An Affair With Traveling

I have tried to see the world and maintain a relationship, both of them for almost three years now. I love you, and I love travel. How can people love one more than the other, or not at least wish for both? Although for all the times I feel loving you has interrupted or tainted my traveling - and for all the times my love for traveling has put a strain on our relationship, thus causing us to fight for months between time zones; this piece is for both of you.

No matter how far you get, how many planes you take... No matter how many faces you see, you won't forget theirs. You can make friends from every continent, you can try exotic foods from around the world. You can show your family your passport stamps and tell them the stories of how you almost fell off a cliff. You can spend all of your money on experiences that will last a life time. You can learn how to navigate around the gross bathroom floor, after showering in a Colombian hostel in broken sandals. You can get food poisoning in an airport bathroom right before a flight. You can find yourself atop a mountain, in rough and rugged winds right below the arctic circle - slapping humility and humbleness into you while facing mother earth. You can sleep on long trains, absolutely overkill spotify playlists, get your things stollen, talk to strangers for hours on an overseas flight over gin and tonics. You can see a girl crying on the metro and touch her arm and hold it for a second, giving a glimpse of female connection nonverbally. You can see beautiful art from the worlds best museums. You can dance in parks, you can shop, you can hike in nature, take road trips with friends. You can have an anxiety attack alone on a bus. You can make friends you know will be in your life forever, because you have gone through something together no one else ever will share. You can facetime your family and cry after. You can battle each few weeks feeling on top of your newfound independence as an expat in a new country, and then of course, you can slip and fall - missing your friends, family, local sandwich joint you cant squash the craving for. You can travel the world and feel all of these things, GOOD and BAD. The only thing I've ever known that is powerful enough to challenge traveling equally in the same sense, well... is LOVE.

I love you like I love to travel. I love how you both force me out of my comfort zone. How you both show me different sides of what it means to be fully alive. To feel, explore, fear, dream, break. To experience a dizzying lust for seeing the world. A lust for seeing you too.

And since I love you both, I have dedicated the past few years of my life trying equally to have a relationship with both traveling and you. I have failed you, love. I have put my energy into seeing the world, running off to new places without you, when our time to travel together had ended. I could've came home. I could have loved you harder, I could have traded in plane tickets for date nights. I could have avoided solo backpacking as rebellion and instead made dinners together or watch movies. I could have saved the homesickness and fear of leaving, to have been sleeping next to you. Arm in arm. Head to chest. Lips to lips, to greet each other in the morning.

I thought I could have both, and maybe that's selfish of me. The overly self righteous act of being able to love someone from anywhere in the world, what do I have to say for myself now? Maybe I seemed to stick to travel more, because it will never leave me. Even at the hardest times, if it fails me. But would you believe me if I said I felt the same dedication to you from here? I travel because it is the best way to love myself - to give myself reality of what truly matters in life. I give myself joy and freedom. But the three of us have been dancing this dance for so long, and it has seemed to kill one love more than the other. To have moved away to start over, and then to listen to our hearts and visit each other or meet up in cities... it turns my world upside down.

I have been in a relationship with you both, fighting each other. You and travel. And from the outside, officially, one might say I chose travel. But I am here, thousands of miles away, telling you that I wish we could have had one in each other, all of us together. But you are one in the same to me. Maybe my traveling is still a way to love you. Our experiences began and have always revolved around traveling. From our first conversation about studying abroad, to missing our flight in the Turkish airport. Riding scooters in Newport, to driving a convertible through LA. From taking a train to Slovakia, sailing our boat in Italy... Watching little, old ladies dance in Paris, to kayaking back home in Florida. Our road trips up the east coast, multiple times with animals, blizzards, pain killers. Walking through the snow in NYC when first falling in love. You are travel to me. Just how traveling always reminds me of you. How I pray for you in every church I step into. How I see something and want to send you pictures, or share these stories and memories I am making. We were and will always be travel. I know it doesn't work for you, and I wish there was a way to please both of your needs. Maybe that's why I have still loved you both the same through the years. I hope my personal affliction with exploring has not ruined a long term chance. A chance to travel together again one day, or at least to just share a picnic at Musuems Quartier in Vienna once more.

I apologize to my love, for being gone for so long and expecting you to still love me the same. I apologize to travel, for my heart always craving someone more than what you have given me in my global experiences.

Alexandra Martinez