Whether fleeting or lasting, love is always magical. For travelers who meet and deeply connect in the space of a few days, the feelings can get that much more intense. But love can be painful too. For these same travelers know that at the end of their trip, their love may also come to an end. And should they choose to continue their connection, it will be a challenge to bridge the distance. Sometimes, the end result may be a breakup.
And, for those who are already together, travel is a way to grow closer – or to fight and grow apart. The best and the worst of a person, they say, can come out in travel. Travel, in a way, is a litmus test for relationships.
This Valentine’s, travelers share the fairytales, the realities – and somewhere in between – of love on the road.
Falling in love is about surrendering and losing control. “We cannot control when we fall in love. Much less to whom we fall in love with,” Paula Antonneth O of Pondering Paodaolei writes. But, when we do give ourselves up to that feeling, “it just gets better.”
James Betia’s story in Journeying James is a testament to this. Having met and connected with someone in Palawan and having met her again by chance and traveled with her in Myanmar, he finally surrenders himself to the feeling and follows her to Bali, the city where love seems ripe to happen, as Elizabeth Gilbert shows in her classic “Eat Pray Love.” And true enough, it does happen for James. Then, he drops all his other travel plans and goes with her to India. And he is undeniably happier for it.
Photo from Journeying James
The love story of Mhe-anne Ojeda of My Comings and Goings is also reminiscent of romance flicks or novels where a couple who had to part ways for some reason, and not see each other for x number of years, find each other again by some happy twist of fate. Except that Mhe-anne’s story is real. And far more interesting than fiction.
One could feel the magic of their love in Mhe-anne’s words, especially as she writes about their reunion: “We have found the spark that we never lost, but have always been looking for.” (Ikaelelo Gaosengwe , rephrased) And yes, they keep traveling together, literally and figuratively. In fact, they went on a road trip the first time they met again after 20 years.
The reality of goodbyes
“True love knows no pain.
Even if you been stabbed multiple times.
You can still survive.”
Or so writes Juanderful Pinoy‘s Chino Chan, whose poetry reveals his pain for a love that did not last but at the same time an earnest willingness to love again.
Lloyd Lost Boy reflects on his own goodbye and regrets over a relationship strengthened by adventures and everyday moments, but “accepts our relationship’s fate.” While the hurt eats at him, though, he still clings to this one hope: “I know we’ll still have that proverbial one more chance — sans any hint of fear of being hurt nor of painful memories.” He promises that he will be back.
Fleeting moments, lasting magic
Some goodbyes are not all pain, though.
The romance, no matter how brief, may become one of your fondest memories, which will make you smile in a way only that particular memory could.
Aleah Taboclaon of Single Brown Female writes about her “varekai,” whom she describes as a wanderer, one who taught her many things but eventually had to leave. There were no regrets, though, as this wanderer made her feel “so good about who I am.”
Indeed, that qualifies for a fond – if not one of the fondest – memories.
Perhaps, what makes such moments special are their very fleetingness. Brenna Bustamante of The Philippine Travelogue writes of a deliciously passionate encounter with someone she traveled with for six blissful days. Brenna tells of a world where “I’ll see you again,” is not a promise but only a possibility – but a thrilling one to hold close to one’s heart, nevertheless. After all, they already met by chance twice. Who’s to say there won’t be a third time?
Photo from Philippine Travelogue
Even if love does not last, the very fact it happened is a cause for celebration. Marky Ramone Go of Nomadic Experiences talks about connecting deeply with the woman who would later become his best travel buddy. And while their relationship did not work out, the words Marky wrote then still ring true: “Sometimes, all the good things aren’t planned…they just happen.”
And yes, every traveler hopeful for love can be assured that good things can happen.
Somewhere between fairytale and reality
There are love stories complete with the heady rush of romance, the pain and discomfort of arguments, and the tiny daily annoyances or inconveniences.
For Aiyo Alcado of The Vacation Preview, her and her husband’s is a dreamy story of long-distance correspondences and much waiting before their fairytale ending. But with this ending comes a new beginning of fights and not-so-romantic encounter. The couple would have not written their story any other way, though, because “the boy and the girl know they’re arguing with the right person, and in life, you don’t meet too many of those.” They did not live happily ever after, but are certainly happy.
Astrid Zoe Reburiano of Starfish Travels agrees on the dubiousness of happily-ever-afters. She recognizes the happiness of the present moment, especially when you are traveling together, though, and she recounts the magic of how she and her estranged partner fell in love the second time around in a trip they did not almost take. She advises to just enjoy the journey because you can never really know when a relationship will end.
“We knew were close then when we first agreed for a trip.
It was a stormy day – but nothing could stop us anyway.”
The travel experience, too, can be a combination of fairytale and reality, Reiza Dejito of Wander If You Must reveals. Still basking in the newness of their relationship, she and her partner were put to the test with the longest bus ride of their lives. Suffice to say, their good humor and love for each other made them survive that trip.
Kaiz Galang of Miss Backpacker recalls how travel inconveniences helped her and her partner become better partners, and ultimately, better persons. After surviving fights like not talking to each other while walking hundreds of meters around Kuala Lumpur, they are slowly learning to say sorry, even when their pride is hurting.
And, speaking of surviving, the travel experience among couples can get ugly, especially when faced with travel mishaps upon mishaps. Lovebirds in a cuddle can quickly transform into a cockfight.
To avoid these scenarios, Pol Mangilog of Pinay Traveller gives tips on how to travel together without killing each other. We can certainly learn from her own travel experiences, particularly of being considerate of our partner even if his or her travel style goes against our own.
Mai Flores of Budget Biyahera also shares tips on how she and her partner manages the ups and downs of traveling together. Most striking of all is her advice on staying sane through humor. Indeed, laughter is the best medicine. And, Mai has her own very funny story to attest to that.
And, despite heartaches and inconveniences, she holds both the ups and downs in their relationship close to her heart: “[This is] the kind of life I’ve always dreamt of having in a partner – perfectly imperfect.”
Working to keep the magic alive
Bridging the distance is perhaps the greatest challenges of couples who live far away from each other. Jun Baris of Galang Pusa and his wife are more than up to the challenge. As long-distance lovers and now long-distance spouses, they do whatever they can to see each other. And they try to make each time not just a visit but a travel together. Friends accordingly tease them every time about their “nth honeymoon.”
Jun confesses, though, that “traveling together is also a coping mechanism. How else can we keep the fire burning?” While they dream of the day they will be finally together, for now, they are doing what they can.
Sheilamei Abellanoza and Gian Carlo Jubela’s love story is one that every traveler can easily envy: they both love the same outdoor adrenaline-rushing activities (much-fitting for their blog name Adrenaline Romance), they are openly affectionate with each other on their blog (they call each other “Sweetie”), and each new adventure just seems to bring them closer together. They also seem to have perfected the art of communication and working as a team, with their travels planned well together, both of them with roles they are only too happy to take. It makes one wonder if this couple ever had a bad day.
But beneath this happy and seemingly effortless relationship lies a strong foundation of trust. Gian writes that nothing demonstrates this trust more eloquently than when they go rock climbing, where their lives are literally on each other’s hands. One scales the rock face, while the other holds the rope that would catch the climber should he/she fall.
Jho VD of Mountains and Beyond speaks with the wisdom only 14 years of marriage – and traveling together – can give, like picking your battles and giving in when it’s not worth the fight. After those happy years, she is excited for what is still to come and gives voice to the wishes of traveling couples and even singles who hope for love: “more roads to travel, more mountains to hike, more miles to steer…and more love to share.”
This is the Pinoy Travel Bloggers Valentine blog carnival for 2014.