Yesterday, a blog post was going around entitled “Don’t date a girl who travels”. I was in bed, ready to sleep, and saw it on my Facebook feed so I read it aloud to Daniel. And I realised more and more that that girl was me, or was it only a figment of my imagination?
Before reading on, check out that blog post here: https://medium.com/better-humans/802c49b9141c
As I sit here listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s Divenire album (which I consider the album that dreams are made of), I’m overcome with a sense of reality – have I in fact turned out the way I wanted to turn out, or ended up doing the things I wanted to do?
I look at my skin and see the scars (and tattoo) that have their own tales to tell. I look in my head and see a wealth of knowledge and experience that sometimes makes me wonder whether I’m 24 or 42. I look in my heart and feel that burning desire to venture further and experience more. Not so much to escape, but to take what I have with me to new levels. I admit – I am hard to please, though I’ve realised that I am responsible for my own happiness.
It’s funny – earlier yesterday, even before I read that article, I asked Dan why he didn’t have more relatives getting married interstate so we could have an ‘excuse’ to travel interstate. He then reminded me that he did have a cousin who got married in NSW, but I was away in Auckland getting my visa done. I then proceeded to count the remainder of his unmarried cousins…
As I read on in the article, I found so many more things resonating true in my life. Can’t hold a steady job (though theoretically, if I hadn’t had Jacob, I would have stayed on at my previous job). Freelancer – yes, I am to an extent and intend to be at some point anyway. Wasted her college degree and switched careers – perhaps, though I think that all study gives you options. One day when I own my cafe and/or B&B, I will write to Le Cordon Bleu to thank them for the knowledge they imparted to me.
But as I read on, I realised that there were some things that did set me apart from this persona. I initially wanted to choose a life of uncertainty. If I hadn’t met Daniel, I reckon I would have shipped myself off to some remote location in Australia (maybe Broome or Ayers Rock) to work, get sponsored, get my Australian PR and then take off to Europe. I’ve had almost 10 different addresses since 2009, and I wasn’t going to stop at nothing.
Until I found something worth stopping for.
I found a wonderful man with whom I built a beautiful home. And now I have a child who depends on me for everything, and I don’t mind at all. Independence as an adult is relative. In concept, I could easily survive alone. But physically, spiritually and emotionally, I need Daniel. And now, more than ever, because I want Jacob to have the best father in the world.
I look back and think about how I’ve changed since I met Daniel. Before, not only were my movements erratic but also my emotions. I would be warm, then cold, then glowering hot. I’d spend too much time mulling over the past and dreaming of the future. But being with him reminded me that living in the present is too often overlooked.
Not many of you know this, but I actually had an eating disorder before I met Daniel, and it was eating away at me. I probably had depression growing up as well, though a lot of it was really self-inflicted. I think a lot of it was because I was striving for something more all the time, to a point that I forgot to appreciate what I had and who I was. I was so busy being independent that I forgot that I tended to destroy myself when I was alone.
When Dan and I had been dating for a few months, I had to determine where to go for my work placement (i.e. training in a hotel somewhere interstate or overseas). The previous year I’d been to Port Douglas, so I was thinking of a big city as my next destination. Jumeirah Group came to do a presentation at the Uni, and I applied just for the heck of it and went for the interview.
I got offered a position to go to work in Dubai at one of their luxurious properties. This is Jumeirah, the group behind the Burj Al Arab. What an opportunity! I brought the information home with me to give it some serious thought. It would have been an amazing career move and would take me to someplace exotic and new.
I turned it down, and found a job in Melbourne instead.
No, I did not change my mind because of Daniel. He had no part in convincing me where to go and what to do with my life. But I realised that while some people held career or travel as an integral part of their lives, they didn’t mean anything to me if I had to lose what I had with him. I don’t believe that people only have one soulmate, but I knew that he was meant for me.
A few months down the track, after a few trips to and fro between Adelaide and Melbourne, he proposed. And I was not just saying yes to a man, but also to a way of life and to an uncertain future in its own way.
It’s not that we don’t have adventures. Last night, we went out to watch the stars while eating macarons. We play board games on rainy days (or super hot days, like the next few days) and watch the sunset as we walk the dog around our hilly suburb. In a few months’ time, we may go camping with Jacob or perhaps have another interstate trip, and I do plan to see more of Malaysia this year too.
And Jacob is my adventure too. I find so much joy in little things, like seeing him eat a steamed carrot for the first time (though I don’t think any of it went down his throat – just all over the floor) or just waking up to a smiling face (and a tremendously loud baby fart). I can’t wait til he crawls, then walks, then talks, then who knows? Every day is different but change is inevitable.
The final sentence in the blogpost is this:
So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.
It reminds me of this quote I heard long ago:
If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.
I have been let go time and time again, but I realise that it’s my turn to let go. It’s my turn to let go of a life that I never had, for an alternative that I find much more rewarding. Because I realised that many a time, travel gave me an emotional high but there was always an emotional low to follow. There was happiness but not ultimate joy. There was exhilaration, but no permanence.
So, for all you “girls who travel” out there – if that is your calling, so be it and I do hope you find the joy you seek. But I have found joy in the little ‘country’ town of Adelaide with my humble house, ditzy dog, hilarious husband and bouncing baby boy.