If you ever listen to advice on dating, never accept advice by someone telling you whom you should date. Recently, I read an article suggesting girls should date a boy who travels. This post was well written and romantically inspired, but outrageously dumb. Yet, it struck a worldwide chord of nostalgia with any girl who ever watched The Princess Bride and fancied Westley as a perfect suitor. If you don’t remember, Westley was the simple farm boy who represented loyalty, faithfulness, and the comforts of home before being forced to assume the identity of the Dread Pirate Roberts – a guy who romantically transversed and mastered the world.
What girl wouldn’t want to be rescued by an exciting traveler who provides the familiarity of home while simultaneously saving her from her own mundane existence. Maybe girls should check the fate of another women who gave her heart to a traveler – Sussanah from Legend of the Falls. Do you remember her? She fell in love with the sexiest incarnation of Brad Pitt to ever grace a movie screen – Tristan. Tristan’s whims for traveling, his unsettled heart, untamable spirit, curiosity of the world, and love for another girl who stayed at home eventually drove Sussanah to suicide. While sexy as hell, Tristan certainly demonstrates that boys who travel don’t always make good boyfriends.
According to the information from “Date a Boy Who Travels,” I compiled a list of girls who should not date boys who travel. This list is not to be taken seriously, I’m merely poking holes in the whimsical logic of the author.
1) A girl who hates traveling. By traveling, I mean roughing it all the time and getting food poisoning – this is the only “real” traveling.
2) A girl who doesn’t like boys who have pictures of beer on their t-shirts since nothing screams mysterious traveler like a “singlet” of a third world beer company.
3) A girl who enjoys vacations or staying at resorts – feel guilty if you enjoy staying at a Sandals in Jamaica or a resort in Hawaii.
4) A girl who likes boys with a picture of his family on his laptop as opposed to rolling hills, beaches, or stones left behind by an ancient civilization. If he has a picture of his dog, he’s also out!
5) A girl who likes a man who pursued his career before traveling – if the boy became a doctor, lawyer musician, or engineer before traveling, he’s no good and probably not interesting.
6) A girl who thinks a nice watch says a lot about a man.
7) A girl who wants a diamond ring when she becomes engaged.
8) A girl who doesn’t want to hear a boy’s heart race as he talks about the exotic females he met in distance lands.
9) A girl who is secure in her faith and doesn’t believe that holding convictions is the same as intolerance.
10) A girl who isn’t disappointed if her man is fighting for a singular goal.
11) And a girl who doesn’t always think having the curiosity of a five year old is a good thing.
There are, of course, other obvious factors the author ignored when romanticizing about her dream boy who wears plaid shirts and reads National Geographic magazines for fun. Is the boy loyal? I’ve met plenty of wander-lusting men who are also women-lusting men. Is he an asshole? I’ve met plenty of travelers where my “see you laters” could not be fast enough. How about security? The author mentioned traveling men know how to budget because they live out of a backpack. Do you know how many travelers are horrible with personal finances? Just because someone lives out of a backpack for three months does not mean their financial house is in order or that they are good with money. If my sister had ever brought home one of these travelers I have encountered over the years, my dad would kick his ass straight out the front door.
The author also gives her traveling man the trait of relishing home. I assume this implies not just appreciating a flush toilet or a home-cooked meal, but also having a good relationship with his family, which is important to many girls. Truth be told, not all travelers appreciate home or their families.
Date a Boy Who Travels bothers me for two reasons. First, it destroys the sense of independence that women strived for over the last century. If you need a boy to open you up to the wonders of the world or traveling, you don’t deserve this boy. Secondly, this article is nothing more than a personification of one girl’s perfect man bottled into the mystique of a traveler. It’s the perfect formula for an article luring romance-starved readers, but it falls short of reality.
Can we please stop giving into false ideas of romance? The right person for you may be someone who can share stories of his visits to the ruins of the Incas or the time that snake almost got him in Borneo. Or, he may be the boy who grew up alongside you, never traveled, loved only you his entire life, and knows exactly how to make you smile on a rainy day. There is no formula for the right person. Let’s stop pretending one exists.
Traveling is awesome and I encourage everyone to do it, but there are interesting people who travel and interesting people who stay at home. Despite the groovy-cool people I’ve met living abroad, the most interesting people in my life are those who remained home. Traveling makes people better and broadens our perspectives, but ultimately, traveling does not define who we are. Traveling does not mean an individual is funny, honest, caring or even interesting.
The author gets it backwards in the end. She says,
“And if you can’t find him, travel. Go. Embrace it. Explore the world for yourself because dreams are the stuff reality is made from.”
I advise you to not waste your time waiting for or finding the boy. If you want to travel and experience the beauty of this world yourself, then go travel. You don’t need to find him first. Of course, if your heart really yearns for a traveler, the best way to meet a boy who travels is to travel yourself. As your heart is enlivened from your own journey, I hope you’re lucky enough to meet the person whose heart is heading for the same destination.