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Date a Girl Who Stays at Home

large_size_8971If you ever listen to advice on dating, never accept advice by someone telling you who you should date. Recently, I read an article suggesting girls should date a boy who travels. This post was well written and romantically inspired, but outrageously dumb. Yet, it struck a worldwide chord of nostalgia with any girl who ever watched The Princess Bride and fancied Westley as a perfect suitor. If you don’t remember, Westley was the simple farm boy who represented loyalty, faithfulness, and the comforts of home before being forced to assume the identity of the Dread Pirate Roberts – a guy who romantically traversed and mastered the world.

What girl wouldn’t want to be rescued by an exciting traveler who provides the familiarity of home while simultaneously saving her from her own mundane existence. However,  girls should also consider the fate of another women who gave her heart to a traveler – Sussanah from Legend of the Falls. Do you remember her? She fell in love with the sexiest incarnation of Brad Pitt to ever grace a movie screen – Tristan. Tristan’s lust for traveling, unsettled heart, and untamable spirit, along with his curiosity about the world, and love for another girl who stayed at home eventually drove Sussanah to suicide. While sexy as hell, Tristan certainly demonstrates that boys who travel don’t always make good boyfriends.

According to the information from “Date a Boy Who Travels,” I compiled a list of girls who should not date boys who travel.  This list is not to be taken seriously, I’m merely poking holes in the whimsical logic of the author.

1) A girl who hates traveling. By traveling, I mean roughing it all the time and getting food poisoning – this is the only real traveling.

2) A girl who doesn’t like boys who have pictures of beer on their t-shirts since nothing screams mysterious traveler like a “singlet” with the logo of third world beer company on it.

3) A girl who enjoys vacations or staying at resorts – feel guilty if you enjoy staying at a Sandals in Jamaica or a resort in Hawaii.

4) A girl who likes boys with a picture of his family on his laptop as opposed to rolling hills, beaches, or stones left behind by an ancient civilization. If he has a picture of his dog, he’s also out!

5) A girl who likes a man who pursued his career before traveling – if the boy became a doctor, lawyer, musician, or engineer before traveling, he’s no good and probably not interesting.

6) A girl who thinks a nice watch says a lot about a man.

7) A girl who wants a diamond ring when she gets engaged.

8) A girl who doesn’t want to hear a boy’s heart race as he talks about the exotic females he met in distance lands.

9) A girl who is secure in her faith and doesn’t believe that holding convictions is the same as intolerance.

10) A girl who isn’t disappointed if her man is fighting for a singular goal.

11) And a girl who doesn’t always think having the curiosity of a five year old is a good thing.

There are, of course, other obvious factors the author ignored when romanticizing about her dream boy who wears plaid shirts and reads National Geographic magazines for fun. Is the boy loyal? I’ve met plenty of wander-lusting men who are also women-lusting men. Is he an asshole? I’ve met plenty of travelers where my “see you laters” could not be fast enough. How about security? The author mentioned traveling men know how to budget because they live out of a backpack. Do you know how many travelers are horrible with personal finances? Just because someone lives out of a backpack for three months does not mean their financial house is in order or that they are good with money. If my sister had ever brought home one of these travelers I have encountered over the years, my dad would kick his ass straight out the front door.

The author also gives her traveling man the trait of relishing home. I assume this implies not just appreciating a flush toilet or a home-cooked meal, but also having a good relationship with his family, which is important to many girls. Truth be told, not all travelers appreciate home or their families.

Date a Boy Who Travels bothers me for two reasons. First, it destroys the sense of independence that women strived for over the last century. If you need a boy to open you up to the wonders of the world or traveling, you don’t deserve this boy. Secondly, this article is nothing more than a personification of one girl’s perfect man bottled into the mystique of a traveler. It’s the perfect formula for an article luring romance-starved readers, but it falls short of reality.

Can we please stop giving into false ideas of romance? The right person for you may be someone who can share stories of his visits to the ruins of the Incas or the time that snake almost got him in Borneo. Or, he may be the boy who grew up alongside you, never traveled, loved only you his entire life, and knows exactly how to make you smile on a rainy day.  There is no formula for the right person.  Let’s stop pretending one exists.

Traveling is awesome and I encourage everyone to do it, but there are interesting people who travel and interesting people who stay at home. Despite the groovy-cool people I’ve met living abroad, the most interesting people in my life are those who remained home. Traveling makes people better and broadens our perspectives, but ultimately, traveling does not define who we are. Traveling does not mean an individual is funny, honest, caring or even interesting.

The author gets backwards in the end. She says,

“And if you can’t find him, travel. Go. Embrace it. Explore the world for yourself because dreams are the stuff reality is made from.”

I advise you to not waste your time waiting on or finding the boy. If you want to travel and experience the beauty of this world yourself, then go travel. You don’t need to find him first. Of course, if your heart really yearns for a traveler, the best way to meet a boy who travels is to travel yourself. As your heart is enlivened from your own journey, I hope you’re lucky enough to meet the person whose heart is heading for the same destination.

Sidebar: When not critiquing bad dating advice, Brent is an accomplished photographer and creator of one of the most popular foreigner blogs in Korea, Kimichibytes, check it out.

Brent Sheffield
Brent Sheffield is a beloved English instructor to elementary students in Seoul, South Korea. When he’s not instructing students on the proper use of gerunds or English profanity, he runs a popular expat website called Kimchibytes where he contributes both as a writer and a photographer. Brent’s interests range from traveling and romance to reminiscing about the best RPG’s to grace 16 bit entertainment systems. He believes the very best writing is controversial and his work is not complete unless he upsets a new individual every day.

7 thoughts on “Date a Girl Who Stays at Home

  1. I don’t think the fact the writer of the original article didn’t mention that some travelers can be bad people invalidates the list. I don’t know how people are supposed to write about things if they have to explain every possible exception. Do some travelers cheat? Sure. Are travelers human beings? Of course. However, many of them share a lot of great qualities that are worth mentioning. Bringing up that they have human faults, too, goes without saying.

  2. I think you read too far into my article. It’s not that she didn’t list bad qualities of travelers, it’s that she whimsically listed the qualities of her perfect man and embodied them into a “traveler.” Their are great qualities about travelers, but she could be farther away from keeping it real.

    Also, despite the fact that I’m very old-fashioned, I can’t believe she mentioned a girl should meet a man to open her to the possiblity of travel. She kind of took it back at the end, but I found her thought process to be out of time and even backwards for indepedent women.

  3. I see where you’re coming from with the old fashion comment, but I just took the whole thing to be her addressing this to women who don’t travel, which, in America, is the vast majority. So yeah, for them, the mission might be to seek someone out who travels to encourage them a long. I think us living overseas causes to take for granted the idea that it’s easy for people to just start doing it.

    1. How you know the the vast majority of women in America, to some extent, don’t travel? If she wanted to encourage women to travel, why not just encourage them to travel? Girls in America are far beyond needing a man for this. Her article is nothing but a pile of romanticized horse shit. Beautiful words can never save horrible logic.

      1. I know most women don’t travel because of statistics. Something like only 30% of Americans have a passport. Many don’t use them and most who do use them go to Canada, Mexico or on a tropical cruise (Im not making this up). It’s hard to get Americans to travel and it’s different strokes for different folks in terms of what will finally encourage some to do it. There’s already a ton of articles online telling people to travel (I wrote one). There are some specifically telling women how great traveling is. If meeting someone to travel with them is what some small subset of women need to finally do it, Im not going to begrudge them. Women also have different safety concerns that might cause them to want to travel with a man, if romance is involved, so be it. So long as they’re traveling, I don’t care what get’s them to make that first move.

        You gotta realize Brent, we’re stuck in a travel bubble where intentional travel and backpacking is considered normal. But it’s really not.

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