In the era of solo travel being so en vogue, it seems it doesn’t take much to get people to leave their comfort zones and explore a country on their own, halfway across the world.
What most people won’t tell you though, is that when you travel solo, you’re never really alone. You will always be meeting people, whether it’s you making the introduction to a local or vice versa.
And while the idea of meeting “strangers” sounds terrifying or even taboo to most, I like to think of people as friends you just haven’t met yet.
So far, so good.
Dating abroad can be fun and even life-changing if you put yourself out there and allow the universe to reciprocate, by putting interesting and inspiring people in your path.
And don’t be afraid to use sites like MeetUp.com with the sole purpose of meeting new people, and then seeing where it goes from there.
I think we tend to date with the ultimate goal of marriage, but putting that kind of pressure on yourself and someone you just met, is unrealistic and impractical.
So here are five things you can do to hit the dating scene confidently when you travel.
BE PREPARED TO BE A TEACHER
While dating abroad as a black woman comes with a whole guidebook of its own, if you’re in a white-dominated country, chances are, the locals will ask the kind of questions you had to answer throughout grade school.
With patience, use every opportunity to educate them on your culture and heritage, while negating the saturated field of stereotypes they’ve probably been fed by the media.
And the learning will definitely be a two-way street, and this intimate exchange will bring you both closer, and give you a better appreciation for the other.
DON’T PUT EARLY EXPECTATIONS ON ANYTHING
Like I mentioned earlier, don’t date with the idea of falling in love instantly, moving to their country, and starting a whole new life. I’m sure this is the dream for many women, but it’s only setting yourself up for failure, if that’s the sole conclusion you’ve set.
Enjoy your time together, make fun memories, and let things play out organically if there’s a foreseeable future. Making permanent decisions based off temporary emotions (read: hormones, lol) will land you in an emotional and expensive mess.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HAVING A LOCAL TOUR GUIDE
While Google may point you in the direction of every top 10 attraction in a city, who better than to give you the inside scoop than a local who’s lived there all their life?
It’s easy for information to be watered down for articles, so use this opportunity to really get to know a city, country, and culture deeper than the average tourist would, by asking tough questions and listening to their personal narratives.
And as long as there’s a mutual understanding and respect, most people also welcome political discussion. But then again, that sets up a soft-toss pitch for a question about Trump. So proceed with caution.
VALUE EXPERIENCES OVER MATERIAL THINGS
It’s easy for women, especially, to be drawn to chocolates, roses, and jewelry as signs of affection when someone wants to show you they like and appreciate you.
But remember material things fade and experiences and memories in exotic locations will hold much greater weight in the long run. And it’s something that both of you can enjoy too.
STAY IN TOUCH
So your trip may be over, and you ended up enjoying the company of a wonderful person, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut the connection.
Again, without putting any pressure on the future, exchange a couple forms of contact and you never know when or where you both might reunite again.
The best part about dating abroad, is that you can either leave or take the experiences you had, with you back home.
Dating a local from another country can be enriching, exciting, and as magical as you choose to make it.
This Valentine’s Day, if you find yourself traveling alone, don’t be afraid to talk to people and see who the universe decides to put in your path to join the celebration.
Gloria Atanmo is an author and travel blogger at TheBlogAbroad.com where she details her adventures through 45 countries across 5 continents. Expensive dreams with an affordable hustle, she uses her digital storytelling to inspire others to get out there and see the world for themselves. You can follow her daily adventures on Instagram.