Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Wed June 15 2016

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  • Shannon Wolf | June 15, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    The Realities of Finding Love On the Road

    The Realities of Finding Love On the Road

    PHOTO: Even though travel relationships may sometimes be fleeting doesn’t mean they’re not worth having. (photo by Shannon Wolf)

    I once had a friend message me to ask, “Shannon, I feel like you lead such a romantic life! I have to admit, I’m curious; how has your love-life been on the road?”

    Not so shockingly; this question comes up quite a bit and although I would love to romanticize my experiences, gush about my nights under the stars and discovering my “soul mate” during my travels, I’m going to give you a reality check here and point out that Cinderella had a fixed address. I’m much more like Carmen Sandiego.

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    Truth be told, you do meet plenty of like-minded people.  For some you develop intense and amorous connections, but the reality is this: When you are a long-term traveler, it always comes down to the fact that inevitably he/she will eventually return home, while you will remain on the open road. Sure, you could try to maintain a long-distance relationship but let’s be honest here — when you live continents apart, it’s hard to maintain anything of permanence.

    So where does this often romanticized idea of finding love on the road come from? I refer to this as “Travel Dating,” which is far different than “real-life dating” because, just like milk, it has an expiration date.

    When it comes to travel dating, everything speeds up (from your initial connection to how quickly and effortlessly you open up to one another) and because of this, you get to skip all of the unnecessary stresses and uncertainties associated with traditional relationships.  This provides you the opportunity to focus on the time at hand, and stay in the “now” which is quite a beautiful thing in itself.

    PHOTO: My friends Nat and Zac have the kind of relationship people dream of traveling the world together but they also met once Nat decided to stay in one place. (photo by Shannon Wolf)

    Your time together is quality because you never know the quantity. There are no messy breakups or fights; you appreciate it for what it is while learning a thing or two about what’s important in a relationship to you, and oftentimes you remain good friends when it is finally time to part ways.

    I’m not saying that finding love on the road is impossible. There are always exceptions to the rules and I am openly a hopeless romantic, but just like everything in life, if you want certain things you inevitably need to make sacrifices.

    If long-term travel is your goal, you may need to accept the fact that a long-term relationship could conflict with your plans. Unless you are willing to re-route, settle down or find some sort of middle ground, finding romance will be easy but nourishing a long-term, concrete relationship will be exponentially difficult to sustain.

    PHOTO: It's no surprise why people romanticize about love on the road when you see beautiful photographs such as this. (photo by Murad Osmann)

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    Before jumping blindly into the depths of that relationship, you must take a hard and truthful self-examination of your overall goals and priorities to discover what is most important to you, both as a long-term traveler and a person.  Determine if the connection matches your needs, or if it is simply a romantic longing because you have been on the road for so long and crave love and companionship.  However, there is always a silver lining to every relationship: If it is meant to be, it will happen despite the odds.


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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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