Why to Avoid Love at all Cost While Traveling



It’s late July, the stagnant air reeks of hot, decomposing garbage and streets are dotted with rat filled cages. A child can be seen defecating next to a stall selling steamed buns. The buns are cheap so I buy enough to share. You know what stinks more than the residential slums in the heart of Beijing? Love.

I left a tumultuous 11 year-long relationship and found myself in China. I never looked back. A year later I moved to Korea and have been exploring ever since.

When one travels they are either searching for or fleeing from something. Often times it’s love. Korea is no exception. Many of the expats here have either been heartbroken or are hoping to unearth this mysterious experience. If you have yet to travel, what is preventing you from doing so? Do you love your job, your town, or a person? Your cat perhaps? It would seem that love is holding you back from pursuing your adventure. My point is, avoid love at all costs. Other humans in particular.


A good friend of mine recently asked if I believe the quote, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Having been in love I am still a firm believer that love is absolutely a conniving byproduct of human nature’s drive to reproduce. It’s time-consuming and emotionally traumatizing to pursue. I think our social construct of the family unit is meant to keep us complacent and orderly. It also clashes with the biological drive to attract a mate just long enough to raise offspring. This leads to being unfaithful and all the other taboo notions societies have about partnership and companionship. I’ve actually explored this topic extensively. Between my studies in psychology, biology, sociology, art, and my own experience I’ve come to a few conclusions that should further persuade you to heed my advice.


I have discovered that love drastically decreases productivity. While you could be planning your next trip to Japan, you are instead still in bed pressed against another humans’ bacteria riddled flesh incoherently muttering unrealistic claims about your nonexistent future together. You will also see the, “I do what I want” portion of your life pie chart diminish. Imagine how you could be living instead. No compromises. If you feel like snagging a flight deal to the Philippines but you love someone, you may have to talk it over first. That deal just expired. This is assuming you were dumb enough to accept the invitation to be in a traditional relationship. There is no denying it will hold you back if your captor, eh lover, isn’t as interested in traveling. One of you will make a sacrifice to maintain said love and more often than not it will be your adventure that will be left on the shelf to nurture mold spores along with your other ambitions.


If you are currently traveling, congratulations. You either escaped the love prison or avoided it all together thus far. Be warned, you have to continuously be on the lookout for its sly advances. It can seep under the metro doors and bump into you in the form of a charming human or it can perch itself next to you on a park bench during your morning coffee ritual. It has the ability to fry your brain synapses, change your trajectory, and ultimately derail your adventures.


Young people across the globe are redefining the concept of love and the role it plays in their lives. Interpretations of what it means to love and why we do it are becoming unrecognizable to our grandparent’s generation. Holding on tightly to the antiquated union might cause more strife in the long run. On a realistic, evolutionary standpoint the change is beneficial.  Notice Japan and Korea’s plummeting birthrate. The population size for the respective size of the country is darn near maxed out. Perhaps not falling in love is nature’s way of slowing the reproduction rate.

On the other hand, love is a muse. She inspires and is the foundation for everything beautiful ever created. The deepest searing pain caused by the heartbreak of unrequited love produces the darkest thought-provoking poems and terribly exquisite paintings. The sickness from a new love leads to sleepless nights which gives birth to unparalleled productivity and strokes of genius.  Love is also the root of hate if you think about it. If you love something enough you hate their enemy enough to kill it. We’ve won wars with love and ultimately changed the world with it. It has the power to make weak men brave and lazy men ambitious. Quite the contradiction from the aforementioned assertions.  There’s the catch, it could go either way.


“Is it better?”, was the original question. It depends on what you want from life. If you can handle the misery and grief that is a naturally occurring side effect of this nasty biological trick it is better. I do believe it makes you a more dynamic person. The experience leaves you a little more tortured and scarred yet more familiar with the human condition. We are robots without it.


Sometimes I don’t know how to care for my own heart. Should I shroud her in muslin and barbed wire or expose her to the elements to either be gently bathed in warm sunlight or risk the possibility of being crushed by a ruthless tsunami. I like to think people are like tectonic plates. They are forced together by proximity, collide and either form mountains or trenches, create or destroy.


Living in Korea has added a plethora of challenges to this age old question, especially if your heart is too daft to discern between languages. How can a long-term relationship between people who abide by different mores and don’t share the same language thrive? Well, that’s a post on it own. We’re focusing on unpredictable, illogical, ridiculous love. It chooses its victims at random it seems. I know, since it happened to me last week. I was minding my own damn business when I accidentally held my gaze just a little too long and began to feel myself drowning in those beautiful, molasses-filled orbs. I have been trying to claw my way out ever since. That wasn’t supposed to happen. I’m immune from it since I understand the inner workings. I tamed my heart when I left home and came to Korea. I thought I was safe from the cruelest trick on Earth. Swim bitch, swim!


So, is it better? My misanthropic heart sways. Today I will say it is, indeed better. Now someone please throw me a life vest.



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Laura says:

    What I find most interesting about this post is that nearly one year ago you rambled on about how lucky you were to find love in Korea. In this article, which has since been deleted, you continuously belittled people who met individuals in Korea through the not-so-traditional — yet common — outlet called the internet.

    “I got lucky,” you wrote, as you detailed how meeting someone in a booze infused stuper at some bullshit replica of Burning Man is more meaningful than determining whether you share common interests with someone before meeting them in person. Whether choosing to meet someone soberly at a coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon or on a Friday night for some beers, the connection between two humans is what determines the future – not the fact the individuals met via Tinder, OKCupid or Grindr.

    You see, by taking the time to actually get to know someone, I was able to find a best friend and travel companion who shares the same passions as me. And since I don’t have such a closed minded view of love, or better yet – acceptable ways to meet people, I am able to continue this journey with my boyfriend, who I can say with confidence that I met on Tinder in Korea. Within the next few months, we will be leaving Korea using the money we saved and embarking on a round-the-world journey. I don’t know if I would have been able to meet such a like-minded individual if it weren’t for Tinder.

    I felt sorry for you one year ago, and I continue to feel sorry for you. I do think it’s best that you avoid love, because you seem like a soulless, life-force eviscerating individual who hides behind a website. However, there’s no need to guide others down the path to your cesspool. I wish you the best and hope you can open your mind and learn to be a bit less negative. I promise you, life is better in the sunshine. Be well.


    1. Meghan Phelps says:

      Hi Laura,

      This is a different writer. I’m happy you met someone on Tinder. This was a partially satirical piece. In the end love prevails. I’m happy as a clam.

      Take care,



  2. Sammy John says:

    First may I brag a little, I am in Korea….!!! Okay, so!

    Second, as much as I doubt it as a dream, nightmare, or grueling reality of life ( unsure yet of neither ) I just exited a 4 year relationship yesterday that has felt over for…longer than just yesterday. Thank you life! Painful? Yes.
    So I could read with understanding what Meghan wrote, relative to this article. Every great writer finds a means to express themselves using words, touching others. Meghan you scored rather high in my opinion. It was a rather refreshing approach.

    However I am sorry Laura, your words did not touch the correct way. It is all too easy to type words from the comfort of a shielding electronic device, also known as a double edged sword. Please comment thoughtfully (i.e. noticing that there are different authors,) and keep it classy by cutting the insults in which there are classier methods of expressing the same thought process, preventing leading others from perhaps needlessly disliking your approach which is a first impression for some. Get what I mean?

    Third, I met my first, only, and now exgirlfriend on a penpal site 4 1/2 years ago. Sep 19th would have been our 5 year anniversary. We went two years before meeting, which is a story in itself. I being in FL, USA, and her in WI, USA, we met up on the holidays about 4 times a year. Other than that it was very untraditional, using Skype to feed our daily emotional needs.

    Now she has finished her first year at college in FL where we met every week, sometimes for the whole week. She recently went to Italy for school for 6 weeks, and I to Korea to play tennis which is what I do. She could not be happy for me as I am traveling for 2 months, missing her sister’s wedding, and amongst our other issues, we are now no more. So Laura, I have been there and done that now. I hope it works for you I really do, but you will know when it comes to the grind, for the 1,000th time. So please don’t do what I did, despite it …making me stronger? Pursue love that is not driven my day dreams, but by true affection, while always loving yourself enough to know what is good, and what is bad.

    Forth, please welcome me! I would like to know how things are with Brent after reading his articles on love, which brought me to the site. I am a newbie so please give me slack on my mistakes. Best contact is Facebook as I may not frequently visit.

    Hope all is well with everyone,




    1. Hey Sam, I’m in Jacksonville, Florida at the moment. I just wrapped up getting my teaching license so I am going to try to make things work here for now. I chased the girl I met at Korea Burn all the way back to the States. We do crazy things for love, yeah!?? Anyways, thank you for your thoughtful and kind words. I’m rooting for you in Korea. If you are ever back in Northeast, Florida let’s meet up for a drink!


    2. Meghan Phelps says:

      Sammy, I’m sorry to hear about the tough breakup but I’m happy you are free to pursue a better conquest. My goal was to have my story resonate with others. Mission accomplished. Welcome to Korea! I’m pretty far from Seoul, assuming that’s where you are. Checkout the various fb groups there. They have one for every hobby you can think of.

      Take care of that heart of yours~


  3. Sammy John says:

    Thanks Brent and Meghan. Means a lot.

    I am on Jeju Island right now. I was in Seoul twice and Busan once in the last 3 weeks. I will be going to Ansung and Gimcheon to play tournaments starting August. Tonight I enjoyed amazing live music at the old city hall in Jeju city. It is some Saturdays during the Summer.

    I have tried to reach out to a group, awaiting a reply. I go to an English club with my sister’s love and that is awesome.

    I think that it is safe to say that the three of us have stronger hearts now than before we came to Korea.

    Fate is a silly but loyal friend~


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