Day 21: BootsnAll Indie Travel Project
Today’s prompt: Love Affair – When we travel, our senses are heightened. We feel more alive and we’re more free to do things we might not at home. We can be who we want. There’s an air of urgency to everything we do – we know our time here, in this place, and with these people, is limited. If we want to do something, we have to do it now. It’s no wonder then that many travelers have relationships on the road. Tell us about a “special someone” you met while traveling.
At this point, it’s no secret that I’m a hopeless romantic abroad, or that I am dreaming of meeting someone special on the road. I’d love nothing more than to fall in love while somewhere exotic with someone exotic. But, more importantly, I’d like that love to last long after the trip.
First off, I’m no stranger to falling for people while traveling. In Bermuda, it was an American. In Fiji, I fell for a guy from the Czech Republic. In San Francisco’s airport, on my way home from Fiji, it was an Italian. In Scotland, it was another American. Most recently, as I wrote about in A Love Story Set in Vietnam, it was an English-Ugandan in Vietnam.
I write a lot about travel romance, most likely because it is something I dream about and something thrown in our faces by Hollywood. Though honestly, each time I go abroad, I can’t help but meet someone wonderful.
Though, the hardest I’ve ever fallen was definitely on my most recent venture. As I’ve previously told, I met Sam, the English-Ugandan, in Mui Ne at a bar on the beach. It was the perfect setting to meet someone, overlooking the South China Sea on a couch in the sand. But, what I failed to mention was that Sam was growing a handlebar mustache as he was motorbiking up Vietnam. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of facial hair, but I was intrigued by someone who would choose to grow such a thing, especially while traveling – it meant that Sam obviously didn’t take himself too seriously. I loved that about him, and it was part of the reason I fell so hard.
I won’t retell the entire story, because you can read it yourself in the actual post, but I will tell you what made it different from any other encounter I have had. First of all, I was able to spend three evenings with Sam, and even though it wasn’t a relationship, some of it felt like one. He treated me better than some of the guys I had dated in the past. He looked at me like he could see right passed the surface and into my soul – he just got me. We made each other laugh, but he made me laugh unlike anyone else had. I felt more comfortable in his presence within our first hour of meeting than I had with many guys before. He held my hand and made me feel like I was the only girl anywhere I was with him. Even when I met up with him one night, and thought I had made a huge mistake – him and his friends were sitting with two of the most beautiful girls – he got me a chair, bought me a beer, and made me feel like I was all that mattered. We’d walk hand in hand through the streets of Nha Trang and talk about life. Things with Sam were just different, even if they were for a short time period. Either way, leaving him was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
We stayed up talking outside my hotel overlooking the sea, until there was only an hour left for me to catch my bus. I tried everything I could to make him stay, but it was 4 am and we were exhausted. I never wanted him to leave because I knew that could possibly be it, and I’ll never forget our good-bye. Especially, the feeling I felt as I rode that twelve-hour bus to Saigon the next morning. I would have done anything to have stayed.
But, what did it matter? With him traveling for three more months and then going back to England and possibly Uganda and me in America, how could it possibly work? I had hope, I truly did. I thought we could Skype, talk on Facebook, and e-mail. But, it’s four months later and we barely talk. Maybe what we had I imagined, or maybe it was only good for the time being. I don’t know exactly, but I will never forget what we had, and I will never forget him. There is a reason why we met, and I will hold that in my heart until the day I die.
So, even with all of those I met before Sam, none of them matter. None of what I had with any of them added up to what I had with Sam. But, what will happen with him? I am completely unsure. As I wrote not too long ago, I truly hope that we meet again, though life often seems to get in the way of these things, doesn’t it? But, I know that what we had was special, and beyond anything else I’ve experienced. I hope one day, I can have all of those feelings again, though for a longer period of time. I’d travel the world for them again, honestly, I’d move across the world for them again.