Travel health warning: ‘Amplified Love’ is an epidemic abroad

Travel health warning: ‘Amplified Love’ is an epidemic abroad

Are the romantic desires you experience when travelling real, or have they been magnified by the endearing surroundings?

I once sat through two pain-stakinginly-long London lattes while a girlfriend waxed lyrical about men in the office she swore were good-looking potential life-sharing candidates. Most days I’d say ‘each to their own’ and sip blissfully away; except she was wrong.

Through textbook-timed nods, oohs, sighs and the occasional “Get.Out!” my head was gradually expanding with the realisation that I was closer to uncovering a He’s-Just-Not-That-Into-You epiphany. The words “I haven’t seen him outside of the office yet” barely escaped her feeble lips before I spat it out:

“It’s Amplified Love!”

You may have had AL before

Amplified Love (AL) is the worst. At the same time as it’s painfully obvious to everyone around you, it hides behind a one-sided mirror so you’re blinded by the impartial view.

What my friend was experiencing was a classic case of AL – a well cut suit and tailored shirt will amplify the desirability of any guy.

And in an office? Well, you’re comparing the likes of the guy in a very limited pool of competition. No wonder he’s looking deliciously apt: who’s he up against? He’s amplified perfection. And no, winning by default is most certainly not winning.

Here’s the kicker. AL is an epidemic abroad.

Amplified Love is like a plague in Europe

Geographically, Europe is susceptible to some of the most severe cases of AL on the planet. It’s bursting to brim with undiscovered alleys, cultural attractions and sensual eateries that all work to amplify nice gestures into full-blown cases of romance.

He paid for your Metro ticket? Well it happened right outside Champ de Mars in Paris; so it must be love!

Or the average meal you shared at Pizza Express in Covent Garden. Conversation was easy and the warmth of the restaurant created a foggy mist on the windows against the London rain. You think: wow, this must be what real love feels like.

The symptoms are mild at first and easily go unnoticed. Europe is a minefield of killer accents, endearing terminology and sophisticated dress sense. You pack a Longchamp full of stringed bikinis and kaftans for a boy-in-Barcelona quicker than you can say “Are-you-sure?”

For solo travellers, AL can be a killer in winter

Then there’s the strand of AL typically present in patients travelling solo.

A girlfriend of mine experienced the falling of snow for the first time in her life with a mutual male friend in Notting Hill. The almost magical atmosphere had weakened her immunity until she began to question if maybe he was ‘The One’ — damn the mulled wine and icy streets.

In a parallel moment of AL, another friend had been strolling innocently through London’s Winter Wonderland, unbeknownst to the dangers that lurked. In his first Christmas away from home, he was intoxicated by a lit up London Eye, cackling at his efforts on expensive side-show games and wondering if he should buy that necklace for her in a small Christmas market stall.

He had no particular affinity for her in that way, but the moment felt right. He had a fleeting sense of winning that oversized stuffed animal for her while impeccably well-timed snow fell just before he’d stop for an impromptu first kiss.

How to diagnose Amplified Love

There’s a triage of questions to ask in diagnosing AL.

Foremost, has anything external happened recently to alter your perception of said Love? In all cases I’ve seen, seasonal change has most definitely occurred. Would you feel the same way without cross-country comparison? And what if you removed the aura of snow, smell of hot cocoa and found yourself back in the Southern Hemisphere?

The first sight of snow will of course make you feel a sense of nostalgia to share the moment with love. Your first Christmas away from family and friends will no doubt have you vulnerably wishing there was a ‘special one’ to spoil. How many times have you heard people lament that the turn of winter has them in the market for someone to cuddle?

And we can thank Love Actually for tainting the airport with expectations of last minute love declarations.

Is there a cure?

The remedy? Well, that’s the real killer. Like all medical advice, first do no harm. Is Amplified Love just an innocent mask of attention and European tales for your return, or has it escalated to heartache of choosing wedding venues when you share two continents?

Perhaps like all infections, time and rest will serve you well. On the other hand, maybe Amplified Love is benign; a passport requisite that no amount of vaccination will prevent.

TOP IMAGE: Via Pixabay