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Are Short Term Friends Worth it?

February 26, 2014

sleeping booty tileHey kids! Turns out I’ve been wandering Europe for two weeks! Only 18 more to go! Every day so far has been nonstop packed with sightseeing or friend making so I’m appreciative to be sitting on a relaxing 9 hour bus ride from Edinburgh to London, even though I’ll get in at 10pm and have no idea where I should stay. Eh, I’ll figure something out.

Leaving my family was difficult (goodbyes aren’t my strong suit) and I’m more homesick than I expected but in all this trip has already been everything I wanted and more. Merskank eased my transition, meeting me in London and showing me around Oxford for a week before I joined a 5 day bus tour of Scotland’s Highlands, finishing off with two days in Edinburgh with friends of a friend. It’s been crazy, testing both my physical and mental limits and now I’m embarking on almost two full weeks alone with no plan to speak of. It’s been a lot to process and I have to admit I’m not sure really how I’m feeling.

Speaking of not really processing things… I met this guy. He was one of the many Aussies on the 5 day bus tour and we hit it off, becoming more or less inseparable by the end of the trip, sharing meals and going for long walks alone. He’d wait for me to get off the bus and try to be manly by telling me where to step as we climbed down muddy mountains. We were always on the same team for pool (even though I’m terrible) and we hid under his umbrella together more times than I can remember. Nothing really happened, both of us hesitant to make a real move with an impending forever separation and while I enjoyed the attention, part of me also knew that we weren’t really that compatible. He’s traveling for a few months too but in the opposite direction; I liked him, but not enough to change my plans.

Anyway it ended rather abruptly seeing as the guys who were walking me to my weekend friends wanted to catch the sunset view so all we had was a quick hug and an awkward, “Okay bye! Thanks for being cool,” before I rushed out of his life – most likely forever. Logically I know it was good nothing more happened, and especially good that the tour didn’t last a few more days because then something definitely would have, but emotionally I’m feeling sort of disappointed, already missing the feeling of having someone be mine.

If you’ve read my other posts you’ll know I have no relationship experience, and that my love life is consistently peppered with almosts like this one, which, while meaningful, aren’t really easy to talk about or understand. Things like this can’t really be summed up in ‘did you or didn’t you?’ or ‘did you love him?’ or ‘is he more important than the others?’ He mattered, but isn’t… the one.

Life is made up of so many millions of magical moments and this week I just happened to have a lot of them with a guy I felt connected to in most of the ways. I’m glad I met him and I’m glad I know what I deserve, but what I don’t really know how to do is move forward from here.

On our last night together we all stayed up late drinking and playing games; I taught the group card games and they made fun of my pool skills until I sunk three in a row. He and I talked alone in the corner and moved in closer together when the rest joined us, throwing elbows and touching legs whenever we could. It was a great night and I felt like I not only fit well with him but also belonged to the group – our guide telling us that he’d never seen a tour get so close so fast.

It was 1am when my guy left the group to go to bed and I could tell he wanted me to follow. There was a ruin just a few blocks away that I’d mentioned wanting to explore, all I had to do was tell him it was happening, or yawn and say, “yeah I’m tired too.” Instead I smiled up at him and said goodnight, turning back to my card game and staying up another hour or so laughing with our new friends.

When I got back to my room I felt torn, emailing the guy I’d met studying abroad in Greece a few years earlier instead of going to wake my Aussie. In the email I told my ex how familar everything had felt this week and how I’d just passed on a chance to recreate what he and I had had (we’d gotten together at a ruin after traveling together for a few weeks). I told him I just couldn’t, that this shorter trip and newer guy couldn’t ever top our experience, that I didn’t want to add this new guy to my list of people I miss. I told him I missed those epic moments we’d shared.

I was semi drunkish and it was too late to be considered a friendly hello, but I’m glad I sent it, getting a very kind message back from him in reply. He reminded me moving forward doesn’t alter the past and that our best moments should open up life for us instead of close it off. He was right so I spent most of the next day flirting with my guy and solidifying the friendships I’d made with the others on the tour.  Choosing to make good friends, knowing full well I’d have to leave them.

I don’t know where I’ll go from here. To be honest these last few days have been hard without the people I’d toured with, and I struggled to create the same intimacy with my weekend hosts as I’d found with my tour kids. Maybe it was these more reserved girls or maybe it was me, subconsciously I’m sure I hoped to keep them at an arm’s length so it wouldn’t hurt so much to say goodbye again. I hope that isn’t true, and I hope I work hard to stay away from that in the future, because as much as I miss the moments and people that used to be in my life, I wouldn’t give any of them up to avoid the hurt that came from letting them go.

So the moral of this post is hopefully this trip will be full of many more of such moments, where I’ll feel connected to and part of the lives of other people for whatever amount of time we’re allowed. I know now that making friends is easy – it’s the leaving them that hurts.

I think I’m strong enough to keep trying, but we’ll see; four and a half months is a long time.

 

(p.s. I slept on the streets of London last night since the train and bus stations are closed from 1-5am… Now I’m on a bus to Brussels! Any tips on what to see or where I should go next?!)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2014 7:14 pm

    Huzzah! Great to hear an update from your awesome adventure. I’d say when you’re on a 5 month solo trip temporary friends are definitely worth it, even though you know you won’t be able to keep in touch with everyone forever. Also, sleeping on the streets of London sounds bad-ass. And cold.

    • February 27, 2014 1:49 pm

      it was mostly cold. but there were 50lb hotels everywhere that i decided i was too bad ass for. so yes. epic. i mostly wandered the streets in the rain. it was beautiful.

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