TRAVEL THURSDAY: In Pursuit of Love

Brisbane

After taking a break last week, AJ’s back with another Travel Thursday. This one’s all about romance, and following your heart no matter where it takes you…

Earlier in the week a good friend of mine visited Waikehe Island off the coast of Auckland, in pursuit of love. It took three days for her to regret this decision. The boy she was seeing turned out to be a poor substitute for a wooden dildo. (At least the latter has more personality, and doesn’t follow you around all day apologising…)

This got me thinking about my own pursuit of love, which didn’t end quite as well as I’d hoped.

Now, it might come as a shock to some of you, but I wasn’t always a dashing, Cassanova-type fellow. In my youth I was a hopeless romantic (emphasis on the “hopeless”), who froze around girls like lakes to Dementors. Therefore, I relied quite a bit on long-distance online dating. It was quite nice, having a strong mental connection through the barrier of a computer. I was deeply insecure about how I rolled my Rs and my high school experience with people was less than pleasant, so the less I had to deal with folks, the better.

FOLLOWING MY HEART: The Early Days

During my last year of school, I was quite heavily involved with a girl from Brisbane, Australia. She was quirky, introverted, shy, and very open about her mind. I helped her through a pretty messy breakup and – for some reason – she was attracted to me. We got on incredibly. Our senses of humour matched perfectly, and she was a great helped with my own breakup (when I finally opened up to her about it). 8 months of weekly Skype calls later (including a VERY awkward New Year’s Eve experience…) and I’d booked my ticket to Brisbane, sorting out accommodation with one of her friends.

The weeks leading up to the trip seemed to last forever. I was anticipating it so much that the wait was almost unbearable. The flight felt longer than the lead up, because I knew she would be waiting for me at the airport. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the happiness I was feeling then, as a naive boy fresh out of school. I was so deeply in love with this girl, and we would finally be together.

We embraced for what felt like forever, and then had some awkward conversations as we waited for our nerves and anxiety to settle. Her friend took us back to her place, my new home, and eventually all the firsts happened (in quick succession of each other!). Our first cuddle, our first ticket fight, the first time our eyes met and we felt like we were dreaming. Our first kiss. Everything was magical to me that night, and the next six or so nights.

But it didn’t go according to plan…

About halfway through the second week, things started to unravel. There were long periods where neither of us would talk to the other. For me it was because I was struggling to overcome that feeling of, “Holy shit! This is a girl!”, verbally crashing like the computer on which our relationship was built.

For her, it was something a little more depressing. She didn’t come over for a few days, nor did she reply to my MSN messages during this period. Looking back, it should have been obvious exactly what was going on in her mind, but I didn’t have an idea. Eventually she came over again, but when I went to hug her she pulled away from me.

“I don’t know how to say this…” she started, her voice as soft as a mouth, “but I… You’re… I’m sorry. You’re not the person I fell in love with.”

The words cut like daggers, straight into my heart. At first I was stunned, then tears began to flow. I felt like the worst person in the world at that moment; the most unlovable piece of shit ever created. After telling me it was over she left me alone with my feelings. I was sad, but that was soon replaced by anger.

I moved my entire life to be with her, leaving my friends, my family, my LIFE, to come to this strange city. For her. I felt like she betrayed me, and that everything I’d felt for the last eight months was some cruel lie. I was angry at myself as well. How could I be so stupid? Why did I use all my savings to come to this bloody place? I spent a lot of nights that week walking the suburbs, trying to make sense of things.

In hindsight? Maybe a bit foolish

During the breakup she tried to remain friends with me, and me – being naive and young – mistook her kindness for her being interested in me again. I made it my mission to win her back, but the way I went about it made it certain that we would never get back together. I ended up creeping her out, and she shared her concerns with the friend that I was living with.

A few months after the heartbreak I could see things from their perspective, but at the time I didn’t understand why I was told I wouldn’t be living in this house in a week. I was depressed. All that time, effort and money spent, for a girl who got sick of me in less than a week.

I don’t talk to this girl anymore. I don’t think I have in over two years now. However, in a weird way, I see the experience as a starting point for me. If I never moved, I’d have never escaped from my small little vineyard town. I’d have never seen how big and wonderful the world could be. A very generous friend bailed me out of potential homelessness, letting me live with her and her boyfriend in Far North Queensland. The experiences I had there were the first bricks laid in my house of travel. I wouldn’t change a thing.

When I first started this travel thing, I was a naive little boy with the personality of a wooden dildo. But in the pursuit of true love, I found this hobby of mine. What could I love more than that?

Another huge thank you to AJ, for baring his soul on this blog week in, week out. Have you ever travelled for love? If so, did you story have a happier ending than AJ’s?