Yes, you figured it out well.
This post is all about “on the road romance” – a step-by-step guide of the events taking place when you fall in love while traveling.
That is the kind of love that comes uninvited. You don’t go looking for it. Neither hope for it. It just happens! It happens unexpectedly and it’s almost like hearing it say: “Here I am. Maybe not for long. But here I am.” And most of the times, you’ll need a dictionary since it will tell you so in a foreign language or – best case scenario – in poor English.
It comes rushing in. It leaves you breathless, trying to figure out what is going on. And right when you thought that, that was it, it revives you, breathing life into you like a gentle Aegean breeze.
It is the kind of love that makes your eyes glow with happiness, comforts your soul and gives you butterflies in the stomach when you’re thinking about the one. It even brings out your long-forgotten aptitude for languages.
Imagine yourself squeezed into a bus, aboard a train or sitting in a bar somewhere in the world. Feeling carefree and happy for making that trip happen, for traveling solo for a while and finally seeing the world. You’re alone or you’re with company. People you just met and became friends with while traveling. You’re chatting with them in English or in the local language. Everything’s fine until the door opens and there he/she walks in.
And just like that, any doubt, concern or rational thought goes out the window. It only gets worse when you start talking, realizing how much you have in common. How many dreams and hopes you share. Same love for the unknown, same passion for the world.
Any differences you may have in the way you were raised or between your cultures, seem meaningless. Traveling does that after all. You accept everyone without questiong their origins, nationality or religion. Traveling diminishes all prejudice, stereotypes and fear.
Suddenly, you need to share your trip with him/her: every breathtaking view, newfound love for a certain food or place, every little detail. And it is him or her that fate chose to put in your path to share this trip with – someone who was a stranger just a few days or even hours before.
And the days go by beside him/her. You watch the prettiest sunsets with him/her by your side on an exotic beach somewhere in the world, on a rooftop of a temple somewhere in Asia… And those morning walks by the beach watching the fishermen return with their morning catch and the sun rising, overhearing you share your hopes and dreams. Each one for their own future, since there’s no “us” in this relationship.
Each morning is like a new beginning. Every day is another adventure. He/she looks into your eyes and smiles and instantly, you know another day of happiness begins. You run out like two crazy-in-love teenagers, ready to explore the world together. To taste new things. To mix and mingle with the locals. And after dawn, you go seeking the best local beer, traditional food and the most gorgeous view to spend the night.
You spend a few amazing days together that, sadly, go by so quickly.
Until the day comes that one of you has to leave. At the end of the day, you both have dreams and goals that drive each other apart. It is a common characteristic of every relationship on the road – they all have a beginning and an end. They are short-lived. There’s no such thing as an everyday routine to such a romance. There are oceans between you, several flights and hundreds of miles separating the two of you. You are torn apart as easily as you come together. You share one thing: the same need to share the present without caring about your past or future. You both live in the moment. It sounds cheesy but It’s not. That is exactly what an on the road relationship is all about. Living the moment. The here and now. Not in a shy way – truly and deeply.
Such a strong relationship turns into a great friendship most of the times. Or they grow stronger and better. And just like that, without promises and big words, you leave.
Something strong is bringing you back together.
You meet every 4 or 5 months, depending on your schedules – you’re not together, you’re not promising each other eternal love and devotion but somehow, you have to keep in touch because you share one thing: the same need for freedom, nothing exclusive, nothing permanent. You are just two people living their lives who, for a brief moment in time, leave everything behind, only to spend time with each other.
Asia, Europe, America. One continent, country, city at a time. Same feelings that grow stronger and stronger each time you meet. The moment you see each other again at that european square or by that statue you’ve only seen on Google Maps and you agreed to meet there for a couple of hours. Or that night train you decided to catch to spend a weekend together. Waking up early to watch the sunrise somewhere in Asia. The immense happiness you feel the moment you see him waiting for you at the airport.
Incredible moments and experiences that unfortunately end up to the same feeling of sadness and nostalgia during your departure. The same plane that brought you together, will separate you again in a few days time.
The End (?)
And then one day, you realise that this “on the road” relationship has offered you much more than any other “normal” relationship you’ve had over the years.
Not having the chance to experience each other on a daily basis, you feel the urge to “soak up” every moment you spend together, trying to know as much as you can about him/her, their hopes and dreams. Suddenly each time you part becomes more difficult. The time difference means nothing – Skype and WhatsApp is part of your everyday life now. You wake up and he is saying goodnight. You facetime him to tell him all the details about your latest project. He sends you a link about a travel destination he’s dreaming to visit and you realise It’s in your bucket list too. And you promise to take this trip together.
And you miss each other. It gets harder everyday since the moments of disappointment and sadness are much more than the happy ones. Because you need him to be by your side. An unknown feeling of jealousy starts to kick in when you see couples walking holding hands and you are miles apart from the one on your mind. Miles, dreams and all kinds of commitments keep you apart.
Ultimately, you know that you are two free-spirited people, walking different roads in life. You can’t limit each other’s ambitions and dreams, neither force one another to move to another country leaving behind their lives.
At this point you realise that this relationship isn’t going anywhere. At least for the time being. You both have hopes, dreams and plans that will define your lives and future.
Just like this, life goes on…hoping that if it’s meant to be, it will. If you’re meant to be together, then life will bring you back together. Maybe not now. Maybe sometime soon.