Friday, 31 January 2014

A Response to "Don't Date a Girl Who Travels" from a Girl Who Travels

My Facebook recently exploded with links of this article: Don't Date a Girl Who Travels. And I can totally see the connection between my life and the experiences and opinions expressed in the article. But I can't help but think it's not painting a realistic picture. I've been called a drifter, the least of my family, unambitious, wasting my potential. Everyone is waiting for me to "grow up", or "settle down".

In a way, I wish everyone (like my very traditionally-valued family) could see my life as romantically as Don't Date a Girl who Travels. But these things, "unkempt" (aka possibly  unwashed), wandering, impulsive, restless, adrenalin-high, commitment-shy... these never used to be GOOD things. There needs to be a healthy dialogue about how the values espoused in the article are not necessarily as beautiful and lovely as you think.

From the beginning:
She’s the one with the messy unkempt hair colored by the sun.
Let's face it: unkempt = unwashed. For me, it's not a choice. I often didn't have time/money/didn't care/enjoyed the smell of ocean wafting off my own body. Not a pretty picture, but that's the way it is, folks.

She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures. She will be unimpressed with your new car and your expensive watch. She would rather climb a rock or jump out of an airplane than hear you brag about it.
Hard to PLEASE!? Give me a bowl of mashed potatoes and I'll be the happiest clam ever. It's important to differentiate "please" and "excite". Dinner and a movie is nowhere near as exciting as snowboarding or paragliding, but I'm not going to cry over it (part of that whole "growing up" thing). And "unimpressed with your new car"? What am I, a heartless bitch? I would be proud of you saving to purchase your own car.
Chances are, she can’t hold a steady job. Or she’s probably daydreaming about quitting.
People, commitment issues are NOT A GOOD THING. Steady jobs put dinner on the table. I'm trying to buck it up so I'll have broccoli to eat.
She might have wasted her college degree and switched careers entirely. She is now a dive instructor or a yoga teacher. She’s not sure when the next paycheck is coming.
While this is almost completely true (I teach yoga), I don't want to hear that I WASTED four years of my life at university. I made life-long friends and had wonderful experiences in and out of school. While perhaps the schooling could have been foregone, no one, least of all yourself, should belittle those years of work and effort. Also, my next paycheck is coming Tuesday. I know this because it's my friggin paycheck.

Don’t date a girl who travels for she has chosen a life of uncertainty. She doesn’t have a plan or a permanent address. She goes with the flow and follows her heart. She dances to the beat of her own drum. She doesn’t wear a watch. Her days are ruled by the sun and the moon. When the waves are calling, life stops and she will be oblivious to everything else for a moment. But she has learned that the most important thing in life isn’t surfing.
Nearly all of this quote is true for me. I first began traveling because the certainty and predictability of my future disgusted me. I craved uncertainty, and I still do. I have lost count of how many apartments I've lived in, how many watches I've lost, and how many times I've gone surfing. I have definitely sacrificed for that life, important sacrifices, but I do not regret one second of my life. I'm beginning to learn that the beat of your "drum" can change and evolve. I am beginning to crave other things, like having a 5 year plan (yeah, I said it. FIVE years. Whoa.). But that's what my drum is saying to me now, and I'm listening.

She will never need you. She knows how to pitch a tent and screw her own fins without your help. She cooks well and doesn’t need you to pay for her meals. She is too independent and won't care whether you travel with her or not. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination. She’s busy living in the present.
So far, this has always been true (except the dinners I've messed up), and I hope to always hold on to my independence. However, I also realize that mindless drive for independence and self-sustainability can push people away. It can be seen as insecurity and mistrust. I'm working on a good balance.

Most of all, please don't "Don't Date a Girl who Travels". Everyone needs a lover, a partner, a confidante--the drifters need it most of all because nothing else is stable or the same.

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