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With travel, especially solo travel, inevitably comes long distance romance. There’s nothing like a tropical destination with a plethora of wild smells and tastes to get the endorphins pumping; the heart palpitating and the palms sweaty with desire.
For most traveler’s, visiting another country is about exploring somewhere different, perhaps staying in a nice hotel and escaping from your everyday life. It is precisely this, which makes long distance romance so captivating.
I think it’s time to admit, I’m a sucker for long distance relationships. I’m drawn to them, like an addiction. Besides it’s pretty much, all I’ve ever known. The intensity of those few days visiting each other, when you melt into each other’s arms, having dreamt of this for weeks or months. There’s simply no comparison.
Then there’s the text messages, the emails, the phone sex. Thinking about someone rather than always seeing them, fires up the imagination, creating fantasies which are powerful aphrodisiacs. It’s mental stimulation without the boring bits. Always missing someone, keeps the spark alive and your brain has a funny way of remembering the good bits, the moments that made you feel alive whilst conveniently forgetting the disagreements. Of course, the flip side is a long distance relationship is incredibly hard to maintain.
Friends think you’ve got an imaginary partner, because they never show up to any events. Birthdays and anniversaries, are made up of skype dates and Amazon deliveries. Whilst it’s amazing what can be arranged when you’re on the other side of the world, none of it compares to being present, with your significant other. To be able to gaze into their eyes and hold them, touch them, kiss them. To hear their voice tell you that they love you without having to hold a phone up to your ear. Being able to sense every part of them including their soft fragrance, filling your nose, their sweetness dripping from your lips.
I think my preference for long distance romance began with the girl I would ultimately lose my virginity too. A friend who lived interstate. Pre-internet days we wrote letters. The anticipation of checking the letterbox, waiting days and weeks for a response was exciting. The musk-scented stationary with feminine designs that culminated in the occasional package, maybe a mix-tape was exhilarating. It gave the same dopamine hit we receive multiple times a day now from instant messages. It then progressed onto emails before skype and telegram took over.
From this experience in my teens to travels in my twenties which only ignited my penchance for distance based relationships. Whether I was on a year long expedition or a three week holiday, I had a knack for building friendships quickly which on the rare occasion turned into more of a romantically inclined ship. The perfect example was Jen. We met in Japan, then travelled to San Francisco, New York and Fort Worth, as well as around Australia together. We had sixteen years of phone calls, messages and emails, meeting up every few years. Whilst her and I had a tragic ending, it was more a case of something that was never fully realized. The thing with distance is, it may dampen a relationship, but it never stops the feelings. Despite Jen and I not being in the same country, we were always in each other’s lives. I don’t know how or why but I always feel like the most incredible people all live overseas, that they understood me better and that we had more in common.
Movies would have you believe it’s all, delivered roses and marathon skype sessions. However a relationship can not survive on distance alone. At some point, someone has to move, which is where it gets tricky. Moving country to be with someone adds a huge amount of pressure to any relationship.
Visa’s can be expensive, and time consuming. Marriage is in many cases a necessity rather than an option, and then there’s family to consider. Which country will Christmas’s be spent in? How often will visits be made back to the home country? If kids are on the agenda, what language will they speak predominantly?
The hardest part is even if you happen to find yourself living in the same city, as a previous distant love interest, (without the pressures of moving specifically to be with someone), there’s still no guarantee the relationship will reignite.
I’ve heard stories of long distance relationships that became a happy marriage, but I have no doubt there’s countless more stories about the one’s that failed, because they were too far away, because visa’s were too difficult, because memories fade.
Movies like Before Sunrise, Sleepless in Seattle, and Going the Distance all paint a picture where everything works out in the end. But in my experience, life rarely offers the Hollywood ending.
Even past relationships that started whilst we both lived in the same city, have ended up becoming long distance on multiple occasions! From the one that decided to move to Japan mid-way through, to the one that became a flight attendant, to the time I unexpectedly ended up in a job on a cruise ship. It seems I’m forever destined to distance romance.
In a perfect world, borders would be non-existent, international transport quick and cheap, and moving country would be as easy as ordering takeaway food. One day, I hope to bridge the gap, and end up in a relationship where we both live in the same city, heck the same apartment would be incredible, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Am I being unrealistic?
If you’re in a long distance romance then you might want to check out the book, How to Survive a Long Distance Relationshop.
Are you a sucker for a distance romance? What’s been your experience? Have you any suggestions? Comment below with your thoughts.