Traveling Away From Love

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, it is harder some days than others 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 – 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 – as humanity, 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. 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 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.

What do you think?

  • February 01, 2011

    Love the Love Actually quote, think of it often! There is no doubt some truth in the idea of “traveling away” from love, but you know it may also be that your traveling towards yourself!
    Scott recently posted…Backpacker Would Hate to See Anything Happen to Nelson Mandela- But

  • February 01, 2011

    Very well said. Thank you for sharing. This made my night.

  • February 01, 2011

    Wow, you really made me think about my own bit of running lately. While I didn’t leave to specifically to get away, the separation from my last partner has certainly been a benefit of this trip. For the last few weeks I’ve been mulling this over and it’s occurred to me that while travel has helped me gain some perspective and space, it has also highlighted the fact that I would like to find someone to spend my life with. Traveling, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience some wonderful things and those experiences often make me wish I could share them with someone special. The longer I’m on the road, the more that desire occurs. I wish you a wonderful 2011 and hopefully you’ll be blindsided this year by someone that’ll make you feel like a teenager again…

  • February 01, 2011

    Dare I say…….love this post. Beautiful writing as always my friend. Can’t wait to follow your travels this year.
    Brett recently posted…sunday shoppe anthropologie weddings rawr

  • February 01, 2011

    Thanks for this post… you’ve got me thinking about my life for once, about myself. Me too, I notice I travel partly to escape. Living plane rides away from my family and close friends, I often feel alone. I do not have anyone in this country who would care about how I feel today. One and a half years, and the only thing I got is to make some beer buddies to meet once a week.

    This comes specially hard when the country you’re in is the perfect place to live with your family – swiss mountains are beautiful, restaurants are deliciously expensive, sundays are for staying at home… Being single here is suicidal.

    So whenever I feel this way… I fly somewhere else. When I’m outside of Switzerland, being a “tourist”… I feel less lonely, because you’re entertained with beautiful sights and discovering new places. But it does not always help you to escape. I’ve sat alone at a beautiful cafe in Paris, watched around me and still felt there was something missing.
    Katherina recently posted…Aha! Blogging Makes Me Tech-Savvy

  • February 01, 2011
    Steve elmer

    A beautiful, raw and thought provoking post Kir. The first quote about cheating and lying “in another sense” was sweet to the core. Sorry for a muddled comment, but I’m in bed on the iPhone. I don’t think your running from love, you’ve just realized that it’s not what makes the world go around. I’ve always craved that “love” that comes from a close relationship, that was until my marriage broke down. Now, after 4 years and 4 days since our split, I’ve realized that I can live without that relationship and that ‘love’. I’m more than happy enjoying living my life how I want it and being with the best friends in the world (and meeting new ones soon *cough* *cough*) so here’s to not feeling as if though your running from something that everyone feels you need, and, to running (or in your case, flying) to a love of life, friends and memories that still count as priceless, no matter who they are with 😉 ramble over lol
    Steve elmer recently posted…Welcome!

  • February 01, 2011

    Keep your chin up!!! There are other kinds of love than romantic love that are very fulfilling !
    Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] recently posted…sunday strolls

  • February 01, 2011

    Wow, Kristen. I’m a fairly new reader to your blog and, wow, that post more or less hit the nail on the head with how I feel towards love too. My friends all say that Freud would have a field day with me – why am I wanting to move to the other side of the world if not to escape from the love of my life that I can no longer have? Agh, it’s hard.

  • February 02, 2011

    Have only just stumbled upon your blog and I love this post. I’m also divorced (which seems to be a bit of a stigma to most people, especially when you’re a twenty-something) and I can totally identify with what you’re saying about running away from love with travel. I’m exactly the same. I view travel as a way of discovering who I really am, whilst also escaping from ‘real’ life. And it’s made me such a happier and more independent person. I really hope you find what you’re looking for in 2011!
    Julia recently posted…The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Wearing a Flotation Device

  • February 15, 2011
    catalina

    Hola! I just read your blog for the 1st time (linked from andi’s facebook) and I have to say that i LOVE your pictures! but u already know u take great pics! this post is great! it explains perfectly how i felt a few years ago. All I did was get out of town, or plan my next trip, or recover from the previous trip… I did it for the same reasons: to avoid intimacy and trying to forget a terrible (love) experience. the good thing that I can tell you is that once your heart recovers, the love of traveling will not go away. this is something that will stay with you forever. when you r ready to commit to someone find a person that shares that passion with you. You dont have to pick between the 2 loves. I am not a romantic so this sounds very cheesy as I write it. I just want to let you know that you really got me with this post. Plus traveling is a fun and healthy way to avoid pain and hopefully it will get better soon.

  • July 11, 2011

    Wow. Great post. It’s real. It’s honest. It’s many thoughts I’ve had. I think it goes back to happiness…are you truly happy being on your own? Living life on your own terms? I feel, personally, that once I’ve achieved that state of inner satisfaction (and realize I may never be fully satisfied with myself or happy but am speaking on a general, overall level) then I may be ready for a relationship or that romantic love will find me somehow.  So half way into the year, I have to ask: what are the answers to those questions you’ve pondered to yourself before you traveled to Paris and Buenos Aires? How are you feeling now about love? 

  • July 26, 2011

    Great, great post Kristen!  Really insightful into who you are!

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