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Trip Relationships

I was familiar with the trip relationship concept long before one of my fellow travelers told me about his “bus girlfriend,” or the girl he hooked up with while on BusAbout‘s Eastern Trekker tour. It made perfect sense: enjoy each others’ company for a week or two, then at the end of the trip, promise to add him or her on Facebook and say your goodbyes. No muss, no fuss. Although “relationship” doesn’t seem to be the right term for it. It’s not quite that serious, but not quite as casual as just a hookup. So what happens when you just can’t say goodbye? I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts about this topic lately (see the bottom of the post for the full listing), mostly about not taking them too seriously, but I want to know what to do if you want to make the transition from trip to real world, living, breathing relationship. I don’t know the answer myself and trying to figure out such a transition, so I asked some of my fellow bloggers for advice.

I first sought out the advice of Andi Perullo of My Beautiful Adventures, who I knew had traveled extensively and met a man or two along the way. When I sat down with her, I already knew the answer to the questions I would ask her. She was smiling brighter than her gorgeous engagement ring, which she received from a special someone she met while traveling in Argentina. Obviously, she is on the success story side of the spectrum. Along with the basics of long distance relationships, her best advice was to make visits as close to reality as possible. This means being domestic, cooking dinner, doing laundry, so that you have a better idea of what real life with this person would be like, rather than what it was like to travel with them. There’s nothing worse than that moment you realize your routine as a couple on the road doesn’t prepare you for the less exciting chores of everyday life.

Kristin Luna of Camels and Chocolate is another example of a travel love gone true love. She and her fellow globetrotting hubby met while studying in The Netherlands before beginning their on and off relationship.

Brooke of Brooke vs. The World is another girl who met an Aussie boy abroad that she just couldn’t let go of. The two met in Latvia and she now lives with him in Sydney.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and smiley faces, amazing sunsets on a Makarska beach and strolling arm and arm down the cobblestones. There’s still that large percentage that doesn’t work.

Stephanie of 20-Something Travel met a cute Brit when working in London, who she dated for her six-month stay there and through trips throughout Europe and the US before deciding that neither wanted to do the long-distance relationship thing. But that hasn’t kept her from believing that trip relationships can work. Her advice to making it last is the same of any relationship: realistic expectations and good communication.

So we can’t all be Elizabeth Gilbert. Maybe traveling won’t lead us to our great love (or a convenient ending to our novels). But even if it doesn’t, there’s no harm in finding out while we’re still young and stupid.

For further reading:

8 Responses to Trip Relationships

  1. Kelsey August 25, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    Thanks for your link to DriftingFocus! You might also be interested in my own travel/relationship article on matador, found here:

  2. Miss G August 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Love this post! As someone who doesn't have as much time as I would like to trawl all the great travel blogs out there it is great to have my fave type of posts summarised all in one. Better get back to work (read: day-dreaming about meeting my next trip relationship!)

  3. Global Butterfly August 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Thanks for the awesome shout out!!! Loved this post and the trailer–Drew is the best. :) :) :)

  4. Connie August 26, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    Hi Caroline, trip relationships are definitely hard! I dated a Turkish guy when I lived in Istanbul and the cultural differences became too much to overcome after awhile. I am now dating (and traveling the world) with an amazing guy from England that I met while traveling in India. One thing we've always said is that we got to know each other extremely well, extremely fast, and although we love each other and spend all our time together sharing incredible experiences, it would have been nice to have started our relationship in a "normal" fashion by dating and slowly getting to know each other.Matt and I certainly have had our fair share of arguments brought on by the stress of travel but it would seem our love for one another is strong enough to see us through all that and we are able to communicate well. I think communication in any relationship is key.I just saw the trailer for "Going the Distance" at the theater! Looks cute though I wish it was an international long distance relationship! =)

  5. Brooke vs. the World September 20, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    I'm a little late to the show (I think this post went out when I was on a road-trip), but thanks for the mention! It's been a long process, but it's all coming together ;)

  6. Peach November 15, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    love this post and now i want to go watch the movie ;)my sister was an american traveling in Italy where she met her future husband who is a turkish guy who was studying abroad in the US but traveling in Italy….they are happy 11 years later; i love their story.


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    […] Confession: Can One Find Love Abroad?: I featured this one on my “Trip Relationships” post because it’s a topic I constantly wonder […]

  2. Two Years of Caroline in the City « Caroline in the City - March 22, 2011

    […] Trip Relationships: I realized my situation is much more common than I thought. I’ve since talked to many people who have successful relationships that started while traveling. […]

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