Inspired by Date a boy who travels.
I could meet him in one of those backpackers’ hostels I frequent during my travels. He’d be hunched over a stack of guides and maps trying to make sense of the foreign land we’re in, or he could be sharing a table with other travellers he just met a few hours before I arrived. He would look as plain as I do, with our comfy shirts and shorts, and those trusty worn-out Converse or trekking sandals. He would look as carefree as he would want to be, a happy deviation from his usual greys and blacks for work.
He would try to strike up a conversation. Maybe ask me where I’m from, or if I’m new to the place as well. Or I could approach him, try to ask directions perhaps. Maybe he’d ask if he can buy me a drink during happy hour, or perhaps I could offer to buy him a beer.
We would share travel stories – from the newbie mistakes to the most unfortunate tales on the road. We would end up laughing at them, but learning from each others misadventures.
Or… I could have known him all my life. Maybe I grew up with him and eventually lost touch. Then one day, I bump into him at a coffee shop away from home. We reminisce, and hit off. Or I could have met him when I was still in university, or out on the streets back when I was still part of the student movement. Or maybe, we were thrown out at the same beat before. Or he could be a friend of a friend. For now, I’m not really sure.
But what I’m certain of – he would be someone who also aches to experience the world. Like me, he does not want to be a ‘tourist’ when he travels, but he longs to become a ‘local’.
Sometimes he travels to escape, which I also do, and finds nothing wrong with that. He loves what he does back home, loves his job and all the shitty things that come with it, but recognises the need to getaway sometimes.
But most of the time, he travels so he can grow. He knows that the world is the best teacher, and that he hungers to learn and experience all the world can offer.
We would go places as a couple, but he would not hold me back from seeing the world alone. Instead, he would be as excited when I plan that solo trip to some beach I have been eyeing forever, while making me promise that one day we would go back and enjoy the sunset together.
He would want to go climb mountains with his outdoor buddies, and I would not stop him. He will continue to see the world with his friends, so he can continue to grow as an individual. And when he comes home, he will bring back a lot more stories he would enthusiastically share with me over a beer or two. He would tell me how much he enjoyed the trip, but that he was thinking of me, and that he would want me to join him on some of their future climbs.
He would not stop me from jumping off some cliff. Instead, he would want to jump off the cliff with me, basking in that moment of free fall and trusting that it won’t be our last jump together.
When all else fails and I would want to drink my sorrows away, he would not tell me that alcohol solves nothing. Rather, he would head out to the nearest liquor store to buy me my poison – and would be there to share a bottle or two. As I drink all the crap away, he would be there beside me, making sure I don’t do something I’d forever regret – like running out on the street naked. He would listen to all my drunken stories and find them adorable. And when the liquor has done its wonders, he would put me to bed and lay beside me – wrapping me in his arms, an assurance that I am never alone.
And when the morning comes and I’d experience a hangover that would make me swear off alcohol, he would have a glass of water and aspirin ready. No ‘I told you so’ or ‘what good did it bring you’, but a genuine smile and a warm hug to make me feel better.
He’d rather see me face my fears, and get hurt than see me scared for the rest of my life. He would be protective of me, just like how protective he is of everything he loves. He would opt not to stop me from facing my demons but he would make sure to patch up the wounds and kiss the pain away when I fall hard.
Being career-oriented as I am, he would respect what I have earned through my hard work. He would make sure I know how proud he is of what I have achieved. But, he would be my anchor to other things more important than my career. He would be my reality check – that life is more than just my career, and that life is more than just me.
He would be my constant reminder that life is better when it is shared with someone you love. And though our journeys would encounter rough seas, he would hold my hand and remind me not to fight the tide, but to ride the waves.