What was that line that Nicholas Sparks wrote in "The Notebook" that everyone — at one time or another — included in their AOL profiles, on their away messages, posted as a Facebook status or had on some magnet that was secured to a college dorm room refrigerator?
“Summer romances end for all kinds of reasons. But when all is said and done, they have one thing in common: They are shooting stars — a spectacular moment of light in the heavens, a fleeting glimpse of eternity. And in a flash, they're gone.”
I think he was also talking about romance that one encounters while traveling.
Some people set out to find themselves, and that is all well and good.
Other people set out and find themselves… wrapped up in the arms of someone they just met, in the most random of situations: at a tiki bar on the edge of the world, encircled by gorgeous mountains with a canopy of stars hanging overhead; on a boat, cruising coastlines and islands; lost on ancient streets in a downpour; cozied up on overnight buses and trains, smelly and not showered but feeling incredible, nonetheless.
I do tend to think that traveling and romance go hand-in-hand, partly because you are constantly meeting so many new people. Some of them are interesting and engaging; others are nice enough but do not have a fire to them.
I am a victim to falling head-over-heels at hello, messaging my friends with "I am in love" on a weekly basis, when I am off globetrotting. Naturally, it is lust, not love; years and experience have taught me the difference between the two.
However, lust is fun when you are on the road, isn't it? Everyone has a one-night fling story from some time or another. Maybe it was someone who became nothing more than a travel romance, or maybe it was someone who, years later, remained by your side, ready to take on the world with you.
Here are the different kinds of people you will meet on the road:
Oh, the boy. It seems the boys are on a permanent vacation with their buddies and are typically after one thing: They just want to get in and get out, no fuss.
They might swoon you with a good laugh, some funny banter and always have a joke up their sleeves. However, the boy tends to keep the deep emotions out of the way. There will be no pillow talk with this one; he’s just a good time.
Oh, the lover. I cannot begin to recount the number of these I have come across in my travels; those who swept me off my feet by just saying hello.
Speaking from both personal experience and on behalf of my many girlfriend travelers, the lovers tend to be from South America and sometimes, Spain. These are the sensual guys, who will sit there and tuck your hair behind your ear and tell you that your smile glows like the moon and you are more beautiful than any sunset God could paint.
The next thing you know, you are naked and tangled in passion, as the lover lays claim to body parts you did not even know existed.
The Hostel Worker
There seems to always be something so damn cool about the guy who works in the hostel. He is the guy who was traveling and decided to stay put, found a place he liked (or maybe ran out of cash) and decided to chill out, take a break and work while still on the road.
He seems adventurous and easygoing, and soon, you’ll finding yourself making unnecessary visits to the front desk just to strike up conversation.
It is inevitable: A fling with a local will come about at some point or another. It is funny and it happens. Sometimes, they have names that you are not really sure how to pronounce because your tongue just does not know how to roll its R's like that.
Sometimes, the language barrier is as vast as the Great Wall of China, but no matter what, the local fling is bound to happen. This fling is one of the best flings possible.
The Guy With The Guitar
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but there is ALWAYS a guy traveling with a guitar -- always. He sits in the hostel’s lounge and strums away. His voice carries softly, like a lullaby.
The Scuba Instructor
It’s totally common to fall for your scuba instructor, and to be fair, let’s open the category to dive masters (the guy who leads you once you are a licensed diver).
For the scuba instructor/dive master, it might be the way he wears his wetsuit better than anyone else, the way he gracefully glides through the water, his series of tattoos (most of them seem to have some ink!) or that he is such a friend of the ocean — whatever the reason, the scuba instructor/dive guide crush runs deep.
This is usually the one who falls head-over-heels for you. You can’t get away from him because you are traveling at the same time, along the same beaten path and looking for accommodation at the same, popular places.
Because travelers live without phones, he just pops up everywhere, any time of the day, so he is the human text message you just cannot ignore.
The One Who Sticks
There are travel romance success stories that give us all hope that we will meet another traveler who shares our adventure cravings on the same level and at the same depth.
Oftentimes, this is the one who — like with so many true romances — manifests when you least expect it, when you are hot and dripping with sweat after searching endlessly around town for a hostel, or when you walk into a booking agency to reserve a random tour.
The beauty of traveling lies in the unknown, follows no road map, bears no sign posts and does not always proceed with caution.
Photo via We Heart It