“I was backpacking the islands of Hawaii spring of 2016 and met a guy who was living there at the time.
So the day we met, Marcel had been camping in a valley and had to hike out in a downpour. The waist-high river on the way in had turned shoulder deep, and he was drenched on his steep climb up the valley ridge. What kept him going was daydreaming about a new girl that he had yet to meet.
He hitchhiked straight from the edge of the valley to the laundromat to dry out his clothing and gear. Meanwhile, I had just finished my two weeks working on an organic farm and headed to the laundromat to wash everything and find my next adventure. I walked in with my backpack and the first person I saw was him. He said, “Hey, do I know you?” And then we chatted the next few hours doing our laundry. I needed a place to sleep that night and he was staying on a property with $3 tent camping so we hitchhiked in the rain together back to there and I ended up staying in his cabin instead!
Over the next four days, we got to know each other better and went on an off-roading camping adventure and I knew he was my soulmate. We planned to meet up again a few months later to go to Burning Man and then hitchhike around the West Coast.
It was on that trip that I fell in love for the first time.
We had made our way into Oregon and picked up poison oak all over our lower halves at some hot springs. As we finally began to heal and could finally cuddle again without pain, I was by a river in the Redwoods National Park washing out our cooking pan when I was overcome with a warm bubbly feeling that I could only identify as romantic love.
Since then we have done our own travels and traveled together. We’ve learned to partner dance and cook amazing meals and set up the perfect camping zone. We practice open communication and encourage each other to express our feelings and live true to ourselves. We do not use labels but are in a non-monogamous relationship based on trust and honesty.
My advice to other female travelers who just found love is to be open and honest with your partner.
You are better off discussing your feelings when they come up, rather than waiting until it blows up into something more than it ever should have been. Be true to yourself and recognize if your relationship is changing you, and set up boundaries to protect yourself if you need to.
And finally, don’t let other people and society define your relationship. Especially as travelers, relationships may need to be fluid. Think about the context around words like “girlfriend”, “boyfriend”, “wife”, “exclusive”. Don’t force yourself to be boxed in by the culture’s context of relationships. Boxes are for box people, and we’re just having fun together.”