-minded people from around the world who share her passion and dreams. She will be bored with you.”
I had to laugh at parts of the article, that are clearly a reflection of my life, “she’s probably daydreaming about quitting…She has her own [dream] and is working towards it. She is a freelancer. She makes money from designing, writing, photography or something that requires creativity and imagination.” This is true, but is this really a bad thing? The part about not needing “you” is slightly true, but not the reasons that they list here. I like being taken out to dinner and I love traveling with a partner and having a warm body in the bed next to me isn’t bad. However, the fact is I am quite satisfied with my life as it is. When I think about a man in my life he is an addition to my awesome life. I don’t NEED the addition but I do WANT it and I will welcome him with open arms. Plus do guys really want needy girls?
So as a rebuttal to the above article, “Date a girl who travels” puts a positive spin on a lot that the other article turns into negatives. I have included a few excerpts below.
“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.”
“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 home town 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.”
“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 Phillipines, 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 place 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.”
I obviously loved the second article because it is a beautiful telling of why dating a girl that travels is awesome. I would love to hear from other women that travel a lot and/or live abroad. What has dating been like for you? And to the men, would you date a girl that travels?
If we travel together we can live life like this!
star wisher // wind rider // trying to be amazing // one day i woke up and decided to chase the sun, living laughing and loving all along the way // ugandan by way of detroit, living nowhere yet everywhere.