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Travel or Love: It’s Not a Choice Between One or the Other

Travelling Lovers holding hands

I spent my early teenage years breaking boys hearts. I turned down one boy 16-times despite now looking back and realising our potential relationship would have probably lasted a year.
At 13-years-old I knew that I wasn’t going to go to University in Adelaide, South Australia and didn’t want to be tied down, and the same predicament has continued to find me even now as I choose to expand on my career as a travel writer instead of settling down like so many of my friends.

I was reading Runaway Jane’s post where she too is facing the same dilema, but she made one statement which kind of bugged me –

I’ve therefore come to the conclusion that the only slight hope of me ever having a long term relationship in the future is to find someone who is willing and able to travel as much as I do.

A big sports buzzer sound went off in my head when I read this and I thought, “*buzzer noise* – you’re wrong.” It just means that she hasn’t found the right person for her.

Like Jane, I to am a travel-holic and can be a fierce work-a-holic, but that doesn’t stop the heart wanting. I recently read Best Travel Jobs: 7 Jobs That Allow You To Travel The World. I’m excited to try and apply for one or two of them. I’ve fallen for a British boy, an Irish-man and a Brit-turned-Aussie, and whilst I could have stayed in any of the cities to live and work it has always been the fact that I’d want to return to Australia – that place so far away from their homes – even if just for a short while each year, and it has turned them off of pursuing a long-term relationship, and that is okay.

It just means that they aren’t the ‘one’ I’m searching for.

I’m not the type of girl who has lists of features that a boyfriend has to have, but I do have traits I prefer. My idea of a partner is someone that embraces travel but isn’t a travel-holic like me; I want to take them on adventures, but I also want them to do the same. I’m not the type of traveller who wants to be perpetually on the road, so someone who has stability – a job, friends, willing to have a home – would be ideal; but being away so much may create doubt in each others minds, so someone who is ultimately trust-worthy would be key. Also, someone who is independent, and is happy for me to me to be independent, but also relishes time spent together.
It’s a small number of features, and I know they can be found. Let me give you two examples;

A gorgeous girl that I met when visiting Malaysia earlier this year is 27 and married to the ‘perfect’ man. They settled down in Melbourne where her partner has a nice house, stable job, but she missed her family and life in Sydney so she moved back there. Yes, she moved back there and now lives with her friend despite being a married woman. She combats this with bi-monthly trips to Melbourne (or him to Sydney), plenty of phone calls and texts – and they’re happy. Her wanderlust doesn’t end there though. On top of that she lives in New York for around 3-months a year, if her commitments in Australia will let her get away for that long.
She’s a strong, independent woman and the difference is that her partner is accepting of her choices and isn’t standing in her way. They’ve found a healthy way to do what they both love and still love each other.

Another girl I’ve known for a few years has recently found the man of her dreams. She’s dated plenty of men, but none of them were right for her adventurous spirit, or they drove each other mad when he wanted her to settle down and become a house wife. This new guy loves to travel but doesn’t work in travel and prefers the stability that his life and job in New York has, but understands that travel is her business and she won’t stop doing something she loves. Thankful for his understanding and as a ‘happy’ compromise she has dropped her plans to live in Europe and is making New York her (hopefully!) permanent base between trips; and with so many travel related events and as an International hub, what could be better for a jetsetter!

These two situations make me believe it is possible to find someone who embraces me for… well, me! Not every hot man I lay eyes on will be the right one, but one day someone is sure to turn up.

Whilst Jane may need to find a relationship with a digital nomad or a perpetual traveller that’s because that’s right for her, and not all travelling women will feel the same way. If a boyfriend or partner denies you the freedom to travel or do any activity you are passionate about take my advice – perhaps he’s not the right one for you – and go find someone who will support your dreams and you theirs.

I won’t lie – I’m somewhat afraid I’ll end up as a old lady with just her dog for company and hundreds, if not thousands, of memories in her mind, but I also know that in this business life is full of unexpected surprises – like meeting a cute boy when climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or having a short-lived summer romance with the Irish-lad with a voice like an angel… when he sung because I didn’t understand him half the time otherwise; or enjoying the company of the British boy and being bowled over by his kindness and compassion to the little Australian girl he met through Twitter.

Who knows what tomorrow, next month or even the next years will hold, but I know that I’ll find someone who loves me and accepts that I won’t be able to be pinned down in one spot forever; and if that’s what you want to do then don’t accept anything less as well.

Travel Quote: distance is just a test to see how far love can travel

What are your thoughts – would you choose your passion or a lover?
Or how would you balance both?

Image Credit: BBC Travel/Travel Quotes

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Cheryl Keit - Sing Travel Live
    April 12, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Right now I’m at the point in my life where I would definitely choose my passion over a lover, but I think that’s mainly because I’ve yet to meet a person who I’m willing to sacrifice all this for. It hit me the other day that we, as travelling sorts, are living the sort of life that many people could only dream of – and I’m not sure if I ever want to give this dream up, even for love. For me travel is love enough 🙂

  • Reply
    nicole | the wondernuts
    April 12, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Not to, I don’t know, show off or something (poor choice of words on my part), but I guess I’m lucky to have found a guy who loves travel. It was something we both agreed on when we first met. But, we’re home-based with more freedom in our jobs (his more so than mine). Either way, this is a nice piece. It’s like I’m reading an article straight out of Cosmo (the bible!). I loved reading it. =)

  • Reply
    cosmoHallitan
    April 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I love your positive attitude! There’s someone special out there for you, I just know it 🙂 I met my now-husband at a bar in NYC and we’re now living in Shanghai of all places. Life can take you in unexpected and exciting new directions as long as you are open to the possibilities (and it definitely sounds like you are!)

  • Reply
    Katherine | Kapcha The World
    April 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    If I had to choose between love or travel for the rest of my life then an old spinster I’ll be! lol. Fingers and toes crossed we find someone who likes to be a nomadic as us – cos I’m holding out too! Otherwise my plan was to buy a chateau in France and move all my friends in to it so we can have a good old time together. You’re more than welcome to get in on that! lol

  • Reply
    Monica
    April 14, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I love this post Nicole. I’ve also read so many things online where travel bloggers have said they only want to have relationships with other travel bloggers. That’s great if it works for them but I love it that my boyfriend isn’t a travel blogger or even a frequent traveller. I love it that he’s always there for me when I get home from a big trip and it’s so reassuring to always have a base somewhere.

    I’m sure you won’t end up as a crazy dog lady but even if you do, dogs are awesome!

  • Reply
    Jean
    April 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Nicole! I loved this post and your positive attitude towards finding “the one”. I do agree, it is possible to have both passion (travel) and love (relationship). it takes a bit of compromising when you get in a relationship. You just need to be aware what principles/things are non-negotiable to you and stick to it. Just keep on travelling, the more you travel the more chances you will meet a like-minded person . Plus with technology nowadays, long distance relationships ain’t as painful as it was 10-20 years ago 🙂

  • Reply
    Linda @EcoTraveller
    April 18, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Hey Nicole, as they’re so fond of saying here, “You’ll be right, mate!”

    I was in the same position as you once upon a time. I travelled my ass off, and if I didn’t meet anyone for a long time I didn’t really care because it was all about the travels. When I did meet ‘the one’ it was a complete fluke. He’s a traveller, but hasn’t got the bug as much as I have, so early in our relationship (guess three or four years in) he was quite happy that I would go off travelling for a year and a half using London (where he was) as a base). So, go off to Africa for a few months, back to London, then South America for a few months… he’d meet me for his hols. He was totally content I’d do this, and it almost came off, but life had other plans. Still, we’ve spent years travelling together and he knows I have this crazy wanderlust that needs feeding.

    Now, 13 years and two kids later we’re off to Europe next month, he comes back after a month and I stay on for another three. I know he’d prefer to be with me, but has a permanent job here in Melbourne so can’t. He’ll come over then for a few weeks at the end of the trip. We will miss each other terribly, of course, but with Skype, smartphones etc, it’s easy to stay in touch.

    So, it can happen. You will find someone who accepts you for being you… itinerant n’all 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephen S.
    April 22, 2013 at 4:30 am

    I think a lot of people fee like it either travel, or love. Personally, I travel alone, and it isn’t because I haven’t found that person who is willing to travel (even though I haven’t), but because I have some exploring and discovering to do on my own before I get to that point.

  • Reply
    Inspiring Travel Blogs 11-20 April | The Travel TesterThe Travel Tester
    April 24, 2013 at 5:24 am

    […] Travel or Love: It’s Not a Choice Between One or the Other Last week, I showed you to the post of Jane writing about her thoughts on finding a partner while travelling so much. Nicole from Bitten by the Travel Bug gives her response. She thinks a partner doesn’t have to be a travel addict too, but as long as she/he is supportive to the other, a true match is found. […]

  • Reply
    Nienke
    April 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Like Linda says, You’ll be right! I went travelling because of a break-up, only to come back with the love of my life 🙂 It’s how life goes I guess… As long as you keep doing the things you love to do and find someone that respects that, you’ll be ok. Focus on what your passion is and you will attract more of that, in whatever form that might be. I truly believe that!

  • Reply
    Kylah
    May 14, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Very honest post Nicole! The fact that you’ve thought about it and posted your thoughts and feelings here surely means your soul mate will come along some day soon 🙂

    I’m of the opinion you can balance both. A true relationship requires commitment and compromise by both parties. I also believe (from my experience) that Mr Right doesn’t come along until you are happy with and love yourself first.

    I started dating my fiance right at a time when I had itchy feet. Instead of that being an issue in our new relationship, it became a common bond. We both loved to travel and he helped me negotiate 9wks leave from work so I could travel to Sth America. We are now engaged, have a baby boy who is 11 mths old and are back travelling Sth America, this time together as a family! We have always be open with each other discussing our hopes and dreams (travel related and other) and I think that is what makes our relationship so great.

    There are options and angles. x

  • Reply
    HTC DROID Incredible 2 Android GPS
    September 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Long distance relationships CAN and DO work. It is just a matter of patience, trust, honesty and faith. http://www.backcountrynavigator.com/

  • Reply
    Philipp
    November 23, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Sadly, it is a deciscion.
    I’m right now in this decision, stay at home and search a Job and a flat or go abroad to live a dream. If I would be single, the answer would be very easy. But I’m in a relationship so it’s a very tough decision.

  • Reply
    Anthony Perez
    January 17, 2014 at 8:58 am

    This is absolutely my biggest issue I’m facing right now. Travel has always been a true passion of mine and more so several years ago when I finished college. Now that I have job stability I have been able to travel every several months. I now have two jobs starting a year ago so I can save up for a long term trip and get a true travel experience. This past year has opened up my eyes to the style of backpacking and long term travel when I have saved up enough money. Fortunately I for once found a great girl that is not deceiving, a cheater (hope that stays that way), lovable, caring, and extremely trustworthy. Unfortunately I’ve noticed an obvious pattern of friction against my goals. I’m very stern about travel several times a year, even if work gives me limited time, it is valueable time I cherish in a new land. She cant travel due to finances, bills to pay off, every day responsibility and last but not least the open door to see what true travel is really about. Between working 7 days a week and barely able to make trips happen every several months, It is very hard to take time off for little weekends that she wishes to take with me. I love time with her but time out of the country and abroad is beyond anything imaginable, so my motivation to TRY and take off work for a weekend the next city over is not completely committed. If I could make all her obstacles vanish, I’d tell her grab my hand lets go see the world. But its not like that. In my mind I fantasize the day where she can find her way to this travel realm I live in but at the same time I do not want to get my hopes up for nothing. She wishes to travel but cannot and unfortunately waiting is not an option for me. Life is short, youth is shorter. The time is now. Do it before it’s too late. Excuse the novel I just wrote I’m just glad to have read something I can sincerely relate to.

  • Reply
    Pete - Long Term Travel
    March 20, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Some nice insights. I actually traveled for over a year with my GF and while there were days that we literally had to physically stop ourselves from strangling each other the experience made us way closer. Also we met another couple from Australia we traveled with for a time who ended up doing the long distance thing and they’re going strong still to this day after months apart. It’s totally possible.

  • Reply
    Kelly Rogers
    April 14, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Thank God I found the perfect one for me. I just prayed to God, and He gave me the right one for me. My husband is very understanding. He knows that I like to go to shops that have “Sale” in their storefronts, that I like to read a lot, that I like to go to places. After 12 years of marriage, thank God we’re still strong.

  • Reply
    PetiteFromage
    April 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    My ideal partner would never ask me to sacrifice either my passion or my happiness. If it’s forced or pressured then resentment will build.

    Every relationship requires compromise, but they are choices only you can make for yourself.

    From a personal perspective, one of my ex-boyfriends limited my ability to spread my wings and travel. I guess the label “ex boyfriend” says it all.

  • Reply
    Evan Cheese
    May 8, 2014 at 6:47 am

    Really nice self research, look here how an adventurous traveler may suddenly let his life change.. There is no Journey without a love.. and there is no Love without a journey..

  • Reply
    De'Jav
    September 10, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I think travel is important and definitely a part of my life. To find that special someone there needs to be a balance between the two and it must be the timing. Think though those that travel have a broader prospective on life and open to different things.

  • Reply
    Carrie
    November 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I absolutely love this post. At the end of the day it is the commitment and the intent to make something work that counts and not the physical proximity. Regardless of how many miles apart two people are, if they are willing to commit to each other, the travel, the distance and the other nitty gritty are just something to work out, an adventure to figure out.

    Thank you for writing about this.

  • Reply
    Beth Daniels
    February 27, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I recently returned from traveling, I was I’m Australia with a return flight home that had been booked when I first set off, as I tried to work it around an estimated date my bf of 4 years would be returning from Afghanistan (his tour with British army). I could either take that return, go home and pay off my debts and see my bf every weekend or find another job in Australia and have seen him just 2 weeks that year and risk losing him from the struggle distance brings and possibly staying out to travel for a good couple of years, pay off debts, earn more money, go to NZ for more cash etc.

    I knew going home meant going home for 2 years at least and that made me feel miserable, but I chose to go home because actually, as cheesy as it sounds we are pretty awesome together, he’s encouraged and supported my travel, he even pushed me into scuba diving when were in Mexico, something I would never have done yet I love scuba diving now. We recently went scuba diving with sharks… My point in all of this is that yes, if you are single I totally agree with you, if you are happy single then happiness is all that matters. But love makes the world go round… Love is the meaning of life. And I always like to live each day by “what if the world was to end tomorrow?” Make each day count. so, stuck between love and travel I Choose travel of course but always return to love as i can also always return to travel.

  • Reply
    Jarred
    June 30, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Right now I’m at a point in my life where I am dating an amazing girl who I have fallen in love with, unfortunately however I went to Thailand a couple of months back and really had my horizons broadened, ever since that trip all I can think about is an insatiable urge to travel and how much I want to do it on my own. The problem is is that she is the sweetest, kindest and most amazing person that I have ever had the pleasure of dating and like I said I have fallen in love with her, even know it breaks my heart to write this but I feel like if I do not do this and I stay with this woman that I love that I will end up one day resenting or regretting my decision, please anyone out there, I need advice, I need guidance, I’m a fairly strong willed individual but this subject pains my heart deeply, thanks for talking the time to read this and I look forward to any advice.

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