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Why I’m Glad I Chose Travel Over Love

italy europe

Travel partner-in-crime Lindsay and I taking fun photos at the Duomo in Florence, Italy

“Why do you have to backpack through Europe for the whole summer?”

It was a question Tim had been asking me a lot lately, and one I was frankly getting sick of answering.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because I’ve wanted to do this my entire life,” I replied, agitated.

It’s not that I didn’t understand where he was coming from. I wasn’t happy about having to leave him for the summer, either. The truth was, however, that we’d only been dating for five months, and while things were getting serious I still wasn’t willing to give up a trip that would provide me with amazing experiences and memories I would remember for my entire life.

He sighed. “Just promise me you’re not going to hookup with other guys.”

“I’m not going abroad to hookup with guys,” I reassured him. “I’m going to experience the places themselves. And as I’ve told you before, you’re more than welcome to come along.”

“I would if I could but I’ve got army stuff to do.”

I knew that while we both would miss each other, it would definitely be easier for me as I would be distracted exploring new cities and meeting new people. Still, I was a very loyal girl and would never cheat. I was simply born was an insatiable appetite to travel.

While many of my friends wanted to come on the trip, they all seemed to have other obligations holding them back, mostly significant others. While I understood where they were coming from, I also couldn’t help but feel they were missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

As my flight date approached, Tim and I spent more time together and tried to plan how we would keep in touch while I was away. He also continued to try to get me to cancel my trip. But as much as he begged, I continued to refuse.

One night, I got a phone call from a trusted friend telling me something that broke my heart.

“I saw Tim out last night,” she said, hesitantly, before blurting. “He was with another girl and they were kissing.”

My breathing suddenly became very short. “…Are you sure?”

“I’m sure,” she confirmed. “Jess, I’m so sorry.”

I didn’t even have to process things before I called Tim to ask him for the truth.

“Hey, babe,” he answered, picking up on the first ring. “I was just thinking about you.”

“Are you cheating on me?” I interrupted, speaking quickly and nervously.

He paused for way too long. “What? No. Why would you think that?”

“My friend saw you last night.”

Again came the long silence, followed by manic laughter. “Last time I checked we weren’t engaged.”

“What’s that supposed to mean,” I asked, feeling disgusted.

“It means that until you have a ring on your finger don’t expect the world.”

After I calmed down (and cried in my roommate’s bed for two hours), I began to see the bright side of the situation. Thank goodness I didn’t cancel my trip for him. I had never been more happy with my decision to be independent and live for myself.

Obviously, not everyone’s situation is the same, but there are still lessons to be learned. You only live once, and you need to do what is going to make you feel most fulfilled with your life. If you find someone who can share your love of travel (or whatever it is that you love) than that’s great. However, don’t ever let anyone or anything hold you back from doing what makes you happy.

 

Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

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8 Comments

  1. Ali on August 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Definitely the right decision, even if he hadn’t turned out to be a cheating jerk. I got married last June & moved to Germany to be with him ( we’re both Americans) but I told him from the beginning this was my chance to do a round the world trip. He couldn’t come because he had to work & we didn’t want to be apart for months but it was important to me so we made it work. The right guy will understand & want to go too, even if he can’t. We survived my 5 month trip (saw each other twice during) & travel is still a big part of our lives.

    • jess2716 on August 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      @Ali, thanks for sharing. It’s always nice to hear inspirational stories to remind us long-term travelers that things can work out for the best! 🙂

  2. Alex on August 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    He sounds like a real catch. NOT! (Borat voice). So glad you chose wisely… and had all the pizza and wine in the world to help recover.

  3. jess2716 on August 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    @Alex haha I love you 🙂 And I actually pictured you screaming “NOT!” in a Borat voice when reading that lol

  4. Beth on June 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Girl, I’m so glad you ditched him! Way to stick to your guns. He felt threatened, and did what he thought he had to do to protect his heart. Traveling rules – always go with your gut! (Your heart can be irrational, hehe) I hope you met a better dude along the way and learned a ton about life and yourself 🙂

    • jess2716 on June 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      @Beth- So true. And thank you 🙂 You really do need to always go with your gut!

  5. Josh on January 17, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Definitely just stumbled upon this, but wanted to comment anyway to say I’m proud of you for staying strong in your conviction. I can only imagine the relief you must have felt after the truth was reveled. I hope you are continuing to find joy in your journey. Happy Travels.

    • jess2716 on January 18, 2015 at 5:42 am

      @Josh: Thank you for the kind words. I most certainly am 🙂

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