Sunday, March 30, 2014

Falling was the easiest thing to do

In a time now past, the scenario would have been a dream. To the left, the waves crashed gracefully on sand lit by a clear night sky. The moon had reached a turgid state, as if its illumination would burst from the circular entrapment, spilling out over the torrid horizon. The beach was desolate for miles, leaving only our tent to occupy the fine, white sand. Yet, the occupants of our previous encounter no longer existed, and the schism between our bodies seemed to grow larger than the area of our transient shelter. The magic we once shared had faded, and no amount of force could bring it back.

Whether you aspire to find it, or it forcefully inserts itself into your world, travel romances are an essential piece to the traveling puzzle. The beauty being that they always seems to land in the place their jagged edges and obscure shape are supposed to fit. Travel romances are fast, fun, and emotionally charged, with anyone who has experienced the phenomena unable to forget it. The inexplicable link between two wandering souls is a bond chosen recipients wouldn’t trade for the world.

So how does one end up in a travel romance? To start, one has to be on the road. While this can occur anywhere outside of the confines of your own home, it typically becomes the result of passion-fueled conversations between two total strangers in a far off, distant land. Often times the parties are from different places, but find an unexpected amount of common bonds. With both being in a place foreign to themselves, the idea of finding someone so similar is striking. Before either party has time to actualize what's happening, the two are immersed in an incredibly strong connection, feeling twists and turns in their stomachs akin to dropping from great heights.

Travel romances are like travel experiences; they come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you meet someone whom you feel as if you’ve been looking for all of eternity, and yet, after a few days, your paths may begin to stray in opposing directions. Other times, your new formed duo may explore the vast world for weeks or months in joyful unison. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones whom find your paths are irreversibly intwined. The fact is, all of these are beautiful, meaningful, and not something to scoff at. Linear time does not exist while traveling, with measurement only based on what you’ve felt and lived while in commune with one another. Duration has no say in the matter.

One unavoidable caveat of transient relationships is what to do when your paths first become seperated. In the age of the internet, even if our bodies are miles apart, social media can keep us connected. Bangkok is only a few clicks and flights away from Paris, so lovers can be reunited at the drop of a hat. But does this actually present a good option? Wasn’t part of the initial magic of the experience having a serendipitous meeting in a foreign land, with only fate as your guide? Can that same magic work its way through wires and wifi, or will you find yourself on the shores of the pacific ocean, wondering where the past love got lost on the way? That question, of course, can only be answered by those on either end of the glowing, touch screen.

For those in the midst of travel, or on the verge of taking the leap, the only advice one can tender is make yourself open to the opportunity at hand. Fall in love with new places and people. Speak your mind and feed your soul. Let the journey you’ve embarked upon fully run its course, and everything else will fall into place. Who knows, maybe once you find your true path, you’ll realize that you are sharing the space with someone you never knew existed, and will never again live without. 

Photos courtesy of Them Resort, Travelettes, and We Heart It

Friday, March 7, 2014

When it all begins to feel real

The moment it begins to feel real

You knew it was coming. You bought the ticket months in advanced, started dusting off the old friendship shelf, and even set-up a little coming home party at what used to be your favorite dive. Even though you orchestrated the travel plans, you never really believed any of it was true. Now, as the pilot announces the final decent, and that seatbelt begins to resemble commitment, the reality finally sets in; you are coming home.

While the popular idea is that travel is the ultimate adventure, those who have gone and returned know that a large part of the journey is seeing what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. Returning to the place you used to call home is the, “thrown into the fire,” approach to testing your new found apparition. 

At first, its not all that bad. People are excited to see you and listen to (minuscule portions of) your stories. You find enjoyment in the familiar, as even your skin begins to warm to the foreign, yet reminiscent, climate. It feels good, but like most honeymoon periods, it doesn’t last. Soon, be it weeks or months, the PTSD starts to set in. While physically you may be in your childhood home, or maybe out at a bar bullshitting about things your old (new) location deems socially relevant, your brain has absconded. It has returned to the place where you rekindled a love for existence. It can be subtle at first, but as time rolls on, it will seem as if you've teleported to where your heart left fragmented shards of itself. These moments will be as bittersweet as each travel romance goodbye. The images bring a sinking, longing feeling to your stomach, yet leaving them for what is before your eyes is a struggle. The battle between head and heart has formally begun. 

Along with frequent astral projections, you find yourself less enthralled by the day-to-day issues that dominate present conversation. It isn’t that you’ve become apathetic. No, it’s the opposite in fact. Travel has reframed your perspective. The little annoyances and petty arguments don’t concern you anymore. You’ve been introduced to a grander picture, and that is where your focus resides. While this is positive, it doesn’t always bode well with those around you. To be blunt, people may find this new you abrasive. You’ve changed, which unfortunately can adversely affect those you’ve known in your previous manifestation. The most difficult effect, of course, will be seeing the new you drift apart from those you used to love whole-heartedly. Moving on is part of the collateral damage of progress.

Returning home isn’t all bad, though. While it seems as if travel comes at harsh costs (it isn’t for the faint of heart), there are positives beyond family time and long-forgotten guilty pleasures.  As you traveled, you probably noticed distant acquaintances began to pop up on your various social media avenues. This was a pleasant surprise while looking over likes, but when you return “home,” you’ll realize that this is a welcomed phenomena. Much as you have experienced a metamorphoses, so have many people you’ve known, yet never knew. Certain relationships will wilt, but in the same regard, you have returned to a fertile season; the smart farmer knowns to tend to those crops that are blooming. New folks will enter your life, and if you don’t take this for granted, your social sphere can balloon to a level much heartier than where it was before. 

While the reason we travel and return home differs from person to person, revisiting the past seems to be a permanent facet of the transient lifestyle. For some wanderers, it may take weeks, months, or even years to feel comfortable again in this oddly familiar, yet foreign surrounding.  Others may never experience it again. The only real obligation any tumbleweed has is deciphering whether or not the new changes and growths you’ve come to accept and love can exist in the place you once called home. 

Photo courtesy of Jaunted