Being a backpacker can teach you many things, about yourself and about the world around you and the wonderful people in it. Here are 5 things about love that I’ve learned, as a backpacker…
Love Learning #1: You know nothing
Everybody thinks they know stuff, especially about intangible things like love, relationships, how to make them work, what causes them to fail and so on. The one thing I’ve learned on the road is no-one has any answers that fit everyone. Your physical journey through any place is different from every other journey that anyone else has had, even in the same place. That’s because the one essential component – you – are different. Every relationship you have is also different from every other relationship. You can’t draw parallels, or even learn how to behave – you can only learn what works or does not work for you. That needs to be enough.
Love Learning #2: Goodbyes happen. And they’re tough.
Sometimes you will reach a fork in the road and someone who is traveling with you goes one way while you go another. This is life. Deal with it. So long as you haven’t intentionally pushed them away in a hurtful manner that’s not your fault and it doesn’t mean you should hold on to them. This is especially true once they’ve already left. Sometimes, you may see the signs beforehand – they begin to anticipate the fork before you, start making plans, maybe even contact travelers who they expect to meet up with later. Recognize them for what they are and be prepared for that goodbye that’s coming up.
Love Learning #3: There’s always a new experience around the corner.
It’s easy to believe that you’re jaded or that you’ve seen it all. You haven’t. Even the most dedicated couchsurfer can be surprised by the welcome they’re given at the next house. Every hiker knows that the next ridge will be spectacular even if he’s seen a million before. Every person you love and who loves you is different. Don’t forget to be surprised. But at the same time, don’t forget:
Love Learning #4: Appreciate what you have.
Sometimes, people get so caught up with new experiences they forget to appreciate the stuff that’s around them now. The traveling equivalent is to be so excited about the next city’s sights that you ignore the incredibly cool place you’re in right now. This is silly and you’re only short-changing yourself. It’s ok to be excited, but if you’re getting this distracted, perhaps its time to move on, already. Which is not a bad thing to do.
Love Learning #5: Sometimes, it isn’t meant to be.
The thing about change is, all change is good. Even a change of plans. Not seeing something (or someone) because the situation has changed is what happens. All you can do is deal with it. Backpackers can usually deal with it better after they’ve been on the road while, because everything is in flux, completely changeable at all times. Missed a bus? It happens. Got diarrhea because you didn’t wash your lettuce? Shit happens. The idea is to learn how to roll with the punches and recover quickly. Ain’t nobody got time for a crybaby.