It always cracks me up how eager people are to hear about my dating life, especially since I started traveling internationally. I’ve played coy and kept the juicy stories for “Girls Night” with close friends, but with so many of you asking, let me share a little bit with you- you know, woman to reader.
So, you ask, what’s it like to date abroad?
Dating in general can be a total uphill battle that many young people decide their too exhausted for before they even hit thirty (sometimes me included)- but there’s something about traveling to a foreign country and experiencing dating in a whole new way. It’s thrilling, exciting, invigorating and even educational!
From my experiences, dating abroad can feel like a glimpse into that country’s true cultural norms. After all, you really can tell a lot about a culture by how they treat their women. What better way to find out then firsthand?
I didn’t start out eager to date anyone AT ALL when my travels began. I remember when I first left the states, I was kind of a “man hater” and adamant about not looking for love. Then I ended up meeting countless genuine, kind and considerate men. It thawed my icy heart and reinspired an appreciation for men in general, that lead me to post one of my most popular blog posts: “The Best Men in the World” which many male readers have messaged me saying “thank you” for- how cool is that?! As it turned out, dating wasn’t awful, and neither were all men.
What you end up realizing out there in the “The Big Bad World” is that people are just…people. And people LOVE love… and international love? Well, they’ve made plenty of movies about it- we clearly love the plot line. Almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to about it loves the idea of finding romance abroad, but is worried about attempting to date in a foreign country.
You shouldn’t be afraid to date abroad, you should be excited! You really never know who you’re going to meet when you’re traveling. When you’re already in wandering mode with your heart and mind open, it’s easier to meet people. Then throw in an app like Tinder, and connecting with locals is all too easy. A few swipes to the right, and you’ll find yourself meeting someone for a drink in no time- and actually learning about the city you’re visiting. It’s a beautiful combination of events.
So, I know what you’re thinking. She’s probably been on SO many dates these past couple years. 33 countries, and how many Tinder dates?!
Have I been on a few dates the last two years? Of course. But not as many as you’d think- I was in a relationship in South Africa for a while, after all. I can say, though, that I’ve been on at least one date in every continent I’ve visited, so that’s pretty cool.
The thing that I’m reflecting on today, in a new country again (Canada), is just how insightful and impactful some of my dates have been around the world. Truth be told, a few of them were some of my most memorable travel moments- like that sailing trip in Italy, for example. THAT was awesome.
The thing is, and we all know this, not all dates go anywhere, and they shouldn’t.
Sometimes you just come out of it with a new friend in a new country, which can be better anyways. I’ve actually made a friend or two this way, and I’m so grateful I did! Sometimes, you don’t hit it off at all and there’s a language barrier and you can’t wait to get back to your hotel and on the phone with the BFF to tell her how awful men are in country ____. (Thanks V for always answering my calls!)
Other times, one thing leads to another, and you find yourself on the back of a motorcycle getting a private tour in Portugal, for example (yes, that was me) and it feels like the biggest thrill of your life.
I remember feeling so free, so alive. Not only are you seeing sights your paid tour guide wouldn’t take you to, you’re living it up with a man with an accent. What’s better than that? Nothing. Dating abroad is good for the soul, I’m convinced.
There are a few drawbacks though..
Language barriers. I once went on a date with an Italian guy who, I’m sure, did not understand about 50% of what I said but would look at me with such adorable adoration when I spoke that I kept the conversation going even though “we” clearly were going nowhere. I can’t say I learned much from that one, other than how sweet Italians can be and that I should really attempt to speak the local dialect more.
Cultural differences. Every country is different when it comes to dating, and you should keep yourself in “learning mode” while looking out for yourself on a date. Some countries view women differently than others and you may get some judgement coming your way for traveling the world (gasp) “alone?!” Also, it’s true what they say about “going Dutch” so expect to split the bill on a date in Holland. (I could write a whole post about cultural differences related to dating, so stay tuned on that front).
Safety. When you’re out of your comfort zone far away from home, its important that you keep your wits about you. Staying mindful of your present surroundings is absolutely critical when you’re out roaming around the world in general, but especially when you’re on a first date in a new country.
These few drawbacks aside, dating around the world can only add to your experiences- that’s what I say- and if nothing else, it makes for a juicier catch up session with the girls on wine night.
Ps. What’s your favorite travel + dating experience? Sound off in the comments!