Dating as an expat, even expat honeymoons? Why do we assume it’s impossible? Here’s my recent observation of the romance scene in my current location of Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Love IS possible as a traveler!
A Town of Romance
Puerto Escondido… a simple surfer town, sitting on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca state, Mexico.
Whether you want to catch a wave, chill under a cabana, munching on some fresh pineapple, attend a spiritual ceremony, or dance all night, this town has got something for everyone.
That’s why so many expats extend their stay from a couple of days to a couple of weeks… or months… or even indefinitely (like me).
With so many people staying here long-term and making this place their home, it comes without saying that there is often romance in the air. For an expat, this isn’t always the case, because people are always on the go and there’s no time to get serious with someone. But here, there’s more of a possibility that you may fall in love.
Tell Me More, Tell Me More – The “Danny and Sandy” Stories
We are all familiar with the classic summer fling that was brought to us by a cheerful singing cast in the movie Grease. The principal characters, Sandy and Danny had the most romantic summer fling of their lives and reminisced about it with their friends when it came to an end. They were then unexpectedly reunited when they found each other at school, and despite a few hiccups, they ended up quite literally driving into the sunset together.
This type of thing is seen often in the expat community, especially here in Puerto Escondido. Not the singing and dancing, or the cool hair, but the romantic flings and captivating love stories. (Okay, we see some pretty cool hair here, too—but more dreads than ‘50’s greaser).
Here in Puerto Escondido, there are many love stories… people that have had those beautiful flings while traveling and were reunited later, people who have lived in the same town back home for years but never met until now, and people who had crazy chemistry and have been inseparable ever since. One not-so-rare story in this town is that of my neighbors who have been together a while now and just got their permanent residency. Talk about a story to tell the kids one day.
The Hangovers and Heartbreaks
Although this town is all-so-romantic, dating and being in a committed relationship as an expat can come with its quirks.
What happens when you’ve met your potential soulmate, but they want to travel to 10 more countries and you’ve just opened up a bar in the town that you want to settle in?
Should one of you give up your dream for the other? Should you try to make long-distance work (spoiler alert—it rarely does!)?
There are so many hurdles like these that arise within the expat dating scene.
With them comes heartbreak. Some couples aren’t as athletic as others and cannot jump those metaphorical hurdles.
A Love That Never Was
One of the recent stories that I have is that of my own. On my way to Puerto Escondido, I met a lovely man from Europe in the Puerto Vallarta airport and we chatted all the way from the airport to the taxi that we shared. We exchanged information, but I accidentally gave him the wrong phone number.
Flash forward a month, and upon me visiting Chacahua, a town a couple of hours north of Puerto Escondido, I ran into him working at a bar! We found the chance to hang out, and we really hit it off. Then came the end of the weekend, and I returned to my town, and he stayed in his. We tried to communicate through terrible Wi-Fi and planned trips to see each other, which always failed, mostly due to us both having to work. It was a shame, and one of those stories that never quite got to the Grease of happy endings. It will always just be that one great night that we shared.
With that being said, another thing about romance as an expat or traveler is the hookup culture. I’m talking about the days that you wake up with a hangover and question who did I just spent the last 12 hours with?—oops. I’m also talking about the open relationships, and the no-strings-attached friends with benefits: flings. There’s a lot of that here. Well, there’s a lot of that everywhere, I suppose. But here in Puerto Escondido, there are many people open to this type of adventure.
If you are being safe and responsible, hookups can be fun and exciting, especially when in lands of paradise. However, everybody knows that with these types of affairs come consequences. Heartbreaks, and worse… All I can say is, be responsible, you passionate souls, and be honest with your partners!
Expat Honeymoons and Happily Ever Afters
We all know that people go on lovely vacations to places like Mexico for their honeymoon. But have you ever seen a couple get married on the rooftop terrace of a party hostel, officiated by a fellow expat who stays there with all of their attendees also being expats and travelers of the hostel? I can’t say that I have either, but I did meet the married couple just two days after their ceremony and looked at photos of the wedding. Yes, it was official; they were a real couple; and yes, they had rings. Is Puerto Escondido becoming the new Las Vegas? Probably not, but what I can say is that love finds us in strange ways, and sometimes, when you know, you just know.
What does your love life look like as an expat? Have you found love in unexpected ways? Have you had many hangovers with unexpected guests, or just a lovely honeymoon in a tropical paradise? Let us know your dating experiences and love stories as we approach Valentine’s Day!
By: Talysha Bradshaw