Travel Love, Lust and Flirtation: Stories of Romances on the Road

This post is a little different from what I usually write about, but variety is apparently the spice of life, so why not mix things up?

Relationships on the road are an interesting breed of love affair. Though travelling is one of the most amazing things a person can do, it brings about a lot of stressors and heightened emotions that one may not experience in the comfort of their home base. Falling in and out of love can happen quickly and intensely, and the underlying understanding that any connections made are going to be inevitably short lived seems to make everything happen at warp speed. Combine this with the typical reduced inhibitions one experiences while surrounded by other travellers and you have a recipe for disaster, one such recipe that you’ll seem to attempt time and time again.

When it comes to travelling flings/relationships/dates/flirtations, I have had a lot of them, each under very different circumstances and each with a different outcome, some good, but mostly bad. This is by no means a comprehensive list, these are just the ones that really stand out in my mind.

To my Dad – please feel free to exit out of your browser and not read on (like, seriously, just pretend you never saw this).

The Successful Muso

Ah, my first ever travel fling. It was a total train-wreck but one that makes for a good story. I was a wee young thing at the tender age of 19. I planned to stay within the UK and Northern Ireland on this particular trip, but one of my favourite musicians turned out to be on a European tour during my travel dates. Of course, the London show was sold out, but I couldn’t help but notice that the Paris show was one of the few with tickets still available.

So naturally, I re-routed myself and embarked a one day detour to Paris.

The show ended up being really tiny, around 200 people (if that) so it wasn’t all that surprising that I was able to meet said musician after the show. For the sake of easy writing, lets call him ‘Beardy Brit’ for the rest of the story.

Beardy Brit had an Australian support act and an Aussie photographer on the road with him, and since Australians in foreign countries tend to flock together, a whole group of us ended up at an Irish pub a stones throw away from Montemartre after the venue had cleared out.

Beardy Brit and I chatted a fair bit, long enough for me to lie about my age (I said 22) and long enough for us to end up in bed together at a nearby hotel.

I am not going to go into graphic detail here, but I will say that it was an odd-ish experience. At the time as naive teenager it seemed okay, but looking back it was actually kind of a disaster. Despite this, it served a purpose. I was recently off the back of a break-up that had completely annihilated my self-confidence and had left me feeling unattractive, worthless and unwanted.

Do I think women should get their self worth based on what men think of them? HELL NO. But having someone so successful (who I am 99% sure was propositioned that same night by a tall, thin and gorgeous girl from Melbourne who was so much more beautiful than me) show an interest did give me a little lift. It was the only time in my life where I have used sex as a confidence boost, so far a once-off and I hope it stays that way.

4 years later and Beardy Brit has become even more successful, but I am not much of a fan anymore. His 2014 album was an over-produced and commercial piece of crap. It sounded like he was trying to mimic the success story of a certain ginger Brit, and instead the entire album lacked the honesty, feeling and vivid story-telling that had made his music so special to begin with. But still, it will be one such travel fling that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.


The Recently Dumped Guy

Being the first girl a guy makes out with post long term relationship breakdown is never a fun experience.

Lets set the scene. I was having a night out in Prague on one of those pre-organised pub crawl things. All was going well, I had made friends with a few Brazilian guys and one ‘Murican lad. However, when we got to the second pub, our chilled little pub crawl was crashed by a Contiki tour group.

I have never written an entire post about my dislike of group tours such as Contiki, but I have alluded to it, and anyone that knows me well knows how much it is so not my style of travelling. No, I have never actually been on one, but I have seen such tour groups in many different settings and am 100% sure I do not need to go on one to know how much it is not for me.

Group tours marketed to 18-25 year old travellers (Contiki especially, Topdeck less so) are full of young single and ready to mingle Australians and Kiwis who want to party. For travellers looking for a party, these tours would be an amazing fit, but for those who want more time in cities and to have some solitude and alone time, another style of travel is probably more your bag.

Anyway, though I had already made a few friends on the pub crawl, I was feeling a little more social than usual on this particular evening and thought I would introduce myself to a few of the Contiki punters. I met and had a few drinks with a few of the girls who kept telling me that I was pretty and that I should kiss their New Zealander friend who was feeling a bit down. At the start of the night I was vehemently telling them no, but after the seventh shot of tequila it actually started to sound like an alright idea. I mean, he was pretty cute and I was 20 years old and as single as the crazy cat lady from The Simpsons, so why not?

We chatted for a bit, he seemed nice enough, so I gave him a little kiss and thought that would be that. It wasn’t like it was some great kiss, it was just fine.

For the rest of the night he followed me around, whinging about his ex girlfriend and telling me how great I was because I was so different from her. It was nothing short of painful. After suffering for 1.5 hours of this, I made the excuse that I was going to the toilet and instead snuck out of the club and power walked back to the seclusion of my hostel.

I am sure he was a nice person and his behaviour was just a reaction to having been burned by a bad relationship (which a lot of us can relate to) but seriously, if you ever read a ‘what not to do to chat up women’ book, acting like this would definitely be in there somewhere.


Great Guy, Wrong Time

Remember in the first story above I wrote about a bad breakup? Well, it turns out that I am a little bit prone to on again – off again relationships.

So it won’t come as too much of a surprise that when I left for my trip to South Africa at the end of 2014 I was once again newly single. I backpacked from Cape Town along the Garden Route, making a tonne of stops along the way. One of the last stops I had on this trip was at a small little hostel in The Crags. As soon as a stepped foot onto the grassy entrance of the hostel I had spotted a good looking blonde guy. He was a Dutch expat and working at the hostel. He checked me in and showed me around the (truly gorgeous) property, while flirting with me the whole time. I thought he was super cute, so of course I flirted back!

The next day he came with me out to Bloukrans Bridge while I did my bungee jump (side note: still one of the coolest things I have ever done, click here to read more) and after I had jumped, we had a few drinks and a small group of us ended up driving to Plettenberg Bay to have a night out partying.

We drove out there in a kind of van/ute, the type that has like a three-seater across the front and then an empty back section for transporting stuff. Dutch cutie and I ended up sitting in the back section and during the 45 minute long drive we ended up rather cosy. After a veritable bucket load of drinks, we got pretty hot and heavy in the back of said ute (pure class right there). We would’ve had sex, but he didn’t have a condom and even in my inebriated state I was adamant that it wasn’t gonna happen without one.

At around 4am we left Plett and headed back to The Crags, I crashed out in my tent and slept until fairly late the next day.

The next night the hostel held a braai – South African version of a BBQ – and things just felt different. Dutch cutie was acting incredibly sweet and cuddly and must have had the idea that we would pick up where we had left off the previous night. I wasn’t feeling it though. I was mostly sober and for some god forsaken reason, had been thinking about my ex boyfriend that day. He kissed me and all I could think about was how it didn’t feel or smell the same as my ex had and it occurred to me – it may have been a few months since we had ended things, but I was still not quite over it, and I did not want to use another person to try and speed up the ‘moving on’ process this time round – it just didn’t sit well with me.

I tried to explain to Dutch Cutie that I just wasn’t feeling it and he seemed quite genuinely upset but did not press the issue or try to make me feel bad, but I still felt horrible. I did not sleep well that night.

The next day we hung out in a set of swings suspended from a big tree and talked about everything from my train-wreck of a love life to the real reason he had some to South Africa (more there than had I had initially anticipated) and we said goodbye to each other that day with a hug and on good terms.


The One Who Flipped Like A Switch

This story still gives me the heebie jeebies when I think about it. I was staying at a hostel in Florence and was in the mood to socialise and make new friends. In the common area I met a whole bunch of new people, including another Aussie. Now, I often try to avoid hanging out with other Australians (I don’t catch 26 hour flights to talk to people I could meet back home) but this guy was kinda cute and also a musician, which is something I am a sucker for (not that it ever ends well) so we got to chatting. Everything seemed to be going well, we were getting along but no completely OTT flirting was happening, which is not always a bad thing.

The group of us were having drinks and after a little while I started to get to that sleepy point of inebriation – not totally sloshed, just ready to catch some zzzz’s. So I slipped away and snuggled up in bed for what I was hoping would be a restful nights sleep.

After maybe 30 minutes of snoozing, I was jostled awake. This guy was leaning over my bunk, staring at me with his face right next to mine and shaking me. After the initial moment of confusion I was suddenly wide awake. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he wanted to talk. I was already feeling kind of uneasy but didn’t want to seem rude so I asked him what he wanted to talk about.

He responded with one of the most whack admissions I have ever heard:

“I like to put razor blades on playground slides and watch children slide down onto them.”

The uneasy feeling I had had before hearing that statement was now heading into full blown ‘holy shit this guy is a psycho run away’ mode. Why on earth would he tell someone that?! I don’t know if he was drunk and had lowered inhibitions or if he just got some sort of sick satisfaction from watching another person become scared – if it was the latter he would have gotten his way. I freaked out and jumped out of bed, woke up the girl in the bunk next to mine and told her it was time to change dorms. The guy kept trying to apologise and followed me, but that was just making things worse.

After a discussion with hostel management he was moved to another (males only) dorm and told that if there were any further issues he would be asked to leave.

The next morning I saw him leave and let out the biggest sigh of relief. In a strange twist of fate I actually saw him again on the streets of Rome (the world is tiny) near the Spanish Steps – but I was with a group of other (normal) people and though he creepily stared me down, he did not try to approach me.


The Surprisingly Epic Date

Ah, this memory always puts a smile on my dial. It really could have been a ‘nothing special’ kinda date, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

I was in my favourite destination of all time – Ilulissat, Greenland. I had been out on a boat trip to Eqip Sermia glacier on this particular day and the tour guide for the trip was a drop dead gorgeous Danish guy – lets refer to him as DDGDG. We had chatted for a lot of the day and at the end of the trip he asked me to get a drink with him that night. He looked like a model (hello chiselled jawline) and I was once again a single pringle so why not?

We got a few drinks at a hotel bar on the edge of the Disko Bay as the sun set (already super pretty) and the date was good but nothing extraordinary, but it had been a nice way to spend the night. Once it was time for me to head back to my hotel (I had an early start in the morning) DDGDG offered to walk me back. We were walking in a content silence when all of a sudden he stopped me. I wondered why – its not like there was any traffic or people around that I needed to be wary of!

Instead of responding with words he pointed to the sky and there it was – a truly stunning show courtesy of the Aurora Borealis. It was the kind of show that literally stops you in your tracks and makes you lose all sense of time. Dates don’t get much more epic than that!


The French Flight Attendant

This love affair was short but sweet.

I was flying from Dubai to Adelaide (a bloody long flight let me tell you) with Emirates and though I was exhausted I could not sleep. After a while the dinner service began through the cabin and I was so hungry that I was actually looking forward to my airplane food! When the drinks cart reached my row this totally flamboyant, smiley and enthusiastic flight attendant asked me what I wanted to drink and this is how that conversation went.

French Flight Attendant: “What would you like to drink tonight lovey?”
Me: “Could I get a white wine thanks?”
FFA: *Arches eyebrow*
FFA: “Just one honey?”
Me: “I guess?”
FFA: “I can tell you like your wine honey, how about four?”

He then proceeded to give me four of those little wine bottles and told me to drink up and enjoy.

To that amazing French flight attendant: Though I should be offended that I apparently look like an alcoholic, I don’t at all. I have to say, I love you so much. If all flight attendants were like you nobody would ever complain about their flights. Keep being amazing, I will never forget you! <3



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30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

75 thoughts on “Travel Love, Lust and Flirtation: Stories of Romances on the Road

  1. I absolutely loved this post because I relate to it so well. Well, for the most part. I’ve never had a relationship with someone at home, from my country (my island is small) but if the is a plane ticket away from the common location involved the odds that I’m going to end up romantically involved increase by 100%. It is now a joke between my mom and my friends. It’s interesting also that somethings that I thought were okay at the time were actually really negative experiences as well.
    Loved this!
    Rushell (The Student Travels)

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting – I am glad you enjoyed this post! I totally understand you, romance just seems to come much easier when travelling!

    1. She makes good decisions, that kid of mine. I trust her judgement. And who am I to judge?? (Two divorces plus one 7 year train wreck of a relationship).
      Not this parent. You raise them to soar and be the best they can be. Doing a pretty bloody good job of that as far as I can see.

    2. Bloody hell, he totally did. Such a non-compliant old man haha

      As for your dumping – I am sorry to hear that 🙁 But a break-up is a bloody good excuse to pack your bags and go abroad! Lord knows it has been my motivation more than once!

  2. Great story Ellen. I wondered if such an attractive girl like yourself ever encountered romance on the road and now I know. Good thinking to always demand protection before fooling around. Thanks for sharing such personal stories. it was a good read. Keep up the great work. 🙂

    1. Absolutely – you just can’t know what the other person has been up to!

      Glad you enjoyed reading – I look forward to sharing many more stories! 🙂

    1. No fricking kidding – he was just too bloody creepy! Unfortunately – I bet almost every woman in the world would have a similar story 🙁 Bleugh!

  3. I think travelling gives the best stories. I still cringe at my first naive experience with men whilst abroad even 14 years later. I don’t know what I would have done in the case of Mr Razor Blades. What a thing to say, whether he actually does it or not!

  4. This post made me LOL, which is refreshing after too just going through a travel breakup earlier this week. Mines less exciting but much more sad, Fell in love with a kiwi while traveling new zealand and now we are apart for more than sometime. The breakup is based solely on living our own dreams. Maybe someday we will meet up again somewhere in this world? Right 😉 My hopeless romantic heart hopes I never fall in love abroad again. Here’s to the single life!

    1. You never know where the winds will blow wither of you! If it is meant to be, one day it will all work out 🙂 I hope you feel better soon xxxx

  5. Wow that was a very honest and detailed post.. there are not many poodle who have the guts to share something like this in all tbe detail you have. Must have taken a long while to write also. It’s a very interesting subject that is seldom shared. Travel romances can take so many different shapes, and I have experienced a lot too. It’s funny as some of your stories mimic some of my own or wrong place wrong time. Great post thank you for writing it really made me reminisce

      1. Hey… long time no speak! I loved the post really gave an honest insight into those type of situations and reminded me of so many stories. I can’t share all of those due to family and spouse but it really did ring a chord. Brilliantly written honest and transparent

  6. I soooo enjoyed reading this post Ellen! More writing please! I have wondered if you ever had travel romances, now I know. I like your new theme by the way, nice choice!

    1. Awesome to hear! Thank you so much John 🙂 I have been trying to mix up what I am writing about lately, I am glad that you are enjoying the experimentation as much as I am 🙂

  7. Of course I am far past the age of worrying about dating; however, you may have pinned down why my traveller daughter is not doing her blog. Well written, from the heart, and you are learning so much with all your experiences.

  8. Haha this post was hilarious, thoroughly entertaining, and all-around awesome (albeit briefly terrifying)! +1 for switching it up every once in a while. 🙂

  9. The fact that I’ll probably never see someone abroad again is why I choose not to get too close, but after reading these stories, I feel like I should change my M.O. if someone really sparks my interest. Hopefully she won’t have a crazy obsession with razor blades.

    1. Yes, fingers crossed, nobody wants a Mr/Mrs Razor Blades! But as for dating, it is so much fun while travelling! Even when it is a total disaster it always makes for a good story 🙂

  10. I enjoyed this post so much! Its interesting the kinds of people you meet while travelling. Some of my favourites (but not great people) I’ve encountered is ‘braggy travel guy’ and ‘I’ll change my trip to follow you around, guy’ and the ever memorable ‘Crap David’.

    The Emirates crew are amazing. Dubai to Adelaide is one heck of a trip. I too, had a lovely F/A offer me cocktails whilst everyone else slept. A+ for Emirates.

    1. Ahahahaha what made David so crap? I am intrigued!

      As for braggy travel guy – I think we have all had the displeasure of meeting one of those unfortunately 🙁

  11. As a parent and grandparent we know what you kids do, but yes I would not want to read of my daughters activities. But I, being a newly single traveler again, wanted to hear of these stories to learn from them. Not getting caught up in the moment is what matters. Flirting would be fun, haven’t done that with anyone but my wife in years.

    1. Unfortunately my dear did read this! He isn’t very good at following instructions!

      As for getting back into dating, I am sure it will happen when it happens – no need to rush things along 🙂

  12. Honest, Genuine and Sincere. Great post. I felt that to share something like this to the world took some courage. I congratulate you for it. Solo traveling is lonely but it is very rare that you meet someone you can connect with on authentic level. Don’t stop searching. Godspeed.

  13. Great stories! I’m confident that you can pretty much handle any creeper who shadows your path. In my time, I worked out my bugs without being too much of a nuisance to any girl.

    1. He did unfortunately, I really wish he knew how to follow instructions! :/

      Glad you had a few giggles too, I will try to keep those coming 🙂

  14. It’s interesting to read about your confessions, not that I enjoy the failures but your honesty is quite refreshing. I hope you don’t lose hope in finding love on the road. I met my husband while travelling around the world and as a traveler, I guess it is an epic way to end with your soulmate in this big wide world. Cheers!

  15. Great stories, so very relate-able! Glad I’m not the only one who has some wacky relationships on the road, although I am very jealous about the epic date seeing the Aurora Borealis, amazing!

  16. Oh, how I wished I had travelled like this when I was your age! I guess I will live it vicariously through your posts!

  17. Fun read.
    Weekend romances while traveling are fantastic.
    Something about having no expectations, being open to anything, and being in a beautiful place you can experience together really makes it a wild ride

  18. we found a love in a hopeless place…..
    thats the great feeling traveler can have and remember for the most.
    also i can relate this with myself too being guy.


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