I wrote this post a while ago but it never seemed like the right time to post it. I suppose no time is better than Valentine’s day.
Single people: what could your mind accomplish if you didn’t think about boys (or girls) most of the time? Maybe you think you don’t think about them that often… but you probably do. When I first came to India, now 6 years ago, and single, I swore them off entirely. I decided that the trip I was about to take to India was going to be about me. I wanted my journal entries to be about the sunsets, the new friends, and the food… not who I made out with and how his best friend was hotter and OMG, I don’t know which one to pick.
So what happens when you swear them off and really, really mean it?
I had a seriously boring (like, I can’t even go back and read it) travel journal no one would want to snoop through…
And I ended up with a boyfriend.
It’s kind of a joke, right? I had never been the serious relationship type. I was pretty proud that I was traveling alone and that I wanted to stay alone for many years to come so that no one would interfere with my travels.
I had accepted that no guy wanted to do what I did. They were either money hungry, ladder climbing, and work obsessed or perpetually 18 in mindset. They wanted their degrees to count for something. (My parents ask: didn’t I?)
I had concluded that I needed to love a bum that didn’t care about work and wanted to spend his last penny to buy a seat on the plane next to me. I had a fear of falling in love with someone wonderful… that would make me want to stay home, start a boring life, and forget what I’m really passionate about.
Then stumbled in Ben…
… literally stumbled and dropped a girly drink on my foot. The waiters are always shocked when the strawberry daiquiri is for him and the bourbon is for me. After a few days of him playing the role of drunken Brit, and I the stuck-up Yank (his words, because the first night we met I was on antibiotics, not drinking, and being a little antisocial…. and remember he did smash a drink on my foot so I wasn’t that impressed) we ended up being a decent match. We spent a week in Goa then went to Hampi. I was only there two weeks. I thought about staying in India but knew I needed to go home at least for a while, because you know you work, money, etc…
I believe that you can fall in love easy. That’s why all the movie stars fall in love with their co-stars, people on a reality dating show fall in love, or 2 people on a deserted island end up in love. You can be happy forever, but that doesn’t mean they are your soul mate.
I knew that Ben was mine within a week. It was creepy so obviously I didn’t tell him.
He was another nomad, he hadn’t been home in years and he wanted to see the world. But at the same time, he had a job and wasn’t a bum. He was inspiring. Whenever I’m annoyed with his antics now (wanna drive the Omni van to the mountains? umm NO), he reminds me “you once told me I was a breath of fresh air”.
When I told people at home I was dating a British wild child artificial reef designer with hair almost as long as mine that I had known only 2 weeks, it got telephoned (you know that old game). I got a call from a good friend: was it true I was dating an Indian coral trinket street salesmen and I was going to live with him and sleep on a dirt floor?
Most people were excited for me, but some people were not super supportive (I don’t blame them as it did seem kind of crazy to leave my job as a nurse after only one year and move to India unemployed. It took time, but they’ve come around which is good because I’ve been back in India 5 years living with Mowgli, the Indian bin-nibbler as his friends call him, who fate rewarded me with once I stopped looking/caring.
Ben trimmed his hair a little bit because in Thailand they laughed our hair was “same same but different”
When I think back on the 3 months boy-strike in India, I remember the most incredible trip I’ve ever taken. It was about so much more than the trips in Europe spent partying all night and sleeping the days away. It was waking up at 5 am for sunsets and hiking mountains and ME time with mediation twice a day, yoga, and all those other things that surround you in India. I have had awesome trips with friends where our goal was to meet cute foreign boys, but when you have no agenda that’s when fate steps in.
Ok, blah blah blah that’s the end of my corny Valentine’s day post. My point is, if you like to travel and you’re not finding someone where you live… maybe you should start looking, I don’t know.. half way across the world!?
Every single one of my friends who has traveled abroad has met a guy that was so special he changed their lives for the better. Actually, a handful of the travel bloggers I follow also met their significant other while abroad. My friend Ann came to visit me then did a two-week tour in Vietnam – met a Swedish guy, fell in love, and is now living in Sweden happy as can be! So yeah. Don’t pout if you’re alone this V-day, book a plane ticket outta there, especially if it’s snowing where you are!
In the last 5 years, Ben and I have been to probably a dozen countries together from Sri Lanka to Jordan. We’ve spent a month in Hawaii, done a surf camp in Bali, and walked around little English lanes. If you want more personal posts like this (they are rare, I know) you can check out my Ask Me Anything section. If you’re wondering how I managed to stay in India so long after leaving nursing, you can read how I became a travel blogger to earn a living.
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I loved this post! What a gorgeous couple! You guys look impossibly good together. I actually met my husband abroad. I hadn’t had a serious boyfriend for a while (but I had only just turned 22 so it probably didn’t matter!) and I met him on my very first day in South Korea! We’re an American and a Brit too ( but I’m the drunk Brit and he’s the American). I, like you, just *knew* we belonged together pretty much straight away. In the last 7.5 years we’ve had many working abroad and travelling adventures together and eventually got married last Spring! Luckily we both ended up in (different) careers that you can do all over the world and currently we live in Beijing! Happy Valentine’s day to you x
There is ALWAYS a drunk brit in the story! lol. So great you met someone abroad, and on the first day too! Fate for sure.
Ahhh. That is so cool! I met a guy last year when I was travelling and not looking for anyone. I thought the same and didn’t think I would meet someone who would be happy with a nomadic life like me. I knew within a week too and I think he is finally catching up. There’s distance between us at the moment but we speak every day and will be meeting up again soon. I never expected to meet anyone on the road but I just know that this is going to work out and can’t wait for our nomadic lives together!
So happy for you! Long distance can be hard when you’ve already met abroad and then have to separate again, thankful for Skype!
Awesome post! For the record, I saw all your posts and never once thought you were crazy for doing what you did. Jealous would be a more accurate term. I love that you’re doing exactly what you want to do and have found someone who just adds to the adventures. Keep it up :) Maybe one day I’ll get my butt to India and we can actually meet!
Happy to hear you didn’t think I was crazy! lol mostly it was family that thought I was nutso. Pleeeease get your bum to India! So many adventures waiting for you here! PLus, you’re right, it’s weird we haven’t met!
Oh I agree! I was TOTALLY not looking for a man when I was traveling in India… but it happened, and I’m still here 8 years later and still with him (now married)! Best wishes.
Oh wow 8 years! Where do you live in India?
In Mumbai. I’m friends with Elise. :-)
Oh that’s awesome!! We should all get together next time I come up!
…and I like his hair. LOL…
He has better hair than me!
I met my husband while travelling too. We had a 2.5 year long distance relationship at first while finishing uni and now have been together for 12 years (married for 8). So yes, it can definitely work out! :-)
jeez, 2.5 years is rough- and I thought 3 months would kill me! That’s great it worked out for you- it’s surprising how many people met their spouse traveling!
I actually met a guy while traveling 9 years ago who moved country to be with me. Our relationship lasted only a year and thank god… Longest and worst year of my life. But yes… he did change my life.
And to not be a complete downer on your lovely V-day post, let me just send you my congrats and happy vibes for you and your partner! I personally love a long haired guy. Totally sexy. haha but the “same same but different” comment is hilarious.
That is such a shame that it didn’t last, but if it wasn’t working then gotta move on! Thanks for the happy vibes!
I loved getting to read y’all’s story – most good things happen when you least expect it. Happy belated V-day to you two!
Thanks! You’re right, it’s always when you don’t see it coming
It’s so lovely to have someone like-minded to travel with! I remember worrying about ending up with someone and a dead-end mundane job, house, dog etc. I love travelling as a couple, and it’s great to be able to find someone who feels the same! :)
Exactly! I got very lucky meeting my bf when I did, I had been so bored with men back home and all my friends were getting married! ah! Traveling as a couple is new for me and so far I love it to!
Interesting post about finding your other half, congratulations by the way. I know it may not mean like much but having a good strong support base is important for this kind of lifestyle.
I too met the love of my life as a result of my travels, I too started out with the same intentions as you. But once we met there were feelings that were not retractable and thus we acted upon them. Now we live in Brisbane, Australia and have started a family +1, we still travel every year when we can sometimes up to 3 international destinations!
Anyway long story short I wish you both the best of luck on all your future endeavors. You may not know me (yet) or I may not know you (yet) but you’ve got my vote!
wow I hope that once I have a family I’ll still be traveling to 3 international locations a year! Good for you, that’s awesome!
Loved reading this story! Too cute. I, like you, have sworn off men. I dated throughout college, but moving abroad has been my time for me. I feel like it’s been the first time since college that I have had time to completely think about myself and not worry about who I’m meeting up with at the bar tonight.
Glad you found your match though!! You guys are adorable together :)
Good for you! Isn’t it so much better that way?!
Ahahah it’s so true! I also met my boyfriend during a boy strike, I told myself I really wanted to be single and I was actuallly enjoyed it, how did I end up with living with a boy again???? :)
On the other hand, a travel blogger needs a photographer, right? ;)
What a lucky match to meet a photographer! Boy strike= getting a boyfriend, it’s a strange world! :)
That’s an awesome story. I remember hosting a married couple from Chicago who actually had met through Couchsurfing – crazy!
That’s awesome! I’ve met 2 couples that met through CS as well! Very cool.
I absolutely love this post! I can totally relate to the whole accidental boyfriend thing. I met my boyfriend (a handsome ginger Irishman) on a random street corner in Bangkok and it has been love ever since. Sometimes it seems when we are not looking, even trying to avoid relationships they find us. Great site and story, Im definitely gonna keep following :)
that’s such a great story! You should write about it on your site if you haven’t already
Thanks Rachel. Are you still living in Goa? I am from North India, near Kolkata. I hope you enjoyed our festival seasons in the north or south. India is quiete religious. There are different types of people, many are good and many are bad. They are bad since they didnt get proper education due to lack of money or guidance. We are few fortunates but our aim should be to help the community to grow and spread humanity. I just wanted to you realize that life is beautiful with struggles and chaos. Its extraordinary. Hope you agree and continue spreading the right informaiotn about my country. Take care.
Iam reading ur blog for many days, today first time iam commenting on it,I congrat u for finding ur soulmate,u people are so lucky that u come together with each other.i had observed that finding a girl or boyfriend is quite easier
among u people.but it is very difficult for indians to have relationship before
marriage.iam 28 yeras old boy doing job never had any relationship with a girl and for atleast 2 yrs i cannot marry .I feel so depressed sometimes
Well keep traveling and seeing the world, and the girl for you will come along eventually- don’t let Indian customs not let you date, if you want to you should!
Just after reading your blog in dec 13,i decided that i have not visited goa once but now i have to visit anyhow.I travelled by train from Gujarat to thivim in Jan 2014,from there i took city bus to vagator and took a room there.I found that this is mini russia now,i visited vagator ,morjim ,ashwem beaches and morjim beach totally in control of russians ,even as an indian u can get feared at these place.I never found any opputunity to make friendship with girl or i was very feared.People were openly smoking hashish and late night parties were going on.
Also why did u choose goa to live and how did u earn money .Also i feel that european and usa girls hate indian guys and dont want to talk to them.
Hello Anuj. Yes there is hash and such in Goa but no more than Pushkar or Manali and it’s been this way for forty plus years. I can agree there are a lot of Russians here. American girls don’t hate Indian guys- I have lots of guy friends who are Indian. There are many types of people. Sometimes Indians come on vacation to Goa and they video tape me eating my dinner or try to sneak photos of my while I’m just standing there. That is what western girls don’t like, and the staring, so Indian guys who do this will probably not make any friends that way.
Yes, Rachel. Rightly said. I am an indian, living in Chile since 2 years. Its so wonderful to read your posts about my country which is immense soothing to explore. I too have traveled a lot in my country a but realization of life happened when I reached Chile.I met lot of friends who really are helping and friendly. I learnt the respect and humanity. Stating doing partys an I met my ex-girlfriend , a Latina, here in Chile. It was wonderful but sadly we had to depart. I wish you great life ahead. If you need any sort of help, please dont hesitate to message. I have been helping my many foreign friends to travel India, even if I work in company here in chile. Hugs and regards to your family. Take Care!
I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Chile!
Um, reading this was sort of creepy because it’s basically my exact love story, drunk Brit included. If anyone asks me about him I’ll just point them to this post ;)
wow lol, you should write up your version of meeting your drunk Brit- I’d love to read it!
Looks like a common trend! Except that my story doesn’t involve a drunken Brit or a boy strike!! I met my boyfriend while he was travelling in my country – he is Italian – and I was bored with the kiwi boys back home and keen to travel again – so it’s workd out perfectly! It’s funny to adapt to travelling as a couple, but it’s nice to know you always have someone to talk to on the road :)
oh what a lovely story! I think traveling as a couple is a nice change :D
Myself Dinesh, i would like to learn thai massage, would you teach & guide me for making a career. Contact 8714458084
Hope you are still in Goa. Expecting an early reply.
I am not qualified to teach massage.
I would like to learn Thai massage, will you teach me
Haha funny, I found my Ben on a chance trip home and now we’re heading off together in 5 weeks to be nomadic… YAY!
Love and Light From Mumbai, India
Keep Blogging :)
Thank you :)
“I had a fear of falling in love with someone wonderful… that would make me want to stay home, start a boring life, and forget what I’m really passionate about.”
Also, in my case I’d take it even further and say that an overall fear of commitment (to a guy, to a corporate job, to a lease) is what haunts me. I don’t want to add anchors to a place I want to leave somewhat soon, ya know? I’ve gotta believe there’s a travel-loving soul out there for me, a way to work while being location independent, and plenty of housing options in places far less torturous than NYC.
And you’re right. The only way I’m going to find all that is if I book a ticket and get outta here. Thanks for the swift kick in the butt! :)
I’m glad you can relate to the post! I’m happy to keep kicking people in the butt til they find their happiness!
I have traveled a fair amount and wanted to get off the road and the planes! Home was great, and my wife and I were very close.
She got cancer last year, suddenly, and was gone! After my wife died, and I started to recover a bit from the shock, I decided I really would like to put more time into my interests, since I’d not have anyone to care about. That lasted about 6 months. I finished two books and started on an album of jazz, my third love.
This may sound really corny, but a model in Michigan had read part of my story, and she began to pray I would get my mind back. I was a mess, writing because I was hurting from the pain of my wife, leaving me alone. I didn’t want a woman in my life.
I didn’t pay any attention to this woman, who would write me about once a month to check on me….I was helping her, because her mom died of cancer in the middle of my own recovery of cancer killing my wife. I needed to stay really busy, so was driving myself nuts trying to escape the nightmares.
Finally, this friend sent me a picture of herself. She had been beaten the night before, and was sobbing because a bunch of boys had tried to rape her. Someone stopped, seeing them all ganged up on a girl alone and they ran off.
Her picture stole my heart that following morning…eyes that were not filled with hate or pain, but forgiveness, yes, some fear, but mostly love. She was traveling at the time, so there was no way the guys were going to pay for what they’d done. I fell in love with her, after swearing to my self that I’d never again, see the beauty I’d seen in my wife. I saw in Sherry’s eyes, something I didn’t have, and that was peace in the midst of a storm. Here, a model, was praying for me. I melted, and fell in love.
We’re writing very different emails now. And no, I’m not a kid…well over 50…
i am looking for a nice friendship girl from goa mumbai
“I’m not getting in a relationship while travelling.” – My Famous Last Words. LOL.. It just happens doesn’t it? Here’s my story .. http://wp.me/p4g3Gz-3T
hahah, true! Going to read you story now!
Thats wonderful! I have to say, I fell into the exact same bucket. I moved to Amsterdam for seven months, and was having a blissful time by myself. And on the sixth month (after not looking or even caring to look), the universe dropped a wonderful man right in front of me. Come month seventh he decided to move back to my country with me, and we’ve been together ever since!
Its surprising how sometimes what looks like it could be a travel fling could really turn out to be the real thing
wow that’s amazing. Was it easy for him to move abroad?
Yeah, it wasn’t too bad. Singapore is very friendly to foreigners; large expat community here. I think he has a better job and life here than he did in Amsterdam!
Hi. Glad you wrote this post, made me feel like I’m not alone.
I met this South African when he was travelling Penang, Malaysia and I was just making a short weekend gateway where we happened to stay in the same hostel. We bonded very well which ended up him visiting where I live three times after the Penang trip ends. I remember I wasn’t even dressed up at all, not even with any simple makeup on my face, very little alcohol involved when the romance happened.
Unfortunately both of us had to return to reality now. He has a new work contract at home for two years where he won’t have time and money to travel out of the African continent, and my new job here in Kuala Lumpur does not financially support flying to him either. So yes, here we are stuck knowing we have no future together.
The entire experience itself, though, was really a sweet one. It does feel more real than any past relationships I’ve had.
That’s sad , but only for now- you never know how things can change so it’s always ok to hold on to some hope you could still end up with him
Well, he does not want to do a LDR. A lot of things happened ever since, we had a fair bit of dramas with each other and now remain just friends. I only spend time texting him after dinner til I fall asleep everyday (it’s afternoon to dinner on his side). Not sure what will turn out of this, but if it dies, I guess it really wasn’t meant to be to begin with. :/
Wow what an awesome story!! Sooooo cute and so happy for you!! keeping my travel dreams alive.
i have just found your blog and its JUST what little 19 year old me needed!! :)
Great Katie!!! thanks for reading.
This rules. I love that instantaneous love! And it’s right, love is everywhere and sometimes you find yours half way across the world!
Ever came to north east india? U must one day. Its mini india.
I need to go abroad again..
Argh so cute, I love stories like this. Yes I too had sworn off boys, quit my job in England and flew to Asia. On my 17th day I met a French boy who ‘followed’ me around Asia (we were doing the same kind of route but I like to say he followed me). 14 months together and we are stronger than ever even after doing a 8 month stretch in England! Yay Traveller love stories
I left for SE Asia with a similar no boys attitude that fell apart after the first week! I met an incredible man, we traveled together for a bit and 5 months later we got married. Life gives amazing gifts.
wowza!! You’re right life does – these stories keep popping up.. more reasons for single girls to travel ;)
Hi Rachel, we just saw your house hunters international which aired tonight…and I looked up your blog… you 2 make a great couple–on your blog and on TV as well.
My wife (Rosalia from Recife, Brazil) and I live in Venice Beach, CA… But travel often…and Goa is on our list, especially because of the Portuguese connection.
I look forward to digging into all the info you have here in the next few days!
Hi Craig, thanks for commenting. I haven’t seen the show yet but heard from my mom and dad it went okay. I’m sure you’ll love Goa esp with your wife’s background!
Hi Rachel, I also saw your House Hunters International episode and looked up your travel blog. Glad to see you two are still together and that you found someone who is just as passionate about travel as you are. I also have a new travel blog and am hopeful I’ll meet my fellow traveler soon!
awesome, i’m so happy you found my blog! I’ll check out yours as well.
Just two of your statements made me crazy:
– “I have a fear of falling in love with someone wonderful… that would make me want to stay home, start a boring life, and forget what I’m really passionate about.”
– ” You can be happy forever, but that doesn’t mean they are your soul mate.”
Super amazing quotes! I wonder why I have never met someone like you?!? These statements perfectly define myself. Recently I have started independent solo backpacking & has hooked up with that. I am avid traveller who doesn’t care about money, fame, fortune. I wish if some day I can meet someone with the same mentality.
BTW, I am an Indian & at present living in North America. Travelling is a part of my life now :)
Thanks for the nice write-up, I appreciate your mental viewpoints.
glad you can relate! i hope you get to travel often and far!
I can relate in bits, for sure.
I traveled to the UK some time back, had been going through a breakup, and men weren’t on my cards (still possibly aren’t?)
Met an irish guy, and am in love!
I think we share a fairly reciprocatory relationship, but the glitch being he’s engaged.
Cannot complain about life, would really like to be with him, but not at the cost of his happiness or mine.
Happy where i am, and sometimes being in love (the feeling) keeps you going i suppose.
That does sound complicated! Hope everything works out for you x
Hi Rachel. Thank you for the read. I agree with all your points but i’m not exactly sure what you mean when you say, you can be happy forever but that doesn’t mean they are your soul mate.
I can really relate to this! I wanted to do the whole be single/travel the world/I don’t need no man thing for a while… and then whoops! I met my current boyfriend. Now, I’m an expat in Spain, on the other side of the world from home. Funny how tiny chance meetings can change your life so drastically!
hahah! great to hear! good for you
I just found your blog and love it!
Last summer I travelled alone to Morocco for ten days, and also wasn’t at all expecting to meet anyone, but at a hostel in the middle of my trip I met a cute American guy and changed all my plans for the rest of the trip to follow him to the Sahara for a 3-day tour. It was really fun and we said we’d try to meet up in South East Asia a year later (this coming summer). So we’ve been discussing it, problem is I’m pretty broke, but he also wants to go to India and I started considering the option and looked up travel blogs… Which is how I found yours, and it really made me want to come to India! So I hope I can make it happen ;)
Anyway, I really love your blog, I don’t read many of them but I find yours very inspiring and I think we’re pretty similar (especially the being a hippie and a Barbie at the same time aspect). I’ll keep reading!
Hi Maria, that’s such a great story! Budgeting for India is of course a lot easier than other places and is even almost 1/2 the price of Thailand so if there’s anywhere you could meet him on a budget.. India is the place! I hope it works out for you guys! :D
I love your post!
Totally understand you! i’ve been to 62 countries and counting, met my boyfriend working on a cruise ship and lived in 5 countries. My true love is traveling! haha
Wow that sounds like a really good adventure! Awesome, and thanks for sharing!
OMG saw you two on House Hunters International:)))) ahhhhh how awesome xo
Hahah yep that was us!! :)
My husband is Japanese. I was not abroad when we met, but he was. He had zero intention of finding a girlfriend in Canada, and I’d never been actively seeking a boyfriend. But we met and knew pretty quickly that it was meant to be. Ten years later, we are nearing out five year wedding anniversary and living in Japan together!
Amazing! Thanks for sharing your story. I bet living in Japan is so interesting.
Hi Hippy in Heels,
Thank you for sharing your story.
From your post I get the idea that one of the reasons you started traveling was to meet someone?And that you encourage others to do so?
I am not sure about it.I really don’t think that meeting your soulmate/ life partner should be something people carry in their prefrontal cortex. And do anything to find him/her. I think the most important thing is to be yourself and live the life you love. Whatever is meant to be will be if you accept it.
Hmmm, I’m not sure you read the post – it’s about how I specifically did NOT want to meet someone and it accidentally happened.
Rachel, I love your website! I, too, accidentally met my Ecuadorian wife while traveling. I was studying art in SoCal, and came to Madrid to study in the museums for a semester, and met my wife in a cyber cafe. Our first date was on a Thursday, and by Monday I had moved out of my hostal and into her apartment! We were married nine months later (no it isn’t what you are thinking!), and now have been together for almost 18 years here, with a three year detour in Quito, then back again. Travelling is great and being an expat is even better.
We have been looking for someplace less expensive (Spain’s housing costs have gone through the roof since it has been discovered by. . . everyone), but because my wife has third-stage Parkinson’s, we need somewhere with socialized medicine which is available to foreigners. How is the medical/hospital situation in Goa?
Thank you for a wonderful site, and amazing stories! Hope all goes perfectly in your new Mexican home (I love Mexico and the Mexican people, and the food is my favorite, right along with Indian food).
Great to meet you! Hospitals in Goa are okayyyy – nothing amazing and you have to go private but honestly, they aren’t up to par! And even for India prices, medical care at a private hospital can add up.