Artwork by Ellie Hutchings
Words by Alice Clifford
I can’t be the only one who gets on a plane with the hope of being swept up in a whirlwind holiday romance. I am much more consumed by the thought of late-night swims and cocktails by candlelight than the museum tours that trip advisor has recommended. And whilst the idea of a holiday romance instantly sparks images of young Sam from Mamma Mia whisking me away on his motorbike in the rain, this article will explore the realities of holiday romances; the good, the bad and the ugly!
I am going to start with the best parts of a holiday romance. The inevitable end looming in the distance comes with a freedom that is easily lost when getting into a relationship. The acceptance of a finishing date means you can enjoy your time together without the seriousness and permanence that often comes with finding someone at home. The no strings attached element makes the whole experience exciting and carefree. It can lead you to fully embrace the adventure, as you are free of questions and worries of the future, such as the ever-daunting talk about ‘what are we?’. It is also an added bonus to have a free local tour guide who can take you to all the best places and introduce you to their friends, which will fully transform your possibly rigid and touristy trip.
Not only can a holiday romance be fun while you are there, it can also come with many benefits that go beyond the 2 or 3 week fling. Of course, all is dependent on how things end, but more often than not, while you might not leave the holiday with a boyfriend, you will leave with a friend (with hopefully continuing benefits!). A friend who is the perfect excuse to go back to visit and allow you to keep a connection with the part of the world you visited. Also, from a completely self-serving perspective it can be very useful with language learning. Three years on from a Spanish romance, I still find myself sending him messages about tips on the future perfect tense and asking for help with the work I am doing!
However, these rose-tinted glasses that come free with a holiday romance can sometimes hide the problems that can arise. While it can lead to a life-long friendship that doesn’t mean leaving isn’t painful. A holiday romance is an impulsive, exciting whirlwind, so suddenly having to leave it behind and step onto a plane back to normality can be extremely difficult. This could then leave you wanting to continue despite the distance. And while this can work, often the reality is that distance causes conflict, even bitterness, as it is difficult to have a happy relationship with some you have just met (regardless of the distance!).
On the flip side of the perfect holiday romance, is the romance that can take you away from the purpose of the trip. It is so easy to become consumed by the excitement of something new, but while it offers you something unfamiliarly intoxicating and intriguing, you might miss out on what you came there for. While you may begin to feel like you have known this person for ever, they are still a stranger, a stranger who probably doesn’t deserve your time as much as the friends and family you have come with.
So, when it comes to holiday romances, just approach them with slight caution before you fall head over heels. I do believe, however, that they are completely worth the risk of heartbreak, tears and possible regret, because as young Donna found out, there may be some consequences (some bigger than others), they are a lot of fun.