Holding Hands

Date a Boy Who Travels – But Read This First

Last week, I happened upon a delightful blog post called “Date a Boy Who Travels.” The post, which I later learned was in response to a similar one published last year, is a whimsical instruction manual that lays out how – and why – to date boys who travel.

I loved this article for many reasons, but most of all because it provides a perspective on boys who travel I’ve never really gotten, always being the boy who travels, never the one who dates him.

When you see something beautiful, he will hold your hand in silence, in awe of the history of where his feet stand, and the fact that you’re with him. He will live in every moment with you, because this is how he lives his life.

My most recent stint as the traveling-boy-you-date illustrates the poetry and the romance of the passage I’ve quoted above, but also the existential rift that separates those who travel from those who usually don’t. (Although for full disclosure, I met my boy-who-doesn’t-usually-travel when he was passing through Austin as part of a trip, and I was on a break between two of mine.)

There was beauty, silence and awe. We spent one afternoon lying in each other’s arms on a park bench, daydreaming about what a life together might look like, and as the scent of Jacaranda blew over us, I felt oddly more satisfied than I had just weeks before, upon scaling the highest waterfall in Africa.

There was hand-holding and history, too. We strolled down the boulevards, bike lanes and alleys of my city, and as I explained the significance of buildings, intersections and the way he looked at me, I wasn’t just narrating the story of who I was before I left it all to travel – we were writing our own.

There was the fact that I was with him, and living in every moment with him. We marveled at the fuchsia trail the sun left in its wake the evening we said goodbye, and I felt more resolve in a single moment of kissing him than I have circling the globe half a dozen times. By the time we parted just minutes later, it was as if a blissful eternity had passed.

But there was also a fundamental dissonance: His “real life” was constrained by geography, circumstance and the notion of the absolute; the sky was the only limit to mine. When we met again before he left the States, there was enough beauty, hand-holding, silence, awe, and living right in the present moment to write the greatest love story ever told, but there was also an airplane waiting for him.

And although we had agreed, in terms that seemed certain to me, that I would soon follow him over the Pacific, his real life, his real job and his increasingly fixed view of reality itself soon rendered them uncertain. The longer we spent apart, the greater the distance between us seemed to grow, and the more impossible it became for him to believe that we could ever be together again.

This is not to say there weren’t real difficulties that might’ve eventually led to the destruction of our relationship, had we decided to pursue one. But the arguments we had, the differences in our perspectives and the thousands of miles that may separate us for the rest of our lives weren’t causes – they were symptoms.

A corporate sector employee, he was more paranoid that his privacy would be compromised when I blogged about him than he was flattered by the fact that I had taken the time to immortalize our story. I live in a world where the line between “public” and “private” is blurred, so I couldn’t empathize with him, even if I did write about him without using his name or any identifying details.

Flying over the ocean is just as within the realm of “normal” for me as going to happy hour or buying groceries is for him, so I couldn’t fathom there being anything to lose in test-driving life together – if it didn’t work out, I would simply leave. But it was easier for him to indulge fear than to entertain hope, so he pulled the plug, and that was that.

So please, date a boy who travels. Trust him to lead you down the right road when you take his hand. Know that when he speaks of your beauty, he’s comparing you to continents, seas and civilizations, not to other boys or girls. Believe him if he tells you you’re everything he’s been searching for.

But understand that conventional wisdom is not conventional or wise to him. Realize that although he disappears behind the boundaries of what you consider to be real when you fly home, the mountains, oceans and political borders between you are no match for his heart and his will. He can’t comprehend letting logistics get in the way of love, because this is not how he lives his life.

About The Author

is the author of 746 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Marielle K. May 20, 2013 at 8:02 am

I like that line, the “increasingly fixed view of reality.” It’s sad how we can let ourselves be hemmed in by everyday things. And the opposite end of this extreme is dating a boy who travels so much he doesn’t have room for anyone else in his future. . .but no matter how mismatched relationships end, hopefully we can remember the time as the beautiful moments they were.

ANDyROID May 20, 2013 at 8:16 am

Super like! 🙂

Henry Lee May 20, 2013 at 8:37 am

For me, the phrase “fundamental dissonance” said it all : a gentle but important cautionary note to the whirlwind of a worldwide love story. Thanks for your post, Robert.

Anna May 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

I absolutely love it Mr Schrader!

Lauren DiMarco May 20, 2013 at 11:05 am

you know that i love this article. i wish more people could realize the mindset of a traveler and how much we LOVE humankind & the world.

Leah Travels May 20, 2013 at 11:46 am

Great words of wisdom, Robert.

Melissa Traveler May 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm

This is a great response to that article. I’m amazed at how much negativity has surrounded the topic. Thanks for providing a great story!

Quirky Travel Guy May 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm

It sucks when people are kept apart by circumstances. I hope there’s another option – to turn a boy who doesn’t travel into one that does. I’ve been working on that for three years now, with a moderate degree of success.

Crazysexyfuntraveler May 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Just had a similar story 2 weeks ago with a boy who does not travel. Didn’t work out. Enough said 😀

Robert Schrader May 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I hope I can manage to do that in the long run! This one would definitely be worth the effort, I think…

Robert Schrader May 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm


LB May 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm

What a beautiful love story…. And like many of the best ones, the ending isn’t what we’re hoping it would be.

Robert Schrader May 21, 2013 at 7:46 am

It certainly isn’t what I was hoping it would be. The crazy thing is that I still have faith one day, something between us might be possible, although I know it is incredibly unlikely, and that is incredibly sad.

lorenza May 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Inspired me to write – Date a girl who can sew: http://www.internationalsmorgasbord.com/1-8-date-a-girl-who-can-sew/

Robert Schrader May 22, 2013 at 7:39 am

Love it, Lorenza!

Tervel Yurukov May 23, 2013 at 9:31 am

I am a “travel guy”. 😉

Robert Schrader May 24, 2013 at 7:34 am

Oh yes?

Waegook Tom May 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I hear you on this. My first boyfriend had no interest in travel. He didn’t want to see Europe, because it was, “like the UK”. He didn’t want to go anywhere in Asia (other than Japan), Africa or South America, either. I knew right then that, even though I wasn’t travelling at the time, that he wasn’t the right person for me.

My boyfriend right now? He makes compromises. He’s combining travel with work and is going to be doing a working holiday in Canada at the end of August. His society (he’s Korean) doesn’t allow him much freedom to travel as it’s extremely competitive and too much time spent travelling and not working would put him at a major disadvantage when it comes to finding a job. But still, he understands why I travel, and he came to the USA with me for a month, which was a huge thing for him.

I think a lot of people don’t understand people who travel and kill a good thing out of fear, like you say.

Robert Schrader May 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Tom, it’s interesting, because this particular person does “travel,” in the sense that he has left his home country on several occasions, and I think, if his career allowed it, he would travel more. The problem is that, so far as I can tell, he equates “travel” with being “on holiday,” and subscribes to this paradigm of real life/not real life, and all the BS that comes along with it.

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Quirky Travel Guy – I’m interested to hear more!

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I just wish more people could understand that “reality” is not as absolute a concept as they believe it to be.

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Thank you for reading, Henry! Feel free to share it.

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

The funny thing, Tom, is that he does “travel” in a way, probably more extensively than the average person. The problem is that, because his travel is always 100% for “holiday,” he gets sucked into the “travel-real life” paradigm that you, I and others like us have avoided.

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Oh yes? 😉

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

That’s so awesome, Lorenza!

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm

It wasn’t, although I suppose if there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that anything can happen!

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Yes! We’ll both meet others, though!

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Melissa, no problem! I, too, was surprised, particularly the version that appears on HuffPost. I do hope you share it with your friends.

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thanks Leah!

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thank you Anna! I hope your current relationship works out better than this! 😉

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Super thanks 🙂

Robert Schrader May 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Marielle, it’s definitely a good idea to try and remember the good moments, although my sadness is that I don’t necessarily think relationships ever “have” to end. For me, it’s about having congruent intent, and it’s sad whenever peoples’ intents don’t match up, even if their circumstances are less than ideal.

vassalofodin June 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Really awesome article. I never had the means to travel before, but if I was with a boy who travels and could go with him sometimes, I totally would.

Robert Schrader June 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for your email, Vassal! I hope you keep reading.

Jodie June 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I knew I’d found the one when on our second date he said to me “I have to know that in 6 months from now if this is going somewhere you’ll come with me when I have to travel?” (My man travels for work with 3-6 month projects all over the world). My answer was a big yes and 2 years later here we are still travelling!

Robert Schrader June 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Jodie, that is awesome! I hope I can find someone like that. (I also hope I have the money to be able to “invite” him.)

Eduardo Palacio June 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Since I was little I have believed that the coolest way to live your life is as a citizen of the world.. That you day to day consists of being everywhere in the world, not just a holiday thing.. But I never thought of how that fitted with being with someone. Oh, well.. It’s reassuring to see that at least I’m not the only one struggling with the concept.

Out of curiosity.. How does this whole globe trotter thing worked for you in having trust in your relationships? On my side I have always been quite committed in my relationships and if I’m with you, I’m with you, but for some reason I have bumped into people that are mega distrustful and that are constantly thinking I’m cheating or that I’m gonna leave them anytime now.. The funny thing is that it has been them the ones leaving or cheating.

Robert Schrader June 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Thanks for the compliments! As far as relationships, I am not distrustful at all! If anything, I think they would be distrustful of me, although when I love someone I don’t cheat, period.

Joy June 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Ahh I really like this! Gives me hope that my new ‘boy who travels’ boy might actually work out. 🙂

Robert Schrader June 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I certainly hope yours works out better than mine did!

Candice del Rosario August 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

Hey I just came across your blog although I have read this ‘Date a Boy who travels” before, I love rereading it as it is very inspiring..I am still searching for that boy 🙂

Robert Schrader August 15, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I am sure you will find him, Candice 🙂

Alejandra C. August 28, 2013 at 9:31 am

That was beautifully written! I hope one day I can travel like you, there is nothing like metting new people, tasting new food, seeing new landscapes and crossing all the boundaries life, society and political reasons put in your way. Hopefully I can gather enough money to go to southeast asia in june 2014, if I had the money I would travel for the rest of my life. Till then, I can travel in my mind thanks to your blog.

Robert Schrader August 29, 2013 at 2:27 am

Thanks for all the comments, Alejandra! I’m confident that reading my blog, combined with your own personal goals, will help you achieve your travel dreams.

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