It can be hard to build relationships when you know you’re going to be moving on in a number of days or weeks. This is another one of the “growth opportunities” I wanted to get out of van life. I wanted to be able to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people!
Making new friends is something many people (including myself) struggle with. The thing that’s helped me the most? Find communities that do things you enjoy, then become an active part of that community. When you’re traveling, odds are there will be people doing those activities. Be brave, go to events, and talk to people. Try new things, you’ll find a new favorite. meetup.com is a great resource.
Other low-cost ideas include: Dancing, table-top or role-play gaming, hiking/camping/parks, Sports, yoga, pool
My favorite activity is acrobatic yoga. It’s communication heavy and touch-based where you get to do things you never thought of with bodies. Fitness based activities will offset living in such a small space, and are full of other fit people that want to take care of their bodies too.
I’ve had a number of successful relationships living this lifestyle so here’s my two-cents on dating while traveling.
Be honest (and be yourself). This is my #1 whether you’re traveling or not. Be honest with yourself about what you want, then be honest with potential partners about it. Being vulnerable builds emotional connection, and you want to start building connections ASAP since you don’t have much time in each spot.
Be kind. This goes right after honesty, because you don’t have to be BRUTALLY honest. Be kind. How would you want to be treated? How do THEY want to be treated?
Own that you’re traveling (if you are) and highlight that you CHOSE this lifestyle for a number of reasons. Many will find this exciting; you’ll be full of stories! They’ll also respect your motivation. Once you’ve been on a few dates and trust someone, offer to take them on a getaway adventure. You want new experiences and connections before you travel away, make them happen!
Practice self-improvement. Learn from each mistake or failure. Treat people with respect. Be clean and well put together. Hit the gym.
Be brave. Talk to people in person. You are not imposing on someone by having a pleasant, positive conversation.
You can also use Tinder and other dating apps. Living the van lifestyle immediately makes you stand out and will attract other adventurer-types. It has the bonus of discouraging status-seeking gold-digger types. Make sure you’ve got honest pictures that show you off and a good bio.
Practice Unattached Love. Each experience is a gift and they all will end eventually. Enjoy the moment.