My mother met my father while she was holidaying with her best friend on ‘Bird Island’- or Kuşadası- in Turkey, in the summer of 1996. They’re still happily together today, twenty four years strong. A remarkable story it may seem to some, but my mother and her friend (who actually went on to marry my father’s best friend), often joke about how the flights to Greece were just as cheap that year, how they could have just as easily have met a pair of Greeks rather than some Turks. They say it with love but the unlikelihood of it all working out the way it did is something they have marveled over for many years together.
So, there are definitely pros and cons to meeting someone while travelling or holidaying abroad, my parents’ summer fling stretched over time and distance into a relationship that existed through letters, airmail and long phone calls; those were the days before facetime and spamming each other with memes and instant messages. My father was eventually allowed back into the UK with my mother, since being deported in 1993 after overstaying a three-day work visa. He had been working on a shipping container that docked in London for a week or so, got off to explore and never went back, until he was caught over a year later for a speeding charge. In short, my parents were lucky ones. They got to share an adventure together, both of them enjoying an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar company, before moving on to eventually spend the rest of their lives together in comfort and stability.
There is an undeniable romanticism attached to the idea of going away and meeting someone new, having a fling with no strings attached, but there are also so many risks. What if you fall for a person who lives on the other side of the planet? What if once your travels come to an end you never see them again? What if you never meet the right person because you never stay in the same place long enough? I would argue that relationships at university face the same issues; travelling is the same kind of ‘rite of passage’ that is encompassed in the expectations of fun, freedom and independence – just like moving away to university.
I take example from my parents’ story; two individuals who could not have lived more separate lives managed to make it worth it and managed to make it last. I wouldn’t worry about the consequences of romantic capers on trips and holidays away until the next step comes when you have to say goodbye. Until then, it’s anybody’s bet what great things could happen.