Excuse me for a while as I discuss, not destinations we’ve recently explored or discovered, but a topic that is nonetheless close to my heart: love.
My friends would often joke about the perks of traveling, specifically meeting a special person unexpectedly on a seemingly ordinary out-of-town (or country) trip, a common fantasy likened to Jesse meeting Celine on a train ride or, if you’d prefer it, Mace meeting Anthony in the airport. During these discussions, Hali and I would often be cited as a real-life example.
Hali and I met through travel. Specifically, it was in a voluntourism event in Jomalig Island last summer, where we were both volunteers. I signed up because I wanted to see the purported “golden” sands in Jomalig; he joined since a part of his social advocacy is to promote and document outreach events.
We chatted and found that we clicked. The rest was history.
Can you find love while traveling?
I believe that the answer is both yes and no. Let me explore this a little bit.
To start with, let’s just say that I had my share of heartbreaks, the last one a short rollercoaster relationship with a serial womanizer who left me reflective about my life.
During this period of limbo, I consulted a few tarot readers, one of which told me that I would meet the next guy the following year (this was in 2014). Another one repeated this, adding I would meet him on a travel trip. We talked about my ex-boyfriend for a while, and while I was sniffing through a wet handkerchief, he said, “Don’t wait for the right one. He’ll come when you’re ready.”
Over the next several weeks, I busied myself with mountain climbing and joining group travels where I was basically a stranger to everybody. A former homebody who locked herself up in her room reading and watching movies on weekends, I started going out more.
Over a coffee session, a close friend of mine, Andrew, said he was glad that I’d started exploring but that, instead of traveling to escape, I should build a life I would go back to. His words would ring back to me in the months to come.
The next several months were kind of a blur. I finally sorted some things in my life; if I were to give an analogy, I imagine it would be like finally getting up to arrange a scattered set of pencils over a cup. After years of searching for a job that I like doing, I finally switched from communication to software engineering. I started with meditation and Buddhism, I participated in outreach events and friendly meetups. I started to do little things on weekends, like baking.
I used to miss being with a partner, to have someone to curl up with during bed weather. Somehow this sentiment was forgotten over time. I was happy and my own person.
On one occasion, I had the chance to chat with a foreign tarot reader and I asked if I would meet someone in the future. He remarked that despite my question, he could see that I was content with my status, in his own words an “It is what it is” attitude. “You will meet someone within the next six months. I have a feeling that this is someone with an active lifestyle, a sports, maybe?”
On April that summer, I met Hali.
Previously, I really hadn’t believed it when married people would say they found their respective partners just when they stopped looking. I dismissed it as a story and nothing more.
But that, I guess, is the only way to describe my meeting with Hali. I wasn’t looking for love, just enjoying the summer. One of my first impressions with Hali is that he is a happy person as well. If I were to close my eyes and imagine seeing him for the first time, I could visualize him sitting on the top deck of a cargo boat, with a bright light in the chest area. So far, I have seen this light on people only a few times.
I guess this, being happy with ourselves, what Bo Sanchez was referring to when he said we should fill our love tanks first. “Happy people create happy relationships,” he said in one of his talks.
Similarly, I think this fits perfectly with the law of attraction. If you focus on the feeling of lack or what’s missing, the universe will reflect that back to you. On the other hand, if you have sufficient self-love, you will attract love.
So I think the more important question is not, Can you find love by or during travel, because you can and you can’t. I think the right question to ask is, Are you ready?
I had thought twice (and thrice and more) before writing this. Although I have several photos of me uploaded online, this seems to be more personal, something I would like to keep to myself or those around me. However, I decided that this might be a good read to a select audience, especially to those hoping to meet their own Celine/Jess or Mace/Anthony.
I think our society is a romantic love-obsessed one, so much that being single is a big deal. When we’re single, it seems like we have to defend ourselves for being so, that we have to invent acceptable answers such as, “Focus muna ako sa career ko,” “Di pa ko ready,” and the likes.
The happiness of being on your own is rarely discussed, much more entertained in conversations.
I am not saying I have found my “happily ever after,” only that I found a good person to love and love me back. (After all, don’t we pro-actively choose who “the one” is). I think the chances of meeting a good partner would be slim had I been needy or vibrated an aura of incompleteness, no matter where I go.
So I guess what I’m saying is, let’s love ourselves first and foremost. And let’s travel not to seek love but as an expression of love for ourselves.
Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).