What do I love more than travel? What am I absolutely infatuated with? The concept of love. We have all experienced love, whether from our parents or a significant other. I am a true believe that love is the one thing that connects us all.
I find it so interesting that no matter where I venture off to, the one constant is love. Everyone has a love story to share, and I am constantly enthralled to be the person these stories are shared with. Whether on a cruise hearing how a broken-heart fueled a start-up or in South Africa listening to a beautiful man speak of his "crazy girlfriend", love has no boundaries. It is international. Everyone has a story, and love always plays a role in these narratives.
After going through heartbreak, and attempting to cope with the aftermath, I became more and more intrigued with the idea. I wanted to understand love, so that I never had to go through the harshness of its seasons, and so I set out on an adventure. On my little personal "love journey" I started by asking questions. Everything from "have you been heartbroken before" to "why aren't you still with your first love", there were no barriers. Astonishment and sometimes joy were exuded from the individuals I would ask. These people would speak fondly of love. They gladly shared their experiences and what they'd learned on their love journey. Others would speak to me with sadness evident in their eyes. These were the people that brought me to tears. Stories of unrequited love, forbidden romances, and longing touched a special place in my own heart.
People are passionate about love. If nothing else, love ignites a fire deep in your soul. Whether the love has fizzled out, ended badly or is still burning strong, memories of those feelings catalyze an emotion. Love, hate, longing, sadness, delight. Whenever speaking of love, true love, life-changing, life-altering love, I've noticed that it always riles up an emotion in the individual.
A woman in Turkey spoke of her ex-husband, how she couldn't stand him or anything he did. I let her vent for an hour about how he spoke too much, watched their children too little, loved only himself, and was as manipulative as they come. When she lifted her head to look at me, I saw tears in her eyes. Embarrassed she looked away and whispered softly, "but I loved him, that dick". How is that? They had been divorced for over 5 years, and he was still able to elicit a response from this grown woman. I know no other word for such a thing, except love. I guess it could also be hate, but that's not what she said it was. She later told me that she can't believe she still feels anything for him. She's ashamed of the amount of love she has for that man. No one said love was easy, or right. Unfortunately, "the heart wants what it wants". Selena Gomez hit that nail on the head didn't she?. Can you relate? I'm sure we all can.
During another instance, I met a guy I met in Mexico who shared his own crazy love story. He met the love of his life in Cancun. He went for Spring Break one year, and loved it so much he decided to stay. He told stories of partying with Snoop Dogg and smoking weed with one of the Marley's. According to him, it was at one of these parties that he saw her. They hit it off right away. Her smile ignited something in him and his confidence pulled her closer. They partied every night together, lived together, loved each other, and eventually married. After she had their first child, he felt that it was time to settle down. She didn't. She wanted to continue her rockstar lifestyle, and that didn't fit into his views of parenting. He ended up leaving her in Cancun to come to a more suburban area to raise their daughter. She let him go, she let their daughter go, and she's still living the dream in a condo in Cancun. He's now a tour guide, making decent money trying to raise his daughter. When I asked him what advice he has on love, he said "love is possible in a mater of hours, connections are built, and lives are transformed. Never close yourself off to love. It's magical" I was shocked that he could still feel this way after all that he had been through. He taught me one of the many powers of love, endless hope.
All of this to say what? No matter how different we are culturally, physically, religiously, we are all still connected by the power of love. Heartbreak happens in Malaysia, Brazil, Australia, and even Sudan. Connections are occurring everyday in Egypt, Kenya, Austria, and even North Korea. Everyone has their own love story, their own love journey. I will be posting pics on Instagram of these brave souls who shared their stories with me, and some inspiring advice they have for us.
What have you learned about love while on your journey? Let me know in the comments below!
*Check out all things on love on the WanderlustLove tab*