“I’m scared to come in. They’re going to be so mad at me for kidnapping you.”
“It’s fiiine. If anything, they’ll be pissed at me.”
I had been on a romantic hiatus for two blissful days. My dorm-room bunk had been exchanged for the glory of an air-conditioned queen bed shared with none other than last night’s ridiculously beautiful skater boy covered in tattoos and scars. My friends had officially resigned to the fact that I had just fallen off the earth after many failed attempts to contact me.
Let’s get one thing straight. I have never had a one night stand before; it’s not really my jam. In fact, I politely informed him that I would NOT be having sex with him before he picked me up on the back of his scooter (in typical Balinese fashion).
The last time I drunkenly made out with a fellow traveller led to a beautiful multicultural four-year-long relationship, so my travel-fling compass may have been a bit askew to begin with.
It started out innocently enough, with the old late-night-beers-on-the-beach trick. It wasn’t long until rabid stray dogs scared the living shit out of us, so we quickly retreated back to the scoot and into the air-conditioned glory of his villa. No sex happened. *self-five*
Between the previous night’s inebriated conditions and looking like an absolute troll in the morning, I was sure he’d roll over and promptly dispose of me back to my hostel faster than he could pull his shirt over his head.
However, what he did instead totally caught me off guard. He scooped me into his arms, threw a leg over my hip, and kissed my forehead. Then bought me lunch. Then a coconut. Then dinner. Then we watched a movie. He even voluntarily stroked my sweat-sodden hair. Oh yeah, we did end up *ahem* somewhere in there.
The one-night stand had eluded me once again; this turned into a full-on romantic hibernation. That is, until the inevitable, the dreaded, the departure. His one-way ticket to Sri Lanka sealed our fate. That was that.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because while forming relationships (of all sorts) is inevitable when travelling, nobody warns you of the mini heartbreaks you experience when you are on the wrong side of the cusp of really connecting with someone.
As travellers, we are all different and all the same: perpetually wandering, endlessly smiling and knowingly ignorant to the sheer size this world that we cannot stop exploring.
Our greatest passion becomes our greatest downfall, and it all starts and ends with one word.
Cover by Krista Mangulsone