There are as many reasons to travel as there are travelers. One, oft cited, is to get out of a particular rut and reinvent some aspect of life: work, spiritual, emotional, financial, intellectual, or relational.
Let’s face it, sometimes our relationships get stale, or our approach to trying to find or maintain one gets old. We’re tired of the same old same old, we long for something new, different, exciting, or exotic! While the “size matters” debate may rage on, anyone who’s traveled can tell you that the “location matters” debate is no debate at all.
There’s no question that international travel is sexy. Who doesn’t have a story of finding love in some far flung corner of the world? Sometimes it changes your plans for the evening; sometimes it changes the history of the world. Many of us who read Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love either remembered or dreamt of the same sort of passionate interlude abroad.
I took my first trans-continental trip alone at sixteen and promptly fell head over heels in love with an English bloke with blue eyes I could almost swim in. Since then, I’ve spent the best 18 years of my life hand in hand with a man who makes the blue-eyed boy look like yesterday’s toast and who is dedicated to passion; from the tops of pyramids in jungles to pristine ponds in German hill country.
Trust me when I say, travel can renew your love life.
With over two decades of living and loving on the road, I offer my personal suggestions for seven places to make love before you die.
On a boat
Airplanes are overdone and you can get in big trouble for attempting to join the Mile High Club these days. Boats are far more exotic and offer a range of delightful possibilities:
- canoes: paddled for hours and hidden in a reedy Canadian marsh (careful -they tend to tip)
- rowboats: is there anything sexier than watching a man flex his muscles and row a girl like a princess around a glassy pond?
- sailboats: I dare you to charter one in the Caribbean and not fall in love
- ships & ferries: cruise ships are passe, but there’s adventure to be found in a narrow bunk on a rolling Mediterranean ferry crossing
Tips for success: Life jackets or boat cushions make great padding. And do not knock your paddle overboard as this tends to ruin the moment.
In a hammock
Swings might be more famous, but they’re also trickier. Try a hammock instead. They’re perfectly packable, quickly hung, and a delightfully relaxed option. If I may be so bold as to make a recommendation, the Hennessy Hammock is a lover’s best friend. Buy the biggest one, built for two, and I defy you not to laugh your heads of trying to get into the thing and get comfy.
Where to hang your hammock? Not on an open beach with kids building sand castles, thank you. Go for high on a mountaintop, or under the lonely palapas surrounding Tikal with only toucans and monkeys to watch, or perhaps from the beams of a log house, snowed in up north.
Tips for success: Get a Hennessy. It has a velcro closure, mosquito netting and a fly, which means you can’t fall out, you won’t get dengue and you’ll always have privacy! Just pack your sense of humor and save the acrobatics for another time.
Cliche or classic? You’ll have to decide. You won’t be in some select group for accomplishing this one, but there is something unforgettable about sleeping “Vermont-New Hampshire” close on a twin and a half sized bed. We had a twin bed for a long time, so hostels remind us of being teenagers together.
Tips for success: Respect the other travelers and pick your time and your bed carefully please (afternoons make for empty hostels). If a hostel is booked up, sometimes you can actually save money by double bunking. Bring earplugs, non-optional in a hostel, in case someone else has the same idea.
In the desert
Perhaps the desert isn’t on your top ten list of places to hook up before you die, but it should be.
Why? Nights are cold and a lover is much more fun to cuddle up to than a camel. There’s nothing like a diamond studded, ink black sky for a blanket and Bedouin drums for rhythm. I hope it won’t be once in a lifetime, but just in case it is, don’t miss the chance!
Tips for success: Bring warm blankets or sleeping bags; without them you’ll be forced to wear every piece of clothing you have, which is counterproductive. You can remove the fly of your tent to see the stars, but to quote my Grandmother, “the damned sand gets into everything.”
In the shadow of volcanoes
There’s nothing hotter than a smoking volcano and lava for a night light. There are quite a few active volcanoes in the world, and I think it should be a personal goal to be inspired by their endless, raging heat in as many places as possible. Hawaii is obvious and a good start, but branch out. Hike Pacaya (with a hammock) and roast a few marshmallows over the lava pools to add a little sticky sweet to the adventure.
Tips for success: Don’t get burned, seriously. We know a guy who’s shoes melted to the rock while he roasted his marshmallows. A pick up line that might work: “Did you know ‘hot’ is a homonym? As in: the lava is hot, and you are so hot!”
In hot springs
In the water is too obvious. Oceans, beaches, lakes and rivers, they’re overdone; but hot springs, now that’s a little more adventurous, and you won’t have the embarrassing effects of cool water to overcome. Hot springs often also have the added benefit of high mineral and salt content, which adds health benefits above and beyond those provided by the endorphin rush. Not to mention, they make the water feel silky smooth and help you float!
Double points if you manage to combine the volcano and the hot springs into one adventure!
Tips for success: Do not attempt at the balneario loaded with tourists from the city for the weekend. Seriously. We’ve seen “NO SEX” painted on the side of more than one pool, and there was a reason they’d painted it there. Please people, be cool. Do this one by moonlight, even if you have to jump a fence and race across the campground in your towel and not much else.
Au plein aire
Brush up on your French, it sounds better than, “Hey Baby, you wanna go outside?” The possibilities of the great outdoors are truly endless, and there are extra points awarded for creativity in this category.
Suggestions for inspiration:
- In a field of flowers, or hay, in the middle of a long road trip
- On the floor of a pine forest on a thick carpet of pine needles
- On a deserted pebble beach on the Adriatic coast
- Under a candlelit palapa on the shore of any lake
- In your backyard in the treehouse after the kiddies are sound asleep
- Beneath fireworks, anywhere and everywhere
Tips for Success: Always carry a lightweight sheet in your backpack. “Fortune favors the prepared.” If you’re allergic to all things pollenating (like me) take your meds; hives are not a sexy souvenir.
Get in a romantic mood with these other posts on traveling with your loved one:
- The Long-Term Traveler’s Guide to Love on the Road
- Five Unexpected (and Perfect) Destinations for a Proposal
- Love and Long-Term Travel: Can It Work?
- How to Impress Guys from Around the World
- How to Travel with Your Partner and Still Come Home as a Couple