WHILST ANNA* LAY SICK IN bed, I went to dinner with her boyfriend. Before you judge me as some thieving little hussy, read on. She knew. She gave us her blessing.
Maybe she had a hunch that I wasn’t that type of girl. Maybe it was because me and Anna got on really well. Maybe she’s just not the jealous type and she trusted that her man wouldn’t stray. Or maybe, just because she was sick didn’t mean that she expected her boyfriend to stay home fawning over her. She wanted and expected him to go get on with things. And not necessarily alone.
Whatever the reason, I found her trust admirable. Because life and love whilst travelling, I’ve come to learn, are out to test every relationship going.
I’m sure there are people who it does work for, that there are people who are able to feel free from ties and really experience their travels without the constant reference to home or the other but still feel connected enough when they return, and that there are people who are faithful to each other across vast distances and despite having had such different experiences they’ll never be able to fully share.
But I’ve met many a person who has decided to leave their relationship back home or put it on hold in order to allow them to truly be free whilst travelling.
Freedom, they argue, has little to do with sleeping with someone else but rather it’s about following whatever adventure presents itself without consultation or compromise. And if, by chance, those adventures lead to the bedroom (or a beach or another hidey spot) then they want to feel free to go with the moment, not hold back.
And leaving a relationship back home is surely fairer than the behaviour of some travellers I’ve met who claim to have a partner back home, profess to missing them terribly, and then that very night share a bed and part of themselves with a stranger.
It has really made me think about relationships on the road. If you’re travelling together, that’s a challenge in itself, but something that can strengthen your connection with new, shared experiences and adventures. But, if your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse isn’t with you on a longer stint of travel time, it seems almost an impossibility that you’ll last.
Of course we all need moments of freedom and independence from our close relationships, but planning on being away from your boyfriend for two years, as one girl I met had decided, just seemed a little silly to me, particularly since she seemed to be unconsciously searching for a substitute only two months in.
Anna was right about me, and I liked her a lot. She was a good, honest, fun girl. Her and her boyfriend were a fantastic couple who I’m sure I’ll see again in my life. Of course I had no intention of chasing him, of hurting her. Despite what people might think about solo travelling girls, we’re not all single and we’re not all on the prowl. Some of us, believe it or not, just want to travel and meet lots of different people without any added complications.
So I went out for food with Anna’s boyfriend. We ate at a place where we bumped into other travel friends and it wasn’t intimate or awkward or anything like that because, like Anna, he was a good person too. No funny business.
There are a fair few good ‘uns out there.
*names have been changed
- How To Make Your Love Last The Miles: Top Tips From Traveling Couples (discoverthetrip.com)