You might wonder what an entry about love is doing here on a travel blog. Well, love is a part of life wherever you go, just as a fish is part of water. It is often when we dare to let go, not consciously searching and feel free down to our very bones that it sneaks up on us, stealthily, like a ninja in the dark. Most people are in that state of mind when they travel.
So was I upon my arrival in Australia more than a year ago. Love was never part of my plan. But on the other hand, it was also not not part of my plan. I wasn’t consciously searching for it and the more I got into the spirit of traveling, the more free and liberated I felt. This meant that subconsciously I started opening up my mind and heart to every new experience on the road, paving the way for love encounters. Fate had 2 in store for me.
The 1st one was brief, like dewdrop in the morning, but enchanting and passionate. Yet, outer circumstances, which I had no control of, meant that it didn’t have time to evolve. However, that doesn’t make it a less meaningful experience, the same way a shooting star can make a significant impression on you, before you even have time to grasp its beauty.
The 2nd encounter, on the other hand, had the right conditions to blossom. We met in a hostel in Cairns on her very first day in the country and I instantly felt a strong connection to her. The chemistry between us was otherworldly and the foundation for a genuine friendship was laid. She was quirky and crazy. Crazy in the way that it becomes an art form and not a reason to get institutionalized. And most importantly, she made me feel crazy… crazy about her.
We ended up traveling around the country on a 7-month road trip. To learn and grow is one of the main reasons I travel. And boy, did I learn and grow from traveling with her. Imagine spending 24/7 with the same person for 7 months. It’s not always a walk in the park. We had our fights, our ups and downs, but we worked our way through it. Looking back now, there’s been more sunshine than clouds, more smiles than frowns and that’s what really counts in the end. Ultimately, this is anticipating that the figurative traveling you do in getting to know a person is incomparable with any physical form of travel around the world. And if you meet the right person, it could be a life long journey.
However, our relationship ended at the final stage of the trip. The main reason being that I was caught between my passion for traveling and my passion to find true love. She was rather fed up with the traveling, I wasn’t ready to compromise and that meant losing her. However, I was ready to chase her down once I finished my journey in Oceania. She blankly rejected that possibility with this single statement, which has left a lingering trace in my mind: “A country will always be there, but with a person you only get one chance”.
Now I’m haunted by all the damned “what-if-questions”. What if she just wasn’t the right person for me after all? Would my decision have been any different otherwise? Is there really any one out there who’s right for you? And if so, how can you know for sure? What if it just wasn’t the right timing? She being ready to settle down, me being happy to live a nomadic life for years to come. And the worst question of them all: What if I have given up long term happiness and a life full of passion and adventures with another person for short term happiness on a single adventure on my own? Damn you, wanderlust gene!
I’m now trying to come to terms with the consequences of my choice. And at the end of the day, that’s all we can really do. Accept the choices we make and the things we have to give up in the making. We can’t have everything and there’s no way of knowing whether you made the right choice or not. That’s the nature of choice. Only time with tell. And if time tells us that we were wrong, we can choose to learn from our mistakes and not let them define who we are in the present. In the meantime, we can work towards having a peace of mind and live without regrets. First step being to stop asking ourselves the self-destructive question, “What if?”, which will only leave us desolate and lost. That’s what I’m going to do, even though I now have no doubt in my mind that she was right: With a person, you really do only get one chance.