How Living Overseas Has Ruined Me For The Average Guy

Over the last six years, I’ve lived in Oceania, Central America, Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Sure, it’s been great, but my love life has suffered because of it. Why? Well, living overseas has basically ruined me for the average man. Here’s how:

  1. I know how many guys are out there. One of the biggest lessons I learned while traveling is that there are just so many men in the world — exciting, interesting, good looking, funny, educated, and open-minded men. While this is great news when I’m getting over a guy, it also makes it difficult to commit to just one. Travel expands your horizons, and you never know-  your soulmate could be just around the corner… or in the next country.
  2. I’m picky as hell. I love being single, and the freedom to pack my things and move wherever I want is not something I take lightly. For this reason, I’m probably the pickiest girl most guys will ever meet, and I just won’t settle — I want a passionate, can’t-keep-my-hands-off, how-did-I-live-without-you kinda love. You know what comes with years of travel? An outgoing personality, plenty of funny stories, and a belief that I’m the best thing since sliced bread.
  3. I only like guys who travel. Have no intention of leaving the country unless it’s to lie on the beach and party in Cancun? I will judge you. While I like a good cocktail on the beach as much as the next girl, if you have no plans to stretch yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and explore a new culture then we have nothing in common. I also don’t have any plans to enter a long-distance relationship — for me, the cake simply isn’t worth the bake.
  4. I leave it up to fate. I figure I’ll frolick around the world, seeing all the amazing things it has to offer, and then, once I’m ready, Poof! The perfect guy will appear. This means that I don’t make enough effort for the average guy since I have this idea that just like all the best romantic comedies, Mr. Perfect will show up when I least expect it.
  5. I’ve seen what happens when you ditch your dreams. Those girls who said they were going to travel when we were in high school? They’ve either still never left the country or they had to wait until their boyfriends were ready. If I had waited for a boyfriend before traveling, I would have never left and I would still be miserable at home, working a 9-5 and going to the same bars every weekend.
  6. I don’t need you. Sadly, most guys need to be needed, but I’m too independent for that to work. I’ve been robbed in Beijing, felt up in a taxi in Bangkok, broke my elbow in Guatemala, and spent a week puking my guts out alone in Budapest. I’ve been leered at, followed by strangers, extorted by police, called every name under the sun by men all over the world, and each time I came out stronger. Unfortunately, the majority of guys I meet seem to like the helpless types, and that will never be me.
  7. I follow my gut. Six years of travel and living as an expat has given me a pretty good BS detector. If you don’t come across as 100 percent genuine, I’m out the door. Unfortunately, I think this has narrowed down the field significantly since most guys take a while before they open up and show their true colors.
  8. I work to travel. Until my last birthday, I was using a hair straightener that was eight years old. And don’t get me started on the state of my wardrobe. When you’re always packing up everything you own, you just don’t tend to own all that much. That means that I may occasionally look more like a grungy backpacker than an adult woman, and I’d rather pay for last-minute tickets to Scotland than the latest and greatest TV. This can make it awkward when I’m talking to guys who have gone into debt to buy a brand new car, are paying extravagant rent on their bachelor pad, or care more about buying the latest iPhone than exploring a new country.
  9. I like to keep it casual. There’s a reason why friends with benefits works so well for travelers. You know what’s great about constantly being on the go? That guy in LA that you hook up with when you’re in town, that cute guy in Thailand who you’ve been flirting with for years, and the hot older guy in France who does that thing with his tongue…
  10. I have no plans to stop. While I realize that my love life would improve if I committed to spending more than a year in each country, that’s just not going to happen. And that means that unless I find the perfect guy on the road, I’m resigned to being single AF for now.
Emma is originally from San Francisco but has lived all over the world. When not writing, you'll find her daydreaming in cafes and hanging out with her fiance.