Saturday, March 8, 2014

Changed Perspectives On Travelling And Long Distance Relationships (Of All Sorts)

          My trip to Australia has made me realize appreciation for something I never thought I'd even want to ever deal with - long distance relationships. But before I get into that, a little premise. I used to be under the impression that I loved traveling, but now in my 20s I see things in a different light. I don't really like the idea of trotting the globe in a year or 2 or before I'm 25 or whatnot. In fact when I read this article that many of you have probably seen floating around on your Facebook newsfeed a few months ago, "Don't Date A Girl Who Travels", all I could think of was how this girl is NOT me. (Don't you all start asking for my number now.) But why then do I run something that could pass for a travel blog? There is in fact a great explanation to this perplexity. Here it is: I like settling
          This blog actually started with my first experience "settling" in somewhere new. I visited the infamous Richelle at her home in San Francisco and had a blast doing what we would normally do day in and day out for a month. After that, I've either blogged about my daily life in Thailand or some famously exotic countries I tried to tour-out on restricted schedules... Guess which out of the two I enjoyed more? (Answer: A)
          Again, I am a fan of the seemingly mundane. So, it follows that I like my experiences abroad local, personal, and most importantly, peaceful. I mislead myself into thinking that I will be "here" for "some time" and therefore there is no need to rush to sight-see. I like not making a big deal out of a new location, but rather taking it in organically while my routines go on uninterrupted, even if time is in reality limited. 

 Trips of such attributes, in my experience, transpire from long distance relationships. 
          And I'm not just talking about your boyfriend or your girlfriend. I'm also talking about your best friend from high school who moved away. A short-term visitor to your country who you really connected with. The particularly unforgettable individuals you met when you went abroad that one time or another.  People who, out of everyone you know, mean the most to you but just can't live in the same geographical area as you at this point of time. I perhaps have the worst of it, growing up among third-culture kids and now studying abroad short-term myself. (Not to mention my love life.) I am ruined by long distance relationships. It is an endless cycle, one perpetuating another. But it isn't a bad kind of ruin.  Literally on the plane ride back, I asked myself, "What [where] would I like to see next?" And whereas a decade ago or half that, I would have had handy a mental list of capitals and attractions, now I can only think of names and corresponding faces to that question. I don't think that's a bad thing.
         I no longer have desires to visit countries; I yearn to visit people who have impacted my life so positively and who hopefully feel that I have done the same to theirs. And when I get the chance to now, the need to observe the guidebook like the Bible never arises. I'm instead consumed by the simple reality of getting to be a part of their lives again, in the absence of pressure and pomposity. I don't care if we do nothing but talk over coffee everyday. I don't care if we do have adventures everyday because that is our thing, Namwan. It's the closest thing we have to jumping in to a time machine and going back to good ole days, and that is what I truly value, not tourism. 
          So then why appreciate the distance you ask? Isn't what I ultimately wish for an elimination of distance? Not really. Assuming that the distance fulfills other necessary aspects of wellbeing at the moment - i.e. education - it honestly is a part of life I appreciate. Moreover, personal experience has made me cocksure about something: physical separation, whether we welcome it or not, puts our values into painfully clear perspective. We need separation to miss. We notice what matters most to us when they are gone. I'd much rather live in consciousness of these. 

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