The Traveler's Guide To International Love - A True Story
THE TRAVELER'S GUIDE TO INTERNATIONAL LOVE - A TRUE STORY
I met her in the heart of Brussels.
It was a gloomy, grey and cold day. But somehow her beauty made the Grand Place shine brighter than the Maldives sparkles in the sun.
When she first uttered the word “hi,” I swear I heard an angel sing. Her mixed accent of French, Dutch and Spanish overtook me.
Our first time alone was on top of a mountain in Santa Fe. Her clear, dark and hazel eyes seemed to gaze through to my very soul, almost bringing me to my knees.
We held hands for the first time walking down a beach in Fiji. My heart might as well have been a mighty war drum sounding the greatest march forward that man has ever known.
She kissed me for the first time at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. As she would breath out, I would breath her in. I felt my entire anatomy transform and for the first time, I had experienced true love.
The deepest conversation I've ever had was with her on top of the Pyramid of the Sun. I told her my deepest darkest secrets and she told me her most terrifying fears.
Together, we rediscovered ourselves on the most spiritual of levels as we touched the the boulder that was set at Calvary. At that moment, the love that we shared seemed to be lifted up, protected, and comforted by the highest of powers.
The hardest I had ever laughed was with her on The Great Wall. She told me a story that she made me promise to never tell anyone anything about - it was about her being at a nudist beach… well, she thought it was a nudist beach. Oops, I wasn't supposed to repeat that.
The first time she told me that she loved me as we watched the sunset while we sat on a boat off the coast of Palawan. Every endorphin in my brain seemed to release at the same time, sending me to infinity and beyond with happiness as I told her that I loved her too.
Our longest embrace was in the departure terminal at Heathrow. The most tears that I've ever shed in my life rolled down my cheeks and met hers where our faces touched.
Love is a tricky thing. It's even trickier when the person that you love lives in another corner of the world. My international relationship was the most beautiful, romantic, and heartbreaking experiences I have ever had. I was fortunate to have had it. Traveling the world, tasting exotic foods, meeting wonderful people, and seeing amazing things while having the chance to be with her, was magical. I can't believe a person like me would ever be able to tell a story like this.
I come from a rough area of the United States. The city that I was born in has one of the highest murder rates in the country, poverty is on every street and crime runs rampant. Growing up, money was always short - so I never even dreamed of exploration outside of my city. Every relationship that I had up until this point was unpleasant and downright toxic. Sure, some of the ladies that I had been with weren't the best of people, but I had to do some real soul searching to finally understand that I was the common denominator.
Slowly, but surely, I morphed my situation. I didn't let where I came from and bad happenstances dictate who I was or what I would become. Slowly, but surely, I rebuilt myself into someone that I loved and wanted to spend my time with. Doing this put me on the path of my own success.
Somehow, the broken road led me to a chance to travel. Lucky for me, it led me to the heart of Brussels.
After our initial departure, we talked every day. Late night video calls for me to tell her good morning, middle of the day phone calls so I could wish her sweet dreams. We flew to meet each other wherever we could - even if it meant that we only had a day to be in each other's arms. It worked for a while, but that kind of lifestyle wasn't sustainable for either of us.
We had countless discussions on how to make our relationship work. Immigration, working visas, student visas, us moving to another country. But because of both of our countries strict immigration policies, most of those options were impossible. And no matter how many people blog and make videos about working remotely while making a lot of money, those opportunities are far and few between. So trying to live anywhere else outside of our countries would be tough because we wouldn't be able to make a decent living. On top of that, we wouldn't be able to start building the life that we wanted together.
The only other option that we had was marriage. Unfortunately, we both are too rational of people to jump into marrying a person that we had only known for a year. We even tried to convince ourselves that it was okay by looking up stories about people who met and got married after only a day. Alas, saner heads prevailed.
In the end, we took the easy way out.
On a beautiful Monday night on the fourth of July in 2017 we were talking on the phone. I was telling her how much I wished she we laying next to me while I looked into the sky watching the black canvas being painted by Roman Candles. In my left ear I heard cheers from people in the park excited about the show going on the heavens. In my right ear I heard what seemed to be the Earth crashing into the sun as she said the words “we need to talk.”
Love is a tricky thing. People do everything within their power to be with the ones they love. International love is trickier because of the way that our world is. We shut each other out, refuse to let people in and deny the ones who just want to do something different with their lives. I once heard a quote that said “love had no boundaries” - well, whoever said that must not have meet the US government or any country in the EU, because they have for sure set borders on love.
While my story may seem like nothing but doom and gloom, I see it as one of the best things that has ever happened to me. In this long distance international relationship, I became a better version of me for myself, her, and my future partners. The situation taught me to share meaningful thoughts and feelings with her, something that I had never done before. Because we only saw each other every once in a while, when we did see each other, we felt the greatest sense of intimacy.
Of course, being apart was trying most of the time and we didn’t actually make it. However, I learned how to be a better lover, boyfriend, friend and person. So to anyone who is in or considering an international relationship, here are some tips from my failed relationship that might help you be successful in yours:
Be ready to work twice as hard than your friends relationships-
You need to work towards having a very strong, solid base to your relationship when you have an international relationship. Be open, honest, and trusting. Take the time to figure out how and when is best to communicate with each other. Work at making each other feel special, even without seeing each other. Everything that you work on during a normal relationship will need a lot of extra effort for international love.
A strong sense of self is the most important thing to have when walking into an international relationship. It comes with a set of emotional/mental challenges that a lot of people can’t handle. Think about it, you are giving up physical and visual contact for a prolonged amount of time. I guarantee that you will spend snowy winter nights alone on your couch with your phone/computer, Netflix and a large glass of wine as opposed to under a blanket with your significant other. This is why it is so important to know who you are and if you are ready for this kind of a lifestyle. Also, you are going to need to know what to do with yourself when everyone around you is spending time with their partners.
Pick your relationship together-
Be honest with each other about what type of relationship you actually have. Actual real-world conversations are going to have to be had about things like whether or not monogamy is going to be a thing. This decision has to be a mutual one. You both have to consider the reality of an international relationship from both an emotional and practical view. The more upfront you both are about everything from the beginning, the less you should worry about what the relationship will be.
Talk as often as you can-
If you don’t like to talk to people, be prepared for failure in your international relationship. Whether it is on the phone, video chat or text, constant communication is everything. Talk about everything like what each other has planned during the day, check in when you get home so that the other knows that we are safe, etc. It’s the little things that count when you can’t be physically next to each other.
Respect your differences-
There will be differences in most relationships, but when multiple cultures are involved, there are totally new learning experiences. If you are in an international relationship, chances are that you don’t speak the same language, accents can make for plenty of “lost in translation” moments. Even the way that you celebrate holidays will be different. Learn to “go with it,” and do what you can to be open to learn about their traditions, outlooks and beliefs.
Celebrate all of the good things, even if you can’t be together in person. Life is too short not to and that’s especially true when you’re in a international relationship. I am not talking about things that happen in the relationship like anniversaries and birthdays, I am talking about the individual life-events of each other. Things like: promotions at work, new shoes, graduations, not burning dinner, etc.
Technology is your friend-
No international relationship is complete without the following apps:
Skype – Video Chats and Voice Calls
WhatsApp – Free Texts and calls over wifi
Facebook – Free Video Chat, Voice Calls & messages over wifi/data
Most of these apps are already used by frequent travelers, but they will become your personal friends in an international relationship. In addition to the above, there are a whole host of mobile apps dedicated to long distance couples that remind both of you of special anniversaries, updates and more.
Find support from friends and family-
I think that being in an international relationship helps you see your relationships at home in a new light. In short, the support of your friends and family are everything—but don’t expect it from everybody. The truth is, not everybody will get it. And that’s ok—everything isn’t for everybody. When dealing with criticism, consider this: all of my friends who are in healthy relationships have been nothing but honest, protective and supportive while some of my more single/sadder friends have been less than helpful.
Don't forget the big picture-
It is so important to constantly remind each other that the distance was for a short while (define what that means to the two of you!) and since you really want to be together, find any ways to make it work. This sort of gives a perspective on things and helps sail through any difficulties. It also helps you in your future plans on being together.
Don’t worry if every visit isn’t perfect-
Real relationships are full of ups and downs, international relationships are no exception.There’s so much pressure with visits when it comes to international relationships - but it is only a mental wall. There may be trips when you hang out with your partner and friends in a social setting, but also when you stay home to have one-on-one time. Family time is vital and your family may want to spend time with your partner. You have to live - sometimes one of you need to work or study during the visit. Big conversations, deep talks, or life decisions may hovering like an elephant in the room and you have that talk face to face when you have limited time together. Some trips will be filled with the sweetest memories, and some will be full of fighting over big or small issues - and that’s OK! Fight through it and you’ll make it through if the love it there.
For people who travel the world, international relationships are a very real possibility. It dosen’t even matter if you are open to it, because love can find you anywhere - doesn’t matter if it’s in the jungle or big city. Don’t deny it if it comes along and don’t be scared of it. Take some advice from a guy who has been through it, and maybe when you find yourself in the heart of Brussels and you see ‘that person’, the road that you venture down won’t be so broken.
The Traveler's Guide To International Love - A True Story was written by: Anonymous
For information on how you can travel the world, visit www.ventureroad.org
Venture Road Inc - An affordable way to have a priceless experience.