I wish I could say that making travel one of my top priorities in life has been easy, but it hasn’t always.
I am sure that many people who read this post will disagree with me, and that is fine; but in my experience, making travel a top priority just cannot come without other sacrifices. Such sacrifices can present in many forms, including money, stability, career, family, love and more.
I have written before about juggling the two passions in my life – midwifery and travel – and though it is hard, when considering only those two particular passions, I think that I have managed to carve out a fairly balanced life for myself. My time is distributed fairly evenly between both catching babies and planes. I spend half the year up to my elbows in amniotic fluid and the other half unable to close my purse because it has become too full of old boarding passes. It’s busy, it’s insane and it’s hard work, but it certainly isn’t a bad way to live.
However, when I look at my life on a larger scale, I have to admit, being so focused on these two areas of my existence has resulted in a few other parts becoming casualties along the way; and this is especially true when it comes to my love life.
Describing my love life as a train-wreck would be one of the biggest understatements of the year.
So can I completely blame travelling for my lack of a normal love life?
As much as I would like to say ‘yes’, that would not be completely true. There are numerous things that contribute to me being a failure in the relationship department.
I am not great at compromise. I am so used to being on my own that my independence has driven people away. Special shout out to the guy who dumped me because – and this is a direct quote – “you are so independent that it makes me feel emasculated”. I am always choosing the wrong people and I find it really hard to fall in love.
However, despite travel not being the sole cause of my ‘more often than not single’ status, it definitely plays a role.
Meeting someone is really hard when you travel and work as much as I do. I work mostly night shifts and when I am on nights, I sleep all day long. When I am not working, I am travelling. On the rare occasions when I am not working or travelling, I am writing, editing photos, answering emails, planning upcoming adventures and catching up on The Walking Dead.
Even if I do manage to meet someone, then I have to deal with the fact that dating me, well, it kinda sucks.
I am never around. I get bored easily. When I say I want to travel, 9 times out of 10 I want to do it on my own and not with whoever I am dating. I work really weird hours. I might meet someone wonderful only to find out that they want completely different things in life, and I refuse to compromise, even just a little bit. I am endlessly stubborn and at the end of the day, I am always thinking about my next adventure instead of my significant other. Always.
It’s not that I’m cold, it’s just that there are other things in my life that mean so much more to me.
For the most part, spending a life alone suits me. I need alone time more than I need ‘people time’ and I really do enjoy my own company. I almost never feel lonely and I have never, not once, found myself truly longing for a ‘normal’ love life.
That being said, it can be hard to watch everyone around you hit all these stereotypical milestones. My friends seem to all be suddenly in relationships with the people they will most likely marry, or they are getting engaged or actually are already getting married. They are moving in with their partners, they are buying houses, they are getting puppies and they are even having babies.
My friends are doing all the things that society expects them to do, and despite loving the path I have chosen, it is hard not to feel a little bit like I am getting left behind.
But, even though I do feel like I am getting a bit left behind sometimes, and despite having some days where I do find myself cuddling a baby at work and thinking that maybe I could want one of my own, such a life just wouldn’t suit me.
As much as I love being in love – I’ve never met someone who I loved enough to make them a higher priority than adventures. It is possible that I have not yet met the right person, but I think it is more likely that seeing the world is so important to me that I will never meet someone who trumps travel. Though that may not sound ideal for everyone, I am okay with it.
At the end of the day, travel may have killed my love life, but it has given me a love of adventure, a passion for exploring and a life that is endlessly exciting. For that, sacrificing a normal love life might just be worth it.