Let me preface this whole blog post by saying I’m 31, I’m a relationship person, and I’ve never had a one night stand. I’ve never been single longer than 8 months, which, 3 months can be attributed to me being on the road. Before this 8 month stent, I’ve been single at the longest 2 maybe 3 months, possibly, in my life! I’m also not counting when I’ve been going on dates with guys. I’m talking about I’ve been seeing a guy for a month or longer, relationship status or not. My longest relationship being 4-5 years, one being my ex husband. You can obviously see that I didn’t know how to be single until recently. With that said, being on the road or being a woman who travels as much as I do it makes having or getting a relationship difficult.
Let’s go into why I decided to travel single, because I know you’re all dying to know.
Well, after my ex husband and I decided to call it quits I started dating this guy on and off for a year. He was fairly good looking and crazy charming. The kicker, he was a narcissist. It was a horrible year of gas lighting which led me to think I was the worst person ever, thus, becoming suicidal. He would hit my service dog or trying to control him but convinced me Indiana was acting out. Needless to say, it was a shit storm of a situation. For my sanity, whenever we’d fight, I’d just take off work and road trip to a national park. Just anywhere that wasn’t San Diego so I could be in nature to ground myself. It even got to the point that when I wasn’t even dating him anymore and he had a new girlfriend, that he would still try to tell me he still loved me and wanted me back. That was when I decided to put everything in storage and just be single while traveling the US and Canada.
Since that horrible relationship and I started this road trip I’ve started to notice a change in how I view dating now.
I wanted to be single.
Most people don’t want to be single at all. For a relationship person like myself, being single is like getting kissed by a dementor. However, I realized I don’t know who I am outside of being in a relationship with another person and merging my personality with theirs. It also made me question if I even liked all the things I did in my relationships or if I just did them or liked them because my boyfriend liked doing those things. Being single while traveling was my way of finding out who I am and what I really like.
I started to use Tinder and Bumble differently.
Normally I’d be using these Apps to locate my next victim, I mean boyfriend. Now, I use it as a way to either find someone just to hang out with and show me around, a free meal, or just talk to them to find out the coolest things to do in the area and not invite them to do those things with me. Tinder became my best travel app to find things to do that weren’t touristy. Not only that but I realized I don’t want to start a relationship with a person I met off a dating app. I want that cute story of how we met hiking or something better than, “yea so we met on Tinder and he sent me the most amazing message saying, “Hey you’re cute”, and the rest was just history”.
I became ok with having my version of a fling.
Dating on the road is hard. It usually means one date then and a, “ok, bye, see you never”. Not to mention I don’t do one night stands, so the one date scenario tends to be more of a hang out than a date. However, there are the rare cases where you meet a guy you really like and you pretty much live with them for almost 2 months. Which I did, but with most travel relationships, there is an expiration date. This one had an predetermined expiration date since he wasn’t interested in being in a serious relationship with anyone and I wasn’t either in the beginning. It was then I realized after ending things with him and jumping into a long distance relationship with another guy that I wanted to remain uncommitted to anyone and just have these fun month flings. You can learn a lot about a person in a month, plus it helps me not settle for anything but what I want. Bonus, I wouldn’t have to have a one night stand or feel like I was having one. This gives me the feel of being in a relationship but not being in one until I find the right guy.
I don’t want to settle.
Being a serial relationship person, I seem to settle just so I could be in a relationship. I’m not one to be good at dating multiple guys at once so when I start to like a person I tend to just focus on that one person. Once I’m in that relationship I tend settle even when I don’t feel 100% about that person. Since this trip I’ve found myself going back into that habit I’m trying really hard to break. The nice thing is, I can’t settle while I’m on the road. Not really that is. If I like a guy and I find myself settling I can just leave. Not to mention, dating on the road has really helped me see what I want in a relationship and I don’t want to settle for anything less.
I realized the importance of having girlfriends.
My biggest issue is when I’m in a relationship I tend to put my friends on the back burner which has caused me to lose a couple of friends. This meant when I broke up with that guy I had no close friends to help me get out and enjoy single life. Since being single and traveling I’ve realized that being single is a lot easier when you have a solid support system of friends to fall back on. This means I’ve come to rely on my gal pals a lot more than I used to. They also know I’m a little boy crazy, which can attribute to my constant “in a relationship” status, to help center me when I go off the rails. They are there to either push me to express my feelings to said guys or to just move on to the next one or sometimes both. Not to mention, since I’ve always been a tomboy it’s been hard to maintain female friends. The one’s I’ve talked to the most on my trip I know will be there for me no matter what. They also know I’d be willing to drop everything to visit them if they needed me to. They are the true reason why I can say that I’m happy being single.
Each guy I date helps me realize what I’m looking for.
My mom had it right when she spent a whole year going on only first dates with guys and not settling for a single one of them. She learned exactly the type of guy she was looking for and got some pretty awesome dates out of it too. Since on the road I’ve not really been looking to date or put myself out there so I only went on 2 Tinder dates, dated a guy for almost 2 months, and my current long distance relationship that I need to end.
“Bill” was my first Tinder date. I told him about this hike I wanted to do. He ended up meeting me at my campground with coffee for me and ready for us to hike with our dogs. Since we hit it off he invited me back to his friends cabin to hang out all night drinking and smoking with him and his friend. He was a really cool guy, fairly attractive, had his own company, traveled everywhere, had a heart of gold, but was way into drugs. He was also like me and tended to date people who needed fixing and just recently became single. With him I realized I want someone who loves to travel as much as I do, doesn’t do drugs unless it’s the occasional marijuana, and isn’t a fixer, meaning I don’t want to fix them.
“Dan” was a Tinder date that I pretty sure catfished me because he looked nothing like his Tinder profile. In all his photos he had a beard with no glasses. He showed up with no beard and glasses! Extremely misleading since I have a thing for beards. However, he did pay for my over priced vegan tacos, that I otherwise would have never gotten unless I went on this date. I was going to pay for my half until he dropped the, he was married and in an open relationship bomb, so I really didn’t stop him when he offered to pay for my meal. I’ve learned even though I’m not actively looking for a relationship or a one night stand, I’m definitely not into dating a guy in an open marriage, who tells you at the end of the date that his wife said it was ok for you to sleep in their spare bedroom. For those wondering, I didn’t stay at their house for fear of a forced awkward threesome or being murdered.
“John” is the guy I dated for a month and a half. He was former Army EOD, had german shepherds, a beard, and owned a pet shop. We told each other at the beginning we both wanted nothing serious, challenged each other for the better, tried new things together, I could be 110% of myself around him with out feeling like I was being judged, sex was great and we could be completely open about it. It was almost everything I wanted in a serious relationship. Downsides, I started to actually really like the guy, he was a fixer, he wasn’t huge into traveling unless travel meant going back overseas on deployment, and he was always busy so any free time he got was spent shooting guns or watching TV. Not only that but I found myself slipping back into old habits. I was becoming depressed doing nothing but cleaning his house and watching TV while he was at work. It took me sometime to realize that I get depressed and my agoraphobia comes back when I’m not doing something new or exploring at least few times a week. Don’t get me wrong, I like staying in and doing nothing but I don’t want to do it all time feeling like I’m wasting my life away. Also this was an easy relationship to end. Let me make it clear he was very straight forward in telling me he could careless if I hooked up with other guys, so, a few days before I left his house I started talking to my now boyfriend “Julio”. Not expecting anything to happen with either guy, I knew I could only give my full attention to one. I told “John” I liked him seeing if he’d shift his thoughts on maybe trying to make it work with me. It just so happened that same day I told “John” I liked him, “Julio” asked me out. So when “John” said no he didn’t change his thoughts on relationships I said yes to “Julio”. After that “John” seemed happy for me finding someone willing to do a long distance relationship but after that he ignored every message I sent him so any attempt I made to remain friends after the fact just fell flat.
That brings us to my current relationship with “Julio”. I knew “Julio” because he was on my 2nd ship in the Navy. I never really hung out with him but always thought he was cute. Only problem was I was married when I was on my 2nd ship so we both never told each other we both had crushes. “Julio” is a really sweet guy, crazy attractive, and a lifer in the Navy. I expressed my concerns about starting a committed relationship while on the road and only sorta knowing him but he just had the most perfect response that pretty much made me blurt out yes with out a second thought. Downside, I’m realizing as stated above, I don’t want a commitment right now. I thought I was ready for a committed relationship but now I’m thinking I was just ready to be in a committed relationship with “John”. That, and I don’t think it’s a great idea to start a committed relationship while on the road. Meaning, if I spent time with him and we both decided it was worth trying to have a long distance relationship work then, sure, I would do that. I just don’t think right now is the time to be in a committed relationship and I will be seeing him in 3 months to really see how we click when we’re face to face. However, I do know now that there are some guys out there willing to start a relationship and even maintain a long distance relationship with me.
As you can see I’m still learning a lot and I’ve only been on the road for 4 months. I plan on being on the road traveling for the rest of this year and on to next year. However, in those 4 months of traveling and the whole 8 months of being single I can say I’ve been learning a lot about myself as well as what I expect in a relationship.
Indiana’s Final Thoughts