Posted by: HopscotchEarth | February 18, 2009

To Be or Not To Be? I guess that is the question . . .

Adventurer; drifter; explorer; globetrotter; gypsy; jet-setter; journeyer; nomad; rambler; vagabond; wanderer; all these words are synonyms for someone who is in motion. These words bring different ideas to each and every one of us. For some, it makes us feel alive, it gives us a way to escape, or perhaps it makes us feel alone. For me, I am torn. When I travel I feel like a child again where every smell, touch, sound, and sight is amplified to release the most beautifully robust and extreme emotions. Often times those emotions are fear; fear of the unknown. Unlike most people, this emotion excites me and presses me to keep moving forward with heart pumping and eyes bright just waiting for the exhale; the breath that is released after the storm to lay wake in the ecstasy of the calm.

Traveling creates some of the most exciting experiences that are usually accompanied by relationships with people all over the world, but as the wise Sir Isaac Newton stated, “For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.” What happens to the relationships in which we leave behind? I find the bonds in which are rooted the strongest will always last, but depending on the amount of time away and each individual experience sometimes the bond may deteriorate. Friendships are usually much more easy to rebuild and fall back into, but the decision in which I am struggling with on a daily basis as my departure date looms ever closer is, “What is going to happen to my relationship here?” A simple question, but with so many possible outcomes…

Many people are faced with this question as they prepare to study abroad because unlike friendships, romantic relationships are often hard to handle on a long distance scale. I am 21 and I consider that is still pretty young and too early to be thinking about getting married even if I am crazy about the guy. Maybe 25 years ago that wouldn’t be considered too young, in fact I believe that is how old my mother was when she got married. So, I am making a list of reasons why studying abroad while having a boyfriend/girlfriend is probably a bad idea…

1. Traveling to a foreign romantic country where you are considered an exotic foreigner is just setting yourself up for romance.

2. Time passes while you are abroad and although you may not notice it, you are changing and being influenced by the surroundings about you and may have out-grown your partner.

3. Doing a long distance relationship is going to be harder on your partner than it will be you because you have the distraction of being in an exciting new place and may be too distracted to notice them gone (at least at first) and they will be stuck in the same monotonous routine except missing the most interesting element. They will be bound to notice you gone without something interesting and new to fill that void. Could this be setting them up to cheat too?

4. Of course, for those sneaky minds we think, “Hey how about we keep the relationship, but just don’t tell them about anything that happens over there, and then we can have them when we come back?” As this idea would probably work better in your favor, rather than your partners since your partner will be in “rumor” territory where everyone always seems to know everyone’s business, and you are in another country where I doubt they have much contact with the people in your hometown. I still think this is a bad idea as we are living in a global world where somehow Facebook or Myspace are nosier than most friends and have unknown ways of posting unwanted pictures. “Remember that time you drank that whole pitcher of sangria and ran naked through the party while singing ‘Barbie Girl’? Yeah, I didn’t think so…” * and no thankfully that was not me ^_^

5. If you stay with your partner, you are going to be constantly holding yourself back from having fun and you will be wondering the rest of your life, “What if…”

6. We are only young once and having the freedom to live life as it comes at us with nothing holding us back is a beautiful thing that we should not squander.

So what if you go over there and break-up with your partner and then no wild and romantic experience happens to you and you return to find your “EX” has a new girlfriend? It is kind of like insurance on a car; you pay for it every month with the possibility of a collision. No one knows if the collision is going to happen, but it is better to be prepared than to be uninsured. I am not saying that life is fair, but we are given opportunities and they are what we make of them.

On the other hand, I can just as easily play the devil’s advocate and see the appeal of keeping the partner. If you are really crazy in love with this person and the possibility of losing them is unbearable, then don’t do it, but if you are that in love with a person, it is going to be really brutal being away from them for that long.

As for me, I haven’t decided yet. I don’t want to lose them, but I also want to be free. So, I guess I could take a gamble both ways, and say we are free while I am gone, and I will see where we are when I get back. There is a possibility that either of us could be involved with someone else when I return, and that thought frightens me, and at the same time… could I get over the fact that he has been with someone else while I was away? Technically, by the rules of the bargain, I have to accept this, but we are jealous creatures and I don’t know if I can wrap my heart around that idea without it being broken. It is a double standard, I know, but I really want to have my cake and eat it too…

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