In defense of travel flings
My biggest breakthroughs have happened as I've collected lovers around the world.
Welcome to This Trip Changed My Life, where we spotlight the ways (good, bad, and everything in between) that travel has impacted the people we’re most inspired by.
I’ve definitely collected lovers as I’ve traveled around the world. My Venus (planet of love) is in Aquarius (free spirit) in the 9th house (travel, adventure), so I often attract foreigners when it comes to matters of the heart.
I once met and befriended a harpist in Sicily when I was 19, pre-iPhone and Facebook days. We never even kissed but he still DMs me things like, “Ale, you’re so beautiful!” in Italian and sends me harp tunes, 14 years later. When I was 23 I was traveling around France with my friend and met this German guy living in a van that was also a mobile theater—we spent a full moon together, holding hands down a street in a tiny village and sharing chocolate.
There has been an Israeli (or rather, two), a Chilean, a Brazilian, a Colombian, a Persian, two Mexicans, a few half Japanese…. What can I say? I love romance, and I love travel.
The journey there felt so good, perhaps the most free I have ever felt.
I’ve had connections with people around the world who are amazing humans, artists, yogis, and musicians, but there was one moment in particular where, even though it wasn’t like I met the love of my life, something shifted deeply inside of me.
I was in Brazil for a shoot with Glamour and after we wrapped I went to this dreamy place, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, for three days with my director of photography, Arianna (an all-American gal from New York who I had known since age 18 and previously traveled to Cuba with). To get there we had to take a bus to a boat to a four-wheeler—it took eight hours to get there, through these huge sand dunes. The journey there felt so good, perhaps the most free I have ever felt; there was no technology present, no WiFi, just wide-open sky. Sun. Wind in my hair. Laughter. It felt fucking delicious.
As we approached this magical place we noticed that, in its off-season quiet, we had it almost completely to ourselves. There were no stores, no restaurants. There were more cows than humans on this island! But we did find a little house where a woman was serving food for a few tourists.
As Arianna and I sat in the dark—there were no street lamps, just some candles—she tried to ask me a bit about my spiritual practice. And after she had a caipirinha or two (I wasn’t drinking at the time), I attempted to explain to her how manifestation works.
“This doesn’t seem fair to think up what you want,” she told me. “But if this manifesting thing really is true, I wish I could manifest some marijuana right now!”
I responded, jokingly, “If I could manifest anything right now, it would be a few hot men.”
When we finished eating, we started to walk through the jungle to where we were staying. There were no overhead lights, just the phone flashlight that illuminated about two feet in front of us. Suddenly, I heard some people talking behind this fence and, for some odd reason, I decided to peep behind it—like, literally a peeping Tom at 11 p.m. on this deserted island. But I was magically drawn to this fence…I peeped through and…voila!
“Arianna, there’s a hot man behind the fence! We manifested a hot man,” I shout-whispered. “I told you so!”
I turned back to the guy behind the fence and suddenly another guy appeared, and then another—so three hot guys total—and one saw us and approached the gate. “Hello, ladies! Come in—we have some wine, we have some beer,” he told us.
I’ve been an explorer my whole life, and I’ve gotten into trouble at times, not gonna lie, but I was sober, feeling connected to myself, and decided to go with my gut. So we followed them in.
The only time magic happens is when you allow it.
We were sitting there with these three hot Argentinean men and when I told them that I wasn’t drinking, they offered marijuana. Arianna was like, “Oh my God.”
“That is what we did,” I said to her. “We just manifested it.”
“That’s not possible!” she responded.
“It is possible,” I insisted.
I asked to go to the bathroom, and Javi, the guy who was the most quiet and brooding—which is more my style than the extra-handsome one or the really funny one—showed me the bathroom. My jaw dropped: There was a huge Ganesh tapestry hanging on the wall. In the little house where we were eating earlier, there was also a Ganesh—and this was not a hippie island! Two months before that I had done an ayahuasca ceremony and the first night was dedicated to Ganesh, asking for him to help me remove obstacles around love. So for me to be on this little island off the north coast of Brazil and to find a Ganesh again and again felt like he was saying, “Girl, I got you!” The universe was winking at me.
I had never dated someone who could match me in their spiritual practice at that point—and at first I was sort of judge-y. Like, “Ugh, these unconscious dudes offering us beer in Brazil…obvious!” But in that moment my stereotyping got turned on its head as Javi told me about his plant medicine work, shared his meditation practice, and showed me his little library of spiritual books. I’m not sure either one of us knew what to make of each other, but I do feel like there was something important that happened in that moment.
We decided to all hang out the next day, and Arianna kicked it with the other two guys while Javi and I swam in the ocean for hours, just talking. When I meet other people who also have a deep mystical and spiritual practice, I feel less alone in the world. It’s like: “You love Spirit too? You want more from reality too? You drink and eat plants that have changed your whole way of being too?!”
Talking about the mystical in the most beautiful place in the world, with this beautiful Argentinean man in the ocean, the human in me couldn’t help but wonder: Is he going to kiss me?
There was something deep there, but we left it at that. It would have been too obvious if he would have romanced me in the typical way.
Arianna and I left the next day, but Javi and I have kept in touch through Whatsapp. (In fact, he just messaged me saying maybe he will come to California and asking if he could stay with me±—ha!)
Meeting Javi was an interesting transition because I had an old, limiting belief that I may not meet a man who had as much depth as I did spiritually. After I met him in Brazil, my paradigm shifted for what was possible in a relationship. And he was a bit of a gateway into me seeing that there are many medicine-drinking, meditating, kirtan-chanting, conscious men out there.
Travel can be magic. It can change your life. Your way of seeing love. Or money. Or sex. Or culture.
My advice? Don’t over-plan your shit, and go with somebody that you can be magical with (or if you can, go alone)—because the only time magic happens is when you allow it. Don’t be afraid to go on a trip, and don’t be afraid to go with an open heart and an open schedule. And, oh, turn off the phone! Roam. Dream. Let the flow flow through you.
People are often fearful of connecting and taking a risk—and there’s a good reason: Sometimes it can be really scary. But you have to be willing to take the risk (as well as listen to your gut and be fast-thinking). Otherwise, if you’re just on autopilot, going from one activity to the next, looking at your phone, you’ll miss out on the real good stuff, the stories you’ll tell over dinners for years, the ones that touch you deeply. The ones that hold the keys to all your magic.
Alexandra Roxo is a transformational coach and co-founder of Moon Club. When she’s not off experiencing her own travel breakthroughs, she’s helping others do the same—her next retreat is July 5-8 at Kripalu.