An Ode to the Holiday Romance
You’ve finally done it; after what seems like years of post-rave early morning, kick-on conversations, half-drunkenly promising each other that you’ll always be friends and that “of course we’ll travel the world together”, the supposed trip of a lifetime has actually fallen into place. You and your friends, by some fucking miracle, have managed to work around various uni and work schedules, have still remained pals despite almost losing it at each other multiple times in the process and are ready for your adventure.
After arriving at your not-quite-like-the-photos-but-I’m-too-jetlagged-to-care-and-am-just-dying-for-a-drink accommodation, you spy Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome from across the lobby. You quickly offload the suitcase and rush to get back down in the hope that he’s still there and is as eager as you are (no need for the frantic Tinder swiping this time). Suddenly, your soul sisters don’t seem as important anymore.
It happens to all of us: you meet someone, you click, you convince yourself that they’re all you’ve been searching for and from there you start your whirlwind holiday romance.
It’s intoxicating; you’re in a new place with this seemingly incredible newfound love who, in normal circumstances, may not even be your type, but in the midst of your little dream escape they couldn’t be more perfect for you. You soon start to forget about those who you made the journey with and your plans become centred around this person; you explore all the sights, try all the foods and spend way too many nights being that annoying couple in the corner of the bar – a few too many vodkas in and falling way too deeply into this temporary love. Everything about them becomes intriguing and all their little idiosyncrasies become your favourite things in the world.
You continue your little escapades for the next week with every conversation with those back home centred around your lover (“WE’RE having the best time!”). Then, as much as you want to pretend it isn’t fast approaching, the last week arrives; you try to forget about it and continue thriving in your own little world, but the conversation can’t be put off any longer.
“So what are we?” usually goes one of two ways. You can leave the love where you found them. Let’s be real, what happens on holiday usually stays there, and although there will be the teary goodbye and awkward Facebook conversations upon your individual journeys home, there will be no hard feelings. Just maybe the occasional drunk “what if?” conversations of which you’ll both reminisce on what once was, embarrassingly comparing your love to those of bygone eras and forcing it onto anyone who makes the mistake of asking what happened “‘just like Romeo and Juliet, it just wasn’t meant to be…”). Or, the alternative route; you two push yourselves out of your little love-filled bubble and into the real world. Here, the rose-tinted glasses you’ve worn for the entirety of your time spent together will be removed and you’ll see each other for who you really are.
For the majority of us, this means the little things you once found endearing will become annoying as fuck and will little by little get on your nerves (which you know is irrational and makes you a bitch but can’t be helped – the constant hand-holding and use of selfie sticks combined with the matching novelty jumpers isn’t as fun at your grandma’s birthday). And as quickly as the relationship came together, it will fall apart in the form of delayed replies to each other’s messages – the hour-long “miss you” phone calls become occasional meme tags and the hastily made Facebook official relationship statuses get silently removed in the hope that your other friends don’t notice.
That being said, pessimism aside, there are the select few who manage to make it work (usually in the form of one party giving up their lives and moving to accommodate for their so-called “newfound life” together). And, more often than not they do end up living happily ever after – cue photos of recently purchased houses and overly expensive dogs.
Just remember though, the friends you brushed aside will often have a bit more permanency in your life than Sweden’s budget Prince Charming. So, make sure that you come bearing gifts in the form of cheap alcohol and the finest selection of 7/11 pre-game snacks and couple your apology with the promise that you’ll get even rowdier than they have been, and you’ll be back balls deep in questionable bus rides and early morning pre-flight freak outs alongside them before you know it.
So, who knows, maybe the hottie from the hostel will be your one true love; but, if it does end bitterly, hopefully one day you can sift through your old travel albums and stumble upon photos where loved-up smiles are plastered across your faces and your limbs are entangled and smile fondly at your temporary soulmate and the adventures you once had.
Cover by Oliver Sjöström