There’s Long Distance Love and then There’s Love of Long Distances
Travel, my friends! Travel, my enemies! Travel, my old piano teacher who had her very own lamppost on her driveway! Whoever you are, seriously, just get yo travel on.
Let’s face it. We’ve all binged enough Netflix, devoured enough generic romance films (come on. Don’t pretend that you haven’t sat in your stale pants, surrounded by Caramac buttons, sobbing over the scene in Love Actually where Nanny McPhee finds out Snape is having an affair) to know that long distance love is a bit of a sketchy topic.
So, we’re going to avoid that completely, okay?
On the other hand.
Perhaps one of my favourite topics ever:
The love of long distances.
Otherwise referred to as: wanderlove.
We all want to travel. It’s an innate desire of ours, a fundamental part of us, like the steady flow of our blood, constantly moving, always in search of a new corner of our bodies to explore. It’s never stationary, even when we are. Which is why, where possible, we shouldn’t be either. Our bodies function better when we’re moving, when we’re alert and learning and exploring. Because we all love to travel, regardless of the length or duration. And if you don’t, then you simply haven’t journeyed to the right places, that’s all. Trust me on that.
It’s simply the act of discovering every pocket of this world, searching for the places that resonate within us, the beat of their existence matching the beat of our heart.
And like with foods, like with books and films and certain types of sunglasses, not all of them will be for you. Not every place you venture to will be up your foreign, cobble-stoned street. But every place you venture to will teach you something. It’s never a mistake exploring the world (unless, of course, the whole of Planet Earth has taken a restraining order out against you, in which case yeah, it’s probably for the best if you stay put).
But yeah, it’s true, those places do exist, sure. The ones that won’t feel right, the ones you wouldn’t considering returning to again. But they are few, rare, a tiny splash in the vast oceans your plane will soar above. The rest of the world, you’ll adore. You’ll find your places — the ones that will feel more than right. They’ll feel like home.
There are a lot of cities and towns and countries and gift shops that you can go to in this world, and your footprints will be left all over them. But then there’s some, some places where you press your hands into the sand, but you’re not just leaving your hand-print, leaving your mark. It’s like you’re actually holding hands with your surroundings. Like the sand is sliding it’s grainy fingers through yours and just like that you’re in love. You forge this inexplicable bond, between person and place, like the elements that swirled together to form the canals and the coffee cups that you adore so violently are the very same elements stitched into your skin. It’s like it was made for you, made from you, made alongside you.
You will have that place. You might even have a few. You just need to go find them.
It’s just like zipping over to Tesco to do your Big Shop for the week, roaming the aisles in search of the foods that set your soul on fire – the Muller rice and the Maryland cookies and the Heck chicken sausages – filling your trolley until the packet of Emmental almost slips over the edge, because you need your food, you need the healthy, the happy snacks that keep you going. That keep you alive.
Travel, like food, is vital to survival.
I know. Bit bloody dramatic, that.
And granted, yeah, you caught me, I am massively swept up in the whirlwind (the gentle French breeze) that is the mountain top in France, where I’m currently perched, book in hand and croissant crumbs in lap, overlooking the lake, the travel bug scurrying beneath my skin and tickling away at my heart.
I am overwhelmed by where I am. It’s beautiful in a way you don’t even realise exists. It’s like discovering a new colour. It’s not one you ever realised you needed in your life until your eyes seek it out and suddenly everything is so much brighter. This pocket of France might possibly be the core of the universe, and everything has exploded to life because of it.
That might not be the case for you, of course. Perhaps the network of streets in Barcelona, weaving in and amongst the breakfast bars and the museums, maybe that’s your central point, maybe that’s the star in which your solar system revolves. Maybe it’s your local library, or that specific seat in the left corner of the cinema, the one that reclines, the one where you found that unopened bag of Haribo Supermix, ya sneaky fella, you.
But here, right now, this is my place.
Wandering around, weaving in and out of the charming buildings and trying my very best not to be taken out by a stream of bionic cyclists, I keep thinking to myself yeah, this feels right. This feels like home.
It’s like when you finally discover what your perfect cup of tea is. One sugar, splash of milk, two to twelve caramel filled dark chocolate digestives. That’s the one.
And I don’t think life – a good one. A memorable one. One that glows bright against the backdrop of space, forever – is worth living without that perfect cuppa.
Without exploring the world.
You weren’t lumped on this planet in order to remain confined to one segment. Your story is not crammed onto one single, lone page. There’s a whole planet out there, pal. It’s important that you do what you can, whenever you can, in order to find your places.
Whether that’s two sugars, coconut milk, or a splash of Jack Daniels that you prefer in your tea – you just need to go figure it out. Find it, embrace it, let your home expand and encompass all corners of the Earth.
Trust me on this, okay?
There’s a whole lot of distance out there. A crap tonne. Some places will slip by unnoticed and some will capture your heart. They are literally sat out there, sizzling beneath the foreign sun, being trampled by ravenous pigeons on a rampage for chips, ready and waiting for your arrival. All you’ll need is your passport and a couple spare pairs socks — because the ones you’re currently wearing?
They’re about to get blown off.
(By the beauty of the world, I mean. Not a sock-specific bomb).