Love in the Time of Travel

April 29, 2014

Oftentimes, some friends would ask me if I ever get the chance to genuinely meet someone whom eventually I’d end up liking towards the course of my trip. When we travel, once we set our feet to a foreign destination, I’d like to believe that we become vulnerable human species. The long journey away from home, the unfamiliarity of a place contributes to this phenomenon called love in the time of travel.

I was in my twenties when I started traveling. Inspired by tons of travel blogs I’ve read, I’ve already picked up my first foreign destination hoping to fire up a pseudo-romance with a foreign guy I’ve met in Manila. He works in China as an engineer and when we met, I instantly liked him because he was classy, smart, gentleman and speaks in a very sexy accent which reminds me of Antonio Banderas.

So Beijing, that is!  We agreed it’s time for me to see his life as an expat in China, his home away from his native country. Amidst the feeling of uncertainty whether this little romance would work, I hopped on that plane and closed my eyes to the realities of relationships. We got along really fine, I thought we compliment each other and our level of intellect somehow belongs to the same wavelength.

But I must remember that after few days, I must pack my bags and go back to my old life, the life of a twenty-something woman working hard to be able to afford few pairs of shoes and some flight tickets. Then I knew I really liked this guy that towards the end of my trip, I was sure he was the one. But I didn’t tell him. I went along as if ignoring my slowly growing feelings of affection to this man.

When it was time to leave, I was feeling lonely, I didn’t think I can bear the thought of not seeing him for few months until we decide to meet again. After a month, we decided that I fly to China again to be together for few days. And of course, I was elated, so happy to see this man that I was beginning to care for. But just like my first trip, it had to end. I had to face the uncertainty that my love story will never evolve into something more beautiful than just two people wanting to be together.

What is it with travel that I cannot afford just for a second not missing this man? It could be the joy that I feel when I am with him. It is the opportunity to get closer to the kind of man I want to be with for the rest of my life. I was getting closer to finding love, and if I am not getting it this time, I shall be forever broken into pieces.

We went along with the passing of time, without seeing each other for more than a year. My heart was bruised, beaten black and blue. I missed him, I really did. I was so sure I was in love with this man and nothing can change that. However, after a while, I had to pause when the realization came that this man didn’t love me the way I loved him. Unrequited love- as lonely as it may sound but that's what happened.

It took me more than a year to recover and even casual dates were never fun because everyone else fails into comparison with him. And during a chance encounter in another country while I was traveling too, when this same man asked me to see him again, I was hopeful that an old love may be rekindled. But it didn’t happen and once again I was feeling broken, but…

Not because he didn’t love me but because I couldn’t believe I’m no longer in love with him. I was broken into pieces to make myself whole again. I could taste freedom from all this pain of a broken heart.  I was finally being freed.

I hugged this man and as I hug him, I silently prayed: “Thank you Lord for letting me meet this man. He was meant to teach me lessons about love and it makes perfect sense now why this love was not meant to be.”

Sometimes we meet people not only because they are out to break our hearts, bring tears to our eyes and shake our faith in love. They are meant to make us stronger and leave as a compelling reason never to give up on love.  

There is no shame in walking away with a broken heart. Own it, live with it, acknowledge it. We are all students of life and even love. If you are reading this and had your heart broken recently, have faith that the right one is coming to you sooner than you think.

In the meantime, grow and enjoy the things while you can.  Life is too short not to travel. 

And yes, even to get our hearts broken once in while if that's meant to make us whole again.


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