We as travellers have a habit of falling in love when we least expect it. Whether it’s with a person, a place or even just a moment in time, love is what keeps the world filled with surprises and excitement. This is especially the case when you start dating a long term traveller or a workawayer – they’re sprightly and spontaneous, constantly on the go with a faraway look in their eyes. And the moment you realise you’ve fallen in love with a free spirit, you know it’s going to be nothing like the typical relationship you already know all too well:
1. They won’t stick around for long
One moment they’re in your arms, and the next they’re at the door, bags packed if not already soaring miles above the clouds. Please don’t think that they are running away from you, but only that they already have their ticket booked to the next destination and a cause they’ve planned to get involved in. They may not always be here to hold your hand, but know that you are in their heart even as they admire the most breathtaking views at the other side of the world, or when they’re building a home for someone else in the foreign wilderness. Still once in a while you’ll receive a hastily scribbled postcard or a Skype call on borrowed wifi, because they are itching to tell you everything about their workaway experiences, and how much they missed you.
2. The gifts you get will be…different
Chances are, your birthday presents won’t be something found at department stores. You’ll realise that you might never get a designer bag, extravagant jewellery, or giant bouquets of roses – sometimes simply because a long term traveller will have seen enough of the world to know that you deserve something more meaningful and special. And you’ll find that you actually don’t mind receiving a weird blue trinket from Turkey, or a plain photo frame of a travel picture you’ve taken together. And maybe you won’t get anything at all, maybe they will take you on a trip; give you an experience of a lifetime instead of a material possession.
3. Life never gets boring with someone who loves to travel
Their idea of fun doesn’t just limit to gliding down warm sand dunes with newly met friends and jumping into clear lakes with local kids. They also love counting stars in a pollution-free sky, or just walking barefoot through nature with you. They will not only introduce you to new ways of adventure, you will also find yourself getting interested in the little and simple things in life that you’ve never noticed before, the same way a traveller marvels at seeing the world for the first time.
4. They are comfortable being uncomfortable…
If you think they’re eventually going to settle into a 9-5 cubicle job, think again. Don’t tell them they will have to stop travelling and ‘come home’ at some point – wherever home is. And don’t tell them they should be saving up for their mortgage. Long term travellers and workawayers have seen so much of the world, and experienced so many different lifestyles abroad to be content with living a conventional life in one place. They will want to follow their heart and mind to explore the world, whatever that entails, and you will never ask them to be realistic and to settle down again because this simply isn’t part of their life plan.
5. You’ll become a better person
When long term travellers and workawayers envision their future, they are thinking of all the places waiting to be discovered, of how they can give back to the causes that they care about, or how they can encourage others to help make a positive impact too. This is just something they’ve always wanted to do, and something that’s not about to change simply because you are conveniently there to fill a void. You might not always be included in their every single step in life, but know that they’d learn to love you no less than they love the world if you use your time apart to pursue your dream too, and to learn and grow from your separate experiences. You’ll even grow to love each other all the more for the new things you can teach each other along the way.
6. They may just change your life
Your life most probably won’t be the same again when you fall in a love with a workawayer, because it is not only the person you fall for but the freedom, the passion, the generosity and trust in whatever surprise the world throws at them – all that comes with long term travelling and volunteering abroad! Your mind is inspired with new possibilities and your heart is open to giving and receiving more love.
As you sit in your studio apartment flipping through that thick stack of postcards your globetrotter sent you, you start to imagine what it would be like to set foot on the Sahara desert’s hot sand yourself, to dip into Altitlan’s crystal clear lake, or to stay at a town with a name you can’t pronounce, and learn a new language together from a local family. You might suddenly find yourself booking that flight ticket and start planning your next workaway trip together!
And all of this may still sound very foreign and a bit frightening, but it also fills you up with the same thrill that feels a lot like LOVE.