Never in my entire life did I think this was going to happen to me. If you had told me before it happened that it was going to change my life (let alone do it) I would have laughed at you.
But it happened. It really did. I did the most epic thing that a woman could do: I quit my corporate job over the phone and then 20 minutes later booked a flight to Scotland to rendezvous with a man I had only met online six weeks before.
If you’re a woman, admit it. You’ve always wanted to do this. If you’re a man, well, yes, we women dream about these sorts of things. It always happens in movies or to people other people know. But this time it was happening to me.
[Enter swelling Ennio Morricone soundtrack]
I write about this today because this past week I stumbled on two thought-provoking blogs that address love and travel, both which caused me to pause and wonder what I could add to the topic. Spencer Spellman’s Lessons in Love: Perspective Found through Travel shares with gut-wrenching honesty about how travel has allowed him to rediscover himself after divorce. And it was a retweet from Spellman, himself, that directed me to the Blonde Abroad‘s post from last May, A Life of Travel and Relationships. Kiersten Rich, the Blonde Abroad, writes of the challenge of traveling and relationships, but explains that her dream right now is what she’s living: that travel is the best gift she can give herself.
I wish I could have found travel much earlier in life. But alas, I’m late to the party. I’m no Spencer Spellman or Blonde Abroad. I didn’t even have a passport until I was 30 where I took my first trip to Rome with my mother for a weekend. (Yes, you read that correctly: a weekend. Long story. Later post. Promise.)
The funny thing about travel is that when you deeply discover it–when you turn vacation into travel, it creates a moment of epiphany. Perhaps it’s the exploration of new places that enables you to explore your own soul. For me, that epiphany was when I woke up one day and decided at age 39 that it was time to figure out what I needed to be happy.
I said countless times I would never fly across the ocean to meet someone online. But I did.
I also remember saying that I would never be in a long-distance relationship. But I did end up doing that–for two years.
We rendezvoused in Scotland, London and Bath England, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Moab National Park (yes there’s a theme here), Niagara Falls, Toronto, Calgary, Costa Rica, Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park and my home in Salt Lake City, Utah where this long-distance suitor introduced me to Antelope Island, where I had never been to before, but was right in my own back yard.
The thrill of travel exploded exponentially every time I boarded a plane. The thought of meeting up with my long-distance suitor was like putting a filter on my camera lens that would help me look at these places a little differently while also adding a little extra color to the whole picture.
For me, I couldn’t have done this in my twenties or even my thirties. I wasn’t ready for it. My forties seems to be for me the right time to find love and a companion. And I did marry that long-distance suitor after two years of courtship amid obstacles of miles between us, an ocean separating us at times and inconvenient time zones.
I know it’s possible to intermingle love and travel. I’m lucky and I know it. I was willing to throw out all those things I said I’d never do and I just went for it. Getting on that plane to Scotland is admittedly the bravest thing I had ever done in my life up to this point. And guess what–we still travel like crazy. It’s the DNA in our marriage and we have passport stamps to prove it.
So through travel and in finding someone else I actually found myself. It’s a little bit different route than Spellman’s or Rich’s, but I think we all get there somehow on the same train called “travel.”