Being in a long-distance international relationship can suck, simple as that. There is one cool benefit though: the chance to travel and meet up in new places!
The time difference, the midnight phone calls, not to mention just being APART. Being in an international long-distance relationship can drive you and everyone around you insane. My friends and family can attest to that. After living through 6 years of angst, I know they hope I don’t ever have to do it again.
I’m currently in Finland because I went to a conference about entrepreneurship, a topic that interests me greatly. Meeting lots of new people also meant sharing my story and learning theirs. I love the cultural exchange, it’s one of the most satisfying elements about international meet-ups.
I mentioned to one of the girls from the conference that J and I had been apart for just as many years as we had been in the same country. She couldn’t believe I managed it (neither could I). At some point during the discussion I realised that although it was excruciating then, the long-distance also gave me some incredible experiences and character-building strength. Life would have been very different if I hadn’t met him.
One of the offshoot benefits was that we had the chance to meet up in the most unexpected of places. These are a few:
Cambodia – Hong Kong – China
Technically, this was the first time we ever had to ‘reunite’. During the summer of 2007, I went off with two girlfriends on a hectic trip through Vietnam and Cambodia. So that we could spend some of the summer together, J met us in Cambodia. After gazing at the relics of Angkor Wat, we went to Sihanoukville where we were robbed twice in two days. We then hazed our way through a completely unplanned backpacking trip through Southeast China, visiting Hong Kong, Hunan and Guizhou province (where we saw twenty men building a house without nails).
It was a real adventure. Thinking back, I don’t think I could ever be so unplanned again.
An Aussie friend and I travelled to Morocco and then hitchhiked our way to Southern Spain. There, we met up with J, who flew from Denmark to Malaga. The old mountainous town of Benal Madena was our base, since his grandma lives there. Granada, Seville, cosy warm evenings in tapas bars…heaven.
China – Tibet
After a couple of months apart, imagine trying to spend some quality time with your partner while he is working as a tour guide with 15 other tourists (including his parents)! J’s parents and I had jumped on board his tour around China. The highlight was taking a 2-day train ride from Beijing to Tibet, a place which has amazing stark nature and a unique culture.
Canada – USA
I was in Canada and USA for work, and Jonas met up with me halfway through the trip. He entertained himself while I was working during the day. There was time to play, too. We had some time to eat some incredible food, see Toronto, Niagara Falls, and the diverse architecture of Chicago.
Have I convinced you that there are some benefits to having a long-distance relationship? =)
I should also mention while sitting here writing this in Finland that this is the first time that I have been apart from J for a week and counting and I STILL HAVEN’T MISSED HIM! It’s because I know I will see him again soon =)