My Third Month: How Not To Love Whilst Travelling

Happy over 3 months of South American solo travelling to me! Mazal tov and congratulations to myself for somehow muddling myself through this crazy journey virtually unscathed and slightly more brown than usual.

Over the last three months I have been in Colombia, Peru and Chile and then BACK to Colombia, meeting new and old buddies before I work out my next steps. I should also mention that I’ve been on the move since September when I lived in Spain minus ten days I rushed at home – so it feels crazy to me to look back on that and compare where I am right now – eating a terrible meal of quinoa and avocado – so okay my cooking skills haven’t changed but hey ho.

One thing I wanted to ruminate about today was love. Or the idea of love. Aaaaah love …L.O.V.E lurveeee*** cue Ross.

Before you start to think to yourself “she’s 25, what the heck does she know about love” you are quite right, perhaps I know absolutely nothing. But I know a lot about toxic love. I know a lot about holding onto the wrong people for years and years, making yourself ill because it’s better to have someone who causes you anxiety than no one at all. I also know about the intense feelings of manipulation I’ve had to be brutally told I can use to continue to keep someone so I’m not alone. The beauty of having so much time away from everything you know, is that I’ve been given a new slate to start afresh with. I’ve got the time and the determination right now to think about everything I didn’t want to hear my therapist tell me and start to feel it out. Truth is, I don’t WANT to be with someone who makes me feel crazy and nor do I want someone I need to stick my claws in to make stay. I can see clearer now more than ever mistakes I’ve made in the past and sometimes they’re highlighted in other people’s relationships as well. I’m becoming acutely more aware that toxic love and dependency is not just something I’ve experienced or possibly will experience again, but something that is incredibly common and something I know I need to continue working hard on to avoid, to find healthier boundaries in other places. This is not to say I’m cured – I walked out on therapy after 5 years of avoiding this talk, and it’s still not sorted -HOWEVER they say awareness is the first step to recovery, so every time I act a little differently or think a little differently to how I would behave in a relationship five years ago, I give myself an internal high five and see that as a positive change.

Why am I talking about toxic love whilst I’m travelling? Shouldn’t I just be banging whoever, whereever and not giving a damn about much else? Well sure, I mean that’s always a possibility right? You meet a zillion, trillion people always on the go, that you may or may not see again and get drunk, have your fun and boom onto the next. But I’m not really in the mood for that, because I know I’m the sort of girl who can get attached easily. The sort of girl who has two very extreme sides aka meets a boy (blue or green eyes only) gets drunk and either believes his lines of “really, we have a connection, there’s just something different about you” and then either runs very fast away, back to my house of high walls or starts dreaming about the fact that this is the awesome, travel love tale that my Dad will be introducing to a crowd of admirers at my lovely, Jewish wedding.

“Well you know everybody it’s a true love story. They met at a bar drunk off their tits and it was just love at first sight.. well double vision sight because they were just so pissed but still! We’re so proud!”

Across the course of three months travelling and over the last year and a half, I’ve had my fair share of happily, ever afters which then turned into unhappily, terrible disasters when I realised I was only staying with the guys to have someone care about me. I was unbelievably scared of being alone. These weren’t even my own realisations, they were that of my friends who would tell me – and I’m still trying to work that out myself. This is part of the reason I wanted to go travelling by myself – because if I want to conquer my fear of being alone, I might as well throw myself in at the deep end to show I can do this – whilst seeing some gorgeous sites and meeting some great people along the way – am I right?

So why now? Well, recently someone very special to me decided to not be around. And that was communicated (or not communicated) in a way that was silly and surprised me. That hurt, but day by day, reminding myself why I’m travelling, I realised I was going to be okay. I then had a conversation with someone whose partner reminded me in scary ways the person I most definitely was before and the person I never ever want to turn into again – and in that very moment I realised that despite the fact I can be prone to either attaching myself to the wrong person, or not wanting them to leave me, I’ve come SUCH a long way. I’m starting to realise that as much as I can see that someone isn’t treating me with the respect or the love I can give, only slowly and by having some space can I start to have a bit more respect for myself and the courage to tell myself – you deserve someone to treat you better and you should just keep doing your thing until the right one comes along.

Another thing I’m realising along this journey is my need for control. Not control in the sense of controlling what someone is actively doing – because I’ve always hated that kind of shit – but their actions. I’m starting to recognise that actions always speak louder than words, and that despite wishing someone to act differently, they need to come to that conclusion themselves. The more you try and make someone see a different outcome, the more they seem to not do so. Therefore, conclusion 1 million from this realisation is let people do what the fuck they want and it’s none of my business what they choose.

I think for now, as I continue my way – somehow – from Colombia to Bolivia and eventually to my final destination of Brazil, I must continue to feel, write and think about every situation that’s causing something to rise inside me – even if that means that I have to think about some troubling times I’ve had or some barriers I’m now struggling to break. I know full well, that after my latest experiences romantically, I am absolutely scared as hell to meet someone new. I’m trying to find a balance between not imagining myself in some incredible fairy tale with their imaginary romantic bullshit and letting someone in, trusting they won’t break my heart – which is actually really difficult when you’re used to situations where you’ve been heartbroken believing bullshit, and also been broken by trusting the wrong people. I actually have no clue how I can deal with either situation, but for now my focus is just realising my insecurities, recognising my needs and finding positive people to let in. Eventually, I hope that will make going back to therapy an easier and more thoughtful experience and bring me more light in the form of secure, mature relationships. Slowly slowly, poco a poco, it’ll work out for the best ❤️

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