18 months in I stopped feeling the same for travel. 18 months in you stopped feeling the same for me.
Only one of those managed to survive…
When I realised I was in love I knew it would be the hardest test of my emotions yet. It was the day I was getting on a flight to the other side of the world. Flying away for a solo adventure following a whirlwind romance.
I’ll always remember the two lukewarm cans of beer from that day. Our goodbye drink. I didn’t think for one second that a year later we would get on another flight, this time together and head off on our own adventure starting in the Maldives…
But that first day, I knew I had no choice but to selfishly say goodbye.
I had said ‘I’ll stay’ before. I had put it off too many times. So I got on the plane and cried my eyes out until I eventually fell asleep from emotion exhaustion…
What followed was unexpected, exciting and dreamlike. Decisions to move abroad together, solo adventures, couples holidays. I thought I wanted to see the world together.
But too late I realised I didn’t want to just see it with you.
I wanted to share it with you.
It stopped becoming about all the beaches. It stopped becoming about feeding stray dogs.
My dream had changed.
It changed to our beach, our dog, our own little world.
I’ve avoided the subject of breaking up, why Australia fell apart, why the blog disappeared for months and why I’ve ended up here trying to shape a new life for myself. Not just online but also in the real world. I’ve barely caught up with friends because I knew the inevitable topic would arise in conversation and to be honest, I couldn’t face it in reality. I’m not the first person to go through a break up while travelling and I certainly won’t be the last, but there is one big difference when your life is blogging and travelling.
You still have to face it online every single day.
Usually after a break up you run away, look away. After punishing yourself with reflecting on memories you put them in a box and try to move on.
But I couldn’t do that.
I had to look at them every day on this website. I had to sort through our memories every time I need to upload some photos. It drove me to the point I wanted to shut not only the real world out but also this online one I had created too.
The most beautiful places can either become beautiful memories or painful reminders. I’m still undecided how my emotions can process that.
Were my happiest memories always destined to just become 25cent stock photos?
Travelling the world and chasing dreams together, yet still with the control to fly away solo as and when seemed too perfect. It seemed too good to be true.
And now, I wonder, perhaps it was just too good to be true.
Perhaps that’s why we ended up here, on opposite sides of the world again. But this time with no Skype dates planned…
Long distance relationships are hard. I believe long term travel relationships are harder.
You become more than a couple. You become more than best friends. You become the friend. All of them combined because there is no one else with that connection nearby. You come pillars of support, the deep conversations, business partners, roommates, bus journey companions.
You become the only way to share the good, the bad and the ugly.
You stop travelling the world and become each other’s world, and I used to think that was a good thing.
Life on the road is magical, but it’s certainly not the perfect image it’s usually portrayed to be. Money, work, where you’re staying, visas, logistics – it can all consume you to a point where you struggle to deal with it. The struggle to manage it with your one friend, lover and support.
Life, love and death carry on in a land you no longer live in and you slip in and out of it when you can.
I can’t deny the Maldives was a beautiful place. I can’t deny some of my most beautiful memories were made them.
I’m just not sure if all these beautiful photos that consume me daily will end up haunting me and I don’t want to tarnish what should be just that.
Beautiful memories I can treasure.
There was never a plan B. It all seemed so perfect I never for one minute had any doubts.
I didn’t want to see any beautiful places after the breakup.
I cancelled a paid for trip to the Philippines. Sipping coconuts and reserving an extra sun lounger in hopes that just somehow, maybe, you would arrive and take it made me feel physically sick.
I knew in that moment in time beautiful beaches just wouldn’t look the same without you.
Last week I found myself sleeping on a rooftop in Mexico. The crashing waves were mellow from the beach just feet away. The moon was full in the sky. My heart felt completely empty.
Something had to change and the only thing I could control was how I viewed it. Beautiful places were still beautiful. I just needed to adjust my eyes and seek new ones out alone. Sometimes starting a new chapter isn’t enough.
Sometimes you have to start a new book.
Today, somehow, as I watch the sunset behind another beautiful beach my mind has turned from haunting myself with old photos and it is urging me to start photographing new ones.
Perhaps we need to happily want to share the world with ourselves before we can fully share it with others.
As I write this post I realise it has no purpose to anyone beyond me. This is merely my epilogue, the closing chapter so I can start the new book.
This book needs to go on a shelf until I can read it with the right eyes and treasure it as it should be, beautiful photos, beautiful places and beautiful memories.
And with that, sadly I know there is only one thing I still need to write.