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Photo by Tom Purves

“I never would have considered ending the relationship because he didn’t like karaoke or Will Ferrell movies; was travel really all that different?”

HE HAD DARK HAIR and a cute smile. He was smart, loved babies and animals and had cried when his pet lizard died. He was a good cook, a loyal friend and a truly nice guy. I was in love with him. I was also about to break up with him. Because great guy though he may have been, there was one problem: He’d never owned a passport. Worse, though he lived a seven-minute drive from an international airport in Las Vegas, he’d never been farther east than the Colorado River. Yes, I was dating every traveler’s worst nightmare; I was dating the Non-Traveler.

“This isn’t going to work out,” I said jokingly as we pulled up to his apartment complex. It was only our second date and back then, our differences still seemed funny. I’d just finished rattling off the long list of places I’d lived, finishing off with “And then I spent a year studying in Eastern Germany,” when he’d uttered: “I’d never want to go there. It seems too dangerous.”

I considered arguing with him but then thought better of it. I knew there was no point. Trying to convince a Non-Traveler that the world outside their bubble wasn’t the scary inhospitable place they thought it to be was like trying to persuade a cat to jump into a swimming pool.

“You never want to leave the country and I’m such a travel addict, I’m like the Jehovah’s Witness of travelers.” I paused, imagining myself preaching to a congregation about the wonders of Malaysian street food and the healing powers of a camel safari. “If I could, I’d go door-to-door with travel brochures and read aloud from a guidebook.”

We both laughed. I was exaggerating of course, but there was some truth to that. Many a co-worker, friend and date had politely listened through my “travel changed my life” speech, as I tried in vain to convince them that the path to salvation lay in cross-country road trips and study abroad programs.

Later, after he’d made me lunch and we’d watched the sun set from his balcony, I wondered if I was overreacting. After all, it was just a hobby, a six-letter word not even significant enough to list on a resume. I never would have considered ending the relationship because he didn’t like karaoke or Will Ferrell movies, was travel really all that different? What did it matter if he didn’t appreciate the thrill of flinging open the hotel curtains that first morning in a new country, the promising smell of airplane exhaust on an airport tarmac, or the satisfying sound of roller bag wheels clicking against an airport moving sidewalk? So what if he’d never experienced the pride and enormous self-satisfaction that comes with placing an order for new passport pages? After all, it was just a hobby.

Or was it? In many ways, travel had become a part of my identity. It was in the way my hair smelled like the coconut oil I’d bought in India or in the cherry blossom tattoo I had inked to my ankle in Japan. It was in the foreign language dictionaries that lined my bookshelves, the photos of Prague, the Himalayas and the Caribbean that lined my staircase and in the way that I occasionally caught myself thinking in German or dreaming in Spanish. Moreover, it was in the way I saw the world. My entire outlook had been shaped by years of experiences to which my homebody boyfriend couldn’t even begin to relate.

He, on the other hand, was perfectly content spending weekends in front of the PlayStation with the same friends he’d had since 5th grade. Being a guy who worked in the family business and lived three blocks from his parents, happiness was home. To me, a girl who, in the span of 10 years had lived in 10 different cities, happiness was anywhere but.

The night I broke up with him, we were sitting in a restaurant with a bowling alley and a fire pit in the middle of it. I’d ordered the two strangest things on the menu: mashed potato soup and tequila-flavored tacos. Both tasted incredible.

“Try some!” I offered him a spoonful. He made a face.

“No way.”

“You won’t even try it?” I stared glumly down at my plate. This isn’t going to work out, I’d thought, only this time I wasn’t joking. “I think we should just be friends?” I said, phrasing it like a question.

It’s been eight months since then, and though I’ve tried to tell myself that it was for the best, sometimes I wonder if I made a huge mistake. When you live in a country where only 30 percent of its citizens own passports, sometimes it seems like this “Must Love Travel” requirement I’ve placed on the dating profile of my life has condemned me to an eternity of spending nights watching Anthony Bordain: No Reservations alone.

But mistake or not, it might be too late to do anything about it. He has a girlfriend now and I hear they’re talking about getting married; they’ve even adopted a dog. In two weeks, I’ll be jetting off to a vacation in Jamaica (a country which my non-traveler boyfriend once said he’d never visit because he “didn’t want to get stabbed”). I imagine that while I’m on a plane by myself, he’ll be cuddling on the sofa with a girlfriend who doesn’t dream in postcard pictures. And I’ll be jealous.



About The Author

Reannon Muth

Reannon Muth is a part-time writer and full-time travel addict. Over the last decade, she's backpacked through Asia and Central America and lived in five countries, in Disney World and on a cruise ship. Some of her talents include being able to fall asleep anywhere and eat almost anything. She currently lives in Las Vegas.You can read about all of her adventures (abroad and at home) on her blog, Taken by the Wind.

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  • kellymelly

    I dated a non-traveller once. It didn’t work out. I think travel more than just a hobby, it’s a way of looking at life and the world that is present just as much in our everyday lives as it is when we’re out exploring distant places. 

  • Kevin Post

    I married a girl who for most of her life had never traveled more than 100km from her home town in Colombia. She had no dreams of traveling, all she wanted in life when we first met was a good job and a little farm house in the mountains. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted those things too; however, I wanted those things eventually. After several months living together, she finished her classes for the semester she was laid off from her job and it broke her heart. For me however I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to take her out of her comfort zone. I took her traveling, couchsurfing and camping along the way along the northern coast of her country. While hitchhiking from time to time I thought she was going to be miserable and hate the journey. I was far from right, she loved every minute of it. Besides, it was her first time seeing the beach and the immense ocean as I taught her how to properly swim. 

    She is still in Colombia as we wait for her immigration papers to the U.S. She never had a desire to travel to the U.S. but now has studied maps of it with more detail than anyone else I know. She’s discovered pictures of places she wants to visit and places she wants to live. She wants to live in Alaska but doesn’t listen to my explanations of how cold it is (I am Floridian after all). Her response is, “I want to live there because it’s beautiful, I want to learn how to ski, it’s very foreign to me and there aren’t many Spanish speakers so that I can practice my English. If it’s too cold for us we can always move.” 

    In May we are planning a month long trip to Turkey (Colombians don’t need visas to visit) and she is just as excited as I am. 

    The point I’d like to make is that if I were to enforce my lifestyle on her it probably wouldn’t have worked out so well. If you subtly introduce your traveling lifestyle to them and get them out of their comfort zone a bit (without them noticing) they are most likely to greatly enjoy it and change their attitudes for the better. 

    Sorry for my long comment Reannon, nicely written article. 

    • Treavor Wagoner

      lol Looks like she’s outdoing you on the travel front, my friend. You’ve created an addict. :] Congrats on the marriage and travel buddy.

    • Zak

      Hey Kevin, Congrats on your marriage and on sharing such a huge adventure!! I like your account of how you both mutually encourage each other out of your comfort zones. I laughed out loud about your wife wanting to live in Alaska, too. And yes, it’s cold, but where the weather is cold the people are warmest. I live up here in Anchorage, so if you ever need a recommendation or advice, give me a shout!

      • Kevin Post

        Zak! Thanks for the kind words! The thing is she doesn’t even know the meaning of cold. I’ve experienced cold but the coldest temps she has ever reached have been something like 12ºC/53ºF. 

        We are looking into Anchorage and when that day comes we will definitely give you a shout! Thanks again Zak!

    • Upasana Mallick

      Kevin, liked your story as much as I liked the post :)) Good luck to your wife with her early travel adventures!
      Reanno, What an interesting read! Thank you.

      • Kevin Post

        Hello Treavor,  hello Upasana! Thanks for the kind words :)

  • Kelsi Nummerdor

    So true. Sometimes I feel like Bourdain is becoming my true companion, haha.

  • Emily

    I love this! I can relate to the restlessness and loneliness of travel.

  • Turner Wright

    I like Kevin’s approach, but it doesn’t always work out that way. I meet plenty of people who are genuinely scared of going beyond their borders. 

    I think you’re completely spot-on in this article, Reannon. It seems like things will be ok with someone you meet at first, especially if you’re burnt out on traveling and looking for homey comforts. But without the backstory, the experiences that made us? The relationship feels so shallow.

    • Ivana Preiss

      not only travelling gives you experience. what gives you experience is the way you look at things. i know travellers who travelled the globe but still have blurred souls and huge egos. i also know people that never went out of their village but their mind is as open as an open sky.
      whether your relationship with a non -traveller is going to work or not is not going to be dependant on this fact but on how much you are willing to learn from each other.

  • Ali Mclauchlan

    Is that true about only 30% of Americans using their passport?  Or is it slightly skewed because you don’t need one to travel to Canada/Caribbean/Mexico??  Or has that all changed since 9/11?

  • Sam Thomas

    I believe that you did the right thing. I was dating a guy for four years, and he was anti-travel everything. Even my suggestion of venturing to an Indian restaurant caused us to fall into a major argument. Just last year, when I was finalizing my study abroad plans for an around the world voyage with Semester at Sea, I realized that our relationship truly wasn’t going to work out. If travel is one of your major passions, and you want to do a lot of in the years to come, I don’t think that pursuing a long-term relationship with someone that hates travel is the right way to go. If travel is a big part of what makes you “you,” and someone can’t accept that, it will be hard to truly connect with that someone. 
    Just my philosophy though :) 

  • Broche Fabian

    Great article Reannon! I, too, once broke up with someone because they didn’t have a passport. While I’ve never regretted the decision, I do feel like I’ve had to defend my actions to friends who haven’t understood. It boiled down to different outlooks on life; I wasn’t willing to change enough to be a homebody, and the other person wasn’t willing to change enough to try traveling. Even just trying it! If you can introduce someone to a new way of life, either the joys of having a home base to come back to or the joys of open-road living, that’s great either way, but if you can’t, like you did, I believe it’s best to move on.

  • Helen

    I don’t think you’re overreacting. Travel is a very important part of my life as welll and I have dreams and plans to see the World. I need to end up with a person who shares that passion.

  • kinder lid

    I don’t care how hot and educated the guy is…..traveling is my requisite, first one on the list. No traveling…then nada! If a guy hates to travel for’fear’ their showing their true outlooks on things (or true colors I should say)…ignorant and not stepping out their boundaries to be rewarded even more with the experience that travel provides to you. What a shame indeed , its his loss honey, you are beyond this quarter of a brain of his! 

  • Christina Lavinia Lidstone

    Traveling is a lifestyle. I have also experienced this phenomenon. 

  • Bear

    Reannon, I have to step back and think we might be soul mates in a way. I think I’ve had this exact situation with my last girlfriend.  She was smart, beautiful, absolutely loving, and a lot of what I wanted in a woman. Except she is a homebody. She doesn’t want to take that random trip to Asia, she shudders at the idea of going to a country that may not be what “America” is, and asks why would she want to be around people who don’t do things that she isn’t used to or likes….A non-traveler. 

    Sure, she wants to go to a few European Countries. Greece, Ireland…but I doubt I could get her to go to Ukraine, or Bulgaria, or Finland, Wales, or Poland. Definitely not Asia, and it would be a struggle for a South American country.  In short, if it wasn’t as close a match to the USA with our values, it wasn’t much on the list. Talking about working abroad boils up a whole new kettle of fish!

    Sure, I do love her and miss her. In fact we’re trying to work things out…but there is still that little voice in my head that is telling me that settling with a non-traveler will make me unhappy. I’ve used up every page on my last passport, got my newest one, and it’s itching to be used! And taking the occasional Cruise is not my idea of traveling to foreign countries. 

    I think it’s high time I start up that dating site for travelers I’ve been keeping in my back pocket as my “Make me money” scheme! haha. 

    • Kelly

      Dating site for travelers! I’ll join,

      • Bear

        email invitations will be going out soon ;-) 

    • Candice Walsh

      I’d be the first to sign up!

      • Bear

        You’ll be one of the first to get the sign up email! :-)

    • Reannon Muth

      @ Bear – Yeah…it’s tough.  You wind up thinking “Well, maybe if he/she just takes the plunge and SEES how cool it is, they’ll change their mind…”  but I think you’re either born with a natural curiosity about the world or not, and there’s nothing anyone can do or say to change that.  

      The world needs the ‘play-it-safers’…I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad quality.  I’d love to be content with a far simpler life…

      Anyway, you should definitely start that travel dating site!  I’ll join.  Seriously…that’d be a huge money-maker.

      • Bear

        Exactly my thoughts! “Maybe if they see how much fun….” That was always my hope! In the end, I decided it would never work after all! (I thank your readers and you for finally making me think critically what I wasn’t wanting to think about!) You’re spot on with the natural curiosity. I think that is probably the best way to describe us travel junkies is we have that fascination with the world and how it works. 

        Play-it-safers are good so that we can come back home occasionally and have a functioning customs agency to welcome us! ;-) 

        You will be the first to know about the dating site once it goes online! I might even make you a lead editor, haha!

  • Emily

    There are just some things that are deal-breakers. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, travel can become one of them.  I think you dodged a bullet by putting an end to it when you did. You’ll both be happier for it! 

  • Byron Go

    It’s not travel or not.  Obviously travel lives deep in our hearts for many reasons, but it’s not that, is it?  If you were in love with horses and he didn’t want anything to do with them, it’d be the same.  If there was something that either of you loved, and that you weren’t willing to try on or try out, it’d be the same.  

    It’s that he was still thinking about himself, and putting himself and his predetermined ways of being and views on life before yours.  And vice versa.  It’s a partnership, and that requires giving up how you know the world to be true to appreciate the world through the company and eyes of another.  And it’s not like you should, or have to, it’s that you want to be in a relationship where you WANT to explore his point of view, and you his.  Because without that, the two of you are still just separate beings, hanging out together for a while.  Doesn’t mean you can’t love him, want the best for him, and that he can’t do that to.  But a partnership has to grow TOGETHER (and growth means discomfort) or else it will default to growing apart.  Sounds like you made the courageous choice, and learned more about yourself and what you’re looking for in the process.  Nicely done :)  

  • Scott

    Great topic for discussion! I simply could not date someone who isn’t interested in travel. I’m currently dating someone who can’t travel much due to a job, but that’s another story because there are ways to work around that over the long term.

  • Jill

    I really liked this post. And for the record, Kevin, I liked your comment. Not too long at all. Actually got me thinking all day! 
    I feel like  I don’t think I’d be ever able to date a non-traveler ever again. I think the word most closely associated with them would be “boring,” although that doesn’t seem exactly fair. 

    I’m sort of having the opposite problem. I was seeing a traveler and I’m always confused as to where our relationship stands. I feel like although we both understand we have our own travel goals and paths, we still care about each other. It makes things hard, and admittedly, we wouldn’t have this problem if we were both not travelers. 

    I guess the bottom line is that every relationship has its problems, but when someone (or in my case, 2 people) contribute an unconventional avenue (travel) into the equation, things get that much trickier. 

    I’m interested in knowing how travelers make their relationships work. Thanks for this insightful piece. 

  • hcmk

     There are many reasons why he wasn’t feeling, nevermind sharing, your love of travel.  Perhaps he was too embarrassed or felt he couldn’t share similar stories.  He probably felt you were always talking up travel like it was something he was missing, when he clearly wasn’t missing it.

  • Zak

    It’s such a push-pull with travelers like us who long for companionship—especially, it seems, as friends/coworkers/siblings start pairing off more frequently than we’d like to admit, and it gets harder and harder to be the “independent one.”

    I don’t know you at all, Reannon, but I still hope that I can encourage you in saying that I think you made the right choice. Not to downplay the character of your ex, but there are tons of great guys out there, and chances are at least a couple of them love to travel.

    Great article. I’ll be filing this away to read and reference to fellow travelers.

  • Katelyn

    Perhaps it’s for the best. I managed to convince a non-traveling friend to accompany me to Korea for 2 weeks. He still managed to eat nothing but Macdonalds (because Korean food was too ‘weird’) and do barely more than watch TV in his hotel room (because he can just see the attractions and history on the screen). 

    Some non-travelers are just scared and need a companion. Others don’t want the change at all.

  • Costa Mesa CVB

    Maybe not in this scenario, but sometimes a compromise can be reached. The traveler encourages the non-traveler to broaden the world and push past their comfort zones, while the non-traveler teaches the travel how to love being in one place at a time and not wonder if there is something better out there.

  • Ryan Di Giovanni

    I’m a traveler and I cannot for the life of me date non-travelers, I’ve been to 43 Countries and have plans to see atleast 100 before I turn 30 in 6 years… No one ever gets to see what could have been nor shall we think about it for me… Life is full of good and bad things altogether…the good things keep us content and the bad things keeps us full of resolve and push us to become better people. So I wouldn’t stress too much because someday, somewhere in a country in a crooked and cramped shanty you will find your soul mate.

  • Fidel

    I think a lot of people have an interest in traveling but they don’t have the adequate time to. I know before I joined the Navy, I definitely made the money to travel but I could not take more than a week or a three-day weekend off work, so my travel was limited. It would be hard dating someone like myself who likes to pack up and venture places solo, as well as someone who is an avid photographer. I definitely want a woman who enjoys doing and has the time to do both. Yet I also would not just not date someone because she couldn’t. It is actually nice to inspire the non travelers out there and have them working to do what you do. And I find that as travelers, people see us as sexy adventurers and it certainly makes us great storytellers and conversationalist- qualities that the women I tend to date certainly admire.

  • The World of Deej

    When I met the girl that today is my wife, I knew she not only needed to enjoy travel, but we needed to travel well together. I booked a test run for our relationship by heading to Paris and Barcelona a few months after we met. Thankfully, she passed the test. I can’t imagine being with someone that doesn’t share the love of travel…

  • chacha

    I don’t even have friends who have never owned a passport. When you are a traveler, it is indeed part of your identity and you will never be able to shrink a expansive and curious world view to fit someones tiny, fossilized comfort zone. I have tried to date non-travelers in the past and had to break up with them for the same reason as the author. But, there is no breakup that a good trip can’t cure;)

  • Boz White

    I’m a traveller, been to 51 countries, on this next trip will reach 60 countries visited. 9 years ago, an ex-gf’s mother asked me had i got the travel bug out of me. As her daughter was a non-traveller, within 6 months broke up from her as I knew it would never work.

  • John Wilson

    ummm… I would love to travel but I simply do not have the time or the money.  I work a full-time job, and yes they do provide vacation time but there’s absolutely no way I could afford to plunk down $2,000 running around Paris for a few days, when I am barely paying for all my bills and saving a little bit for a rainy day.  Just because I don’t travel doesn’t mean I dont’ deserve to meet a nice woman.

    • Reannon Muth

      Travel isn’t just about going to expensive cities like Paris…you could ‘travel’ to your nearby National Park or simply spend an afternoon walking around a neighborhood in your city that you’ve never explored before.  I think what I mean by ‘non-traveler’ is someone who lacks the desire to explore or try new things. 

    • Kaylin Elizabeth Stephens

      Travelers make the effort to save money for what they want to do. We cut out unnecessary things for life (fancy smartphone, cable tv, daily starbucks) and start saving. I paid for my first non-school-related international trip by working part-time at a department store for a year and a half. You can travel if you want, but only if it’s a priority. If it’s not you’ll never make it happen. “I don’t have the time or the money” is an excuse, and a poor one at that, if you really want to do so.

      That’s not to say you can’t meet a nice woman at home; there are plenty of homebodies, particularly in the USA. Travelers are more of a rarity there than anywhere else in the western world, really.  I don’t think you’d be happy anyway with a jetsetting girlfriend who leaves you at home, anymore than she’d be happy with you refusing to come along.
      Good luck to you on that; I honestly hope you will find someone that makes you happy. :)

  • Hannah Tangi

    I can definitely relate. I’m dating a guy who does not own a passport. He has friends from 3rd grade who are still his pals. Up until a year ago he wouldn’t think of even eating a vegetable. But he’s up for adventure and willing to open his eyes, he just hasn’t had the opportunity. We moved from Ohio to Arizona (where we knew about 2 people), he now loves sushi & spinach and we’re going to Thailand this fall for his first international experience (quite a drastic one for him it may be haha). So I guess I am lucky. I’ve come to realize that he just hasn’t had the chances, the opportunities, the support or the money to be the traveler that I am….but soon he will be.

    Great post!


    • Reannon Muth

      @ Hannah – That’s awesome!  I think there’s two different kind of non-travelers:  those who haven’t traveled because they haven’t the opportunity and those that have had the opportunity but have chosen not to because they have zero interest.  You’re guy sounds like the former (?).  Lucky you! : )

  • Rhonda

    You did the right thing.  Travel is more than a hobby, it has the capacity to change your life and how you view the world.  The differences in you and your ex would have just gotten bigger.

  • LRosas2

    Traveling is the love of my life!  I feel its always been my only passion in life.  You did the right thing in dumping this guy.  I would not have been able to stand someone who wasn’t even willing to try traveling to a new place, let alone try a different kind of food.  Great post!

  • Kirsten Alana

    It wouldn’t be possible for me to relate to this any more than I already do. Only, I went so far as to make the mistake of marrying a non-traveler.

    I’m no longer married.

  • Parm

    I too had the same reservations a few years back.  The guy I was dating thought he would travel after he retired only and had no desire to go outside of Canada or US.  Travelling is one of my passions and is really important to me. But I had to think of what my priorities were for being with someone I love.  I asked myself is it more important that he is reliable, always there for me, thoughtful, has good family values, makes me a priority instead of an option, ambitious but not married to his job or is being a traveller going to be one of the main criteria points for being with someone. Having gone through bad relationships in the past (with those who enjoyed travel and adventure), I knew what my answer was and everything else fell into place.

    I am happily married to that non-traveler from 5 years ago, but glad to see he has turned a new leaf.  For our honeymoon, HEs the one who suggested we go to Thailand. His best friends dad passed away when he was 50. That really got to him and now realizes he wants to travel now when he can. Since then we have travelled to Hungary, Malta, Spain, and Italy and hope to keep encouraging and challenging one another.  Even being a traveller, im not much of a foodie and my hubby is so he encourages me to try new foods and I encourage him to try travelling to new places (hope to go to Jordan and Turkey next!).

  • Giulialatini


  • Kimberly G.

    I never thought it would be an issue until I dated a man who had no desire to leave his county much less his country! It is definitely a deal breaker now.

  • Guest

    This is a great article. I don’t get to travel all the time, but I still love it, and I could never just give up traveling for someone. Perhaps that’s selfish, but there are some things that are too important (like this) for me to compromise on. It’s not even that the other person would have to be a global nomad, but to have someone totally opposed to the very thought of travel, I just couldn’t do.

  • suki

    For me, it’s a matter of personalities and outlook on life. A guy who is willing to try a weird food that I hand him is more likely to mirror my enthusiasm for hopping on a plane across the globe and landing into the unknown. 

    You’ll find someone. :)

  • Ashley

    I dated a guy for three years and thought I could handle this settling down in one place (which was the town he grew up in and planned to spend the rest of his days) but my need to travel, to wander,was too great and his need to NOT do any of that wound up putting a huge strain on our relationship. I’m not sure I would do it again, kind of like how I can’t date someone who is a picky eater. 

  • Brittany Chiles

    Great blog! 
    Being a “traveler” (or “non-traveler”) is definitely part of one’s identity, I believe, and it’s a lifestyle. Dating someone who does not share a similar lifestyle will always be more complex/complicated, with whatever the difference you’re talking about (diet, smoke, work, travel, x, y, or z)…

    Something I always keep in mind is wisdom my uncle shared with me: “if you’re someone who wants to grow, the worst situation you can be in is dating someone who doesn’t.” There is so much growth challenge and potential in traveling, which is why this comes to mind.

    You seem like a grower, and there are a heck of a lot of (grower-type) people in this world- and people who want to be growers, but don’t know how- …. so maybe 30% isn’t so bad?? :)

  • Runawaybrit

    “I imagine that while I’m on a plane by myself, he’ll be cuddling on the
    sofa with a girlfriend who doesn’t dream in postcard pictures. And I’ll
    be jealous.”

    You totally did the right thing, even though it was hard and for now it makes you feel lonely. For me, travel is my life and my passion and I can’t imagine being with anybody who doesn’t share those things. It would be like being with somebody if you don’t agree on whether to get married or have children. I will never want to give up travelling (although maybe in time I’ll travel less).

    I also broke up with a boyfriend because he didn’t want to travel and I just couldn’t face a lifetime of giving up what means so much to me. If he had been willing to compromise then I would have too but, like your boyfriend, he wasn’t even willing to try.

    Five years later I met the guy I am meant to be with. On a beach in Cambodia. We now travel together as much as we possibly can and I have found a happiness that I never knew before.

    Don’t settle for less.

    Good luck!

  • e.v. de cleyre

    Beautiful article, Reannon! Having dated a handful of non-travelers myself, I really related to the post, and your writing is superb. However, the one part I disliked was the ending, namely you mentioning that you’d be jealous. If I had to choose, I’d rather be on a flight to Jamaica than cuddling with a non-traveler!
    Granted, I’m lucky enough to (finally) be dating a travel addict like myself, so there’s no need to choose anymore. I hope you find your travel addict love someday soon!-e.v.

  • Hmcneil0

    i feel your pain. i dated a non-traveller, and when we did travel (which was only once) he didnt take any of the risks i wanted too, and we ended up having a horrible time. i think traveling is a way of life and if you cannot connect on that level, then it wont work. :( 

  • Aandra44

    It is creepy how much I feel like you are me, Reannon, especially the Anthony Bourdain bit (love that show) but in my opinion you made the best decision. travelers don’t necessarily have to be with travelers but they should at least be with someone open to the idea. keep at it girl ;) great article.

  • Traveller to be

    Dear Reannon, thanks very much for your article/story! It’s kind of tragic. But for me there is also a lesson in it and that is great. My story is different, although I do like to share it. A few years ago, I was very much in love with a traveller, (I suppose I still kind of am if I am honest). Apart from the fact he was, of course ;) , an intriguing and nice guy, he was absolutely passionate about travelling and exploring. And that very passion he had attracted me as I also had a strong desire to just go away to God knows where and experience strange places. However, I had not yet taken the step and I wanted to know everything about his travels. One day however, he suddenly got really enthousiastic and proposed that we could travel to the Middle East together. Romantically still very much inexperienced ánd very shocked about what he had just said, I literally wasn’t able to respond. The moment was gone. I didn’t fix it because I didn’t know how and I am regretting it every day since. We had an interesting thing going on between us and it is quite sad that it never really took off. I think the girl in your story had to accept the fact that her guy wasn’t the travelling type. You don’t need to do everything together and apart from disagreements on travelling they seem to have been a great match. The guy in my story taught me two things: just go out and travel and secondly, if something feels good, as our little flirtation, go for it and don’t be afraid. Two essential lessons for me to learn and I feel lucky to have known him. This year I will take the step, I’ll go to Australia. I am scared and excited about it. But I think I will have the time of my life!

    I’ll stop here before I write down my entire life story :D Thanks for your writings, love reading them!

  • Coleen Monroe

    I know that I cannot, from experience. My personality, values, and long-term life plans all involve travel as an important part of them (if not THE most important part). I’ve attempted to date a non-traveler, and even attempted a conversion on him by having him visit me while I was studying abroad. I did anything and everything, including putting myself into serious personal debt, to convince him to at least try it. And not just some sterilized programmed cruise. Off-road, off the track.

    Among our many other incompatibilities,  his refusal to travel was the nail in the coffin. It didn’t come out until after I finally broke up with him, but he’d had me convinced that I was the one who should have to sacrifice one of the most fulfilling aspects of myself in order to have a chance at forever.

    Never. Again.

  • Bikebloke

    Beentheredonethat. We were an apple and an orange.

  • Jacquelyn Deal

    Fabulous article! These thoughts are precisely the ones I’ve had in a recent relationship with a non-traveler – just phrased much better. Great work.

  • Alanna Foell

    I’ve pretty much stopped dating seriously because unless I know that a potential sig-other is going to want to come with me on my travels, understand WHY I love to travel so much etc, what’s the point? I don’t want to put my dreams on hold because of someone else, and I don’t want to insist that someone do something they don’t want to for my benefit. It’s a tough thing, but travel is more than just a hobby. Knitting doesn’t change your outlook on life – travel does. 

  • Tom Bartel

    Love of travel is a sign of an open mind and willingness to learn. Not watching Will Farrell movies is a sign of intelligence. Now if he didn’t like Groucho Marx, that would be a deal killer right there.

  • camorose

    The most serious relationship I’ve had to date was with a non-traveler. I picked up his passport application, raved about France, filled out his passport application, looked at international tickets–and then I realized that I couldn’t force that on him. I had to accept that we just didn’t want the same things. The worst part was that we broke up just a week before our first trip together to spend New Year’s in Hawaii–we bought our tickets and booked our hotel and then realized that we were forcing it way too much. He didn’t want this, and I didn’t want to be the one who was forcing it. I booked a one-way ticket to France a month after we broke up–one of those break-ups that is the biggest blessing in disguise. Wonderful post–can relate to SO much of what you said. 

  • Kaylin Elizabeth Stephens

    I think even dating someone with a different travel style to you can be detrimental. My last boyfriend’s family was extremely wealthy and he would look down his nose at even staying in a cheap hotel, much less a *gasp* hostel! (We went to the beach on our one and only trip together… staying in his parent’s posh penthouse in a resort and rarely actually went outside of it and did anything… he was perfectly content. I was miserable.)
    He didn’t understand what was so uncomfortable about flying… well, of course it’s not if you’re flying first class!
    That’s obviously not the only reason we broke up (there were MANY many reasons for that) but goes to show you even someone who “likes to travel” may not be the ideal partner either.

    I am currently living abroad teaching English in Korea and while I’m not looking for love while I’m here since it is a transient experience, I also wouldn’t dream anymore of dating anyone from back home either… my state is one of the lowest in terms of passport holding (I think 21% or something?) and many people, in particular in the South US where I’m from, are total homebodies… many people I went to HS with (I graduated 7 years ago) still live in our hometown, already married and having babies. That’s the complete opposite of me! So I guess I’m destined to be alone for a while, but I’m definitely ok with that for now… I’m only 23!

    I think what I’m trying to say is, basically, you have to find someone who has the same goals and aspirations as you in things. You probably wouldn’t date someone who didn’t to go to college if you have a Master’s degree; travel is the same.

  • Andi Perullo

    It’s a total deal breaker for me.

  • Bertrand

    You know, if you’re willing to date shorter men in exchange for not dating people who don’t travel, you’ll probably come out ahead.

  • jouljet

    The clincher is the fact that, despite the travel aspect, he wouldn’t even try something new in the food department!  He will always he content with the familiar, and you never will be – it’s a good decision!
    I didn’t get stabbed in Jamaica, you’ll be fine!

  • Vic Mouskewitz

    You did the right thing girl…Travelers date Travelers, it is one of those things that change you to the point where people who never have travelled will never get it.  However, I think what’s more disappointing for you with this guy was not so much that he didn’t travel, it was more that he was content with his little bubble around him and had no interest in trying something new.  Perhaps he was somewhat closed minded, and I think that many people who never travel are often closed minded people as well.  Perhaps you could’ve met someone who never traveled because they never had the means to or the ability to due to financial, familial, or other circumstances…and instead they open themselves to the world around them through books or art or cinema or food or whatever.  However, how likely is that…since you’re always traveling you’re going to meet…dum dum dum…other travelers!!   I could be a little more coherent and a little less with sweeping generalities, but I think my basic point was made. 

  • Shryjana

    i too want to travel all my life but im afraid if i cant make it.

  • Traveller

    My boyfriend (now husband) was a non-traveller until he met me. He’d never wanted to go anywhere; whereas I wanted to go EVERYWHERE. When I told him I was going to travel the world with or without him, he decided he would rather come with me than risk losing me. At first I was afraid that he would ruin my trip with his fear and anxiety; I really questioned whether somebody so anti-new-experiences could possibly be the right person for me. But we both loved each other enough to give it a go. Now he says it’s the best thing he’s ever done. I think sometimes you just have to ask yourself whether a person is worth taking risks and making compromises for. In our case, it definitely was. 

  • Ctran100

    You are inside my brain!!! This spoke to me with a lot of power.  This is what I debated for 3 years until my boyfriend and I finally organized and saved up for a proper Europe trip, and that went so well that it eliminated all of my fears about his travel ability/interest. Sorry yours did not end so well. Thanks for writing this.

  • Alina

    I once dated a non-traveler. I kept finding myself saying things like “this one time in Uganda…” or “when I was volunteering in this orphanage….” or “African samosas are so much nicer than Indian ones…”. He on the other hand kept saying things like “I want to leave Europe too at some point…” or “oooh… you’ve seen so much of the world”. I knew however, that if he ever was to leave Europe it would be to maybe go to the US and that he had no idea what samosas were. So I broke up.

  • Nancy Levenson

    Thank you for this. You made the right decision. People who are into newness should date other people who are also into newness, travel included.

  • Anonymous

    It’s so hard to say. Many times, as in your article, it’s more than just traveling. It’s that they hate your travel stories that confuse them and didn’t involve them, they won’t try new things, they don’t know why you want more than they want.

    My mom traveled the world before she met my dad- who had never left his country before. He was from a US suburb where it just didn’t occur to people to travel. My mom is from Mexico, and started taking my dad overseas, and he loved it. I am always heartbroken over guys that hate that I travel. I beg my mom for advice, on how she managed to land, and is happily married to a non-travel for over 27 years. Her response is “I loved him, he always made me laugh, and he was open to anything. I wanted to be with him, I didn’t care where.” Now, three of my American uncles are also married to foreigners! Basically, my dad hadn’t traveled because he wasn’t exposed to it. He is just naturally adaptable, and my whole life, my parents travel constantly with or without kids. My first trip was to the USSR…as a 2 month old unborn fetus.

    For my own life though, I haven’t been happy with a non-travel. I am heart-broken over a very recent break-up with a foreigner. He has wanted to travel, but only to very specific places and doesn’t want anything that’s not on his list. He hated my travel stories- I try to understand that it must sound pretentious to start with “oh, this cafe in Paris…” but I don’t mean it that way. to me, it’s just the stories in my life, the same way other people say “the other night at the bar.” When I was telling him about Poland, a place where I lived and loved it, he angrily said “why don’t you just live there again, if you love it so much?” I hadn’t meant it that way, I just wanted to share things about me. But my travels didn’t interest him at all. I wanted to stay with him, I wanted to have a travel buddy, and be grounded in a stable relationship, I really did. But he had a non-travel mindset, and I couldn’t force it anymore. I would try not to talk about travels, or mention any trips, and every time I accidently mentioned a trip possibility, right away I’d regret it because of his attitude. “Oh, the coast? without me? No, that’s cool, go have fun, I’ll just stay here. Glad a city is more important than me.” He wanted to travel, but he hated my travel stories (even though I was single in them) and he hated the US, and would repeatedly tell me that he would never live there, ever. How can I be with someone that I’d follow anywhere if he wouldn’t even follow me to my own country? I wanted it all so badly, but I finally had to admit that I don’t know how to change who I am. Every day I wonder if I could have done anything differently, been less restless, if I could have loved him better or more. Your article relates to so many people, and I feel like wrote it myself, that’s how much your words hit it! Wonderful article, I look forward to checking out more of your writing.

  • Sofie Couwenbergh

    Fabulously written.
    I was going through all the ‘relationships’ articles when this one caught my eye.
    I also consider my boyfriend to be a non-traveler, but not in the same way your ex seemed to be one.
    My boyfriend does travel, but he travels to snowboard and where we go on our trips together doesn’t matter that much.
    I’m always talking about where I want to go to next, but unless it involves snow or mountains he reacts as I’ve I’m contemplating over what we’ll have for dinner.
    We’ve been together for over 7 years now and I can still say that I don’t only love him, but also that I’m still in love with him.
    I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be with someone who’d want to travel the world again, but then again I can’t imagine not being with my boyfriend.
    He’s seen the best and the worst of me, he knows me inside out.
    Maybe one day our different interests will become a problem. I won’t say that that’s not something that lingers in my mind. But up until know we’ve always found a way to both do what we love to do and be together as well.

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