While snuggling up during chilly afternoons and having someone's hand to hold while walking to the grocery store gives you all the good feels, I'm here to argue that it might not be as great as when you have a plane ticket in your hand and a backpack by your feet. Below are seven reasons why traveling is better than a boyfriend - because some times brunches in bed and pet names aren't enough to keep you satisfied.
1. Travel Won't Ever Hold You Back
“Honey, I don't think buying a ticket to Argentina for a weekend is something I want to do."
“Are you really going to eat that? It still has eyes."
“There's no way I'm getting on that boat – it looks like it's made out of paper."
These are all things a boyfriend could tell you. Not every boyfriend, but every once in awhile your man is going to open his mouth and say something along these lines, effectively limiting your experiences if you go along with him.
You know what won't do that? Your passport. Instead, travel takes you by the hand and makes you race behind it down winding alley streets and colorful bazaars, daring you to get swept up in the city, the weekend, the culture and try everything and anything you can get your hands on. Whether its snorkeling in seas that feel like bath water, heading out to red light districts in the middle of the night, hopping on a chicken truck when no buses are around, one thing travel won't ever do is try and keep you put. Instead it'll ask you to grow, and then grow some more.
2. You Spend Your Time Learning About A Map, Not A Person
Yes, it's romantic to know what cereal he likes best for breakfast, and it's adorable when he knows just how to order your coffee the way you like it, but instead of investing weeks and months into learning all the sweet little quirks of the guy who's sleeping over in your apartment, you can be out there getting chummy with the world.
Instead of focusing on the fact that Steve is now on a gluten-free diet and requires fancy bread for lunch, you can be out there figuring out exactly what shade of blue the village walls of Jodhpur are painted, and if they look more like a morning blue, or a two in the afternoon blue? You can learn just how the Dead Sea feels when you step into it barefoot, and how kind white bearded, wrinkly-eyed men are in Hoi Ann. You can spend your afternoons learning that rice wine is not, in fact, wine when it comes to Vietnam, and that Belgian waffles are more whipped cream than waffle...or you can learn that Steve has a Foo Fighters cover band that he plays drums in.
Up to you.
3. You're Not Tied Down With Commitments
I'm not going to pretend I don't love commitments- I love the feeling of putting my keys on my hallway table, right on top of my junk mail, and I love knowing that every Sunday is a brunch and champagne morning with my friends at our favorite french toast spot. Some day soon I want to plant tulips in my own garden, and I want to have a silly cat named Plum. See, commitments are my jam.
But, have you ever had a month completely and totally without strings? Have you moved from city to city, town to town, finding new cafes to eat breakfast in and new addresses to call home, all on a weekly basis? Have you ever had the freedom of packing up your suitcase in the middle of the night and leaving if a city no longer threw you love letters like it used to, or spending a whole night with someone in a late-night tapas restaurants, only to know both of you will be leaving come morning? It's an amazing, freeing feeling. One that empowers you just a smidge more than a boy with a set of your keys.
4. It Allows You To Meet New People
How many friends do you have that turned into a “we?” We'll be there soon, we're thinking of going upstate this weekend, we'd love to join you for girls' night, we, we, we. Oy.
While we single folk are all secretly wishing we were cuddled up all "we"-like on a couch on Friday night, watching Netflix in our matching jogger sets, the nice thing about choosing travel instead of a beau is that you have the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting, new people.
The type of people that'll help you grow as a person, become more open-minded, more adventurous, and more accepting. While you're eating breakfast in hostels or wandering through museums, you'll meet people from all different walks of life, and their stories will teach you a little something about yourself. Mainly that there are a lot of different paths you can take, and literally all of them are open to you. Whether it's hearing about how they quit a job they hated in order to go make a new life for themselves on the road, or listening to how they interacted with a city you haven't seen yet, it'll make you love a whole lot more. People, places, and possibilities.
5. You Won't Have A Comfort Zone
When you have a beau, you have a cozy routine with him that involves grocery shopping, binge watching your shows, trying out new neighborhood restaurants, hitting up Sunday morning farmer's markets...and while all that is lovely, it doesn't necessarily give you a chance to discover new things about yourself or what you're capable of.
You know what does? Being lost in a fishing village in Thailand, or snorkeling off the coast of Costa Rica, or agreeing to go on a day trip outside of Prague with a bunch of strangers you don't know but already love. When out traveling, your comfort zone gets left behind at your home town's airport, letting you discover sides to your self you didn't think you'd ever have.
6. It'll Teach You Independence
Figuring out how to take a train from the tea plantations of Munnar to the bustling heat of Mumbai is on you, as is figuring out how to get to your hostel from the train stop at two in the morning, and how to not get ripped off on cab fair so late at night. It's up to you to figure out where the best local beer in Prague is, and how to live in Paris for 12 days without your wallet committing suicide. All that responsibility is on you, and because of that you learn a wonderful sense of independence. Not having someone to turn to when things get hairy teaches you one thing very quickly: You've got this, and you'll always have this. You're strong and clever enough and don't need to double check with anyone.
7. It'll Help You Become A Better Person
When you leave your zip code, it's a given you'll see things you've only looked at through photographs or heard about in magazine articles. And seeing it and feeling it first-hand will change you. You'll see barefoot kids in India, hard working men in Nepal. You'll stay with loving families in the foothills of tea plantations in Vietnam, and you'll meet people with beautiful hearts and steady world-views in restaurants and hostel dorms. You'll sometimes be homeless, sleeping on a hard cot, breaking out in heat stroke, stranded and hungry. You'll experience real discomfort and real worry, and other times you'll chance upon real beauty and real love. All these experiences will help you become a better person – you'll see how much the world has to offer you, how many spots on a map it's been waiting for you to visit, and you'll learn how many different, interesting, big-hearted people are out on those tracks.
And you'll be hard pressed to be the same after that. Hanging out with Steve all day just won't be able to give you that same experience, you know what I mean?