Why I Will Always Love Traveling More Than I Love You


Before I even begin, I apologize if this breaks your heart in ways that you didn’t imagine and I don’t understand. You see, as someone who fell head over heels in love with the world, I cannot fathom how you ever expected to stand a chance in this competition. Or why you decided to take it on, being well aware that it’s rigged from the start. You must be a real fool.

What’s worse is that you’re just as much in love with me as I am with the world, something my mind struggles to understand. One person can hardly be as interesting as the prospect of enjoying the myriad offerings of the world.

Forgive me my ruthlessness and brutal honesty. But believe me when I say that people live through far worse each day in the world and come out stronger. In fact, witnessing their hardships on my travels has made me a little indifferent to the ones that don’t match up in magnitude. It’s not fair, I know.

Your problems, my problems and our problems don’t matter as much because there is far worse to loathe and to change. And if we’re stuck here in ‘our little world,’ I’ll never be able to be part of the change that I want to see in the world. I hope you understand why I can’t live in the comfortable bubble you created for us. After all you try to help those you love, don’t you?

Maybe it’s wrong of me to be longing to go back to that time I was in a rickety bus with nothing but darkness outside and the sound of a song whose meaning I did not understand, when your eyes are gazing admiringly upon my face. But that song is stuck in my head, it always has been.

It’s funny how quickly my eyes welled up when I saw a million stars in the night sky on board a ferry sailing across a river, somewhere in Asia. Or the sheer joy and gratitude I felt on a thunderously rainy afternoon when I was rewarded with the sight of a magnificent monastery on top of a mountain at the end of a strenuous hike. The sense of humility I felt when I sat down to eat freshly picked fruit on the forest floor, the spiritual calm that engulfed me as the monks in the village temple chanted and my fascination as I walked through crumbling towns and storytelling alleys. I know I’m not even expected to feel so many emotions. You’ve always told me I’m a little ‘cold’ and I believed it too. But see what the world does to me? This love affair with the world, it’s different from what we could ever have.

It’s more serious. It’s better.

How do I find the right words to tell you, to confess that I’ve poured my heart out to new friends on the road so much more easily than I have to you in the many years I’ve known you? There are no right words to tell you that although they’re all a thousand miles away, they know me better than you do. United by a common affection for the world, it was but natural we would grow so close. I could also try by saying that it was easier to open up to them because they weren’t influenced by who I was before; they accepted me exactly as who I was at the time we met. I’m sorry that sometimes I wish it was one of them I was having a conversation with instead of you.

I may be wrong with all of this, but when you’ve seen and lived all that awakens unexplainably overwhelming emotions inside of you, there is no right or wrong anymore. I can’t blame you for picturing your whole world in one person. Even if it’s the wrong person. But please know that I’ve seen too much of the world to picture it falsely anymore. I can’t picture it in you, or just one person. It’s just so much more than that and it blows my mind like you can’t even imagine. I hope someday you can experience a love so fulfilling.

The wild flowers on the trails, the curious eyes of children in the windows, the sweet sounds of unfathomable tongues, the brightly colored market streets, the enthusiastic waves of the vendors and the aromas of street kitchens beckon to me in my dreams. Even when I’m wide awake. That is why I will always love the world a little more than I will love you.

featured image – Bill Dickinson