Travel is my thing. My hobby, my passion, a way of life. Up until moving to the Netherlands back in June, I had always found myself getting restless when spending a little bit too much time in once place. One week in Utila, Honduras (although absolutely paradisaical and my favourite beach destination) and my feet were itching. Even a few days at a surf school on the East Coast of Oz and we were planning our next move. Because of this urge to get up and go, relationships have always been put on the back burner a little bit. Of course there have been boys, but a lasting, serious, big old ‘L’ word kind of thing has been absent to say the least.
And why is this? Well it’s not hard to figure out. To constantly travel means that you’re never long in the same place. Duh. I’ve met some of my best friends travelling, but lasting romantic relationships are different. It’s a lot more complicated and requires time and dedication and aaaaaallll of that stuff. The realisation of this road to infinite singledom hit me after I returned from my ski season in France. I was home and it hit me like a Bridget Jones themed ton of bricks, cue an appropriately desperate theme tune and a panic-induced “I-AM-GOING-TO-BE-SINGLE-FOREVER!?!?!?!” breakdown.
Although this was initially a bit frightening, the feeling subsided as I consoled myself with all of the incredible things I’m going to experience in my life. Then I read a shit load of “travel is better single, yeah!” blogs and congratulated myself on my life choice – not circumstance – and questioned why I would want a boy dragging his heels around the world with me anyway. No, sir.
But. But, but, but (this is a big but), meeting my boyfriend, Greg, has completely changed this stance on travel and relationships. This isn’t a I-love-my-boyfriend-SO-much-gah! blog post, it really isn’t. But being with somebody who can’t wait to travel the world with you kind of beats all of these single travel blog posts that I found comfort in. Of course there are pros and cons to single versus relationship travel. You’re ultimately more free to meet a lot of people and do exactly what you want to do when single, but if you’re with the right person then being in a relationship shouldn’t hinder this at all.
Living in Amsterdam together has been amazing, and I couldn’t have wished for a better person to share the experience with. The differences between being here alone and being here with Greg have been pretty blatant throughout the course of this journey though. The first month in the Netherlands was spent with a couple I met in France. In this period, we spent a lot of time just us three, generally hanging out, eating all of our meals together, looking for jobs etc. etc. When my boyfriend turned up this changed. Not knowing anybody else in the city, we spent the majority of our time together. Seeing someone go from seemingly single to almost just one half of a couple can be hard to take in, and admittedly, I did not get the balance right at first. Caught up in the excitement of being with someone and being so happy can leave you to neglect spending time with others. This (among other things) has lead to a bitter ending to our summer on a beautiful Dutch house boat, which is of course very sad, and a potential con of travelling and living as a couple.
But if bitterness is left aside, the balance between spending time alone and spending time together with others is balanced, and the change is accepted, then there is no reason this has to be a con of travel. Always having someone there that absolutely understands – or at least trys to – takes the edge off being in a totally different environment and out of your comfort zone. Single or in a relationship, travel is always going to be what you make of it and is more often than not going to be the best thing you ever did. The most important thing is just realising this, and not allowing any hopes, fears or anxieties regarding your marital status alter an experience that could define your life.