Love is a particularly difficult subject for the solo travellers amongst us. We are strong, independent, and more than happy to go it alone, but that doesn’t mean we want to be alone forever. So what happens when we meet someone we like? And I mean REALLY like? When we find love on the road, how do we decide who is worth staying (or leaving) for, and who isn’t worth the wasted plane ticket?
You want to travel the world, visit new places, and just as you’ve decided to leave, you meet someone who makes your heart melt….
This has happened to me a few times now, and always at the most inconvenient time. When I worked in America for a summer, I fell for the bartender, but had to return home to University. I lived in France for 3 months, and met a cute German, but had to come back to complete my studies. After University I worked in France for the summer and was going to stay there, but a boy in England tempted me back home. I decided to leave Manchester and move to Barcelona, then a friend suddenly became more than just a friend. I decided to leave the country and met someone I liked just days before I left.
I was confused. I wanted more, I liked these guys, each in their own place, their own time, for better or worse. They say you should never seek out love, that it will happen to you when you least expect. That does seem true for me. When I am single, and almost desperate to find someone it doesn’t happen, yet as soon as I decide I am happy as I am, and ready to take key decisions in my life someone pops up and ruins my plans. Well, I say ruin, what I really mean is change – or at least make me consider a change. And now I am travelling around a continent I met someone who made me not want to go anywhere else. But my problem is always trying to figure out who is worth the change, and who will break my heart just as quickly as he won it.
Perhaps I fall in love too easily. I friend of mine once said I fall in love with every man I meet – which really isn’t true, although perhaps I am tired of waiting for the ‘one’. All my friends back home are settled down, engaged, cat owners or have a baby on the way. And me? I can’t keep a relationship going for more than a couple of months. And that’s when I am in one place for long enough. When I add travel into the mix it complicates everything even more! But do I want to settle down? Never. Or at least not now. A cat, a mortgage and 2.4 children still terrifies me, although maybe that will change when I meet ‘The One’. I feel like I am warming to the idea of a family, a home, with little mini-me trouble makers running round. I’m still not sure I’m ready to stay in one place though. Nor will I ever settle for someone who isn’t everything I deserve.
For most of these past ‘loves’ I trusted my logical side – we’d only known each other a few weeks; I can’t change my plans after one night of passion; we live in different countries, it would never work. The one time I did follow my heart, and came back from France after University, we were together for a long time but in the end it didn’t work out. Do I regret my decision? No; I am happy for the time we had together, but ultimately we were, and still are, better as friends. Nonetheless I do wonder what my life would be like now, had I chosen to stay in France and make a life there, instead of return home. I don’t regret my decision though, I quite like my life as it is now, and that would be completely different had I stayed in France; that is the only certainty in all of this.
Would I give up my dreams for love on the road?
One never knows what the future may hold, we can only take decisions on what we know now, and what we feel is best for us, based on the information we have available. But, how powerful is the heart over the head? Could I, or would I, ever give up on my dreams for a man? Love – as powerful and amazing as it is – doesn’t always last, so I would never want to regret giving up my next adventure for a man who may love me for a while, but then realise I’m not the one – or vice versa. Perhaps my dreams of adventure are more powerful than love, or maybe I just fantasize about what I can’t have, and when it comes to the crunch I take the easy option?
Choosing to stay for love is never easy, but choosing to leave love behind isn’t easy either. You have to live with your decision, your loneliness, your lost love, and know that if you do regret your decision, it was yours alone to make. Your choice, your fault. Or your choice, your success, your happiness.
No-one really knows if any decision they make is the right one, but somehow we have to make them, and hope for the best. Either way we should take comfort in that at least it was our decision, that we control our own destiny – and whatever that may be we will learn from our experience, and hopefully make the right decision next time.
One thing I have learnt in all of this, is to cut the crap.
If you have any doubts about the guy or girl you like, don’t risk it all on a whim. Talk about what you really want, and what they really want, although even then there is no guarantee that they will tell you the truth. It never fails to amaze me how selfish people can be in these situations, and how easily people can lie when they are scared, or when they want something that might be taken away from them. And if you fall for a traveller, be gentle with them, be honest and open. Even if it means losing them. Doubts are a luxury that travellers can’t afford. We have a limited time in each place, we have to make quick decisions, and hope for the best. And as a traveller, always try to do what is best for you, and always have a back-up plan. If you are ready to risk it all for them, always have somewhere else you can go in case it all goes wrong. But don’t be afraid of taking a chance. Sometimes the guy isn’t worth staying for. Maybe one day he will be!
But not this time. Not for me at least. So I keep going, moving on to my next destination, my next adventure, holding on to the fragile pieces of my heart as yet again I fell for the wrong man. But I am not beaten. I pick myself up, dust myself off, having lost this battle but not the war. There have been casualties, sure, and the wounds maybe deep, but they will heal, and I will survive. I will move on. Just like I have done every time before. The search continues for the next potential love of my life. Or the next drunken fling, whichever comes first. Now, hand me that mojito!
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