When I fell in love, it wasn’t at first sight. I didn’t necessarily fall in love with his eyes, the way he laughed, or the way he carried himself. Those were all very attractive and lovable, sure, but the ingredient that would cause me to fall would be revealed in time, after long talks and shared adventures. He expounded his love of the world—and his curiosity for all that he hadn’t yet seen—so intoxicatingly that I, a lifelong traveler, felt an entirely renewed enthusiasm for exploration. He told me about where he wanted to visit and why, exposing a desire to challenge himself with new experiences and people. When I fell in love, I didn’t daydream about walking down the aisle with him; my fantasies took place in airplane seats and on unfamiliar dirt roads, tinged with a wide-eyed spirit only another traveler could recognize. The idea of seeing the world with this person by my side was scintillating and intriguing and romantic.
“The character and priorities of someone passionate about seeing the world make them worthy of your lasting affection.”
For transparency’s sake, he and I are no longer together, but what can I say? If you’re looking for stability then maybe this is not the personal essay for you. Better to have loved a traveler and lost than to have never loved at all. Or something like that.
It may seem counterintuitive because, well, they’re never around and that’s kind of the point; but a travel-lover is the best kind of lover-lover. By this, I mean that the defining characteristics of a good traveler and of my ideal partner are the same: A person who gets excited about the world is a person I want to wrap my arms around and never let go of.
Beyond the stereotype that travelers are all aloof and mysterious—which is only a fraction of their appeal—the character and priorities of someone passionate about seeing the world make them worthy of your lasting affection. I’m not so much talking about the business traveler or the long-distance commuter as I’m talking about the wanderlust-stricken, hopeless romantic who couldn’t be kept from the road even if they were on house arrest for tax evasion. These are the people humble enough to see the world as something much bigger than themselves, and to recognize that, no matter how many places they visit, there will always be something left to learn.
“A good traveler has patience and perspective.”
Curiosity makes people attractive. Little is sexier than a healthy inquisitiveness—an umbrella trait that involves a rich imagination, a sense of adventure and playfulness, and a complete lack of ego. Contrary to what the popular kids in middle school who made me feel like a dork for loving to play the trumpet used to say, caring is actually cool. Travelers care; they wouldn’t put up with all the hassles and frustrations of getting through a new airport or train station if they didn’t.
To that end, travelers are accustomed to fielding challenges and pushing past roadblocks. The truly seasoned can handle the hiccups of life, sometimes even with grace, without allowing them to ruin an experience or obscure the excitement of a situation. A good traveler has patience and perspective. And while those qualities are not likely to be listed in People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” profiles, they’re important qualities to consider in a romantic interest. Besides, nobody actually wants to date Blake Shelton, anyway.