Fear of Missing Out: The Love Life of a Traveller
I will be bold enough to identify as an expert dater, although I will probably receive a stream of hate messages from exes upon publication. Dating is not simply an arduous task to end the misery of monogamy, but it can be a MasterChef dessert when someone with a refined palate plates it up (that’s me, not the three white douche bags).
My self-proclaimed title as an expert dater comes from my 11/10 people skills that I developed in five expensive years at uni becoming a social worker, and an unhealthy curiosity to taste everything in my path.
Case example: When I was 10, I became obsessed with eating limes dipped in salt (my mind was blown when six years later, I learnt that the two had a third best friend) and once devoured five whole limes, being shocked when I threw up. I think this sums up my approach to living.
When I began to travel the world, I had a beautiful lifelong vision to kiss someone from every country. What an achievement, I thought. Stepping foot on different lands is one thing, finding lust and love with its inhabitants, of every race, religion and culture, through language barriers and hilarious misunderstandings – now that is something to be proud of.
I wanted to be a romantic crusader, an ethical James Bond, Angelina Jolie – if she adopted multicultural men instead of children.
Leaving the Australian dating pool was like escaping the local watering hole which charges $5 entry and children regularly pee in, and diving head first into the four oceans and seven seas. There are many fish and mermen in the sea; there was a used tampon in the dating pool.
I spent four months in Europe attempting to go on a Tinder date in each city I visited. Although Tinder had disappointed me greatly in Melbourne, it was the perfect tool to get local cuties to show me their city and aid in achieving my lifelong dream. I was enormously successful. I did not receive a single dick pic, and made such amazing connections that some of them are actually my friends now.
I voluntarily missing a train from Valencia to Cordoba, Spain because of a cute date who asked me to stay an extra day. It cost me more than 100 euros and I won’t be doing that again. In Paris, I met a guy for a 7:30 am coffee date because we had exactly one hour before he had to leave for Barcelona. Two weeks later, he drove from Barcelona to Marseilles, France to see me again. We spent a delightful three days together. In Nice, I went out with a French man who hated French people. We ate unlimited mussels and took the bus to Monaco, where I jumped on a trampoline for our first date. We spent a wonderful week together exploring quaint villages in the Cote d’Azur and French kissing in obscure places.
In Florence, I met a Turkish-Dutch photographer who, I eye gazed with for 20 minutes without speaking, and who took arty black and white photos of me. In Lisbon I went out with a video game designer who cried in an art gallery telling me how the movie Kung-Fu Panda changed his life. I went out with a gorgeous Italian who scoured a beach at midnight to find me chocolate, road-tripped Croatia with me and now lives in Melbourne and is a good friend of mine. In Morocco, I met an Amazigh man who serenaded me, taught me how to make a tagine, invited me to visit his family in his village after one day and texted me incessantly for months telling me he loved me. In London, I got asked out by two Jamaican guys when I went to a pound store (the currency, you sickos) to buy super glue.
None of these experiences would have been possible without the magic of Tinder technology (this is not a paid ad). They are incredible stories and I regret nothing. But now a fear of commitment is creeping in, dressed in the fear of missing out on more exciting rendezvous as I continue travelling.
I have met a few people that I could foster a deeper connection and commitment with, but I can’t stop swiping every time I’m in a new city. I see a cute Uber driver and want to eat their face. My interaction with lovers involves many kissy and heart emojis flying between continents, arranging travel plans with each lover ranked in a systematic way, and sexy selfies to BCC chats whilst still swiping on Tinder, still wanting to eat the Uber driver’s face, and still being open to being asked out at the pound store.
Of course, I want to continue experiencing fascinating inter-cultural romances at the peak of my youth, but I’m scared that I’m habituating to a life of fleeting flings and casual intimacy with one new hottie after another. What if when the travelling stops, yearning for the game of flirtation, skilful navigation of sexy times and rides on the escalator to love continues?
Travellers are nomads, we are free spirited and we have the luxury to be flaky as fuck. If I am over a fling or relationship, I can just leave. If I can’t handle a difficult romantic situation, I can literally fly away from it.
This is not how real life works.
But my real life now is tumbling through countries with the ease of a plastic bag (finally feel ya, Katy Perry) and justifying my decisions with the fact that I give lovers full discretion of my nomadic life and wild spirit from the get-go.
I don’t know. Maybe if my first crush in life hadn’t rejected me, none of this would be happening.