Travel's #1 Unwritten Rule: Don't Fall In Love - Love the Search
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13 Feb Travel’s #1 Unwritten Rule: Don’t Fall In Love

There’s an unwritten rule when it comes to traveling. It’s a huge inconvenience, forcing us to change flights or worse, change our whole itinerary — maybe even our entire lives. It could be the biggest expense your credit card will ever suffer. No guidebook ever warned you about it, and no, your travel insurance definitely won’t cover it. It could turn a once independent solo female traveler into the most paranoid and needy girl, glancing at her mobile phone for messages every f***** hour.
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You all know what I’m talking about because you’ve gone through it. We’re all happy exploring the world on our own, relishing every single bit of freedom and solitude we’ve so rightly earned. Then boom — unexpectedly, we meet someone who’s about to change our lives forever whether we like it or not.
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As if by fate, you meet in the middle of nowhere or maybe at a busy bus station. You start talking and before you know it, you’ve been in deep conversation for five hours. He looks into your eyes with such sincerity and asks you all the right questions. His soul feels familiar, yet there’s no way you could’ve met each other before because you come from different parts of the world. In a split second, you cannot imagine living the rest of your life without this stranger.
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Your first date was probably a drive to a secluded beach, a four day sailing trip across an archipelago or maybe just a walk along the park. Suddenly, the world is more vibrant than it had ever been. You soul awakens, you feel alive again. Seeing couples make out in public no longer irks the hell out of you.
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You’ve talked about everything from your first pet to the undiscovered galaxies in the universe. You gazed at each other’s eyes like there was no tomorrow, because there usually isn’t one in our case. But then we make the exception. One more day, “I don’t have to leave now“, we say. And so we stay, until we have our first argument, until our flight back home, until our visa expires, until we really have to go.
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A long-distance relationship is the last thing you want. Yet all of a sudden, you’re part of one. You try to set-up Skype dates while on different schedules and timezones. Constantly texting and sending each other silly emoticons everyday. What you ate for lunch, what you’re making for dinner and everything in between. You write his name on a sandy tropical beach and he promises to build you an adorable snowman.
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You’re not a fan of selfies yet you need to send him one back because he’s been asking for it. Your heart jumps everytime you get a notification, or at the slightest thought of him. Repeat several times throughout the day. Before you know it, you’re staring at your screen the whole day while real life is happening around you. But you couldn’t care less about anything else. Yes my dear, I hate to break it to ya but you are in a relationship with your goddamn phone.
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So how long? “How long is this gonna go on?“, you ask. Until you both want it to.
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Until you decide it wasn’t just a fling. Until you both get the courage to admit to your own selves and each other that it was real. That you want to see each other again. Until either of you make the effort to drop everything in your respective lives just to see if it can actually work. Until you miss each other too much that one of you finally gives in and books that goddamn plane ticket.
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Or maybe until you get sick of airplanes, flying back and forth different continents. Until his sleepy little town bores the hell out of you and you’d rather be somewhere else. Until cultural differences arise and it feels impossible to find a middle ground. Until you can no longer have a relationship on WhatsApp. Until you realize, you’ll always feel incomplete without seeing the world first. Refuse to settle for a half-lived life.
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Go. Say what you’re thinking and be honest about how you feel. Burry your ego, life is too precious to live with regrets and unspoken words. Work it out until you both get exhausted. At any point you realize that you’re the only one trying to make the relationship work, stop. Know when to tell yourself to hold back and when to move on.
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There are no excuses and no maybes in love. People cross oceans and bike across continents for this sh*t. “Why can’t he just make the same effort?”, you ask. Things might not have worked out, but it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t real. There might be a million questions and what-ifs, but the fact of the matter is, it’s over because at some point one of you decided that it was. End it at that.
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Close the book, get back out there and start living for yourself once again.
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Art by Lauren Metler of The Wandering Orange
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