My Sordid Attempts at Finding Love on the Road

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“But Nora, with all this moving around from place to place over the last 10 years, what about finding love on the road? Do you have relationships?” I was asked by the host of a ridiculously popular travel radio show in a live-to-air interview.

“Oh yeah! Lots of them!” I replied eagerly, before getting a hold of myself and saying “You know, I’ve had a few partners who I’ve traveled with along the way.”

Much as I hate to admit, finding love on the road isn't easy. Here's a summary of the relationships I've had in the last 10 years, and why they didn't last. #NomadLove #TravelRomance #CoupleTravel #SoloTravel #FullTimeTravel #TravelPlanning #BudgetTravel #TravelTips #ExpatLife

Afterwards as I reflected on the interview and the fact that I’d basically just told 11 million or so people that I’M EASY, I launched into a reverie about the relationships I had in my first decade of full-time travel, and how finding love on the road – the kind of love that sticks – as a full-time traveler just ain’t easy, as much as I’m loathe to admit it.

finding love on the road - or not

This post was originally written in 2017; it has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.

The timing was ironic; a few hours after that radio interview, I parted ways with a fellow I’d nurtured a lovely relationship with over the last eight or so months. Our future: uncertain. Minimum time apart: five months. Reason: lifestyle differences. I had a house-sitting gig in Japan with my name on it, and he had an empty bank account and a job in the U.S. for the summer season that promised to pad his wallet and make a reunion possible.

I’ve been here before. Saying goodbye to passionate lovers I don’t want to say goodbye to, without any knowledge of when or where (or if??) we would meet again.

Although in theory I’m a fan of couples taking time apart and each doing their own thing as the beautifully well-developed individuals that we all are, it hasn’t always worked out so well for me (see “take two” below as an example of how absence apparently does not always make the heart grow fonder). So I’m nervous about our time apart, because anything can happen. My life has a funny way of swerving left when I’m preparing to turn right, and five months is both a short time and a long time for some twists and turns to happen for either one of us.

What seems to have smacked me in the face with this latest reflection on my romantic history is how bloody hard it is not just finding love on the road – but finding compatible love on the road. And when your lifestyle is as “out there” as being professionally homeless (as I am), compatibility takes on a whole new meaning.

In fact, the more I look back at my relationship history over the last 10 years, the more I see that lifestyle compatibility has been the downfall just about every time in one way or another. Have a look for yourself:

lovers on the road do make great photographers! ha ha

The Travel Saboteur: Finding Love on the Road, Take One

First, there was Kelly. I started dating this adventure-loving fella a year before I sold everything to travel full-time. And he came with me for the first few years of full-time travel. He didn’t have a digital career (nor the makings of one, as I was busy developing). But he was pretty quick on his feet and made some money along the way. Problems began when it became apparent that he didn’t really want to live a nomadic lifestyle. After unconsciously digging his heels in along the way a few times, running out of money, and eventually planting some defiant roots in Australia, I left him (and his new Aussie girlfriend!) there and moved on.

For more on what it was to experience my first breakup on the road and how travel affects relationships in general, read Breaking up While Traveling.

Fidelity Bites the Dust: Finding Love on the Road, Take Two

Next up was my Swedish Squeeze. Six months of casual romance turned into a serious romance with no direction. He had some financial savings, but no direction – in career, location, and ultimately, life. Which is why, when we were spending a few months apart pursuing individual projects (mine being the Ultimate Train Challenge), his lack of direction directed him into the arms of an old friend who would nine months later become a co-parent with him.

I wrote about my Swedish Squeeze and the philosophy of Romance on the Road when we parted ways, and then again in the throes of heartbreak in a post called Being Thankful in Grenada.

Insta-Family: Finding Love on the Road, Take Three

My next major relationship was a game-changer for me since it involved declaring the Caribbean island of Grenada as a home base, as that was where he and his adolescent daughter lived. I enjoyed many things about having this home base, but the relationship was fraught with problems, not the least of which were very different career paths and a complete lack of support for my online career (which was often deemed as “playing on my computer” even though it paid the bills for both of us).

Read about my decision to adjust my lifestyle to be with him in Time for a Change: The Professional Hobo Switches Gears, and about our ungraceful breakup in The Day I Was Dumped Via Instant Message.

finding love on the road

Lost in Transition: Finding Love on the Road, Take Four

A couple of years later while living in Peru, I struck up a romance with a visiting American. He was in the midst of a big life change, and his relationship with me was the final kick in the pants he needed to quit his job and sell everything to move to Peru. Although we were pretty compatible in a variety of ways and he had the makings of a travel-friendly career, we just didn’t work out.

By this point I started keeping quiet about my attempts at finding love on the road – I thought perhaps writing about them was a form of jinx, so I didn’t write about him. It still didn’t work out.

Lover-Boy: Finding Love on the Road, Take Five

Another year and a half passed, then I met J (another American) in Ecuador. At first glance, we epitomized compatibility issues in the departments of career, finances, and age (he’s….ahem….considerably younger than I). But despite our best efforts, we couldn’t deny a connection that went deeper than these incompatibilities to reveal a whole other playing field of what it is to relate to and communicate with another. While living at the retreat centre in Ecuador, we had a blissful life, compatibilities be damned. (It’s also worth noting that his talents in the realm of working with plant medicine created an underlying tapestry of compatibility). Outside of the retreat centre “bubble”, it’s another story full of unanswered questions; one that has me sitting on a plane and wondering when or where (or even if) I will see him again. Wondering when we do meet up again, if there’s enough glue to hold us together despite outward incompatibilities.

2020 Update: We kept things going for a few years, spending about half the year together and the other half of the year apart (he for a seasonal job in the U.S. and I for whatever travel-related squirrel I was chasing at the time). Unfortunately the pandemic kept us apart for an extended period of time, during which we grew apart and our differences in lifestyle and career became insurmountable.

Compatibility: Can’t Live Without It. Heck, Can’t Live With It Either

Okay, so maybe my attempts at finding love on the road haven’t exactly been sordid, as the title of this article indicates (and how I felt after declaring my looseness to 11 million of my closest friends in that stupid radio interview).

The most compatible partner for me (logistically) would be somebody with an established location independent career and a lifestyle to match. As much as I know that no romance is perfect behind closed doors, it seems to me that location independent couples have some big advantages when it comes to being on the same page in career and lifestyle. And with double the manpower and often complementary skills, many of these wonder-couples do admirably well career-wise. (Check out some of my Financial Case Study interviews with couples to see for yourself). 

But I’d like to think there’s more to the picture than just career compatibility, and that I’m indeed capable of finding love on the road that doesn’t come in the shape of a travel blogger or digital nomad. Maybe emotional compatibility, complementary personalities, and even physical compatibility (yeah, you know what I’m talking about) counts for something.

Or maybe compatibility in general is an overrated concept, designed by dating services. In “take four” I found somebody who was fundamentally compatible on many levels, but it still didn’t work.

But no matter how you slice it, finding love on the road – the kind of love that sticks – is difficult. It’s certainly getting easier, with increasing numbers of people designing lifestyles that allow them to live and work on the road. In the meantime, however, I still find myself in the world of nervous goodbyes and hopeful reunions. There’s not much more I can do at the moment than trust in the process and see what happens.

And so, it is.

2022 Update: A new understanding of the digital nomad community

A few love-shaped puzzle pieces have fallen into place for me since writing this article. In 2018 after over 10 years on the road, I burned out of the full-time travel lifestyle, and I realize with retrospect it was because I had lost my sense of belonging. I had no social circle of other digital nomads to speak of, mostly because my travel lifestyle involved very local endeavours like house-sitting. While these were culturally insightful and rewarding, it was exhausting always being the “odd person out”, with a career and lifestyle nobody around me understood or appreciated. Constantly trying to convince people that I’m not on permanent vacation became a tiresome rhetoric that I failed at more often than not.

My local travel commitments also meant I never attended conferences with like-minded people who had similar lifestyles (because I was busy house-sitting or working at retreat centres). And I didn’t explore the ever-growing number of coliving and coworking initiatives, partly because I was busy with other things, and partly because I deemed them to be too expensive.

What I failed to recognize was that digital nomad conferences and coliving/coworking spaces are about more than learning a new skill and having a place to stay and work. They’re about community.

In 2021 I did circumnavigated the United States by train with a fellow digital nomad, who introduced me to a whole world of remote workers and travelers. They’re not travel bloggers, so I wouldn’t have come across them in the course of my online career. But these people – tens of thousands of them – share the same lifestyle and passion for travel as I. I realized that if I wanted to find compatible love – as well as compatible friends and travel partners, it behooves me to mix in these circles, at least part of the time. I’ll keep you posted.

Here some of the digital nomad initiatives and communities that can be a game-changer on SO many levels:

Best Coliving Coworking Programs for Remote Workers and Digital Nomads

Finding love on the road isn't easy! Here's how romance has worked for me in 12 years of full-time travel. #TheProfessionalHobo #expatlife #romance #loveontheroad #traveltales #traveltips #breakingup #fulltimetravel #longtermtravel #travellifestyle
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67 thoughts on “My Sordid Attempts at Finding Love on the Road”

  1. In my world it just happens. Things click and off you go but it does take compromise…
    Maybe “compromise” is the wrong word? We had to adjust what “we” wanted to get a better fit into each others lives.

    Combining two lives into a partnership in a nomadic way of living seems harder than doing it in a “normal” town type setting.
    I think you need both luck & the ability to compromise so you both get mostly what you want.

    I realize I’m not saying anything you don’t already know, I’m just lending support because I know it can be done.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    • Wise words, Rob! With each experience under my belt now, I’m learning more and more what ingredients are required to make it work. And like you say, adjusting your expectations through communication about what you want – both as individuals and as a couple – is very important.

      Reply
  2. This is a situation that probably isn’t talked about all that much.

    It’s really cool that you’re open to talking about it and I wish you the best on your quest.

    Maybe someday your experiences combined with advice fellow nomads who have found love on their traveling journey will create a guide that helps people to shortcut the process and side-step the drama that is easy to fall into when emotions and hunger take the steering wheel.

    Reply
    • Hi Lewis,
      An interesting idea! But love is a many-faceted thing, and very different for everyone. I wonder if a “guide” to successfully finding love is even possible to create!
      Many of the challenges I face finding love on the road aren’t all that dissimilar to doing it “at home”; the problems are just compounded and often exaggerated, making it more difficult overall.
      I think finding love (anywhere) is mostly about knowing yourself, what you want, and being able to communicate effectively. Now…knowing, and applying knowledge are also two different things. 😉

      Reply
  3. Nora:

    The current problem with love and compatibility in our current world is that – just maybe – we have all been sold on this idea that it should always be heavy sighs, smiles, and longing gazes across rooms at one another. That this is enough to sustain any relationship. Seems as though every book, show, and movie revolves around this theme.

    Reality bites us in the ass when that romantic partner then proves that they have human failings after all – and you do, as well. How dare we be regular people? Why aren’t our lives like in the movies we like?

    Now, at one time, people didn’t seem to have this problem as much. In my opinion, it’s because *they worked together for a commonly-agreed upon goal.* They were a unit. A team, where each knew that they had to work at it each day to succeed, and that some days were not going to be as smooth as others – but BOTH worked together at it. They persevered.

    Maybe…just maybe, that’s what you need to find. Someone who isn’t perfect, but wants to persevere with you.

    Okay, enough pontificating from me. Hope this is some help to you, as you contemplate your navel in Japan.

    Reply
    • Hey John,
      Indeed, I think we’re a society heavily influenced by media and movies (showing us the “perfect love”), and in combination with out instant gratification mentality (“it’s not working NOW, so it’s over”), it’s a lethal cocktail when it comes to the hard knocks of enduring the tough times in a relationship.

      Way back when, when couples stayed together, it’s because they couldn’t divorce. So they worked through their problems. And if they couldn’t work through them, they still appeared married for all intents and purposes. Was their relationship actually working or satisfying on any level? Who knows.
      Now, we can divorce. Sometimes, for very good reason. Other times, because it’s easy.

      Thank you for your pontificating!

      Reply
    • Hey Paul,
      I’m sorry you can relate (because it sucks), but I’m also glad you can relate (because it means I’m not alone/crazy)! 😉

      Reply
  4. Interesting read Nora. It is coincidental that I find myself in the very same position as you, (as I’m sure does many a nomadic traveler). Having just retired to a life of full time travel I sigh at the prospect of doing it alone. Friends of mine have all chimed in chorus “Ah but Steve…don’t worry….you’ll find her on the road”, to which I chuckle and shake my head. You know that I’ve traveled extensively in my life already and I know that meeting a life partner on the road is a lot easier said than done. I completely agree with you in that regard. For me compatibility rests on many issues but being a best friend to your mate is key. I also agree with you that open communication is paramount. Without it, even casual friendships can fall apart. You can work around a lot of other issues if you have a deep underlaying friendship with your partner. Regardless of where my travels take me alone, I will continue to wander, because that’s what I was born to do. I will document my travels through the lens of my camera and share those images with the world through my website. I share your angst Nora (if ‘angst’ is the correct word). Regardless, I’m still excited at this new chapter of my life and I remain optimistic that somewhere on the road is the woman who holds the other half of my amulet. “The Wandering Fireman” wanders on………….

    Reply
    • Hey Steve,
      Although partners (or at least, compatible ones) can be hard to come by on the road, you can take comfort in the fact that there are more and more people taking to the road – either in retirement (like you), or with their businesses/jobs (like me).
      And it’s also worth noting, that although I’ve had a few strikes in the love department along the way, I’ve also had 5 solid relationships in the last 10 years, which isn’t a bad track record! Also, I’ve rarely actually felt lonely even when I’ve been without a partner.
      So wander on, my friend. Wander on!

      Reply
  5. What podcast was this?

    I met my now-wife while traveling… though I’m quick to point out ‘expat dating’ is a very different world from ‘nomad dating’. We met and married as expats, and we now live as nomads.

    It happens… but it really does require a great match… you’re not just matching on the physical or mental level, after all. Emotionally you’re invested in each other as your confidant and person-that-looks-out-for-you as you travel through places where you need to rely on each other…

    Reply
    • Hey Chris,
      I don’t understand the podcast question. I didn’t make a podcast (or rather vlog, because that’s what I’m doing these days) out of this article….but maybe I should! 😉

      Great observation about the level of reliance on one another when traveling. That’s why, in my initial musings about relationships on the road years ago (https://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/breaking-up-while-traveling/), I suggest that travel accelerates the natural progression of a relationship. I think this is a big reason why – this reliance and inter-dependence that can happen is not always easy to cope with or get through, if the proper foundations aren’t already in place.

      You also make a great point about dating as expats vs nomads. Although these two groups would share many of the same challenges on the whole, it’s probably a bit more complicated with the nomadic lifestyle.

      Reply
        • Hey Chris,
          Oh right! Sorry. I should have made the connection.
          Although this is a very popular show (Rudy Maxa’s World), I don’t generally find that live radio “appearances” convert terrifically well to traffic. So I didn’t notice a huge boost in traffic. But to be honest, I also didn’t check, as I literally got on a series of planes right after the interview and for the next three days!

          Reply
  6. Ah, Nora… I’m 70 and can just smile. Maybe, just maybe,humans aren’t meant to find a permanent partner. If we give up the expectation, then what?

    I think it’s great you’ve been able to move on.

    Sex is usually great. Love is a disease. Who needs it!

    Reply
    • Hi Laurence,
      Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say love is a disease, I do agree that it’s quite possible that we’re simply not designed to be monogamous for life. We don’t have just one “soulmate” – we have many.

      Reply
      • This is the point where I’d chime in, being polyamorous and also contemplating traveling full time in the future… Are men and women meant to live together? Permanently, for that matter? 🙂 Your “quest” as you described it had some pre-defined goals and that was perhaps its downfall. But compatibility is a big and important thing in lasting relationships, when you find a partner with whom you don’t need to discuss the next step at every crossroad because you both naturally step in the same direction, then you know your “search” is over 🙂

        Reply
        • Hi Lubosh,
          “when you find a partner with whom you don’t need to discuss the next step at every crossroad because you both naturally step in the same direction, then you know your “search” is over”…..LOVE IT!

          Reply
  7. I guess it is kind of like living in Las Vegas. With the lifestyle, it is almost impossible to have a lasting relationship. My unscientific study also says that if you move to Las Vegas with your significant other, often times you will break up within six months.
    I feel you on this article.

    Reply
  8. Fascinating discussion. I met my wife as a volunteer in Africa 25 years ago so the compatibility for travel and roughing it periodically was there. We had several career breaks (for us that means period of focussing ON the career to the detriment of travelling) which means we now have jobs that are transferable the world over. We find that after a nomadic lifestyle we are drawn closer by the shared experience. But we have still become becalmed because first we finally got tired of being rootless, then felt a responsibility to my aging parents. It will be interesting if we can kick start the wandering again!

    Reply
    • Hi Tim,
      I love your definition of a career break – a break from travel to work on your career! Ha ha!
      As I wrote about in my article Breaking Up While Traveling (which I wrote/linked to in the aftermath of “Take One” above), travel accelerates the natural progression of a relationship, given that traveling with somebody means living together 24-7, and often in times of stress and change. So it stands to reason that you and your wife have a rock-solid relationship as a result of making it through those times/challenges!
      Also interesting to see if you two end up hitting the road again, and if so, how it will be different. Keep me posted! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Hey Nora,

    This was a really interesting read. Siya and I have been together 13 years so it’s hard for me to imagine what life (especially my travel life) would be like without him. He and I have always been able to travel together or, when we travel separately, we have each other to come “home” to… wherever that may be at the time. It’s a great discussion – relationships on the road. Thanks for the read!

    Reply
    • Hi Kristen,
      Glad you enjoyed the food for thought! Indeed, I do envy the travel couples I know who have traveled with each other through the long haul; it takes a very special pairing of individuals to make it work! I’m happy you are part of one of these pairs. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Nora, This is my first ever online response to thoughts shared by a stranger. But I just can’t hold back. You’re one inspiring person. Enjoy that lifestyle as long as possible, embrace yourself and please don’t worry. Although I don’t know you, I have confidence in you. You will find your “perfect” match sooner or later. And in the meantime enjoy being free and living the life you want for yourself. I met my husband while traveling. Making it work was extremely challenging. Finding your ‘match’ is wonderful, but being happy with yourself and realizing your own dreams is even more valuable. Keep going! Enjoy your ride!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Kathrin!
      And truly….is there even such a thing as a “perfect” match? In my experience, we choose our partners to be teachers, to help us grow (and vice versa). Which inherently means there will be challenges.
      Which is why – like you say – the primary motivator should be to be happy with ourselves and chasing our dreams. I appreciate the reminder. 🙂

      Reply
  11. I can completely relate. I’d love to find somebody to share life with, but I’m terrified of being tied down. If I see any danger of that I run, run….RUN! There has got to be a happy medium out there somewhere, but in the mean time I’ll keep having fun making mistakes.

    Reply
    • Heya,
      Yep! And even when you DO find somebody who can travel with you, you might not have the same priorities, which can also make one feel tied down. I guess it’s a matter of priorities. When you’re ready to make your partner a top priority, then perhaps making some compromises here and there won’t seem too bad. (Still figuring it out myself)!

      Reply
      • Yes! I suppose this is an occupational hazard of the free spirited life we are leading. When it comes down to it though, maybe these compromises wouldn’t feel like such a big sacrifice if I was really ready for a relationship? Who knows, all I know is that I am not giving travelling or living abroad anytime soon. I will have to find a way to handle these cultural differences, or meet more people of like mind…

        Reply
        • Free spirits? More like people who don’t know themselves enough, don’t know their purpose, and travel because they probably read some New Age bullshit saying that that’s the only way to find oneself. Read a book. It will be just as satisfying and you’ll be a little smarter for it.

          Reply
          • Maybe you should read a book and look into yourself as to why you are so ugly and judgmental. Who are you to judge how someone chooses to live their life, what makes them happy etc? You are the one that sounds like an unhappy person, reading blogs on topics of no interest to you, except to spread your negativity.

  12. Well, this seems to be the millennial way of doing things: travel and then what? It seems to me you have no sense of direction, really. Where do you see yourself when you’re 60? Still traveling? How about retirement? Children? A husband? You’ve seen all these countries, but so what? What’s it to the rest of us? Where’s your contribution to the world? In fact, it seems others are funding your travels. You do realize how impractical what you’re doing actually is. Maybe you’ve had luck, but that may not be the case for others. Who can actually just up and leave like that?

    What you mistake for wanderlust is probably a dissatisfaction with your own life. I mean, you can’t even keep a relationship. It’s sad that all that means anything people like you have ruined by setting a bad example. Others will romanticize your adventures and follow in your footsteps. You make it seem as if it’s all it’s cracked up to be, but you probably feel lonely and wrestle with your own demons. You can’t outrun them forever.

    Reply
    • Hi Hannah,
      You make a whole lot of assumptions in your comments that are not only inaccurate, but offensive.
      I’m sorry you are so unhappy and feel hard-done-by by people like me. I wish you the best.

      Reply
      • I was doing some research and came across your blog. I thought your issues were simple.

        So, bluntness does not equate to unhappiness. Truth hurts.

        Reply
        • A few years late to the party, but I feel it is important to correct some misconceptions from Hannah’s post.

          “What’s it to the rest of us? Where’s your contribution to the world? In fact, it seems others are funding your travels”

          Gosh, I wish my family would fund my travels! But no, I had saved up for it by myself, like many others.

          Where’s your contribution to the world?
          A ***HUGE*** part of Australia’s economy relies on nomads.

          I’m from the US and currently live in Australia, and am on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV). A WHV allows backpackers to stay and work up to 3 years. With a WHV, there was originally the constraint that you are not allowed to keep the same job for more than 6 months, to encourage people to stay nomadic (The rule changed only recently due to the worker shortage, backpackers can stay with certain jobs for a full year now). Also, nomads are required to pay taxes, 15% of our wages go to the government. Backpackers stay longer and spend more than any visitor.

          Since closing their borders due to the pandemic, no new backpackers were coming in, and the backpackers already in Australia eventually went home as their visas ran out. It has made it screamingly apparent that Australia relies on backpackers for agriculture, rural work, tourism and hospitality, and health/childcare care – basically all the jobs Australians don’t want to do. I posted a lazy job inquiry on a Facebook backpacker page and get 3 job offers without presenting a resume or references. The worker shortage is no joke.

          The Australian government is now implementing programs to encourage backpackers to come back, and new visas to encourage backpackers to stay (The newer Covid 19 visa), and even bribing schemes. In 2021, nomads who got a job a critical sector job in Queensland were given a $1,500 bonus from the government.

          Here is a more detailed article about the backpacker shortage in Australia and how important they are to the country’s economy.

          https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-03/how-to-ensure-working-holidaymakers-return-after-pandemic/100727406

          This is only one country. Backpackers contribute a lot.

          Moving on to the next inaccurate assumption

          Judging from Hannah’s wording, she is presuming everyone should have the same values as hers.

          Judging by Hannah’s post, her values are –
          Settling down in one place. Kids. Family. Stability. Nothing wrong with that. Most people go this route.

          Generalized nomad values –
          Seeing and learning about the world first hand. I have probably learned more on my travels than I ever did in college.

          Experience – rather than reading about a country, *experiencing* it first hand is an entirely different, altering experience.

          Self-growth – you change a lot as you travel, your views become more expansive as you experience different ways of life. You take the best bits you learn with you and integrate them into your own life, and share them with others.

          Challenge – it ain’t easy traveling by yourself in new countries where there are language barriers. It’s not easy living a life people judge and misunderstand. One of the big reasons I started traveling alone was for my personal character development. It scared the shit out of me. But I knew if I did it, I would become more independent from my family, and have more confidence in my abilities to navigate new situations. There is no price you could put on confidence built from throwing yourself into the world, and how that aids you in future careers, endeavors, and relationships.

          My more specific values – NOT having kids and putting a even bigger strain on Earth’s resources, NOT becoming like my parents and staying in a lonely marriage for the sake of not being alone and fulfilling societal ideals of marriage and family. I would rather be alone and happy, rather than be married and unhappy.

          And believe me, I tried living the life my parents wanted by staying close to home, living with a committed partner, and having a normal 40 hour job. But I only got more bitter and restless as time went by. And then I realized I was trying to live their ideal life, and not mine.

          One gets bitter and resentful if they live a life that is not in line with their values.

          Each individual has a different set of values. There is no superior set of values. It is not my place to tell Hannah she is living life wrong because her set of ideals make me feel itchy and throw up in my mouth a little. It is definitely not her place to tell nomads they are living life wrong because they don’t live life like a “normal” person.

          Live and let live
          To each their own.
          Whatever floats your boat
          Stay in your lane.
          Ect ect.

          “Read a book. It will be just as satisfying and you’ll be a little smarter for it.”

          I read 52 books last year, 25 of them being educational. I travel AND read and even smarter and wiser for doing both 😀
          And thanks to the lucky life I have built for myself, I can speak from my experience – reading a guidebook about a country is vastly different from actually going to that country and experiencing it for yourself.

          Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

          Reply
  13. I have been unable to stay in one place in the last 2 years. And honestly, it’s a red flag for any man thinking of dating me. I get the ‘are you like a nomad, can’t stay in a place for too long?’ question constantly. At my age (40’s), most ppl are well rooted and don’t want to invest in someone ‘flighty’ or change their lifestyle. So I have accepted that I will probably always be alone unless I become a tree. But I have made peace with that, and I have always been mostly a loner so it’s not a big deal. I miss affection and yes, sex. But I’d rather have my freedom. Enjoy your moments. Don’t expect more. And maybe the right match will cross your path..

    Reply
    • H Alexandra,
      A few years ago, I too had pretty much given up the idea of finding somebody who could truly complement my lifestyle. I’m pleased to say that I’m still going strong in the last relationship profiled in this post (“Lover-Boy”) – 2 years and counting. While I make no proclamations (it’s not my style), I’m pleased to say anything is possible. 🙂

      Reply
    • Well, biologically speaking, guys prefer women who they think will be able to raise good children. Somehow you seem to think that freedom is rooted in endless travel with no end in sight. That’s a certain kind of freedom, but, unless you know what you want out of it, it’s honestly unproductive. Guys perceive your inability to stay in one place for too long as a noncommittal attitude. If you can’t commit to any one place, who can say you’ll commit to a long-term relationship? So, it’s not them; it’s you.

      Sure, people can and do meet the right match, but the chances are low. Because your biological clock is pretty much running out, and you feel sexually frustrated and probably even lonely, you could end up with a worthless guy. Basically, anyone who makes advances on you.

      This is the thing about “modern” women— biology could explain away a lot of your romantic issues and issues in general.

      It’s going to be hard for you to find a guy who will stay with you forever because, as you said, you are walking red flags, unfortunately. I repeat: your nomadic lifestyle bespeaks your lack of commitment. That’s unattractive.

      Reply
      • Speaking for myself, I was a ‘gypsy’ as my friends would say, from the time I was a teen. That came to a stop when I was raising my family, and continued after they left home. I have no problem committing to a job, a husband or children. But you have a very narrow minded view…not every nomad is a woman, not every woman wants children. Sometimes we are actually born to have a further purpose than just existing for someone’s desire lol. And not every person that is alone is lonely. There are more lonely ppl in unions than those that are single, I assure you! That’s what makes the world a beautiful place – you cannot place your values and ideals on someone else. Your idea of happiness is another’s nightmare. There is a lid for every pot. There is so much more to say but you don’t get it, just as I don’t get your way of thinking. I enjoy a conversation of different opinions, but when it started with assumptions and insults…..hmmmmm.

        Reply
        • “Your idea of happiness is another’s nightmare.”

          That sums up the absurdity of your thinking. Also, you accuse me of generalizing when that’s what you’re doing. So, if, say, my idea of happiness is a $1 million, then that somehow becomes another person’s nightmare. You make motherhood seem as a woman’s worst nightmare. This is what gender feminism has done–polluted the mind of women into thinking they need no one and nothing, and that free-spiritedness is more fulfilling than the biological imperative.

          That’s what third and four-wave feminists don’t seem to understand: you cannot fight against biological imperative. Biology is more powerful than your ridiculous ideology and lifestyle. There’d be no need to write these lengthy blogposts if women actually stopped to think for a second: “Hm, why is that I can’t seem to hold on a romantic relationship?” You wouldn’t make yourself all sad and depressed if you took your own advice and turned an eye inwards.

          Let me spell it out for you: you don’t have a good stable romantic relationship because no serious guy will give women who can’t stay in any one place longer than two years the time of day. The guys who do give you the time of day will be worthless.

          According to you I’m narrow-minded because I don’t exactly approve of the nomadic lifestyle. Ironically, you’re being narrow-minded by also deriding my opinion. And what is it that I don’t get? Why you can’t stop traveling? No, I get it. Humans have always migrated. They’ve always moved from place to place; it’s something else the that makes us different from other species. We have this wanderlust gene, and I don’t mean it metaphorically, either. But, eventually, we all find somewhere to settle. You haven’t, because it could ultimately bespeak a lack of self-knowledge. I don’t think some humans are born just to travel and do nothing else. You become a waste of space and resources by that point–and we have a lot of those. I think there could be another purpose to your life that you’re not seeing.

          I mean, notice your comment is a cop-out: “There is so much more to say but you don’t get it, just as I don’t get your way of thinking.” So, why don’t you explain what I don’t get? Explain your lifestyle to me. It shouldn’t be a problem. Thus far, you haven’t really shed light on why you like to be a nomad so much. Do you have a very good reason? And “because I’m a free-spirit” does not count. It doesn’t tell me much. I could tell you we’re all free-spirits, because, after all, we’re 99.9 percent genetically identical. Most humans are mediocre and herds, and the “free-spirits” out there are just more of the same.

          So, make me understand rather than evading the question. You don’t understand where I’m coming from, but, then again, it doesn’t strike me as if you understand where YOU are coming from.

          Reply
          • I do understand where you’re coming from – the vast majority of people who are not nomadic. You can’t say a “guy who will be attracted to you is worthless” because you do not know that guy. He might be worthless to you, because it would be someone totally incompatible with your settled lifestyle but perfect partner for a nomadic person. I’m only just making my first steps in my full-time travel life and I can see the problems of relating to others, so yes, you’re not wrong in your thinking but that is not what we on this blog are about. You will live your settled life with a partner that will never change…and be happy with it. That’s fine and not wrong. But it is not what I will be doing 🙂

  14. Happy 2019!

    After reading’s Nora’s blog about her very personal experience, I do feel inspired to leave some notes, but decided not to. Then I saw Hannah’s notes, straight talk, that makes me want to say something here.

    The media of Blog reminds me the old school classroom teaching, where it is pretty much one way street with teacher talking, and students listening. I’d say Nora is a good teacher, while Hannah is a good student, but she is a good modern student who brings about challenging questions with straight talk.

    I am a guy, I met a girl in July of 2017, who already traveled the world for an entire year at the time, she is still traveling in north Africa as we speak. We stayed with each other off and on in the last year or so. We love each other very much. The very recent trip with both of us was an 8 day across continental U.S. from Midwest to Pacific Northwest mid June, followed by a four week travel to China, end of June and beginning of July, where we both originally from. The travelling with her was such an enjoyable experience with very little issues, such as not able to find a camping ground the first night when we arrived at Yellowstone, but was resolved at the same night with us driving 20 minutes away from the park. In July, I traveled back to Pacific NW, my new home, for work and we since separated, she went on a world tour starting in September of 2018.

    I am in my 40s and she is a few years younger, we were both married before, we love each other dearly and we want to live together for the rest of our lives. I have a successfully career, I have asked for a transfer to Pacific NW to start a new position with the same company. But before I wanted to pop up the most important question for her to stay with me happily ever after, I do want to ask her, is that “traveling as a profession” really a mean to an end to find love, or an end to find the “meaning of love”? If traveling is truly in her blood, an also a life time commitment, then I would say sorry honey I love you so much, but I don’t want to tie you down for what you are. Go for it, maybe you are not for me. I love you for what you are, but logistically that won’t work.

    Nora, you are right about the life is tougher for the person leaving behind than the person who is traveling if the couple is in a committed relationship. Being a person left behind, I am constantly struggling with anxiety of separation for good 5 months. It is a very painful experience. I love outdoors, I coped with running and hiking in the beautiful woods and forests and the Pacific ocean, it helped and time helped. I am Okay with this period of 5 months, but for a life time like that, I am not Okay. I don’t want to live life with constant anxiety.

    So yes, I agree with Hannah’s comments from a guy’s perspective. She comes out very candid, straight forward. I kinda admire her bluntness.

    So we are talking about compromises. With my job, I do have a little bit “location independents” where I could telecommute anywhere in California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii, where I say to my girl if you have travel itch, would you be pleased to roam in these areas so we can be together to let our relationship grow? If relationship is a plant, you will need a solid footing to get the nutrition you two will all need.

    Facing life choices is a big deal for anyone. I don’t want to project my views on yours, neither should you.

    Reply
    • Hi Gaofeng,
      Thank you for sharing your story. I believe in your case as well as mine (and everybody), it’s a matter of compatibility.

      While Hannah makes some interesting (if not abrasive) points, she is incorrect in assuming that “no serious guy will give women who can’t stay in any one place longer than two years”. She assumes that the inherent definition of “serious guy” entails stability and/or a lack of travel lifestyle.

      I’m here to say there is one of everybody around the world! And lifestyle travelers come in both male and female forms. 😉
      While you finish off your comment by saying nobody (including me) should project life views on others, that is exactly what both you and Hannah are doing. While her comments resonate for YOU, and you have a guy’s perspective, I assure you her comments will not resonate with every man.
      I’m just sharing my experiences as I see them (and I’ve had a lot of experiences)….no projections going on here.

      I’ve spent the last 2+ years in a relationship with a fellow who isn’t exactly a full-time traveler, but together we have carved out a routine that works really well for us. And we expect that it will change over time, as our own lives evolve – individually and together.
      You are very right, Gaofeng, in saying it’s all about compromise. Regardless of lifestyle, relationships generally entail some degree of compromise; and for each party, it’s a matter of determining if the compromise required is worth it.

      Reply
  15. Nora,

    Amen to compromises, even better if “the compromises required are worth it”. It is a state of mind for both parties in a tight relationship to decide. Weigh them, make a decision then commit. Is it possible that in the future it won’t work out? Is it possible it will become tiring for both parties over time? Yes and yes.

    And yes to conscious and constant improvement surrounding the love relationship.

    I am happy for you to grow a relationship for more than 2 years now. I hope mine will have the best outcome as well. Love does make people do powerful things. The practicality of a traveling life style requires carefully listing out compatibilities and making actionable compromises. I like your keywords “routines carved out for both of us”. Cheers.

    Reply
  16. It’s really hard to be in a relationship on the road – it’s one of the downfalls of full time travel. Even when you have a partner you travel with. There is just so much overlap in interests and togetherness!

    But I can totally see how hard it would be to be solo as well. Meeting people is HARD when living this way.

    Reply
    • Hey Zachary,
      Actually, I’ve found that it’s actually quite easy to meet people while living a travel lifestyle! Especially when traveling solo – it’s amazing how easy it can be to meet people (depending of course on where you go and what you do).
      Meeting compatible romantic partners? Yeah, that can be another story. But I also think it’s changing (albeit slowly) as more and more people adopt “digital nomad” lifestyles.

      Reply
  17. Seems like the issue is there’s no traveler with money or an established career you’ve found. I’m planning on traveling for an extended period and hope to maybe find someone but those wouldn’t by measures of expectation from someone, because it’s about two people, not the materialistic things we associate with them.
    On the other hand, I also believe we don’t have to be bound to the expectation of being with someone forever or at all, actually, just because that’s what societal expectation say we must do.
    Looking forward to my experiences in this regard in South America next year!

    Reply
    • “…but those wouldn’t by measures of expectation from someone, because it’s about two people, not the materialistic things we associate with them.”
      Wow – it’s like a slap in the face and a stroke of naivety all in one.
      Good luck to you.

      Reply
  18. Nora, it gets better with age 😉

    After menopause the desire to pair up decreases significantly. Like a cat being fixed, you can languidly hobo your way anywhere and nowhere not much care for romantic love. It may come your way but it won’t be as critical or hard hitting.

    Regardless, I wish you the best of luck to bump into a mate with excellent long term prospect. From your writing, I feel that you are not a total loner. You enjoy people and company. Having a compatible and mutually devoted partner makes your life and journey more enjoyable.

    Reply
  19. It’s the first time I’ve seen such an honest post about life on the road in quite a while. Definitely not sordid, just living life a little differently than others, perhaps the radio mishap wasn’t the best, but it’s made for an awesome post.

    Reply
  20. Beautiful article Nora! I’ve also had some amazing experience meeting and connecting with people while traveling the world. ? I also still haven’t found the one, but I have used tinder to help with my search. I’m curious as to your thoughts of this method, or with using travel dating apps like Misstravel or Fairytrail.

    Reply
    • Hi Alysse,
      I haven’t used apps to meet people while traveling, but I know many who have and they swear by it! I’ve never heard of MissTravel or FairyTrail.

      Reply
  21. The way i look at it, if God had created women like the old days when most women were very old fashioned and real ladies which would’ve made love very easy to find for so many of us single men still looking today. Women today unfortunately have really changed since the past, now that so many women just can’t accept many of us men for who we really are anymore. Women have become very independent, very high maintenance, selfish, spoiled, greedy, picky and very money as well since it is all about me, me, me, the way they act now. Lets not forget the ones that are real gold diggers these days too. And many of us men aren’t single by choice either.

    Reply
    • So you’re shocked that women don’t want to settle for sub par relationships? Do you have any female friends? I find it interesting that you say women can’t accept men as they are, when clearly you can’t accept women as they are. It sounds like you long for the 50’s submissive housewife trope that holds more appeal for the men and only paints women as a 2D supporting characters only meant to handle the needs of her family rather than having her own hopes and dreams. Sorry to burst your bubble, but we’re allowed to have goals and aspire for more than just serving the needs of men. It sounds like perhaps you need to wake up and adjust your expectations or else be content with being single. Your post has “incel” written all over it.

      Reply
    • Hello Anonymous,

      I am so sorry that I can’t help but crack up that you blame women for you being single. We are independent, take care of our own maintenance, spoil ourselves, and picky who we spend time with. I don’t want to be with some mopey man who is blaming us for taking care of ourselves and not attending to a man’s every wish and command.

      And there are gold diggers in all genders. You ARE single by choice with no one to blame but yourself. Perhaps if you went out and enjoyed yourself a bit more, became happier and more fulfilled, you will find people who want to be around you.

      In the meantime, maybe you and Hannah (refer to a few posts above) should get to know each other.

      Reply
    • The way I look at it, God created humans to learn and become better. Unfortunately you seem stuck in the past where a lot of men were chauvinistic pigs. Maybe it’s time you worked on yourself and become a better man for God.

      Reply
    • Well, what is “unfortunate” for you is a positive for the whole human race. Women don’t have to or need to tolerate the likes of you anymore, so why would we? What you mistake for “me, me, me” is really just hard for you to relate to because it’s not “you, you, you.” Here’s to the women of the world – out doing the things that make them happy! (Woe is you, that those things don’t include you.)

      Reply
  22. Interesting read; yes I did read from start to finish :-), and a very ‘open’ one as well. What is interesting; and excuse me if I have misinterpreted your thoughts, are two threads that seem to run through this article, 1. that to have been deemed a success a relationship should be permanent, and 2. that success is based upon compatibility=similarity.
    After ‘years of experience’! :-))), and having had a similar thought path I began to question these widely accepted viewpoints….

    ….why should ‘successful’ relationships be permanent?…are they not like every other choice we make in life, and can they not be ‘successfully’ enjoyed whilst they last, and remember in a 100% positive way?…

    …..and what about compatibility?… can “opposites not attract”…and is compatibility ‘fluid’ anyway? i.e. if as a couple you enjoy being with each other and/or ‘want’ to make it work, is this not where willing compromises or alterations are made to either or both lifestyles?…I am not saying don’t be yourself, but ‘yourself’ is something that can be fluid/flexible and used as such to achieve happyness.

    I came to the conclusion that our lack of success is often down to a) believing societal norms about what is ‘right’, and b) making the same ‘mistakes’/thought processes/choices and then being surprised that I got the same result.

    Happy travelling [and an even happier life],

    Reply
    • Hi Ted,
      I hear you 100% on the “success” metric for relationships – which needn’t be permanent (nor monogamous for that matter, for those who enjoy polyamory).

      However I’m going to push back on “compatibility” a bit….it’s not about being with somebody who has a similar personality – it’s about being with somebody who has a similar LIFESTYLE.
      For me, I’ve decided that the most compatible partner is somebody who is able to work remotely and likes to travel long-term. Am I open to meeting somebody who doesn’t fit this? Sure. But if I’m going to actively search anywhere for a partner, I’ll be searching in this group of people first and foremost.

      Reply

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