I’ve seen articles, posters, and all types of merchandise using “Catch Flights Not Feelings” as a motto to comment on the idea of motivating young people to explore the world and visit new places, instead of looking to develop an emotional connection to someone and committing to staying put in the pursuit of emotional stability from a relationship.
Sounds cool right? Rebellious almost, to defy conventional standards of searching for a partner and instead searching for an adventure. I am always going to rave about the importance of independence and acknowledgement of self-love. Especially as I am 100% guilty of doing just this – taking a gap year to travel, look out for myself, and grow as an individual instead of facing the realities of life.
However, I think while I will advocate the general outlook the quote promotes, “catching flights” is so much more than escaping feelings. Travel is full of emotions – all sorts of ups and downs as you develop connections to the places and memories being made on your journey. And what about the people? Feelings can’t be avoided when you’re meeting new people every single day – from your new best friend to being not-so-fond of the polar opposite characters to you. And, if you’re as lucky as me, you might just catch those feelings after all.
That’s right, I did a Cuckoo and came home smitten. I met an awesome and now vital person in my life way back yonder near the beginning of my extended travels. So what happens when you meet your partner on your travels? Why are we limiting travellers to riding solo the whole way? Here’s why I think people should be encouraged to succumb to their feelings and give it a go.
First of all, meeting Kazimir didn’t make me stop travelling. I had another 4 months planned out, and wouldn’t have given that up for anything. Of course leaving him behind was hard, but I was living my life and, with or without feelings, anyone can do that – and if you can’t then they’re not right for you. Meeting him on my travels meant he saw me at a unique point in my life. I was free, I was relaxed. But I was also scruffy and disorganised. He saw my best and worst all at once and somehow after months of getting to know each other more we found something worth trying.
Finding someone special in the middle of quality “me time” sounds like an oxymoron. How can I have been finding myself if what I found was a boyfriend? Maybe it was good timing, but maybe being my true self and feeling my most confident helped form a connection that works. And when I left to move on to more adventures I carried on discovering more about myself, all while growing a relationship with someone incredible at the same time.
Managing a long distance relationship is hard. Like, really hard. And we couldn’t be more long distance if we tried. What’s not so hard is knowing I get to explore new places and revisit old favourites as part of our time together, how cool is that?
Now I find myself catching flights because of feelings. Instead of it stopping me doing what I want and continuing to explore the world it’s allowing me to see even more, and in particular a country I adore (which just so happens to be his home). Feelings don’t have to stop you travelling, sharing your life with someone doesn’t make you any less of a traveller and should never hold you back from what you want to achieve, as either an individual or as part of a couple. I live the way I want and being a part of a couple that was formed from my travels has only amplified that desire.
So don’t run away from feelings, run head first towards them if you get the chance, whether that’s around the corner or on the other side of the world – you’ll regret the things you don’t do instead of the things you do and that goes for both flights and feelings. Focussing on you can be the perfect chance to find happiness in yourself as well as with those you choose to be surrounded by. Love yourself, and allow yourself to love others too.