We live in the 21st century but this doesn’t make us as open-minded and evolved as we might want to think. People are very different and this can influence not only their style but also their compatibility and way of thinking. Is there a common future for the relationship between a traveler and a non-traveler?
Let me tell you a story about one of my friends who lived such an experience. And it didn’t end that pretty.
Usually when it comes to relationships between foreigners the first thought goes towards romance. Two different people fall in love and despite their opposition they manage to live happily ever after. But this is not always the case.
My friend, let’s call her M., was a travel addict. She had lived in 10 cities in just 10 years and she didn’t seem to want to stop. Traveling was in her blood and it was part of her future. She couldn’t even think of settling in one place for more than two or three months. She became anxious and couldn’t find her place in one location. It was as if she would feed out of traveling and staying in one place led her to starvation.
One month in Ankara
The decision to spend one month in Ankara seemed to be the best decision she could take. When she arrived there M. was greeted by one the guys she met on Couchsurfing. As her first host, he offered to show her around and start integrating her in the community. M. stayed with him for one week, time in which they got to know each other and discovered they had so much in common.
She cancelled the rest of her plans around Turkey and stayed with him for the entire month. He was nice, smart, could speak three languages, could cook and was deadly funny. He had just one defect: he had never left his country nor had any desire to do so.
After one week and a half she tried to convince him to go with her around Turkey but he said it would be a waste of the little time they had together. But by the end of the month she realized that while her time spent with him was magical, there was something missing. It was not just the thrill of meeting new people and places, the Maltesers chocolates from the airports’ vending machines, the fresh smell of sweat after a day spent under the torrid sun, the chapped lips caused by the harsh wind or the hot water that’s been sitting in the sun for more than four hours.
Will you miss me when I’m gone?
She just felt unhappy. M. didn’t want to give up on her life just to gain something in exchange. She wanted someone who can share with her the beauty of seeing the world. And he was not the one. So she left, leaving him heartbroken and convinced that nothing good can come from traveling so much. He thought she had the “traveling virus” that would never leave her body.
We sometimes talk about him and I ask her if she regrets her decision. M. looks at me with a shy smile on her face and instinctively touches the pocket of her bag where she keeps her passport: “I think I made the right decision.” But as she keeps on telling me about her future volunteer project in Nicargua I notice the necklace she’s been wearing since she came back from Ankara. It’s so beautiful and full of memories…