Dating Abroad: A Hobo Love Story
I hated him at first. Which didn’t matter because he’d already spread the legs of someone else in our backpacking group, and was therefore off-limits. Not that it mattered; I wasn’t interested.
When we met for the first time in the streets of Thailand, I was more focused on booking our booze cruise than impressing a British lad with no shirt on. But alas – the god of love clearly saw something I didn’t, and after several days and one fateful night of buckets and drunken tattoos, I found myself climbing naked onto his bunk-bed, after which, he climbed fully clothed into my heart.
Ours was a classic romance: we met up several times throughout Thailand at which point we would consume an excess of alcohol and fumble drunkenly for each other’s naked bits often in a room with other people. It wasn’t until we headed our separate ways for good that I realised I was quite fond of the handsome British lad, even if he did take team-showers with his travelling associate.
Soon, his Asia trip finished and he set his sights on Australia. With a two-year visa firmly in his back-pocket and plans to move to a capital city that wasn’t mine, it looked as if our romance based on buckets and beaches was about to come to an end. However, either neither one of us could get laid individually, or we had come to quite like each other, and after several trips between Melbourne-Sydney-Cairns and several more love-making attempts sans alcohol, he asked me to be his girlfriend seven times in one night. Not because he was over-powered by love for me, more because he had consumed a lot of booze and kept forgetting that he had asked me. Suddenly, I found myself in a long distance relationship, which was both terrifying and amazing.
While he worked in a bar in Cairns, served his time on a Queensland farm, road-tripped along the coast of Australia and explored New Zealand, we maintained our relationship via Facebook messages, the occasional phone-call and amazing sex when finally reunited. Our time apart felt long and incredibly lonely while our time together turned the most menial of tasks (buying groceries, getting petrol, drinking milkshakes) into movie-montage moments where indie-pop bands played in the background as we kissed in the confectionery aisle of Coles.
After moving inter-state together and spending a year navigating a new city as a no-longer-long-distance couple, his visa expired and it was time for him to head home to the land of chocolate wheatens and cups of tea. And while this proved the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the youth mobility visa and move our relationship to soggier grounds, it also meant that we’d be spending the better part of a year apart while I sorted out my cash flow.
This October, I will finally touch down at Heathrow after seven months of riding solo, and while these months were broken-up with a two week interlude in Thailand, it’s definitely been a difficult road. It‘s not everyone’s cup of vodka, but I wouldn’t trade my international liaison for a national one any day. Aside from the fact that I am now smitten with this kitten and that reunion sex is the best kind of sex, there are a bunch of other reasons which make hooking up with an international passport holder worth it.
For one, maintaining personal hygiene becomes a matter of ‘If I have time’ rather than a strict routine to be adhered to. Aside from common decency, there’s no need to be presentable or tend to your lady garden, and you get months of warning before you’ll be getting naked; which is more than enough time to sort out the entire pizza you ate for dinner every night for a week.
For seconds, you get to lead your own life outside of the one you have as a couple. This is great for eating aforementioned pizza without shame, and not feeling bad about making plans with your friends three weekends in a row.
For thirds, when you’re finally reunited, it’s often somewhere fun and exciting whether that’s a backpackers in Cairns, an airport in Thailand or the middle of a highway in Sydney. And for fourths, the reunion sex is seriously jazzy (yes, it needed mentioning again).
When I first came back from Thailand and was smacked in the face with the finality of our brief holiday romance, I spent an evening crying to my dad about “stupid British wankers who don’t even matter anyway”. He advised me that maybe I should try shopping in my local grocery store instead. Despite some attempts, his advice didn’t stick, and even though I never managed to pick up bananas in my local supermarket, I realised that it didn’t matter, because I far preferred the taste of international cuisine anyway.
Rowan still hasn’t finished War & Peace, but she did use it to balance her dinner once. Living in London, she’s steadily working her way through the Europe’s great cities and hopes to try every wine in England before her visa expires.