“But Nora, with all this moving around from place to place over the last 10 years, what about finding love on the road? Do you have relationships?” I was asked by the host of a ridiculously popular travel radio show in a live-to-air interview.
“Oh yeah! Lots of them!” I replied eagerly, before getting a hold of myself and saying “You know, I’ve had a few partners who I’ve traveled with along the way.”
Afterwards as I reflected on the interview and the fact that I’d basically just told 11 million or so people that I’M EASY, I launched into a reverie about the relationships I had in my first decade of full-time travel , and how finding love on the road – the kind of love that sticks – as a full-time traveler just ain’t easy, as much as I’m loathe to admit it.
My Sordid Attempts at Finding Love on the Road
The timing was ironic; a few hours after that radio interview, I parted ways with a fellow I’d nurtured a lovely relationship with over the last eight or so months. Our future: uncertain. Minimum time apart: five months. Reason: lifestyle differences. I had a house-sitting gig in Japan with my name on it, and he had an empty bank account and a job in the U.S. for the summer season that promised to pad his wallet and make a reunion possible.
I’ve been here before. Saying goodbye to passionate lovers I don’t want to say goodbye to, without any knowledge of when or where (or if??) we would meet again.
Although in theory I’m a fan of couples taking time apart and each doing their own thing as the beautifully well-developed individuals that we all are, it hasn’t always worked out so well for me (see “take two” below as an example of how absence apparently does not always make the heart grow fonder). So I’m nervous about our time apart, because anything can happen. My life has a funny way of swerving left when I’m preparing to turn right, and five months is both a short time and a long time for some twists and turns to happen for either one of us.
What seems to have smacked me in the face with this latest reflection on my romantic history is how bloody hard it is not just finding love on the road – but finding compatible love on the road. And when your lifestyle is as “out there” as being professionally homeless (as I am), compatibility takes on a whole new meaning.
In fact, the more I look back at my relationship history over the last 10 years, the more I see that lifestyle compatibility has been the downfall just about every time in one way or another. Have a look for yourself:
The Travel Saboteur: Finding Love on the Road, Take One
First, there was Kelly. I started dating this adventure-loving fella a year before I sold everything to travel full-time. And he came with me for the first few years of full-time travel. He didn’t have a digital career (nor the makings of one, as I was busy developing). But he was pretty quick on his feet and made some money along the way. Problems began when it became apparent that he didn’t really want to live a nomadic lifestyle. After unconsciously digging his heels in along the way a few times, running out of money, and eventually planting some defiant roots in Australia, I left him (and his new Aussie girlfriend!) there and moved on.
For more on what it was to experience my first breakup on the road and how travel affects relationships in general, read Breaking up While Traveling.