If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you know I’m divorced. If you haven’t and you didn’t, well – cat’s outta the bag now! Along with that, like so many, I’ve had my share of “bad luck” in dating relationships. While I consider myself an optimist, I also acknowledge that it is harder some days to be optimistic about the idea of love.
As I Travel More
…I realize one of the reasons I do so is to sort of run away from some of the societal norms that come with staying in one place for very long. Norms like dating and falling in love. You can’t be much of a partner to another person if you’re never in one place for very long.
So I run, to a life I love – being on the road – yet, away from ever having to commit to another person in any way deeper than a first kiss or a single date. I don’t admit this lightly, I’m not saying this proudly but I do think I might not be alone in this tendency. With billions of people in the world, could I really be the only one who is scared of love and on some level even general intimacy?
Here’s What I Know
We all have some basic things in common. No matter the country, no matter the culture, all humans need food and sleep. Most, need love. Some philosophers would argue all. All of us need love, in some form or another at some point in our lives … if not all our lives. But I am thinking of romantic love as I write this. Because while not all people may NEED it to survive, I would theorize most humans do want it. Again, at some point in their lives, if not every day.I heard an Irish wedding blessing recently that really caused a knot to form in my stomach:
May you never steal, lie or cheat.
But if you must steal, then steal away my sorrows.
If you must lie, lie with me all the nights of my life.
If you must cheat, then please – cheat death.
Because I couldn’t live a day without you.
It’s a romantic and almost Edwardian sort of notion isn’t it? Not being able to live without someone. I can’t pretend my heart doesn’t skip a beat when I read that poem … yet, it is a bit untrue.
What’s the Reality?
Sure, some days I do miss being in love. Some days I miss the feeling of being loved in that way which is so different from the way, well – my mother loves me. I miss that feeling I can’t even remember now, of being so in love you really are convinced you might not live without a person.
However, I can survive without this kind of love. I’ve had to. I theorize I live better without it while I am traveling because I am so busy that I have less time to notice my own inner longing. Perhaps I am able to survive better because I fill the void left by not having that in my life – with, my love for travel. I’m replacing one love, with another.
As my 2011 travel really begins this week, I wonder what thoughts my journal will come to hold this year? Yes, I still write in a paper “diary”. Will this be a year I am content and very happily single? Or will I stand under the Eiffel Tower in Paris and long to have someone beside me who can kiss me in the shadow of the great monument, as so many other lovers have done? Will I see couples in love in a cafe and long to be in a coupling of my own? Will I attend my friend’s wedding in Buenos Aires and be sad to be “alone”?
I’m not sure what the conclusion to all this should be, or will be. I think I know what a psychologist might say. I believe, that lie to myself as I may – I cannot truly run away from any of these issues while I travel! Because it is certain in my mind that everywhere on earth – love is found in some manner or another. I will face love and witness love in every country whose stamp I collect in my passport this year. Between humans or animals, romantic or familial or evidenced in friendship … as Hugh Grant‘s character so eloquently says in the movie Love Actually:
General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is, all around.