What if you have a boyfriend?

Aug 14, 2014 by

          “Piano, piano,” I advised my friend in response to the ongoing rush he was in throughout Italy.

          “What does that mean?” he asked.

          “Chill,” I loosely translated.

 

***

 

          Different people have different travel styles. Personally, I prefer slow travel. I explore at a relaxed pace, so I’d rather stay to get to know one place than hop cities every few days. I’m not anxious to get anywhere, because I don’t give myself timetables or itineraries to follow. I do whatever I feel like doing whenever I wake up. I don’t feel the need to party every night or be up at the crack of my ass every morning in the name of vacation. I am perfectly happy leisurely walking a city for hours or days to my own goddamn flow.

          When it comes to doing what other people I’m vacationing with want to do, I’m easygoing. I’m open to most activities within my budget. This isn’t just the case on vacation; I’m like this in general. I will do things with friends that I wouldn’t do on my own accord just because they want to. However, I will not bend to the will of someone else’s need for everything to always go their way. I expect compromise. More importantly, I do not like to be rushed.

          Therefore, while in Italy, I solidified my decision that my big trip to Europe will be a solo one. Really, I’ve known this since I decided to make it happen. Now, I’m sure. Everyone travels differently, and I want to travel my own way. If friends want to visit me during a portion of my trip, they’re more than welcome; but overall, it will be my own adventure. I don’t want to compromise when it comes to my dream. I want to do exactly what I feel like doing when I feel like doing it. I want to stay in one spot for as long as I’d like without anyone complaining that they’re bored, or easily get up and go if I’m not happy with where I am. Moreover, I want to meet people, and I meet more people when I’m alone.

          When I discuss my pending solo Euro trip with new people, it typically prompts the same question: What if you have a boyfriend when you decide to leave for Europe? I was most recently asked this by a pair of newlyweds from Etobicoke I met on my flight home from Rome last Friday. I smiled the way I always do when I get this question, because #society. Friends of mine don’t ask. They know me well enough to know it’s not a question. Newbies need an explanation. I’m happy to give it. The answer always leaves them impressed.

          For those of you wondering the same what-if, there is no what-if. I want to travel, and I want to do it solo. I want to move on my own schedule, I want to be motivated to make new friends, and I want to have the satisfaction of knowing I can go it alone. My relationship status does not change that. If I have a boyfriend when I leave, he gets the same courtesy as my friends: he is more than welcome to visit me for a portion of the trip if he wants to (he is not expected to), but he can’t tag along for the entire journey, because it will be my own. Though he will undoubtedly miss me (as I will him), he will be supportive of my need for adventure outside of him, because I wouldn’t commit myself to someone who isn’t. As for his potential need to get on a one-way or live some dream without me, I’ll be his cheerleader. Ambition should not take a backseat to people. I do not exist to lock anyone down or to be locked down. My future relationship will be one of letting each other go. Thus, if I have a boyfriend when I decide to leave for Europe . . .

          I’m.

          Going.

          Anyway.

 

***

 

          “You’re going back to Europe after your trip to Italy, right?” one of my friends asked me as I hugged him goodbye the Thursday of my departure for Rome.

          Confused, I looked back at him blankly. Italy was the only trip I could recall recently booking.

          “For your big trip?” he sparked my memory.

          “Oh, of course!” I assured. “Aw, I love that you know!” I blushed out of flattery.

          “Of course!” he laughed. “That’s your thing.”

 
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