Vacation Goggles: Why Not All Travel Romances Are Meant to Be


I met Johan* on a single of my final nights in Paris. Tanned and muscular, I spotted him across a half-empty bar, sitting with a couple of his mates. My pal and I conveniently located empty seats subsequent to them, and quickly we had been all chatting, a group of vacationers in this foreign land. Johan was not only handsome, he was funny in a charmingly blunt way, throwing in a couple of Swedish words right here and there to mess me up or to see my reaction. At the finish of the evening, he asked me for my quantity.

Following a series of really flirtatious texts more than the subsequent two days, we lastly arranged to meet for dinner. I was returning to London the subsequent morning, but he insisted on meeting up ahead of I left. We spent some of my final hours in Paris consuming escargot and steak tartar in a tiny bistro in the Latin Quarter, drinking far also substantially low-priced wine out of glass jugs. Due to the fact it was a warm evening, we decided to go for a stroll along the Seine we walked hand in hand all the way to the Eiffel Tower, watched it glitter in the black sky. I swear to God that when we 1st kissed, I heard accordion music, as if a Parisian soundtrack was cued up and prepared to play at any romantic occurrence.

“I’d like to come see you in London,” Johan nuzzled his face into my neck, his stubble brushing against my cheek.

“Really?” I laughed as coyly as I could. “Maybe. That may well be good.”

And inside, I was considering: holy shit, can you visualize if I landed this hot Swedish dude as my boyfriend and we met in FUCKING PARIS?! And our 1st kiss was beside the EIFFEL TOWER, like some thing out of a created-for-Television film?! Do not SCREW THIS UP, BRENNA. I mean… c’mon. I was mentally higher-fiving myself even though simultaneously preparing my new summer time dwelling in Sweden.

The subsequent day I was beaming from ear to ear as Johan and I texted the whole time I was on the Eurostar back to London. And by the time the train had pulled into St. Pancras, Johan had booked a flight from Gothenburg to London in two weeks time. I was actually buzzing.

The subsequent two weeks dragged I basically couldn’t wait to see “the hot Swede”, as my pals and I had dubbed him. I bragged about him at the pub, I told all the juicy particulars to my coworkers, and I permitted myself to daydream about all of the entertaining factors we’d do in London. Johan and I continued to text every single day, and I got a rush of adrenaline every single time I saw a message from him come by way of.

Lastly, the day arrived. I was a bundle of nerves as I took the train to Heathrow Airport, frequently checking my telephone and applying layer immediately after layer of powder (this is why I in no way give myself also substantially time to get prepared for a date I’ll just nervously apply layers upon layers of makeup till my eyelashes are glued collectively and I have so substantially foundation on that I will need a chisel to eliminate it). As crowds started to emerge from the baggage claim doors, my heart beat more rapidly and more rapidly nonetheless.

And then: I saw him. I was virtually worried that I wouldn’t recognise him we had only met a couple of instances, immediately after all, and had only exchanged texts considering that then. He walked toward me somewhat gradually we had an awkward hug, but at least my nerves subsided a tiny bit.

“It’s fantastic to see you,” we smiled at each and every other, nonetheless unsure what to do and say. We chatted about his flight, and about the train to London, all little speak to fill the air amongst us as we walked toward the Heathrow Express.

I cannot inform you the precise moment I realised I had created a substantial error. Was it his orange track jacket and intentionally ripped jeans? No, I’m not that superficial, am I? (Do not answer that) Was it the way he barged onto the train ahead of me and a lady with a pram? Hmm, obtaining warmer. Was it when he told me he DIDN’T LIKE CHEESE OR… wait for it… DOGS?! Um, yes, we’re obtaining hotter nonetheless. Or probably it was this:

When I told him what I had told my pals – that I met a handsome stranger in Paris, and he had swept me off my feet – they all believed it was extremely romantic that we had been meeting for our second date in London. Some believed it was a bit crazy, but every person stated some thing cute or funny or encouraging.

“What did your pals say?” I asked him, smiling, certainly hoping for a related answer.

“They stated, ‘Excellent job, you are going to get pussy’,” he responded, unflinching. I believed I had misheard him. Certainly no one in their correct thoughts would admit that to a person they barely knew, even if it was true… English as a second language be damned. Correct?!

Awkward as all hell, I laughed. “Um… definitely? That is what they stated? Have been they joking??”

And in my thoughts I believed, Please be joking, please be joking, this may well be an OK joke if he’s like, “No, of course they wouldn’t say that, we’re not Neanderthals,” or, “Gotcha! No, I’m not an asshole,” or “Ew, gross, no, who says pussy?” oh sweet Jesus, please be joking.

“No, they weren’t joking,” he reiterated, searching at me with nary a wisp of sarcasm.

So I take it back. Don’t forget when I stated I couldn’t inform you the precise moment I had created a substantial error? I LIED. IT WAS Correct THEN – significantly less than half an hour immediately after greeting him. It was going to be a extended 48 hours, I believed, as I stared straight ahead, my vacation goggles firmly ripped off.


I want I could inform you that Johan was an anomaly – that these sorts of occurrences are couple of and far amongst. But I do not hide the reality that I’ve enjoyed getting travel romances more than the previous 12 years of solo travel I usually uncover it substantially less complicated to meet guys when I’m travelling than it is when I’m settled at dwelling. And even though a lot of the travel romances I have keep specifically that – travel romances – a couple of have followed me dwelling. But you know what they virtually all have in typical? These damn vacation goggles.

Bear with me. You know the phrase beer goggles? Apparently, with each and every beer you drink, the individual in front of you becomes a lot more and a lot more appealing. I’ll be the 1st to admit that this has occurred to me when or twice (*cough* a dozen instances *cough*) – emboldened by a couple of drinks, I’ll flirt with a person, agree to go out with a person, or even make out with a person I may perhaps not have been attracted to without the need of the assistance of alcohol. Inevitably, the subsequent morning, reviewing the conversation in my head, I’ll wonder what on earth I was considering.

In these 12 years of travelling to almost 100 nations, I’ve certainly met pretty a couple of persons I in all probability would have in no way met had I stayed in Winnipeg my whole life. Even though I really feel extremely grateful for all of my travel experiences, at the best of the list of my factors for gratitude are the persons I’ve met and the pals I’ve created. I have also met a handful (I can match a lot in my hand, OK?) of persons who have grow to be romantic partners, some even turning into significant or semi-significant partners.

By means of all these backpacking adventures, there had been dozens of flirtations and short encounters (even though most of them have been firmly PG-13… hostels are wonderful for meeting persons but not for essentially getting any alone time). I’ve kissed a Serbian in Myanmar, a Welshman in Poland, a Kiwi in Honduras, an Irishman in Colombia, a Dane in Tanzania, an Argentinian in Norway, and a Norwegian in Argentina. I’ve gone on dates with a fantastic chunk of representatives of the Commonwealth. Though I’ve dated Canadians, I’ve essentially in no way had a Canadian boyfriend.

There was the American I met in Denmark we created extended distance operate for almost eight months. He was the 1st guy I was ever crazy head-more than-heels for, and we would create these insanely extended emails to each and every other every single day. I wrote this story about him – a single of my favourites on this weblog – and the 1st half of this post, also.

There was the Aussie I met in Vietnam we only knew each and every other for two days, and then, more than everyday Facebook chats, we arranged to meet up once again in Sri Lanka. He later moved to Japan to be with me. We lasted more than a year – I wrote this story about him, and it remains a single of my favourite posts on this weblog.

There was the other American I met in Thailand though he was interested in my pal at 1st, a month later I located myself sitting beside him on a bus to Cambodia, and from then on we had been inseparable. He even came to my dad’s wedding. We had been collectively for eight months or so, and I wrote this story about him.

But there had been lots of misses, also.

There was the Turkish man I met on Koh Lanta, Thailand, the 1st travel romance I had on my grand backpacking adventure of Southeast Asia. He wooed me for a complete week, and then told me he had a fiancé back dwelling. 4 years later, back on Koh Lanta, I met an Englishman. He wooed me, also, even maintaining up the charade for a couple of months when we had been each back in the UK. Following coming to go to me in London, he also confessed to getting a person else in his life. Needless to say, I’m avoiding all travel romances on Koh Lanta from right here on out.

In Cape Town, I created out with a hot cricket player that is apparently super well-known in South Africa. All evening persons had been coming up to us (let’s be sincere, they had been coming up to him) and getting us (him) drinks. I googled him the subsequent day and located out he’s MARRIED. Married… WITH Youngsters. I felt awful immediately after that a single, even even though I couldn’t have recognized the evening ahead of.

A couple of years ago, there was an Italian. You didn’t believe I kept going back to Italy just for the pasta, did you? OK, fair adequate, the pasta essentially is that fantastic. He ended up ghosting me immediately after months of everyday conversations and international rendezvous. I was more than the connection at that point anyway, but I nonetheless anticipated a civilised goodbye.

And then, of course, there was Johan and his vomit-inducing remarks.

And even though some of these travel romances – the American, the Aussie, the other American – turned into extended-term factors, the majority of the persons I’ve met even though travelling turn into absolutely nothing but a entertaining memory (or a fantastic weblog post, hah).

Let’s face it: several travel romances are doomed to fail. I’m not even speaking about the reality that you may perhaps come from unique cities or even nations, which means it is substantially a lot more complicated to continue the connection when you get dwelling. When you travel, your senses are heightened you are open to new factors, eager to practical experience it all, and all the things and every person appears thrilling. All the things sparkles, all the things feels shiny and new. You are not just selecting up girls or guys at your nearby bar, you are chatting to strangers with accents on beaches and mountaintops and in cities you are not pretty confident you are pronouncing adequately. It all feels so terribly intoxicating, an unfamiliar rush of feelings and hormones. For instance, as substantially as I’d enjoy to say that a Canadian accent does it for me every single time, the reality is, if you take an OK-searching guy with a dull character but give him a Scottish accent, I’ll in all probability propose marriage inside the 1st 5 minutes.

In my practical experience, all of these intensified feelings imply you are not necessarily analysing your new possible companion with the exact same eyes. Would I nonetheless have been attracted to all of these guys if we met at the grocery retailer down the road? I doubt it. With my vacation goggles removed, I recognize that, for instance, I was attracted to the Italian mainly because he spoke Italian and lived in Italy. It sounds so horribly trite, but it is correct we had virtually absolutely nothing to speak about, and I located his opinions pretty boorish and antiquated. As soon as the charm of the accent wore off, I was left feeling bored and angry with him. That dull Scottish guy I talked about above? Perhaps I’d propose quickly, but I’d in all probability ask for a divorce a week later when the pheromones wore off.

Combine these feelings of intense lust and longing with the time limit of a looming plane ticket dwelling? Turns me into putty, every single single time.

Now do not get me incorrect – I’m not saying that vacation romances In no way final, nor am I discouraging any person from getting them. I just know from *ahem* a bit of practical experience that there are lots of other aspects at play, ones that add up to an equation that signifies not all travel romances are destined for the extended haul. Even though extended distance relationships are definitely complicated – I’ve been in 4 – they are also doable if each parties are equally invested, and I know lots of couples who have created it operate regardless of the miles.

But hey – if a travel fling is all that you are immediately after, and your companion is up for the exact same point, go forth and do your point (safely, of course). I’ve worn my vacation goggles several instances with pride, and have no regrets about any of the flirtations or the make outs (save the dudes with partners back dwelling, that just ain’t cool). I also have to admit that some of the persons I met travelling created for remarkable vacation flings, but when we met up at dwelling – without the need of the palm trees and the suntans and the laid-back vacation attitudes – I felt that the magic was missing, and I’m confident they felt the exact same way. (I wrote a story all about that phenomenon that you can study right here.)

And if factors Do not operate out amongst you and your vacation romance, that is OK, also. There had been some guys I knew for particular would just be a entertaining flirtation, but there had been other individuals – the American, the Aussie, and the other American – that I definitely wanted in my life. I was extremely sad when these relationships didn’t operate out, but now, searching back at them, I appreciate what they taught me. In reality, all travel romances, no matter their length, have shown me a lot: they gave me remarkable memories of locations – how several persons can say they’ve created out in front of the Eiffel Tower?! – and they also gave me an appreciation for other cultures and approaches of searching at life.

Oh yeah, and the purpose these extended-term travel romances didn’t operate out? They weren’t necessarily mainly because they started as a vacation fling. In the finish, regardless of how we met, these relationships just weren’t meant to be.

Are all travel romances meant to final? No, but neither are several of the relationships had at dwelling. I would wager that travel romances have the exact same achievement price – if we’re defining achievement as happily staying collectively – as a connection that does not commence on vacation. That magic that from time to time wears off when you meet up with a travel romance at dwelling? Hell, that takes place with persons I go on dates with at dwelling all the time. It is known as getting human and not settling till you uncover the correct individual for you.

Regardless of what you are immediately after when you travel, delight in meeting new persons and, if you are into it, seeing exactly where it goes. Who knows? You may well uncover your soul mate. You may well also uncover a Swedish guy named Johan who you quickly regret inviting to London, but you will in no way know unless you give it a attempt.

I in no way regret the experiences I’ve had, mainly because each and every a single teaches me a tiny bit a lot more about myself and a tiny a lot more about what I’m searching for in a companion (or not searching for in a companion). Do not be afraid of vacation goggles. Often you see the circumstance for what it is – Johan – and from time to time, just from time to time, you eliminate them, and it turns out it didn’t matter that you met in Denmark or Vietnam or Paris. Often you realise that you could have met in that grocery retailer down the road and felt the exact same way. That the globe brought the two of you collectively, no matter the situations, and it is the most remarkable point.

And c’mon, it sounds a hell of a lot cooler to say you met in Zanzibar than saying you met on Tinder.


It was a really, really extended weekend with Johan. I want I could say that factors got improved, that more than the subsequent 48 hours I realised he was the excellent man for me, a person with whom I had remarkable chemistry, but no. These vacation goggles had been operating overtime in Paris. I conveniently got the flu mere hours into his visit…….. *cough*. Factors went into steep decline from there, culminating with him missing his train to the airport and me essentially pushing him into a taxi so that he wouldn’t miss his flight and keep even a moment longer. I essentially hid behind a newspaper stand so that he wouldn’t be capable to wave goodbye to me from the car or truck window, mainly because I’m definitely mature and classy like that.

But do I regret that travel romance with Johan? Not at all. I got to have a entertaining date in Paris, got to have a blissful couple of weeks of anticipation and infatuation, and, yep, got a weblog post out of it.

The bottom line: travelling is about meeting new persons. If a single of them turns out to be a romantic companion, that is amazing. If not… you will usually have Paris.

What do you believe of travel romances? Have you ever had a vacation fling? Did it turn into some thing a lot more? For all of my vacation romance stories, make confident to verify out The Final Time I Saw You series. For all the things I’ve written about dating and relationships, click right here. 


*You guessed it: all names and identifying traits have been changed, even though the stories are correct.


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