Geography means different things to different people, and I know that some of the Experimental Daters have very different angles which they plan to write from on the subject.
But for me, geography means travelling. And travel … well it’s in my blood.
My father spent much of his twenties backpacking, and that was how he met my mother. (If you haven’t read it already, Goldilocks & The Fairytale Couple is still one of my favourite posts – it’s the tale of how they met). I grew up on stories of travel, and have taken every opportunity to explore the world since I was sixteen. When my parents died ten years ago, I used my inheritance to travel the world for the best part of three years, figuring it was the most fitting use of my parents’ legacy.
A few weeks ago when I filled out the same questionnaire as my Experimental Daters, I mentioned that I found a desire to travel attractive in the opposite sex. Today I started wondering what exactly it was about Travel.
Why is travel so attractive?
(At this point, I want to underline, when I talk of travel, I’m not talking luxury travel – I’m talking backpacking, adventure and exploration – not taking a plane to a 5 star hotel and back. And when I talk of travel, I also don’t mean recreating little England in a sunnier clime! Travel for me is eating foreign food, drinking foreign drinks, and exploring foreign culture.)
Travel represents a number of things for me.
For a start – there’s the obvious adventure element. Adventure is a big deal-breaker for me. I want a date who knows how to have fun, and make the most of life. And travel is a good representation of that. If someone is happy to jump on a plane, and explore a new country or culture, it says a lot about his personality and joie de vivre.
If a guy has travelled a fair amount, it’s normally an indicator he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Backpacking, gap years, extended trips around the world … they’re all a step off the accepted life conveyor-belt. Some less acceptable than others! But for me they represent a unique course, and a unique outlook. A spark. One of the most scathing things a guy once said to me, was that he ‘didn’t understand what I was doing’, after I finished my Masters and backpacked around the world for a year … and then another two! Oh well … I understood what I was doing, so really that’s all that mattered!
With travel comes confidence. The more off the beaten track you travel, the more it increases your self-confidence, because you realise just how much you are capable of. Successfully navigating across a foreign country, especially one where they don’t speak English, creates a real self of achievement and accomplishment. And that confidence is attractive.
If someone is open to travelling alone, then this also builds independence. When you backpack alone you learn how to exist on your own. You properly learn how to fend for yourself, and prioritise things. It’s a quick way to grow up, and learn what’s important. It’s one of the reasons so many people return from travel talking about ‘finding themselves’. Because when you’re on the other side of the world, away from other influences, you have time and space to work out exactly what is important to you, and what you can do without.
Perhaps surprisingly, someone who has travelled alone is also likely to be very sociable. Not only will he have been required to interact with a whole range of different people on a daily basis, but one of the key features of travelling alone is how approachable you are to other people. Whenever I’ve backpacked alone, I’ve found myself actively seeking time to myself, rather than searching out company, because often those in a pair or couple will see you as the most approachable form of alternative company.
With travel comes languages, and languages are a big thing for me. I love to communicate. And I feel it’s a clear sign of respect if you at least try to speak the same language as someone in their native country. Very little makes my toes curl more than hearing an English or American person, in a non English-speaking country, speaking louder and louder at a foreigner, expecting the other person to inherently understand the foreign words, simply because they’re louder!
One of the key things you learn from travelling, is how many other ways there are of doing things, and that just because we do certain things in one way in the country we live in, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only way, or the correct way. The more you travel, the more open-minded you become. Which is definitely an attractive feature as far as I’m concerned!
If someone has happily backpacked – spent time in hostels, camping, or living on the back of overnight buses, it means they can do low-maintenance. And for me, that’s an attractive quality. Don’t get me wrong – I like a bit of luxury, and getting dressed up as much as any other girl, but I don’t find it attractive when a guy takes longer to get ready than I do! And I can have just as much fun on a camping trip as I can in a five-star hotel, so for me someone who will happily do both is a catch.
Travellers have stories to tell. Random anecdotes of far-flung places. Tales of adventure, life experience and the people they’ve met around the globe. And that’s really interesting! For me, the best kind of dates are ones where you do as much listening as you do talking, and one of the worst dates I ever had was with a guy who spent the entire time telling me how interesting I was, and how boring he was! Not a massive turn-on!
And finally … travellers are sexy. They’ve skinny dipped. Shagged in rooms full of other backpackers. Had sex on beaches, and balconies. They’ve spent months in their swimwear, had illicit tattoos, and are comfortable in their own skin 🙂
So that is why Travel is Sexy … at least as far as I’m concerned!!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx