Date A Boy Who Travels

Since I solemnly declared yesterday, Lena Day, as the result of an overwhelming week, I urged each of you do some something that you love! I found myself in a Starbucks, inspired and whipped out this little ditty. You may have read, “You Should Date An Illiterate Girl” by Charles Warnke or the response “Date A Girl Who Reads” by Rosemarie Urquico, so I thought I’d bring you something same, same but different. Enjoy!

Date A Boy Who Travels

Date a boy who travels. Date a boy who treasures experience over toys, a hand-woven bracelet over a Rolex. Date the boy who scoffs when he hears the words, “vacation”, “all-inclusive” or “resort”. Date a boy who travels because he’s not blinded by a single goal but enlivened by many.

You might find him in an airport or at a book store browsing the travel guides – although he “only uses them for reference.”

You’ll know it’s him because when you peek at his computer screen, his background will be a scenic splendor of rolling hills, mountains or prayer flags. His Facebook friend count will be through-the-roof and his wall will be plastered with the broken English ‘miss-yous’ of friends he met along the way. When he travels he makes lifelong friends in an hour. And although contact with these friends may be far-between, his bonds are unmessable and if he wanted he could couch surf the world… again.

Buy him a beer. Maybe the same brand that he wears on the singlet under his plaid shirt, unable to let go. Once a traveller gets home people rarely listen to their stories. So listen to him. Allow him to paint a picture that brings you into his world. He might talk fast and miss small details because he’s excited to be heard. Bask in his enthusiasm.

Want it for yourself.

He’ll squeak like an excited toddler when his latest issue of National Geographic arrives in the mail. Then he’ll grow quiet, engrossed, until he finishes his analysis of every photo, every adventure. In his mind he’ll insert himself in these pictures. He’ll pass the issue on to you and grill you about your dreams and competitively ask about the craziest thing you’ve ever done. Tell him. And know that he’ll probably win. And if by chance you win, know that his next lot in life will be to out do you. But then he’ll say,

“Maybe we can do it together.”

Date the boy who talks of distant places and whose hands have explored the stone relics of ancient civilizations and whose mind has imagined those hands carving, chiseling, painting the wonders of the world. And when he talks, it’s as if he’s reliving it with you. You can almost hear his heart racing. You can almost feel the adrenaline ramped up by the moment. You feel it passing through his synapsis, a feast to his eyes entering through those tiny oracles of experience that we call pupils, digesting rapidly through his veins, manifesting into his nervous system, transforming and altering his worldview like a reverse trauma and finally passing but forever changing the colors of his sight. (Unless he’s Karl Pilkington.) You will want this too. 

Date a boy who’s lived out of a backpack because he lives happily with less. A boy who’s travelled has seen poverty and has dined with those who live with less and yet welcome strangers with greater hospitality than the rich. And because he’s seen this, he’s seen how a life without luxury can mean a life fueled by relationships and family rather than a life that fuels fancy cars and ego. He’s experienced different ways of being, respects alternative religions and he looks at the world with the eyes of a five-year-old, curious and hungry. Your dad will be happy too because he’s good with money and knows how to budget.

This boy relishes home; the comfort of a duvet, the safety stirred in a mom-cooked meal, the easy conversation of childhood friends and the immaculate glory of the flush-toilet. Although fiercely independent, he has had time to reflect on himself and his relationships. Despite his wanderlust, he knows and appreciates his ties to home. He has had a chance to miss and be missed. Because of this, he also knows a thing or two about goodbyes. He knows the overwhelming uncertainty of leaving the comforts of home, the indefinite see-you-laters at the departure gates and yet he fearlessly goes into the unknown because he knows the feeling of return. And that the I’ve-missed-you-hug is the best type of hug in the world. He also knows that goodbyes are just prolonged see-you-laters and that ‘hello’ is only as far away as the nearest internet cafe.

Don’t hold onto this boy. Let this boy go or go with him. If you haven’t travelled, he will open your eyes to a world beyond the news and popular perception. He will open your mind to possibility. He will calm your nerves when you’re about to miss a flight or when your rental blows a flat, because he knows the journey is the adventure. He will make light of the unsavory noises you make when you – and you will – get food poisoning. He will make you laugh through the discomfort all while dabbing your forehead with a cold cloth and nursing you with bottled water.

He will make you feel like you’re home.

When you see something beautiful he will hold your hand in silence, in awe the history of where his feet stand and the fact that you’re with him.

He will live in every moment with you because this is how he lives his life. He understands that happiness is no more than a string of moments that displace neutrality and he is determined to tie as many of these strings together as he can.He also understands your need to live for yourself and that you have a bucketlist of your own. Understand his. Understand that your goals may at some points differ but that independence is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship when it’s mutually respected. You may lose him for a bit but he will always come home bearing a new story and a souvenir he picked up because it reminded him of you, like it was made for you, and because he missed you. You might be compelled to do the same.

Make sure that independence is on your bucketlist and make sure it’s checked. Independence will keep your relationship fresh and when you’re together again it will forge a bond of unbreakable trust.

He’ll propose when you’ve breached your comfort-zone, whether it be a fear like skydiving or swimming with sharks or sitting next to the smelly person on an overcrowded bus. It won’t be with a diamond ring but with a token borrowed from another culture or inspired by nature, like the penguin and the pebble.

You will get married somewhere unassumed, surrounded by a select few in a moment celebrating an adventure into the unknown together again. Marry the boy who’s travelled and together you will make the whole world your home. Your honeymoon will not be forgotten to a buffet dinner, but will be remembered in the triumphant photographs at the top of Kilimanjaro and memorialized in the rewarding ache of muscles at the end of a long days hike.

When you’re ready, you will have children that have the names of the characters you met on your journeys, the foreign names of people who dug a special place in your heart, if only for a few days. Perhaps you will live in another country and your children will learn of language and customs that open their minds from the very start, leaving no room for prejudice. He will introduce them to the life of Hemingway, the journey of Santiago, and empower them to live even bigger than both of you.

Marry a boy who travels and he’ll teach your children the beauty of a single stone, the history of the Incas and he will instil in them the bravery of possibility. He will explain to them that masking opportunity there is fear. He will teach them to concur it.

And when you’re old, you’ll sit with your grandchildren pouring over your photo albums and chest of worldly treasures while they too insert themselves into your photographs, sparked by the beauty of the world and inspired by your life in it.

Find a boy who travels because you deserve a life of adventure and possibility. You deserve to live light and embrace simplicity. You deserve to look at life through the eyes of youth and with your arms wide open. Because this is where you will find joy. And better, you will find joy together. 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.


If you liked this, you’ll like:

Yolo Really Means Camping on a Volcano in a Lightning Storm
Everyone Should Go 312 Hours Without a Shower
This Is Your Brain On Adventure

As seen on:
(And if you find a girl who travels… I promise she’ll turn your world right side up.
And if you want to know a girl who travels, check out The Solitary Wanderer.)

196 thoughts on “Date A Boy Who Travels

  1. so true! this reminds me of my boyfriend, who’s in japan. lena i agree with all of this! we have such a parallel mindset right now. you’re a wonderful writer. keep it up!

  2. I know that this boy is out there and that you will cross paths with him on one of your adventures!
    This boy reminds me of somebody I know really well…
    We need more people like you who believe in the beauty of life. The world would be a better place to live in.
    Just reading this story, after a long stressful day at work, makes me a stronger believer!
    A beautiful read spoken from the heart.
    Can’t wait to read your next post!

  3. Very well written my dear. I think you should consider a masters in journalism.
    I know one day you will find this boy and everything will fall into place.
    Keep up your positive outlook on life, positive energy attracts positive people. xx

  4. Awesome article, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a boy who travels. Awesome insights on traveling, I liked the knowing how to say goodbye part. Check out my site sometime if you are not busy and maybe I’ll see you around the world somewhere:

  5. I love the part about letting go . . . “Don’t hold onto this boy. Let this boy go and go with him.”. That was a beautiful article, you really know how to paint a picture with words.

  6. I found a boy with calloused hands from touching the world so much; his touch is the softest and most tender…

    Wonderful article!

  7. I’m blown away by the beauty and honesty of this post. After having traveled, I don’t think I can still date a non-traveler. And I want everything described here: the pebble for a diamond ring, small wedding and even the kids with foreign-sounding names. Thank you for writing this! Lois

  8. wow!
    fave lines: “Maybe we can do it together.”
    “Understand that your goals may at some points differ, but that independence is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship when it’s mutually respected. You may lose him for a bit, but he will always come home bearing a new story and a souvenir he picked up because it reminded him of you, like it was made for you, and because he missed you.”
    worth to RT!

  9. I am very much happy to have read your post!

    You just made me realize how lucky it is to travel the globe. Now, I can finally say: “I may be broke; but feel rich- ’cause I have seen the world.”

    Looking forward to bumping into you one day, somewhere on a summery place of the globe!

    Thanks for the great post. 🙂

  10. Thank you for this article.. Made me define the reason why I travel… (eve if it meant loosing that person I loved while on it).

    Keep writing.. I’m a fan.. 🙂

  11. This is perfect. So beautifully written. We travel because we love. We love this world. We love our friends. And we love ourselves enough to keep moving and experiencing all this planet has to offer. Thank you so much for writing this. ❤

  12. Reblogged this on abcdanalee and commented:
    “You may lose him for a bit, but he will always come home bearing a new story and a souvenir he picked up because it reminded him of you, like it was made for you, and because he missed you.”

    Reminds me of Karl. :”)

  13. This was so much fun to read. I love it! I believe that I am the girl that long’s to do the same, even at 51! Yes, it is good to live a life with enthusiasm and passionate of wanting to discover what is out there and share it with other’s. As year’s go on, it is good to keep a young mind, that isn’t afraid to live and keep on living!!
    Thank-you so much, for sharing this story with us…..EXCELLENT!

  14. It is beautiful! Thank you for writing this and sharing this with us! My eyes were full with tears! A girl, who travels 😉

  15. Woah this weblog is fantastic i love reading your articles. Stay up the good paintings! You understand, lots of people are searching round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  16. What a wonderful entry! The way it is written feels genuinely coming from the heart. I was smiling and immersed all the way.

  17. M glad have read this….i happen to follow a guy coz of his this trait
    ant sure how far my boat will go but m content and enriched…. I made a right choice
    wish me luck…
    and needless to mention you’ve written it way beyond beautifully…such an asthetic post….loved it ❤

  18. Reblogged this on Love, Dream, Imagine and commented:
    my mind just compared everything here with what I have. and it excites me more for what I can do. i have missed and have been missed, have died a little inside, and have been revived by perception. i have lived , and am continuing to live.

  19. This is such a lovely piece of writing! “He understands that happiness is no more than a string of moments that displace neutrality, and he is determined to tie as many of these strings together as he can.” – Beautiful. I always say I don’t want to date because I still want to have adventures, but what I really mean is THIS! 🙂

  20. So sorry that many have missed the boat until today. You can catch up and get the best in life experience. Vivek Ananthan, travelled in 95 countries outside the USA

  21. This is probably the most accurate description I’ve ever heard of myself Lena- Nailed it! I wish more people could see te soul of a traveler with such beauty and wonder. You are gorgeous for doing so, and being able to put it so eloquently. I’d like to swap travel stories sometime- regardless of where you are.. what better excuse for a trip 😉

  22. Beautiful! Identified very much with it although instead of a boy, I am the girl who travels (but not the one mention in the end of the article) I have traveled solo to over 70 countries and still eager to explore more. Maybe because I am a woman, it is more difficult for guys to see the advantages of dating a girl who travels 😉 Thank yo uLena for -as Philip said- describing the true soul of a traveler.

  23. This is probably the most romantic thing I have ever read and I am not a romantic person. I’ve traveled to 54 countries by “dating a boy who travels” and I couldn’t think of a better life. The hard bit of course is coming home which we are about to do from a year away. Excellent writing and I’ve jut subscribed to your blog.

  24. Absolutely loved this piece!! You are a wonderful writer! I am blessed to be married to ‘a boy that travels’ and we are half way through a four month round the world stint (hello from Sorrento, Italy!). My favourite line: “Once a traveller gets home, people rarely listen to their stories. So listen to him.” LOVE IT!!

  25. Good luck finding all those boys, cause that is asking too much from one 😉 From a guys point of view, NOT HAPPENING!!! Do you think he will take a girl with him if he is going Amsterdam or Vegas?

  26. Sorry, I liked this piece, but as other comments have suggested, it is far too romanticized an ideal for me to take seriously. A guy that travels will indubitably see the world through his multi-faceted glasses, and that’s good, I’d venture. But ladies, and correct me if I’m wrong; it is also symptomatic of his rejection of settling down.

    Sure, he’s broad minded and wise in the ways of the world, I’ll grant you that. But I wouldn’t go for a guy who can’t surrender that part of him (that urge to be free and to roam freely) to be with me.

  27. So beautiful…it touched my heart. Yes I want a boy like that too! Traveling is my life, and yes finances are needed too to be able to travel together. Which is why I’m using my online business to fund my pleasure trips!
    This is what writing is…looking forward to reading more! God bless you.

  28. Reblogged this on Travelling, living and working in the ME and commented:
    Find a boy who travels, date him, marry him – whatever you do, hang on to him
    He will appreciate the moments you will sleep outside in a tent, or a caravan, it will not matter where you end up pitching a tent, his arms will be there to keep you warm and secure

  29. lol… the guy can date many though simultaneously… since he travels… and highly unreliable… so data a guy who travels and be ready to lose him even quicker… 😉

  30. That’s such a beautiful piece of writing…and I’m not just bias because I’m a boy that travels! 😛

  31. Being a man who travels a lot i’m really touched by your article. Yes, I know a thing or two about goodbyes, and yes the ” I MISS YOU HUG” is the best kinda hug there is.

    I loved the way you painted a picture with your very well articulated words of what a traveller’s life is mostly about.

    Keep up the good work. Your articles are definitely on my favorites list :)..

  32. Beautiful writing – touching! And yes, I have married a man who was a boy who loved to travel. But with 2 kids down the line, he’s does like to tune into “all-inclusive” deals, and “resort” “vacations”. But we still travel a lot – and yes, the man now has a wife who blogs about the travels:)

  33. what about a woman who travels? and has the same needs to not settle down. I don’t think anyone would liek a pebble for an engagement ring :p

  34. I fell in love with the guy already, all that’s left is to actually meet him 😀 You have awesome words and a very fragile and pretty way of weaving them together into a visual image!

  35. This is by far one of the best articles I have read in a long time. There is so much truth in this and so dead on. I am the girl who travels, now have to find my boy who travels 🙂

  36. this is so beautiful and made me cry, I dated a boy who travels, once he lived in my city and was mine, but now he has gone to another city in another country and another life – we had a wonderful time together – I will never forget him 🙂

  37. wonderfully beautiffuly written which touches the heart
    could relate to every bit -dont know why

  38. This is amazing. I’m re-read it so many times today. Although this is written about a boy, it basically describes me and my life. And I’m looking for that boy to be my counterpart. Thank you for this piece of writing, it’s now bookmarked for me to come back to re-read whenever.

  39. This sounds like a pithy, needy article about not being able to complete oneself and needing someone else to

  40. Reblogged this on alabaster jar and commented:
    I stumbled across this blog and this girl is hilarious. I then found this post and realized she’s also a genius.

    I don’t often sit in the single-ness of my life right now because, let’s face it, nothing is changing. And honestly, it hasn’t really mattered much amidst sparkling and besotted proposals or lacey-train draped festivities with awesome DJ’s blasting “Call Me Maybe” or “Thrift Shop.” But when I read this post, I’ll admit something: I wouldn’t mind marrying a boy like that someday.

    Enjoy 🙂

  41. We all love it, and you should be proud of it. I literally don’t disagree when any of the statement above.
    I just wanted to say that I found this post on thought catalog before I followed it to your blog here. I am agreeing 1000% more with the commenters here than over there. Please don’t pay attention to the nasty ignorant comments that are listed there, I’m actually disgusted with some of them. Ignorant stupid, stupid people who can’t recognize it as simply a beautiful piece of writing conveying the author’s thoughts.

    Simply, absolutely, perfect. I hope we both find our traveling princes.

  42. This is wonderful! I dated a boy who travels. When we met, all he owned was a surfboard and a bicycle. Now, after 20 years of marriage, we’ve lived in five countries and traveled to 19…. and we’re just getting started. What a ride!

  43. Whew, where to start. I’m constructing a life story just like this, and I love how your version ends – soo good! Forgive me for thinking (like every other travel guy) it’s about me. But I’m off soon to learn to sculpt stone in Italy’s Apuan Alps. If any girls do want ‘to date me’ (such an American thing, lol) i’m on PlentyOfFish and my username is, for various ironic reasons, KPilkington. I shit you not. High 5 travel lady! I still approve of heels tho. 🙂

  44. Hi everyone, Lena here.

    I just wanted to thank YOU. Yes, you. ALL OF YOU.

    Thank you for your wonderful comments and for simply reading.

    This was just a little blog I posted for fun, intended for a few select eyes, as a spin-off of a couple of BRILLIANT articles that really resonated with me. I cannot believe the enormous response it has received and I am so deeply touched that some of you have found parts of yourself within it.

    I wrote this for no other reason other than that it felt good to write. It allowed me to jump back into some serious nostalgia of the best six months of my life. So thank you for taking the time to comment and share your stories. Many of you live romances that are absolutely beautiful. Hearing all of your stories warms my heart. That’s the most rewarding aspect of writing for me.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you. You are all so inspiring.

    1. Thank you for writing this. I can imagine the response to this may have been unexpected, but as a boy who travels who comes home to people who don’t quite understand the experience, it was amazing to read something that so beautifully captures a huge part of who we are. You have stumbled upon some eloquent truth. Well done. Keep it up.

  45. I’m a girl who travels. I travel extensively, for long periods of time, with little money and no map. Can someone please let me know where this wonderful BOY WHO TRAVELS is??? I’d love to meet and date him! lol

  46. you just made me have tears in my eyes..everything is totally true and people need to understand the importance of travelling rather than bragging about expensive cars and homes. Travelling is the biggest investment we will ever make and the knowledge gained from those life experiences is invaluable.

  47. Possibly the best blog article I have ever read. The only difference between me and the boy you describe is I get excited about a new issue of Nat Geo in the Qantas lounge, as I have no fixed address!

    Can’t wait to read more articles like this.


  48. Wow….If I hadn’t already fallen in love with the ‘girl that travels’ on the bone-jarring roads of South America… I just might have done again. Simply amazing.

  49. So beautiful, well written. And yes, I agree that those travel books are only used as reference guides. I have never kept my lonely planet copies and always donated them. Awesome writing!

  50. I will use this text as a reference, for every time somebody tells me I need to stop being so unrealistically romantic and lower my standards, I can re-calibrate them on how much more romance one single person can contain 😀

  51. One of the best reads I’ve seen in a while. As a traveler, this will be mandatory reading for any potential suitor.

  52. 🙂 that sounds like me (only thing that differences is the gender). so… what if you’re that boy and you’re looking for a girl to enjoy the journey of life with ya?

  53. Reading this I teared up. And for me, that only happens on very very few occasions.
    Made me think about my own situation and mostly about how I wish I could have been that person. I’m going to be though, so it’s all right. Best way to describe travelling 🙂

  54. I disagree. I think there’s also this privilege that isn’t being addressed – such as having the funds to travel, and being white and from a country who can provide the safety and the ease of obtaining visas…for most the people all over the world it takes months to obtain a travel visa. And even when they travel, they encounter racism and stigmas. Kudos to they bros – the hot boys who are doing stuff – who are working, helping, serving the communities they visit and mainly live in – not just passing through demanding cheap(er) beer and western-type-cool adventures, just so they can boast about the hitch-hiking and dormitory sex with next English-speaker.

  55. Very good this article! Just want you to know that your text has become very famous among Brazilian backpackers! I even translated and posted on my blog! Congratulations!

  56. Reblogged this on offtoanywhere and commented:
    Braydon sent me a a link to this letter the other night, and I read it absolutely captivated with each phrase. There is so much value in the personality traits that she discusses, and this could easily apply to girls as well as boys who travel. Having lived with a boy who traveled quite extensively, I can definitely vouch for everything in this letter, and hope to gain more upon my own travels.

  57. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog
    like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not
    100% certain. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  58. Reblogged this on a nomad's life and commented:
    I found this to be a great post and found it through my Twitter feed this afternoon. And although I’m dating someone now, this goes out to all the ladies who read this blog… if you’re searching… maybe this is a place to start. 🙂

  59. Lena….

    I read your article on True Nomad’s blog and wow…

    You’ve put the exact words on what I think a relationship should be…
    I’m 26 and a big traveler myself. So the guy you described is my dream man! I’m reassured by people’s comments that such guys exist…!

    Thank you so much for putting words onto my thought and for writing so beautifully as well…it was one of the best things I have read in a long time! so I’m off to read more of your posts 😉
    keep up the good work and again thank you.


  60. and nowhere in the article were added the 50 hours work per week and the 60 hours sleep, its so “magical” and unrealistic : )

  61. This story doesn’t have to mean traveling out of the USA. The traveler I have a HUGE crush on had a back pack a dog a & a mountain bike. He left before I could share some thoughts with him 😦 Need help finding him. 26 year old Hawk, from Virginia, last seen in Pismo Beach CA middle of March 2015.. Great Story 🙂

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