Am I Destined To Wander The World All Alone?

Am I Destined To Wander The World All Alone?

By |2016-07-21T23:47:11-04:00September 17th, 2012|Perspectives|116 Comments

Wandering All Alone
Having just woken up from a night’s sleep on my rock bed inside the cave where I am now staying, a remote cave far, far away from any civilization, I think I’ll head outside for a walk. Of course, since I woke up alone, as I always do, I’ll just wander down to the river by myself, sit down on the grassy riverbank, toss small stones into the cool water and become lost in my thoughts.

Chances are I won’t even speak today, but that’s alright, because I’m used to it. Rarely do I meet or talk to anyone during my wanderings, no matter where I am. The truth is, a life of travel requires me to accept an isolated, lonely existence, and nothing else.

Sure, it would be nice to have a companion, a partner, a girlfriend, someone to share my wanderings and my life with. But again, that’s just not possible with this kind of lifestyle. When you travel the world non-stop, there is simply no room for personal relationships, no room for love. My backpack is the only partner I can have, and the only partner I need.

Wait, wait, wait…hold on a minute. I must apologize.

You know, I am constantly asked how I can possibly live such a lifestyle, one that gives me zero chance of having a relationship with someone else. I think I’ve heard this question so many times that I started to believe it myself as I began writing this post.

It seems that when many people hear that I’ve been traveling for thirteen years, they quickly assume that I must be some sort of wandering monk or maybe just some kind of weirdo who walks around alone, barely speaking, rarely interacting with other people and absolutely never having any type of relationship or gettin’ any lovin’ at all. They think I must be a hermit.

Well, surprise! I’ve actually had a few long-term relationships over the years (more than 1 year in length) and I’ve had some shorter relationships as well. I’m meeting new people all of the time, and yes, I do talk to and socialize with them, just as non-nomadic people talk to and socialize with each other. Also, as is the case with everyone else on the planet, I never know where such interactions may lead. Sometimes, ‘something’ happens. Some of the people I meet become friends, others become girlfriends and with some, we might exchange a smooch or two and then carry on with our own lives. And maybe one day, someone I meet will become a lifelong partner. It’s certainly possible and I’m open to the idea.

Not very hermit-like of me, I know.

As you may have noticed, though, the one thing I don’t talk much about on this blog is this very subject, my personal relationships. I’m more than happy to talk about my armpit shaving and introduce you to my rubber ducky, but I do prefer to keep at least one aspect of my life all to myself. Again, this doesn’t mean that I’m a lonely, lover-less traveler, at least not all the time.


So Many People To Meet!

If you’re worried that following your travel goals will force you to give up any chance whatsoever of finding a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, my advice is to stop worrying. In fact, you should be quite excited because your travels will allow you to meet new people all over this great planet, people you otherwise would have never encountered. And you never know if the next person you’ll meet in some faraway, or even nearby, land will be the snuggle bunny or sexy sweet thang you’ve been waiting for.

My theory is that I have a higher chance of finding someone I can truly connect with if I am doing something that I truly love in life. Following my goals puts me into situations where I am able to meet like-minded people all the time, such as other travelers and locals interested in meeting foreigners, something that would be much more difficult to do if I was living in one particular town or city back in the USA.

Can Such a Relationship Last?

This is another common question – how is it possible to maintain a relationship while traveling?

If you do find someone that you connect with and want to spend more time with, you just have to examine your situation. If both of you have a desire to travel, then off you go into the world together. If your new partner is not able to travel or doesn’t want to travel, it’s decision time. You simply have to determine what is more important to you – spending time with this new person or carrying on with your journey. It might not be an easy decision to make, but ultimately, you will find the answer if you search deep enough.

As an example, maybe you travel to South America for three months and during your third week you meet the man or woman of your dreams in Buenos Aires. What to do? You could always postpone your travels, especially if you’re flexible and don’t organize too much in advance. You could stick around Buenos Aires for some time and see where the relationship leads. Maybe it will work out. Maybe it won’t. If it doesn’t, you move on and continue traveling. If it does, you stay with your partner and create new plans together.

And besides, if you do find someone who you really think is a perfect match for you, then chances are your entire mindset will change (which happens often in life anyway). You’ll reevaluate your goals and make changes to your life accordingly. You might not want to travel so much anymore if that means losing your new honey, baby, sweetie, darling, angel eyes, pumpkin, stud, pooh bear, cupcake, buttercup, sugar lips, booberry, dumpling, daddy mack or love muffin.

Even I, despite being so completely addicted to travel, would change my lifestyle if I found the perfect love muffin.

What’s your opinion? Do you think travel makes it harder to find a partner?

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  1. Mark November 22, 2016 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Right now I feel stuck in a corporate type job that doesn’t seem to suit me, but then again many people feel that way. I would love to wander the Earth a bit and try to find out who I am, maybe once my two sons are on their own. Good luck, I hope you all find what you are searching for.

  2. Kendal December 16, 2013 at 12:15 am - Reply

    Whew, 6 months! I don’t know if I could be without my guy for 6 months. We’ve already done a couple of months here and there and will be facing several more in the next year. Traveling is definitely tough when you have different ideas of where to go and what to do… but some solo travel is good. 🙂

  3. Abilene December 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    He enjoys road trips and exploring towns but has no interest in wandering around in the wilderness like I do. There is more to it but my need to travel was the deciding factor. He is not very adventurous. I probably wouldn’t have left him if I hadn’t hiked the PCT solo for 6 months.

  4. Kendal December 14, 2013 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    Why can’t you….? 🙂 My man and I are planning some solo and joint travel for 2014… doesn’t your guy want to travel?

  5. Abilene December 14, 2013 at 11:10 am - Reply

    I recently left the love of my life for a life of solo travel and self exploration. It’s been the most difficult decision of my life and I can’t help but feel like I did something wrong. I am just so torn! I have severe wanderlust and have a need to explore the world but I also want my man:( why can’t I have both?

  6. Shelley July 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    I may not have been as avid a traveler as Earl, but I was a Wanderlust. I met my husband in India. I got married, settled down and had two children. I haven’t been to a new country in 5 years. And I’m OK with that, because i have found a different kind of happy. Hope to pack up my family and travel with them soon too. The best gift I can give my children is the gift of travel and seeing the world. Best.Education.Ever.

  7. Allie June 20, 2013 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    I’ve never feared a lack of relationship while travelling. I think when it comes to changing my mindset, a paradox must occur. They would have to love me enough to travel, and I would have to love them enough to stop.

  8. Kendal April 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Awwww. Why not move to Toronto and make that your home base, and go travel abroad once you move there? Try a compromise! I love traveling, but gosh, having someone special… I’d love that more.

  9. Julian April 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    This thread resonates dearly with me! Just last week in fact me and my girlfriend, after having just come back from Mexico had the breakup-of-the-century because she wants to move to Toronto, and I want to go travel abroad. Given my uncommitted attitude to moving in with her in Toronto, it was a sticky situation for sure. She is the most beautiful and inspiring person I’ve ever been with….but I guess to me, nothing beats the open road. For better or worse, we will see where my decisions take me!

  10. Zach @ The True Generalist April 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    This is a question I have also struggled with. Although I didn’t look through ALL of the comments, I found a lot of positive sentiments toward finding someone, but not a lot of actual finding someones. I have a theory as to the reason for this.

    You, and many of your readers are used to being free. You’re used to being able to do what you wanna do when you wanna do it. I know this because i’ve set up my life to travel and be free. The problem is, when you try to form a life with someone similar, you both want to continue to be free and do what you want to do and the idea that you will both want to always do the same things is silly. So naturally, at some point your views will diverge. When you’re in an anchored relationship, you struggle through these times to get to the other side, but when you’re used to your freedom, you both just decide, “Oh, we weren’t meant for each other,” and you move on.

    So of course it’s totally easy to have a bf or gf for a while, even a year, but a life long partner this way? I don’t think so. You’ve got to anchor that relationship in something deeper than a lifestyle that by definition is anchored in nothing.

  11. Ksenia March 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the honest post, Earl, I truly enjoy reading your blog. However, this issue of whether or not you will meet someone because you are not stable or rooted in one place doesn’t just apply to the travel bugs out there- as an exploration geologist, my life takes me all over the world, sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes for a month, or as recently, 2 years. Each time I am faced with the decision: is the new adventure worth losing what I have here, right now? And always, I say “yes!”-what is meant to be, will be. Recently, I had my “significant other” follow me to my place of work, halfway around the world, only to find out that we probably would have been better off being apart anyways. I am a firm believer that you should not let fear stop you-be it fear of missing out, fear of change, or fear of being alone for an indefinite amount of time- and I salute all of you brave souls out there who dare to explore what beyond what is familiar and comfortable. If someone truly wants to share their journey with you, it will happen- regardless of time, place, circumstances and plans.

    • Kendal March 30, 2013 at 1:21 am - Reply

      Thank you for that encouragement! 🙂 I’d love to find someone to join me on my journey soon… he must be out there somewhere.

  12. Kay March 6, 2013 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    I love this blog !! I will soon we a travel like you ! coincidentally my last name is traveler (in dutch) Btw ! You should Visit Suriname, South America ! (borders British and french Guiana and Brazil) You”ll love the food ! no regrets !! I promise ! 😀 happy travels


    • Wandering Earl March 8, 2013 at 11:33 am - Reply

      Hey Kay – I will get there at some point!!

  13. LeslieRI February 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    The one steadfast rule about relationships is there are no rules!
    Earl, I really enjoy your travel tales and I’d like to know how many 50ish women are out there wondering if they, too, can >broaden< their horizons, forgive the pun. I've spent my entire life assuming Responsibilities to discover I think I missed something. Following you, Earl, is the next best thing. Thank you for letting me come along.
    And I think I've seen baby sized backpacks!! LOL

    • Wandering Earl February 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      Hey Leslie – There is no shortage of 50ish women out here traveling the world, that’s for sure. While they might not make up the majority, it is not as rare as you might think. I’m here in Mexico right now and have already met two in the three days I’ve been here!

  14. Kat February 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    I’ve given this subject a lot of thought before leaving and truthfully it is still hard to begin my journey knowing I have someone here, at home that I feel is my better half. However, traveling is truly a passion and goal of mine that I want to fulfill more than anything. What will happen when I have to leave? I am too afraid to know right now. Thanks for all your wise words.

  15. Veronica May February 22, 2013 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    Hey I think your travel story is amazing. I travel all the time when i’m not working on a vessel in the ocean, so sometimes i think i’ve made it impossible for myself to be in a relationship. But i would never be as free as i am now to explore anywhere in the world i want, and just pick a place on the map as my next destination. It’s exhilarating! And the right person will come along when it’s meant to be 🙂

    • Wandering Earl February 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      Hey Veronica – Yes, you never know how or where you’ll meet the right person and there’s no natural law that prevents you from meeting someone while living the life that you want!

  16. This American Girl February 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Sometimes I’m afraid that I won’t have a relationship again because I travel so much. However, like you said, I trust that if I continue living my life the way I want to, the right people will come into it. Great post 🙂

    • Wandering Earl February 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      @This American Girl – It just seems silly to stay at home hoping you meet the right person when you could be out there traveling the world and still have plenty of opportunities to meet the right person as well!

  17. kle February 9, 2013 at 7:12 am - Reply

    I have some strong feelings about this subject, i don’t think it’s impossible to have a long lasting relationship whilst travelling the world. But i have one exception: if you have a relationship BEFORE departing, then i’m afraid it is not likely to last long. There are exceptions of course, just saying in general.
    On the other hand, you said something very true: while travelling you find people with a similar mind setting, similar goals and interests in life and this is a huge help in finding someone “Perfect” for you. Having meaningful relationship is not easy anywhere, it became easier when you find the right one. Being at home or around the world doesn’t make any difference. My dream would be being able to travel the world indefinately with the person i love. I’m leaving tomorrow and i thank the lord, the faith or whatever that i’m not leaving anyone behind. I feel free and open to the world and to whatever life has on its pockets for me! 🙂

  18. lauramay February 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    I’ve been travelling for nearly ten years myself, and in many ways this is a concern of mine. Whenever I stop for a little while and meet people who’ve been on The Career Path since the day they left school (if not before), I’m struck by the idea that we live in completely different worlds. The more I travel and grow as a person, the more that sheer difference becomes an issue for me: but at the same time, I am *so* happy. I wouldn’t swap my life for anyone’s! Haha until that day (if!!) I find a reason to stop travelling, I’m going to keep following the wind 🙂
    Great blog, thanks. I’m glad it’s not just me!

    • Wandering Earl February 5, 2013 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Hey Lauramay – It’s definitely not just you 🙂

  19. Mark January 31, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Wow! this article seriously just helped me a hell of alot! even though you did scare me to death in the first 3 paragraphs!! Im about to embark on a year long trip to canada – hoping that ill enjoy it so much that i will carry on travelling the world, using my already profitable online business as sustainance – but this is one thing that has been scaring me the most, i dont find it easy to make friends at home (possibly because all my mates are already in long term relationships or have moved away – so i dont get out too much) and having just broken up from a long term girlfriend, i was wondering if me taking off and travelling would stop me from ever finding close friends and love – im so bookmarking this page to read it again and again every time i feel scared! thank you so much for writing this!!

    • Wandering Earl February 5, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Hey Mark – Glad you found this post useful and believe me, even the shyest people usually end up making many friends while traveling. It just happens, as you’ll soon see!

  20. […] Do Long-Term Travelers Prepare For Retirement? Please Don’t Be Afraid to Travel on Your Own Am I Destined to Wander the World All Alone? How I Can Still Afford My Life of Travel What’s In The Closet…A Look At Everything I […]

  21. Emily December 13, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Great article. This is certainly a concern of mine as well. I have only been back in the USA for 3 months now (after 3 years abroad) and the pressure from my family to begin the typical suburban lifestyle is too much at times.

    I recently took a job in Tamil Nadu, India and I am very excited about my future travels and doing the work that I love to do. If love finds me… great. If not, I am content to live life doing what I love to do.

    • Wandering Earl December 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      Hey Emily – Working in Tamil Nadu sounds wonderful!

  22. rob November 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    sounds like mother earth is your lover earl, she’ll always be there for you

  23. Sab November 1, 2012 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Wonderful article!.
    Soon I will be traveling for 8 and a half months and after that i dont know.
    I might be a different person and have other dreams. I always had and still have this dilemma of following my dreams or ‘settling’. In my culture and in most cultures a 31 year old female is expected to ‘settle’ down not to travel. But i promised myself i wont silence any desire. I dont want to live someone else life. Still i feel confused, doubtful and sad sometimes. I get caught up in cross roads because i cant help liking and becoming attracted and sometimes attach to men i meet. So i can perfectly understand and relate with this article..

  24. Ro September 27, 2012 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    This is the first question a man ask me when I go on a date in a new city or country. I am always honest about my passion in travelling. I dont think I could be with a guy who never travelled at all or not speak a 2nd language hahhah. I do tell the boys, if I meet the one ..whoever this person be, maybe I will stay.. Who knows? My clock isnt ticking! Lolol Cheerio!

  25. Niels Bögeskov-Jensen September 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Wishing you a wonderful trip to your next destination. If I would choose to travel your way, then this time of year I would be on my way to the southern hemisphere… We have had 12C and rain or heavy clouds all day.
    I always have found that when traveling, the most important is meeting people to whom I could contribute to their lives. I find giving is so much more rewarding than receiving. But maybe you are giving to this growing group of disciples following you on these pages as well as to those you meet.
    Loneliness is a feeling inside, being alone is a different aspect.
    Loneliness has nothing to do with traveling or staying. It’s about having some or one to share life with. Writing or talking to some, or just one private contact makes the whole difference.

  26. Júlíana Björnsdóttir September 25, 2012 at 8:20 am - Reply

    As a like-minded traveler who never dreamt of a family life with an ordinary office job, I understand your point of view.

    I never planned to meet someone and when I did, I was very unsure of how to proceed. In the end it became clear I’d have to check myself into a psychiatric ward would I let him slip through my fingertips.

    ”Settling” in one place hasn’t been easy but the knowledge that I will one day be back on the road and possibly living the dream in the country of his birth has kept me same.

    For us, the nomads of the world, traveling is a deeply rooted need and a partner must understand it even though he or she may not understand.

    Thankfully, my husband understand and my chosen profession allows me to work from anywhere.

    I look forward to taking my husband on a journey of great adventures and discoveries. Maybe, he too, will fall madly in-love with the lifestyle, in fact I am sure of it.

    It was a big sacrifice but it’s been worth it. However, I know my traveling feet will take every opportunity to travel and probably die from old age in remote location next to my husband with a big fat smile on my face.

    Stay true to yourself and always follow your heart 🙂

  27. Traveller September 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    there’s another potential problem of love while travelling .. sometimes without intending to, you can meet someone while in a culturally different country, have a relationship and fall in love and then find that while you’re fine with the cultural differences to make a commitment, your partner might not be .. it can be heartbreaking so if you start seeing someone it’s worth asking some direct questions before getting in too deep…

  28. Bianca September 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Interesting article! Each to their own I think.

    I travelled (only a little) by myself. The hardest thing I found was not being able to share my wonderful experiences with the people who I thought would appreciate it the most.

    If it works for you, good for you! 🙂

    • Earl September 30, 2012 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      Hey Bianca – That can be difficult not having anyone to share the experiences with but at the same time, I certainly don’t want to miss out on all of the wonderful moments just because I don’t have anyone else to travel with!

  29. Lainie Liberti September 24, 2012 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    I loved your take on this. But most of all, I love your comment, “My theory is that I have a higher chance of finding someone I can truly connect with if I am doing something that I truly love in life.” That’s powerful. Who knows what will happen. I’ve been on road 3 years, am in my (mid) 40s and have a kid. I often question the same thing. But I’m going to hold on to your thought about being the best me I can be, when I’m doing something I love. Yep. I get it. Here’s my take on the topic, Love on the Road – What’s the point?:

  30. Spinster September 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    My name says it all. 😐

  31. […] who’s traveled both solo and with a boyfriend, I found Wandering Earl’s thoughts about traveling the world all alone quite […]

  32. […] Am I Destined To Wander The World All Alone? ( […]

  33. [email protected] September 20, 2012 at 5:51 am - Reply

    I too best identify with your spot-on line:

    “My theory is that I have a higher chance of finding someone I can truly connect with if I am doing something that I truly love in life.”

    Indeed. And furthermore – I’ve often said that as an avowed wanderlust – what are the chances I’d meet Mr. Right sitting in my home town? I mean, though I have many friends and loved ones back home (I’m presently an expat in Dalat, Vietnam), but it is a rare few that “get it”. Most think I’m utterly nuts, and no way would the lads that I bump into at home even consider doing what I’ve done (i.e. selling every blessed thing and buying a one way ticket to Vietnam).

    Point izzz… I figure by moving overseas, I’ve just increased (not decreased) my chances of meeting someone I’m compatible with EXPONENTIALLY! After all, at least the “pool” of lads over here are far more likely to be fellow risk-takers, who can likewise understand the passion I have for skipping ’round the globe.

    LOL, sure beats “Oh, I’m a Pisces too”. 😉

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 8:01 am - Reply

      Hey Dyanne – Haha…yes, it does increase your chances I’d say! Also, like you, I feel that it would be a shame to limit myself to just those people living in one town back at home when I could be out here meeting thousands of people from all over the world. I’d rather interact with all of these people than settle for someone back home just because I feel the need to have a companion. Enjoy Dalat!

  34. Ava Apollo September 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Definitely a question I’ve had as I’m about to take off on an open-ended journey. Your blog has definitely helped me have confidence that I won’t be alone.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:58 am - Reply

      Hey Ava – It will probably take you two hours before you start meeting new people and you quickly realize that travel is not lonely at all!

  35. Bessie September 19, 2012 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Great read, Earl. Alas we do make time and space for our priorities in life it’s amazing how they shift if we just listening to what pulls us rather than following some plotted plan we let lead us.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:46 am - Reply

      Hey Bessie! Absolutely…and I always believe that we should try to reflect on what we want in life as often as we can in order to always make sure that we are on the right track, that our priorities are in order. They do always shift and if we are aware of the changes, and make adjustments, our lives will be so much fuller! Hope you and Kyle are doing well!

  36. Gigi September 19, 2012 at 6:00 am - Reply

    I completely agree. In fact, I find that I meet MORE people and have more interesting romantic interactions than I did when I was staying put in the states. I’m happier, more social, more mobile, and more interesting – because I’m doing what I love. In the US, I was more likely to stay in and watch a movie after a long day of work. In Europe, I go swing dancing, I sit in cafes, I wander through new neighborhoods, I join expat groups…I’m just out there more. And it pays off.

    And I too got some “won’t you be lonely?” and “what about romance?” worries. Now I just chuckle.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:42 am - Reply

      Hey Gigi – Glad you got over those worries and are fully enjoying your time! It is true that we tend to do more while on the road, always trying to do as many interesting things as we can, which naturally leads to meeting more people. I’m sure most travelers would end up sitting on their sofa many evenings if they were back home and therefore missing out on all the possible interactions they could be having!

  37. Victoria September 19, 2012 at 5:50 am - Reply

    I often think about this. Luckily I’ve found my sweet cheeks and we travel together, but I”m always trying to remind myself that we are super lucky to be on the same page. It may not always be that way, but hopefully we’ll cpmpromise our way through it.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:37 am - Reply

      Hey Victoria – Seems like it has worked out well for you and a little compromise should indeed keep things going smoothly!

  38. Gento Mori September 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl, I just read this blog at the place I’m staying at in Ho Chi Minh City.
    Actually, this is my fist backpacking trip and your articles have given me a lot of motivation to run off somewhere else in the world!

    Last night (third night on this trip) I was eating dinner at Pham Ngu Lao street and got to know many locals there. It was actually the first time I met somebody during this trip (I was beginning to think that I would be alone during the entire trip). I had a chat with some of the waitresses there and I went drinking with one of them, who was the same age as me (20). Her older brothers own a number of bars and restaurants there so we went to one of them. As we talked, we happened to be both headed for Vinh Long south of HCMC and planned to take the bus there this morning. She was going there to see her parents and I was going there to take a boat ride through the jungle to Can Tho. The sad thing was, she called me this morning to let me know that she wants to go to Vinh Long another day because she wasn’t feeling well.

    I was looking forward to having her as a travel companion and spending time with her family, but I guess this is one of those ‘carry on with our own lives’ moment? It’s a weird feeling maybe because I’m not used to it. At least I got a little used to chatting with random people and I hope to meet many many more people as I carry on with my journey!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:40 am - Reply

      Hey Gento – That is just the first of many similar encounters to come during your adventures and not all will end this way…many will turn into friendships and who knows what else! And I know it can be hard to start talking to people when you first start traveling but the more you try, the easier it gets and before you know it, you’re having conversations as often as you want and meeting new people all the time!

  39. Michelle September 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    This is another great post!

    This sentence made my day! “And you never know if the next person you’ll meet in some faraway, or even nearby, land will be the snuggle bunny or sexy sweet thang you’ve been waiting for. You might not want to travel so much anymore if that means losing your new honey, baby, sweetie, darling, angel eyes, pumpkin, stud, pooh bear, cupcake, buttercup, sugar lips, booberry, dumpling, daddy mack or love muffin. Even I, despite being so completely addicted to travel, would change my lifestyle if I found the perfect love muffin.”

    I hope that you do find your “Perfect love muffin”!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:36 am - Reply

      Thanks Michelle…I’m sure it will happen eventually!

  40. Christy September 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Brand new to your site. Love this article and what you’re doing. I’ve had some similar experiences in my life’s journey (worked on Cruise Ships – what line were you on?), though I’ve padded my travel time with University and time working in the corporate world. I’m now gearing up to leave on my next adventure – moving to Italy in the spring, and afterward plan to travel indefinitely.

    The very, very best relationships I’ve ever been in have been with like-minded people doing like-minded things. In fact, I utterly fail at forming lasting relationships with people in the “real” world because ultimately, my heart is in the travel universe.
    Thanks for a great article. Hope to cross paths in our travels someday!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

      Hey Christy – Welcome to the site! And the same is true for me…my most memorable and wonderful relationships all involved people who shared similar goals. I also don’t think I could manage a relationship with someone from the ‘real world’…it’s already hard enough for me to converse with people at home!

      • Christy October 1, 2012 at 1:40 am - Reply

        Ha, I was just pondering that very thing. I feel like the odd-person-out at social gatherings because it seems that I have nothing to “Small talk” about – except for traveling, and I’ve found that people at home really don’t want to hear other people talk about travel. They LOVE to read about it, but don’t want to encounter it live… isn’t that strange? Happy travels!

  41. Hannah September 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    I can really relate to this, since I decided to travel long-term & my boyfriend of more than 2 years was not able to come with me. To this moment, I have conflicting feelings about whether I’m doing the right thing…then I remind myself that if I didn’t do this, I would probably always regret the decision & resent my boyfriend.

    It’s hard sometimes when your dreams conflict with personal relationships…but if you find someone you truly love, I believe you have the power to make it work.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:32 am - Reply

      Hey Hannah – All kinds of relationships can work and it just requires a decision by both people. If you want it to work, then going after your travel goals should not interfere with the connection. It’s not easy but hopefully he understands why you needed to hit the road for a while!

  42. Stu September 18, 2012 at 11:48 am - Reply

    And what would you say to the person who is traveling and hopes to find love? Perhaps he will not find it for looking too hard!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:30 am - Reply

      Hey Stu – I personally don’t believe in looking too hard for love as I feel that it will just happen when it happens. So my advice would be to not worry, to just enjoy your adventures, meet as many people as possible and then you’ll see what happens naturally…

  43. Someday I'll Be There - Mina September 18, 2012 at 10:57 am - Reply

    I’m taking your words for granted for granted Earl, and I’m making my parents read this post so they’d have some hope in me haha

    and come on…everyone knows that nothing beats the road romance! I am not a “professional” nomad or even close to it, after all I’ve only been traveling for two months! But I gotta say I met amazing people, made lots of new friends (something which I found hard to do before traveling, and I was always stuck with my same old friends, whom I still love, but meeting new people is great!) and yes, met new girls too! No long term relationships – yet, but by no means it was a lonely two months!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:28 am - Reply

      Hey Mina – I’ll be curious to see what your parents think! And I’m sure I’ll receive an email from my mom soon asking me plenty of questions after she reads this post…I’m just waiting for it.

      And if, after two months of traveling, you’re already convinced that travel does not have to be lonely at all, I hope others read your words so that they feel more confident! Here’s to meeting more new people on your future travels!

  44. Colleen September 18, 2012 at 10:57 am - Reply

    I think it’s very healthy (and very classy) not to discuss relationships in a blog. I think men and women do themselves a disservice when they make public what is a private part of life. Girls who talk end up sounding like bimbos. Guys who talk just sound lie insecure fools trying desperately to display their machismo.

    The time to share is when it’s a great enough love to make permanent.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:25 am - Reply

      Hey Colleen – Yes, I’ve always thought that keeping this part of my life away from the blog would be quite beneficial…glad to hear others agree!

  45. Linda September 18, 2012 at 10:26 am - Reply

    “My theory is that I have a higher chance of finding someone I can truly connect with if I am doing something that I truly love in life. ….”

    Wise words. Actually, they apply not only to travel, but lifestyle in general, a traveling lifestyle being one choice. If you loved opera and walking in the country, for instance, you’re not likely to meet the love of your life if you’re working in a rock ‘n’ roll bar (possible but unlikely). If we are to meet like-minded people, friends or lovers, then we need to be in places and situations where we are sharing our interests. Took me many years to figure out that one! Glad to hear you’ve sussed it much younger than I!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:25 am - Reply

      Hey Linda – Definitely! My goal is travel but it doesn’t matter what the goal is…as long as you choose a lifestyle that involves your interests, then you are indeed in a MUCH better position to meet someone with whom you can really connect.

  46. Stephanie September 18, 2012 at 9:44 am - Reply

    “My theory is that I have a higher chance of finding someone I can truly connect with if I am doing something that I truly love in life.”

    I couldn’t agree more with this quote and actually remind myself of it often. When I have conversations about this I always tell people I will find someone while I’m out living life the way I want to and then they might love it the same way I do. Sounds a lot easier than always trying to convince someone or show them why =)

    Cheers and happy travels to ya!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:22 am - Reply

      Hey Stephanie – I certainly would much rather meet someone who shares many of the same passions and the only way for that to happen is to live the life I truly want to live…seems like we’re on the same page!

  47. Mary Merrill September 18, 2012 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Earl, I really like your writing style in this post; I giggled at the sarcastic humor and irony. I think you’re absolutely right about ones chances of meeting their love muffin while doing something they love are much higher. Also, traveling isn’t about the solitude at all, as a wise travel blogger once said, it’s all about the people you meet along the way! =]

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:19 am - Reply

      Hey Mary – Ha, that is indeed my philosophy 🙂

  48. Paul September 18, 2012 at 7:39 am - Reply

    I was halfway through my 3 year stint in Europe and met, by chance, a girl from my hometown who was passing through on holiday. Now we are engaged, so it does happen!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:18 am - Reply

      Hey Paul – Very cool story and quite a random one! Congratulations on the engagement!

  49. Simon September 18, 2012 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Aww, I’m sure you’ll meet someone someday! A special someone who’ll even shave your armpits for you! I joke, but this is a very interesting and well-written blog post with a positive message.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:17 am - Reply

      Hey Simon – If I found someone who would shave my armpits, I wouldn’t hesitate to give up my travels and stay with that person forever!

  50. Liz September 18, 2012 at 4:35 am - Reply

    So true!

    The first time I went overseas (to live and study in Belgium), I met my future boyfriend on my second day in the country! Two years later, we are still together 🙂

    I think it always happens when you least expect it. I also have a Belgian friend who went on vacation in Brazil, met a Colombian guy there and had a long-distance relationship for 5 months. She then moved to Colombia!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:17 am - Reply

      Hey Liz – Those are great examples and it really does happen so much more than most people think! And congrats on your 2 years 🙂

  51. Nailah September 18, 2012 at 3:50 am - Reply

    Hi Earl! Great article to read and love that its coming from a guy’s perspective. I know a lot of women have conversations along these lines, but I always wondered if guys feel the same way and have the same worries.

    I loved this line:

    My theory is that I have a higher chance of finding someone I can truly connect with if I am doing something that I truly love in life.

    I’m banking on that too!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:15 am - Reply

      Hey Nailah – Well, hopefully it will work out for each of us some day!

  52. Giulia September 18, 2012 at 3:36 am - Reply

    I guess all of us ‘the full time travelers’ thought about this at some point.
    Personally, I enjoy my moments of solitude, and at the moment I am not sure I want to change my lifestyle if I meet Mr Right… or maybe it’s just that I didn’t meet him yet so I never thought it was worth settling down or even just changing my plans!

    Another problem is that even if I met some guys that told me we could travel together, then they never really end up doing it. Or, for ‘traveling the world together’, they mean something completely different in mind (like booking a fancy resort room and eating McDonald’s on the other side of the world). Disappointment, disappointment.

    Another scenario: I meet a guy, he knows about my lifestyle and all, but when it’s time for me to leave… ‘you are leaving because you don’t love me!’ -Drama, no thanks.

    It’s not easy for a nomad to have a relationship especially since we are always on the move and don’t have enough time to understand if he/she is really the right one. And on the other side there might be someone who doesn’t understand our lifestyle.

    But I guess everything comes at the right time, and I am not in a hurry!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:14 am - Reply

      Hey Giulia – I also think that it depends on the travel style. When I was moving around, always on the go, spending a couple of days in each place and then heading to the next destination, I certainly connected much less with the people I met than I do now. These days I spend more time in each destination and really create friendships and enjoy an actual social life in one particular place. And then, if I find someone I really connect with, I just stay in that place even longer in order to see if it will work out or not…so I think that travel pace does play a role.

      But as long as you’re not in a hurry, there’s nothing to worry about at all!

  53. kami September 18, 2012 at 2:30 am - Reply

    I couldn’t agree more on every single word you wrote. It’s a fact you meet more people when travelling than you’d do while staying in your hometown. And such relationships (no matter on which level) are stronger and are meant to last longer since you share a truly passion of travelling with these people so you’ll always understand each other. That’s one of the reason why I enjoy solo travel so much – if I want to be alone just in my thoughts I do that but then I can also meet so many wonderful people on the road that travelling with friends could kind of spoil

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:10 am - Reply

      Hey Kami – Very true and that’s why I enjoy traveling alone as well. You can always decide each day if you prefer to be on your own or surrounded by others. And I also agree that we tend to avoid interacting with new people when we are traveling with a friend. It’s just much easier to talk to your friend than start a conversation with someone new.

  54. Melyssa G. September 18, 2012 at 1:03 am - Reply

    I met more people when traveling solo than when traveling with companions. Despite that, it is fun to have someone with whom to share the experience. Both have pros and cons.

    In regards to changing your lifestyle for the perfect muffin, I would guess that the perfect love muffin would not require you to change your lifestyle that much.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:07 am - Reply

      Hey Melyssa – That could be the case as well, although, I do recognize the fact that my lifestyle isn’t a great match for someone who either doesn’t want to or is unable to travel often. So I’m open to the idea of making some adjustments if it meant having a better relationship!

  55. Andrew September 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Man I didn’t even get a smooch when we hung out earlier this year, ripped off!

    This song sits nicely with this post:

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:06 am - Reply

      Hey Andrew – I thought about it but you’re too tall for me.

  56. Alexa September 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    I think travel will help you find a loved one. You’re right in that when you travel, you usually end up meeting like-minded people. Traveling helped me open up my heart and discover myself as a person. I found the love of my life while living in Korea. He was a fellow English teacher. We’re now doing long-distance for a few months, but we’re making it work.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:05 am - Reply

      Hey Alexa – There’s always challenges with such relationships that begin while out there in the world somewhere, but then again, there are always challenges with every relationship. And when you find the right person, you do whatever you can to make it work!

  57. Sarah Somewhere September 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    This was a crack up, Nice one Earl! I don’t get the ‘don’t you ever want to settle down’ question or the ‘don’t you want to meet someone’ question at all. I mean, of course everyone would love to be madly in love with their soulmate forever but life doesn’t always work like that. I know plenty of single friends stuck at home and miserable, when they could be traveling and having the time of their lives! I have never doubted that you would be quite okay in the romance department, and I commend you for maintaining your privacy!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:04 am - Reply

      Hey Sarah – I don’t get those questions either and that’s the thing, if I think about those I know who are stuck at home and wishing they had made other decisions in life (which they easily could do now!), I am even more motivated to continue living this way.

  58. Andy September 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    “If you’re worried that following your travel goals will force you to give up any chance whatsoever of finding a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, my advice is to stop worrying.”

    I couldn’t agree more. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – the more you travel, the more people you meet, the bigger the chances that you actually do find the love of your life, assuming that you really enjoy travelling and meeting people from different cultures. At least it was like this for me. Some of the most amazing women I’ve met came into my life as a result of my travels. Had I stayed at home, I would’ve never met them.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:01 am - Reply

      Hey Andy – All I can say is – EXACTLY!

  59. Britany Robinson September 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    wow – you stole a post idea right from under me. You said everything I was thinking though, so I won’t hold it against you:) I’m heading to South America for an indefinite amount of time come December and although I’m a huge proponent of solo travel, meeting a “booberry” to travel with would be great!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:00 am - Reply

      Hey Britany – Well maybe the example of meeting someone in Buenos Aires that I gave in the post is just a vision of what’s in store for you 🙂

  60. Ray September 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Earl – Would you rather be destined to stagnate in one spot all alone…like most people? Wandering or stationary, most people are in & out of relationships & even the ones with “stable” relationships often find themselves feeling very…VERY alone.

    You’re on the right track, my friend…keep doing that voodoo that youdo – ray

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 6:59 am - Reply

      Hey Ray – Ha! I’m not worried about finding someone and you’re right, many of my friends who are in stable relationships feel much more lonely than I could ever feel with this lifestyle. As long as there are new people to meet in new places, I’m happy!

  61. Michele September 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I have to admit that when I first started reading this post, I thought, “wait a minute… he’s always interacting and having fun.” Then you broke it down 🙂

    My great-grandmother used to say that there was someone for everyone. She explained looking for love like this, “Everyone’s born with a number on their back, all you have to do is find the person who matches your number.” I got really lucky and found my matching number while I was in high school. We’re currently in our 20th year of marriage!

    I’ve often considered your social life, but I’ve never really thought of you as a hermit. I see your social life as completely fascinating. I guess it’s because you post so many pictures of your interactions with other people. As someone who’s been married longer than you’ve been traveling, I know how “things” happen, so chances are, you’re enjoying your social life and your love life as well 🙂

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 7:02 am - Reply

      Hey Michele – I’m not sure I could have handled this lifestyle for this long if it did involve me being a hermit! Congrats on your 20 years of marriage!

  62. kathy September 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    “Well if you didn’t travel you would probably have a significant other….”

    I can’t tell you how many times people have said this to me. Telling me if I stay put then I will find “the one for me”. Well I am not wired like that and I don’t want to meet someone in a small town where I am making myself stay in the hope of meeting someone, that is almost as bad as joining a church to find someone (another suggestion I have been given).

    Of course the one time I did meet someone, fell in love, got engaged… lets just say it didn’t work out:

    But like you Earl, I would give up my wandering life if I found someone who gave me a reason to stop… its just happening upon the right one!

  63. Stephanie September 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    I love this article.
    I am going to New Zealand in November for 8 months and I can’t wait. After that, I want to go to Australia on a working holiday visa for 1 year or more. The other day I was thinking: “It would be great if I could find someone who loves travels, someone I could travel with”.
    You said: “My theory is that I have a higher chance of finding someone I can truly connect with if I am doing something that I truly love in life. Following my goals puts me into situations where I am able to meet like-minded people all the time, such as other travelers and locals interested in meeting foreigners”. I agree with you and I hope I will find that “someone”.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 6:56 am - Reply

      Hey Stephanie – All I know is that you will be a ton of people on your upcoming adventures and you never know if one of them will be the person you’re looking for!

      • stephanie October 7, 2012 at 6:49 am - Reply

        I always say that to my friends: “How do you know when you meet THE person?! We meet so many people in our life…” I don’t have to travel to think that. 😉 Who is the right one I don’t know yet. I have been single for … (I don’t want to think about that Haha) That is why I am going to travel alone. All I know is that when I will meet the right person I will know.
        Ps: I love your blog and your lifestyle! Thanks for inspiring me.

        • Earl October 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm - Reply

          Hey Stephanie – Very well said…and you’re right, it doesn’t take travel to realize all of this but it does help many of us realize this much more quickly!

          And thanks for reading the blog and commenting 🙂

  64. Craig September 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    I got to hand it to you Earl. This is definitely a concern of mine that I have been thinking about recently, and made me wonder how you survived with the isolation. Although my situation is different, I have some crossover happenings that I am not sure I am totally comfortable with. Having lost my job recently, and moving in with 2 Honduran women, a Mexican man and a baby….none of which speak English, I am finding it kind of lonely not having anybody to really communicate with. My Spanish is moderate at best, but not good enough for full conversation. I am also spending a lot of time traveling for interviews, so I am constantly staying in hotels for a night or two, never really feeling like I have a base.
    Now, maybe because I am not doing this voluntarily vs. you traveling on purpose is why I am not crazy about this lifestyle, but it does get me to thinking about how lonely it can be on the road. I’m glad you addressed this issue and its good to know you adapt well to this type of lifestyle………and good luck with your ongoing search for a “honey, baby, sweetie, darling, angel eyes, pumpkin, stud, pooh bear, cupcake, buttercup, sugar lips, booberry, dumpling, daddy mack or love muffin.” LOL!!!

    • Andy September 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      Hey man, with your latin room mates you are in the privileged position of being able to practice and improve your spanish every day! Other people would envy you for that. You said you already speak a little bit of spanish? What are you waiting for? Just ramble ahead and talk to them. Don’t worry about mistakes. Let them correct you. It’s fun. You’ll get better with practice. You’ve got an awesome opportunity, use it!

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 6:56 am - Reply

      Hey Craig – I definitely think there’s a big difference because, like you said, you are traveling out of necessity and you are traveling for short periods of time and for very specific purpose of finding a job. With me, I travel more slowly, moving on to the next place only when I feel it’s time, so I am able to connect more with those around me and create more of a social life in each destination. I’m sure that if I just bounced around the world, staying one or two nights in each place, I too would feel quite lonely, which is exactly why I try to avoid that type of travel.

  65. Lisa - September 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Earl!! I think you have a better chance finding your perfect love muffin if you are living your life in the true sense of who you are (i.e. while traveling). Or should I say that you will have a better chance at it lasting if you really are putting out to the world who you are!

    Yes, there are definitely choices and sacrifices to make along the way to having love work out, but they are absolutely worth it.

    Talking to people really helps too 🙂 just put yourself out there and take chances on connecting! no matter how long it takes, communication is necessary!! 🙂

    I’m very lucky to have found my best friend and love a long time ago (including 4 years of long distance and 20 years of friendship and love). We just completed 3 months in South America this part March.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 6:53 am - Reply

      Hey Lisa – Congrats on your 3 months in South America! And I certainly wasn’t trying to paint a picture of me being sad and lonely, looking for love. Quite the opposite! I’m quite happy with my current situation and the connections I make while traveling 🙂

  66. Sylvain September 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    I’m not on the road yet… but I will be next year… and I’m especially looking forward of long days of solitude. I usually don’t speak much on travel either… except for some occasions when I hear people speak French (my native language) and I tag along a bit… before dropping a “Aurevoir, bon voyage” (goodbye, enjoy your trip) and leave. 🙂

    I’ve always been the solitary type, never got married or anything of that kind…

    Right now, I’m not working… and I barely talk during a day. I’m so happy to be out of the corporate world and away from the senseless artificial human interactions. I guess I could donate my vocal cords at death and label them as “just like new” 🙂

    Yes, I’m the hermit type… but I like to communicate through the Internet, especially using mass communications.

    I guess if you’re travelling and are opened to relationships… you might encounter someone who will share your interest for travelling and keep travelling in pair from then on. Although rare, there are a few examples of couples and even families living this special way.

    Just like you can find a special place where you decide to stay for a while, changing your plans, a mate can be found as well… and you’ll just adapt.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 6:52 am - Reply

      Hey Sylvain – As long as you’re happy with your lifestyle, that’s all that matters and you’ll have plenty of opportunities while traveling to find that solitude you seek. And as for finding a partner while traveling and then traveling together, I think it’s more common than you might think. I meet people all the time who have met this way and then decided to continue their journey side by side!

  67. John September 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    When you travel the world non-stop, there is simply no room for personal relationships, no room for love. My backpack is the only partner I can have, and the only partner I need

    I met the love of my life while travelling and now we travel the world together. And as corny and pathetic as I’m sure it sounds to single travelers, I couldn’t imagine doing it without her.

    I have no doubt you’ll find love Earl, but as the old cliche goes, you’ll find it when you least expect it.

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 6:48 am - Reply

      Hey John – This is good because the more examples people give about finding love while traveling, the more confidence others will have to start exploring the world without worrying if they will be alone forever!

  68. Ramy Khuffash September 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Great article. I assume that’s always the first question on peoples minds.

    Sleeping on a rock bed in a cave and taking a walk to the river alone does still sound like fun though 🙂

    • Earl September 20, 2012 at 6:47 am - Reply

      Hey Ramy – It doesn’t sound too bad at all actually, at least for a short while!

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