It’s not every day you meet someone who changes your life. Looks into your eyes with the kind of intensity that throws the planets out of whack. Lights your skin on fire with the spark of a single touch. Someone who just gets it. And allows you to be the flailing beautiful mess of chaos you really are and for some reason still likes you. Loves you, even.
It’s not every day you meet someone like that. But when you’re living on the road, traveling full time or even every couple of months, it feels like every day that you’re leaving. Leaving something, someone, somewhere. A part of your heart cast away, sandy on the beach where you fell in love as you sail away, bags in tow. On to the next adventure.
And so, an open letter to those boys we’ve left behind.
The ones sitting by our hearts on the beach, watching us sail away. The ones who cried at the airport while we simultaneously stifled our tears and tried to contain the excitement for our next big trip. The ones who wrote us letters, sent us flowers, told us “I love you,” way too soon and held on too tight to any inkling of hope that we might we back.
And we, the crazy in a good way, travel obsessed, bright eyed, adventure hungry, flailing beautiful messes. We, who live in color so brightly that those boys often fade to gray, becoming just another black and white square in the never-ending filmstrip of our lives. We, the ever broken hearted and ever inspired. The passionately alive.
To the sweet, sweet boys we’ve left behind:
It’s not you… it’s us.
We felt it too. We felt it all.
Those summer nights spent under the night sky contemplating the universe. The looks we’d exchange across a room in the middle of a party, our own inside joke. The lazy afternoons we’d spend cuddling in a hammock and arguing about stupid things that didn’t matter just for something to do.
The deep conversations and the things we shared with only each other. The “oh-my-god-my-side-is-killing-me” kinds of laughing fits. The disgustingly romantic walks on the beach at sunset where you shared an ice cream cone and hated to admit to yourself how you much you were in absolute bliss.
The excitement of exploring a new person. A new personality, new background, new ticks and quirks, new interests. A new sense of comfort. New lips. New skin.
The newness starting to slowly fall into cozy familiarity.
Yeah, we felt it too.
But we’re afraid of the familiar. Afraid that we’ll get too comfortable and lose the fire that propels us forward. And what are we without the burning, sparkling fire within us? We’re afraid to find out. We’re not ready just yet.
Not ready to settle down, make a commitment. Not ready for a house, a dog. A ring.
It’s an affliction really, this wanderlust. The desire to always be somewhere we’re not, yearning for the next exotic destination. New tastes, new scenery, new friends. New loves.
It’s like something takes hold of you and won’t let go. Visions of endless white sand, crystal clear waters and coconuts with straws popped in them dance in your heads. Epic mountaintops with the crispest air that invigorates your lungs with the feeling of being truly alive. Or that one deep connection with a local when you need it the most that reminds you in your darkest of days, why you choose to live the way you do.
You get antsy. Your feet start to jiggle, you have trouble listening. All you can think about is your departure date and what lies on the other side of your next flight. You mindlessly flip through the pages of your passport, smelling it, dreaming of your next set of stamps.
You are completely seduced by a vortex of the unknown. Entranced by a desire to learn. Experience. Feel. Explore.
And so that’s why we leave, we can’t help it. We don’t know how not to leave.
This is not an easy life to live. It’s expensive. It’s inconvenient. It’s emotionally and physically exhausting. It may be the sweetest affliction, but it still hurts.
So in the meantime, we’ll book our next flight. We’ll wipe away our tears and cry ourselves to sleep, write you poems and visit you in our dreams. We’ll watch your new relationship unfold on Facebook and recognize how she’s everything we’re not.
She’s a sure thing. Someone you can count on not to jump on a plane the next time an airline has a sale. She’s everything we’re not and everything you need. And we can’t blame you.
And so, to the boys we’ve left behind,
We’re sorry. For luring you in, for hurting you. For telling you like a love lost story to our friends when you were so much more than that. For not responding to the messages, for being out of touch, for acting like we don’t care.
We care. We wish we didn’t, but we do. You fill the pages of our notebooks and our wandering hearts with so much love. You make us who we are.
But for now, we’ll spend our time chasing adventure through the hills of Central America, basking under the stars of the Sahara Desert, lighting off thousands of lanterns in Thailand and letting our memory flicker with your smile, your easy laugh.
You hold a special place in our hearts, one that we like to revisit late at night when we’re all alone in a foreign country. We hope you don’t forget us. Because we haven’t forgotten you.