What I Learned About Love After Traveling To 30 Countries In Five Years

Mantas Hesthaven
Mantas Hesthaven

My name is Erica. I am twenty-five years old.

I have travelled to 30 countries in the past five years and I have worked in 6 different ones. I have boarded over 200 flights and I have talked with countless strangers. I have made my way through the world and finally I have found my peace.

Once I found it, I decided to head back where it all started.

I went back home and found everyone right where I had left them, just further in their lives. It took me a while to realize it but I finally had a firm grasp of it: when I looked around, all I could see was couples. Most of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances were in relationships. Some of them were about to get married and some others already had kids. Whenever I said something about their lives moving quite too fast forward, somehow they all mentioned my age.

“You’re 25, you should feel it by now”
“Come on, haven’t you ever thought about getting married? You’re already 25!”

I am 25 and no, I have never thought about it. So I thought about being 25, and I couldn’t help comparing me to my mum when she was my age: my parents met when they were teenagers and my mum got pregnant when she was twenty-four, having me at the age of twenty-five.

I freaked out.

Then I tried to put my fears to rest. I told myself I had fully lived the past five years of my life. I had worked hard in order to become a person I liked to be. I had succeeded at being by myself without ever feeling lonely.

But I still was back home where I felt all of this meant nothing to people. I was alone. This was all they could see. I could see my family getting worried of me growing old and lonely and my friends starting to make plans to pair me up with some single friends of theirs.

Like love could be that planned.

When I got back home, I felt I was not suitable for the life I used to have there. That is when I started digging up past relationship in order to understand what went wrong and whether something was still there to be fixed. It was pathetic: I approached my ex boyfriends, I met up with them and I talked about the past. Needless to say it didn’t take long till I figured out how useless yet so painful all that was.

The worst part was that all those people got into my head: I started getting extremely worried about ending up alone until I realized one simple thing.

I had been by myself for five years and I had never felt lonely.

I was comfortable being alone. I used to go to the movies alone. I enjoyed my solo trips more than any other thing. I loved going alone for dinner. It had always been pleasant to spend time with myself.

I was not really afraid of ending up alone anymore. I was already alone and I loved it.

I realized I did not need anyone to share his life with me.

Now I only wish I could meet someone who was brave enough to share his solitude with mine.

I want to find someone who is willing to understand that I am happier alone than I ever was in any relationship I have had so far.

This someone will understand that when I choose someone to be by my side, I will make a bold choice and I will make it out of love. It will not be any person, it will be them.

“Dear you,
Wherever you may be.
Do not worry.
There is no rush.
Let’s include as much as we can in our lives before finding each other.
The only way into something is out of something else.
Come to me when you have been everywhere you wish you had.
We will go to more places.”

So, this goes to all of you. The ones who do not have it all figured out. The ones who are eager for adventures. The ones who cannot be silenced by other people’s fears. Do not be afraid of being a mess. There is nothing wrong in being the way you are. Embrace who you are. Be absorbed in the things you love. Find your peace. Eventually you will find your way. But find your peace first (and enjoy the ride). Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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