For my entire life I have been slightly crippled by society. That is to say, what society wants, what it expects and its perception of how I fit into that.
But here I am, refusing to give into what has always been conventional; terrified of what others will think, but trying to get over it because- god damn it- I’m in love. And like I’ve heard so many other people say- nothing else matters.
So here it is, a letter to the one true love of my life. Traveling the world.
Dear Travel. Er- dear world? Dear both,
There isn’t really a good way to start. Because talking about feelings of love isn’t something I do very often. Ok. At all. Partly because it makes me uncomfortable and partly because the opportunity has never presented itself.
From Disney to Nicholas Sparks’ movies, we’ve been told what love is and what it feels like from an early age. I’ve had it described to me countless times in fairytales, chick flicks and from friends. It’s that feeling of being complete; of finding that other half that you didn’t even know was missing. It makes you crazy but it also makes you better. It’s something that I had only read and heard about; something that grown-ups did and one day I would too.
I am lucky enough to have had great people around me my entire life. Surrounded by love in all different forms- through both amazing examples and the opportunities I was granted, falling in love was always a given. As I started getting older, the reality set in that I am now a “grown-up” and I still haven’t found it. What if I never do? What does that mean for me? What will others think? How will this change what I’ve always pictured my life to be like?
But love doesn’t always have to be big gestures. It doesn’t have to stare you in the face and it doesn’t have to look like Chris Hemsworth (although, that’d be nice, eh?)
Love doesn’t come in just one shape and size and every story is different. Sometimes it sneaks up on you oh so subtly and you don’t know what hit you. And then it consumes you (but in a good way).
And you- travel, you- the world. You did that to me. You DO that to me. The piece that I didn’t know was missing? You are that piece. That feeling of completeness? When I pull up to the airport, when I exchange currency, when I hear a new language; I get that feeling. When I smell something new, see something different or taste something weird; I get that feeling. That’s when I get the butterflies and a warmth in the pit of my stomach. It’s what makes me feel alive and wonderful but at the same time so utterly vulnerable and scared.
You are what I dream about, what I day dream about and what I spend the majority of my conscious time thinking and talking about. When I talk about you I light up. When I think about you, you make me smile.
I am constantly surprised at what you give me. You give back so much more than I give you, and for that I am both grateful and a little embarrassed. Embarrassed that I don’t do enough to help. The more I see the more I want to make a change. You make me feel like I can do anything and you make me want to be a better person; a better version of myself. You motivate me, challenge me and you give me hope.
But it’s not always sunshine and roses, waterfalls and rainbows. Like all relationships, we get into fights. It’s hard, it’s dirty, and it’s exhausting. I live in constant chaos and confusion and I’m always right on the edge between sanity and losing my mind. I am very rarely in control and sometimes I don’t handle that very well. Letting you in is terrifying. Watching the news and seeing the horrible things- the bombings, terror groups, kidnappings, Donald Trump, natural disasters and accidents makes me question you. And all of which I am putting myself at risk for. But if I lived in fear all the time, I’d never live. I have to trust you, and trust myself.
Except….. I have never been great at relationships. The resounding fear that people will walk away, like they all have before, has left my confidence shattered and my heart closed. But somehow, you give me hope. You will always be there. You’re not going to walk away and you’re not going to leave me behind unless I let you.
I have chosen you- a lifestyle that doesn’t bode well for keeping lasting romantic relationships. But, for the first time in a long time- that’s okay. I’m finally free. I am not dating, I am not crushing, nor am I mourning. I am living. And while the Facebook engagements keep rolling in, I am ecstatic for the happy couples and even more content with where I stand. And you made me that way.
So, I guess this was a really long way of convincing myself that I’m fine. I’m better than fine. For the first time in a really long time I can say with heavy conviction that I know how I want to spend, if not the rest of my life, at least the foreseeable future. And that is enough. It is more than enough and more than many people can say.
You are my efforts, my thoughts, my emotions- my heart. And for that, I thank-you. And for that, I love you.
P.S. I’d like to give a shout out to fajitas, I could say very similar things about you.