I’ve lost track of who even started it, but somewhere along the way the internet became overrun with a series of sappy and cliche articles about whether or not to date boys and girls who travel. A couple of friends recently sent me the latest post titled “Don’t date a girl who travels”, because it apparently ‘reminded them of me’.
Now let me tell you that the last thing I need is a viral article title giving men another reason not to date me; my (nonexistent) romantic life indicates that I clearly give them plenty of reasons already. As I read through the article I found myself identifying with a few of its points but ultimately cringing at most. It seems sweet and free-spirited at first glance, but in reality the words are lumping women like me, the “girls who travel”, into one big hippy-fest stereotype.
The author sets the scene by describing ‘the girl who travels’ as “the one with the messy unkempt hair colored by the sun. ” Well, sure, at times everyone’s hair can be a little messy, but I do actually own and use a hair brush. And those highlights? They came from the magical sun in a bottle. “Her skin is now far from fair like it once was.” Ha, I wish! Some of us fair-skinned lasses couldn’t keep a tan if our dreadlocked head depended upon it. Also, sunblock anyone? SPF 30 is my friend because icksnay on the ancer-cay.
“She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her.” Wanting something a little different from the norm does not make me hard to please. In fact, in many ways I am easier to please because I find a thoughtful gesture, like planning a picnic, so much more meaningful. If appreciating the simple things in life makes me difficult, then have fun with your real housewives of Hollywood.
“Chances are, she can’t hold a steady job. Or she’s probably daydreaming about quitting.” I absolutely CAN hold a steady job; how do you think I afford to travel? If I am daydreaming about quitting it’s not because I’m lazy or a quitter, but because I am using this job as a stepping stone toward a greater goal. My dream might be traveling, but working toward it does not make me flighty. If anything, it means I am grounded and driven.
“She might have wasted her college degree and switched careers entirely.” A college degree is never wasted. An education, no matter what you studied, makes you a more thoughtful, well-rounded, and aware person. If switching career paths makes your degree a waste, then perhaps most of the country should apply for a tuition refund.
“She doesn’t wear a watch. Her days are ruled by the sun and the moon.” FALSE. If I’m a girl who travels, then I must have to catch planes and trains who, incidentally, are not ruled by the sun and the moon, and require me to show up on time if I want to take them. I may not wear a watch, and my days may not be measured incrementally by the hours on an office clock, but rooted within my freedom is some kind of schedule and the responsibility to know how to follow it.
“She tends to speak her mind. She will never try to impress your parents or friends.” I will never change who I am to impress you or others, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want your friends to like me. A real girl who travels knows how to discuss her own ideas among different points of view in a way that is respectful and open-minded. And that is the way she will truly impress people.
“She will never need you. She is too independent and won’t care whether you travel with her or not.” This would imply that I only want to travel with people I need, and that I essentially use them. That’s a harsh accusation! No, I don’t need you to do anything for me, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy your company. I am happy to order myself a drink at the beachside bar and watch the sun sink into the horizon on my own, but the experience would be no less sweet with a companion by my side.
“If you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.” Like a bird, I am meant to fly free, and no one can ‘keep’ me. But they can certainly join me. I am a “girl who travels” and if this is the sort of woman you want, then please don’t be afraid to say hello and see where the road takes you. As it turns out, we don’t all have poor hygiene and attachment disorders.