As a writer, I am always much more inspired when I am feeling sad about how my (love) life is progressing. But today, I'm happy. I'm living the life that I always wanted: I'm traveling the world for months at time, exploring new cities and meeting new people. Right now, I'm writing this article in a restaurant in Barcelona with a glass of vino tinto beside me. Other than some fleeting moments of loneliness -- which are completely normal when you're spending five weeks in a city of millions of people that you don't know -- I am so happy to be living my dream.
Even still, as a single, 30-something woman, I do think about dating and, one day, finding love; however, the nature of my lifestyle makes it difficult to develop any sort of relationship that could last beyond the short-term. When traveling, you may have a few exciting hellos, but mostly, devastating goodbyes.
I'm still relatively new to the world of travel dating so my heart has not yet hardened to the understanding that some things just can't last... no matter how absolutely amazing the connection is and how much you really want to be with the person beyond the vacation. I've just experienced this loss for the first time and am still struggling with the fact that we won't (at least for now) be a couple.
Here's how it happened...
When I was in Bali, I went on Tinder, expecting absolutely nothing (as we all know that Tinder has a reputation for being only for finding casual flings), but I was pleasantly surprised with whom I encountered.
For the first time in my life, I was thrilled to meet men who thought like me and wanted to live like I do. They don't want the white picket fence that most men I meet at home aspire to... they believe (like I do) that the purpose of money isn't to buy things, but instead to facilitate amazing, over-the-top, exhilarating (travel) experiences... they don't want to spend the rest of their lives tethered to a desk or to a house; they want freedom and flexibility so that they could indulge their love of travel and their insatiable curiosity about the world. They have embraced life, throwing caution (and 401Ks) to the wind.
Until this moment, I had never met a man who wanted the same things as me and it was an eye-opening experience. I'd always felt that I would have to make many impossible concessions in order to date at all, but after my Tinder experience in Bali, I saw that I had simply been dating the wrong guys all along.
Which brings me to my Bali crush (a word which feels very flippant given the connection that we developed in such a short time)...
I met my crush on my first day in Bali (after swiping right) for drinks and to watch the sunset. Our drinks turned into dinner, and then more drinks, and the conversation (and drinks) continued to flow until 1:30 a.m. Best first date that I have had in years.
After our first date, we spent every single day of my time in Bali together. I moved across the island to be closer to where he lived and eventually, we "moved in" together. Our experiences included all of the relationship milestones that most people take a year (or more!) to experience in normal dating situations, but we experienced it over the course of two weeks. We had a connection that was unlike anything that I've ever experienced with anyone else, especially in such a short time -- which is made even more significant because of how we met.
When he left for work on the morning that I left Bali, I cried. I'd only known him for two weeks but I cried because I couldn't imagine never seeing him again. (Luckily, he surprised me later at the departures gate at the airport so I did get to see him again before I took off!)
I've now been in Barcelona for almost three weeks and, while we have decided to spend a long weekend together at the end of this month, the "loss" of my crush is the only thing that makes my lifestyle choice bittersweet. I am over-the-moon happy that I am living my dream but if I am perfectly honest, I wish that he could be here with me for all of my upcoming travel experiences. After all, the only thing better than traveling is building memories while traveling with a special someone, right?
So what's the moral of the story for me?
Sometimes, you meet someone who is special. Everything lines up perfectly and you start dating, fall in love and live happily ever after. Then there is travel dating...
I met someone wonderful, who I would love to spend more time with, in order to see what we could become. Unfortunately, right now, we can only be a sum of all of the wonderful moments that we share: two weeks in Bali, four days in the UK, and hopefully, many more days to come in upcoming months.
But until that time, I need to harden my heart and let go of my hopes for a relationship today. Instead, I will hope for a time that we can both be in the same place at the same time, free to pursue the connection that we developed in Bali. I know that it will be worth the wait.