I recently returned home from Bali. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked “Did you meet anyone?”, I’d probably have $23.
Given I was there for two months, I’d be worried if I didn’t. But jokes aside, I knew what they were asking. And while I didn’t return with the love of my life, I did romanticise interactions that wouldn’t have got me going on home soil. One hundred per cent.
But why did I emotionally respond in a way I normally wouldn’t?
Feelings are shit things to catch at the best of times. But it’s even easier to do so when you’re on holiday — if you’re single and open to opportunity, of course.
You’re away from friends and family who have certain expectations of you, not to mention toxic exes, situationships and that ballache of a job. And you know what that’s a recipe for? The best version of yourself. A version of yourself where you’re not the absolute worst and are far more tolerable to others.
The same goes for whatever babe-face has caught your usually-elsewhere attention. They’re likely much shinier than they would be at home too. I don’t make the rules. Psychologists have literally backed the idea that we embody different personality traits while on holiday.
Travel can also have physiological effects that lead to a warped sense of attraction. In the 70s, Donald Dutton and Arthur Aron conducted an experiment that showed people were more likely to be attracted to someone on a scary suspension bridge, as opposed to meeting them on a bridge where you felt more safe.
Suddenly all those people you know who are now married with offspring after meeting overseas make sense. Right? It does happen. I have family and friends who fall into this bucket. And in a world where most people are finding love on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, it sure does make for a good story.
Naturally, these stories make us romanticise the connections we make when we’re overseas. Pop culture is also an asshole on this front. From the TikTok airport crush trend to Eat, Pray Love and literally every Olsen Twins movie ever (if you know, you know), we’re hammered with some warped main relationship syndrome when overseas.
Don’t even get me started on Jamie proposing to Aurelia, who he has spoken two words to, in Love Actually. Just one of the very problematic areas of that relationship and entire film. I hate Uncle Jamie!
We know why we’re more attracted to each other on holiday, but there’s something to be said about being with someone who makes you feel more attracted to yourself too. The best relationships are always the ones where you’re in a good place mentally, right? Where you feel like you can actually be unashamedly yourself.
And while on holiday, you’ve really given them a no-fucks-given, free and authentic you. It’s likely that when you met you weren’t concerned with playing the long game, either. You know what I mean. No three-date rules and all of that jazz. Not enough time for that shit.
There’s a slim-to-none chance of ever seeing them back at home and there’s something hugely sexy and liberating about experiencing something you’ll likely never get to ever again. The most grateful anyone ever feels is when they know something is coming to an end.
Did you watch the Neighbours finale even though you hadn’t watched an episode in a decade? Have you decided to see a friend you haven’t in years because they decided to move away? Maybe you headed to Frankie’s Pizza once you caught wind that it was closing down. Expiration dates do weird things to people. They make them feel things.
Friendly reminder: the more time Lizzie McGuire spent with Paolo, the more she realised he was a fraudulent dickhead.
Years ago, I met someone in Dublin who I spent the next 48 hours with before heading back to Sydney. Afterwards, I went to Germany to see him and him to Sydney for me. Did we have the best time? Yes. Do I feel we may have tried to push the holiday romance thing a little too far? Maybe.
Think about one of your exes. You’ll always think about the beginning of the relationship more fondly than the dire end. And with holiday romances, more often than not, we don’t have the time and opportunity to fuck it up.
Holiday romances really are better in our memory sometimes. Can you live up to the experience you had, in a specific time and place, in a completely different context? Yes. But often no.
Don’t hold your breath, but don’t let that deter you from leaning the hell into a holiday romance while overseas too. You can’t deny that it teaches you something about yourself and what you do and don’t want in a relationship.
So yeah, I did meet someone overseas. And that person was me.
Chantelle Schmidt is a freelance writer. You can follow her on IG here.