Love on the Road
I’ve been sitting here for about two hours, listening to music and trying to get to sleep, but I’ve been thinking about something without really realizing it, and it’s keeping me up. Hopefully writing about it will put some ghosts to rest, and I’ll be able to catch up on some not-that-well-deserved sleep.
It is a problem that a lot of people who are traveling for any amount of time must encounter, but the fact that it is reasonably common does not make it any easier to solve. The problem is, as you meet lots of people going from place to place, you are eventually going to meet someone that you like…that you really like.
In my case, I met a girl in Guadalajara, and it changed my traveling experience completely. After coming back from buying beer for a lads’ night in with a few other guys from the hostel, I went to the kitchen to find a bottle opener, but instead found the blonde-haired German girl that I had seen before around the place, but hadn’t spoken to yet. So, I took my chance and sat down with her, even though I was interrupting her meal-time. She turned out to be, in fact, Norwegian, and we ended up having a three-hour-long conversation about everything from God to which superhero we wanted be when we were kids. I had always wanted to be Spiderman, but she was content to be an Indian fighting against cowboys in the Wild West.
This was one of those moments when you just know that you’ve “clicked” with someone, and to have a moment like that during a voyage like mine, having spent quite a lot of time on my own, was, for me, extra special.
I don’t want you thinking that I’m just imagining there was a mutual interest, and that I’m getting over-excited about very little, but we did stay in touch. After a pretty lame attempt to tell her how I felt (which, thank God, ended in failure), we did eventually see each other again, at the other end of the country, and made things more ‘official’, so to speak.
So why have I said that all this is a problem? The answer is simple, and to do with the nature of these type journeys – everyone eventually goes their own way, and as a result, there’s no chance to finish what you’ve started, and no way to know what could have happened had the circumstances been different.
We spent a lot of time together, holding hands and “doing all the things that people in love do”, to quote Craig David, but we both knew it had to end, as she had to go back to Norway, and I still had four months of traveling left. This knowledge made the parting, when it came, bearable to some degree, but still sad, so I made it quick, and ran away to the cinema, because I hate blubbing in front of girls.
I talked about the experience with a guy from the hostel, who was reasonably open-minded, and so didn’t tell me stop whining, but actually proceeded to tell me his whole love-life story (which I obviously thought was completely unimportant compared to the trauma I was going through). This really helped though, and we bounced our problems back off one another, finally observing that what we had was good while it lasted, but with circumstances being what they are, it’s better to be glad that it happened, and look to the future than dwell on the past and ruin the rest of my journey thinking about something that might actually have no future.
So having reached that conclusion, why am I still thinking about her? Because, my friends, that conclusion was a horribly rational one, and not an emotional one; it’s cheesy to say it, but you can’t turn your feelings on and off at will (unfortunately, some might say), so I guess I’m just going to have to wait for time to run its course, and do its healing work. The closest analogy I can think of is waiting to a scab to fall off after you’ve cut yourself, but it hardly seems appropriate, considering the beauty of the girl in question, the pleasantness of our time together, and the complete lack of bleeding throughout the whole experience.
After that, who knows…I might go back to doing what young men away from home are ‘supposed’ to do. I’m not saying I’m a stud (if only!), but there have been girls before Miss Perfect. My appetite for other women has been dented slightly, with prospect of feeling bad to be ‘cheating’ on the ideal woman, but once that feeling recedes, my emotions will have caught up with my reasoning, and rationally speaking, I should feel better. It’s a win-win situation!
Until then, though, I’ll keep thinking…