Set sail and learn a thing or two about the lasting potential with your honey. Few things can teach us about compatibility like the petri dish of travel.
I’m not sure I would have believed anyone who predicted I would have my own successful business, living in NYC before I met someone special, reassuring me I may not die single and alone. No matter how much we’ve invested in interpersonal work and soul searching, when love arrives, it is sure to make an entrance.
It’s not the announcement of love that is the opportunity to learn about new possibilities of a partnership, however—it’s the opportunities that we say yes to in order to discover something new and meaningful.
Inspired by a new love interest, I did just that.
I said yes to a trip to Europe to give us time to enjoy and learn more about one another. We’d enjoyed an initial courtship—complete with date nights, texts of our favorite music and feverish impatience when separated by travel. As ready as we could be a few months after dating, we decided a trip, originally intended to be solo, would now be an opportunity to learn more about our chance at love and friendship. My conditions were that my business—which is designed to be virtual or stationery—was coming with me.
This lab of hope and emergence taught me about what kind of friend I am, mirrors that reflect things I love, and contrarily, things I feel provoked by, and my dreams.
It’s easy, just jump in and follow your heart.
This is a cliché approach to a sometimes complex period of time. People interested enough in traveling to Europe together to learn about one another and nurture a relationship need to understand a trip shortly after dating will present opportunities for growth for better or worse. While globetrotters understand the dos and don’ts of sharing space, every couple will have specific lifestyle needs and a vision for what makes them feel like they are going in a direction that feels like home.
What is easy to one person may be difficult for another, so it is well advised to understand jumping in often refers to deep water where you have to sink or swim.
This is what you wanted, isn’t it?
Sure, a romantic trip inspired by a soul connection is the idea for anyone who felt trapped by singles purgatory, but it’s not meant as a reason to not talk about needs and values. A conscious approach to dating means we are considerate towards ourselves as much as we are about a partner. For many, the more invested in relationships we become the more fears threaten happiness and balance. While trust may have been generously awarded during initial stages of a courtship, the next stage could land one or both back at square one when it comes to trusting. Love is inevitably what ready singles want, but exploring what it means for everyday living and our overall happiness makes it something we are glad we made a long term investment in.
Is this really my human?
Beyond chemistry, enjoying romantic getaways and being good conversationalists we all need to ask ourselves if this is the right life partner. First we have to define that for ourselves by asking what we need and what we have to offer. Setting a foundation for friendship means the conversations and ah-ha moments about love, life and partnership are about discovering where the relationship is—and, when it is time, where it is headed. Two people committed to exploring the possibilities will enjoy the wonderment of discovery and romance, but will also be open to the answers that arrive from the universe, the dreams they have and the feeling that is guiding their heart.
Get messy if you have to.
Love, or the promise of it, is not intended to make us feel like our freedom is arrested or like we have to walk on egg-shells for fear of scaring it away. When it is a right fit, it’s resilient rather than fragile, so don’t be afraid to lay it on the table and share candid feelings. If you’ve met someone special and decided to hop a plane to shake off everyday existence and invest in what could be, it likely means the courteous disagreements about fundamental differences may turn to fully lived and sometimes heated exchanges. It’s important to define how to have a difference of opinion that leads to useful insight and also establish what exploring personal truth means for each person.
Remember love is not an obligation.
With the promise of a blossoming love and the hope of keeping the connection as sweet as when it began, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of feeling responsible for other people’s feelings. As familiar of a default as it may seem, it’s actually fear that makes us feel we have to do anything in order to receive love. The best thing about fear is it dissolves when we have conscious, meaningful conversations about it with the person we are falling for and learning to trust. As it moves from our sub-conscious, where it has all of its power, it arrives to our conscious where we have the power to work through it and realize how we’re more ready than we think to let positive growth inspire a new sense of courage.
The biggest challenge for lovers can be change itself.
It is integrated into everything we do. Often, even destination gifts with the promise of new scenery can have an unexpected dose of moving parts. Relationships are about building, which can often feel like major renovations when we anticipated a quick paint-and-spruce. We’re often conditioned to assume entering into a relationship or dashing off to Europe with a love interest is just what the doctor ordered, when it really means deep self exploration that moves us on every level.
Be who you are.
Stepping into something new—especially after a decade-long dating drought—means your quirks, your needs, your fears, your hopes and your unique offerings are welcomed and revered. When we are in love we cook, we clean, we nest, we fuss, we troubleshoot and grapple with life. Coexisting means staying immersed in your sense of life purpose while you dreaming with someone new. Whether you are far from home on a romantic getaway or in the same house you grew up in, it’s important to consider love between two people is where we plant it; the seed goes in the Soul.
I found, after my first two weeks in Europe, that I had come farther in being a friend to myself than I had imagined and that I was ready to commit to being a friend to the right person in my life. The mirrors I saw that made me the most afraid included the feeling of going around in emotional circles manufactured by the mind, rather than trusting progress had begun through my own intention and the support of That Which is Greater than Myself.
I found I’d waited a lifetime to understand that love, care and consideration are real and that I needed to relearn how to enjoy them. I learned that at home or abroad, there is a such thing as my human. And in order to jump in, embrace what could be and to fall, it’s not a bad idea to also have a passport… just in case.
[image: via Leo Hidalgo on flickr]