I’ve had very little desire to learn Turkish or get close to new people. Like someone going through a tough break-up, I’ve kept this new and beautiful prospect at an arm’s length.
I’ve been in Istanbul for over a month and I’m just now getting settled. For the first few weeks in town, I rarely picked up my camera, wrote for this blog, or cared to talk about this place. I went out, ate food, and aimlessly wandered around the city. I didn’t speak with anyone back home, and I didn’t make an effort here. I was lost.
Nepal hit hard. Saying goodbye to those people was difficult.
I travel the way I do because I want to be a part of something. I want to get a sense of how locals feel, and try to understand these foreign places on a deeper level.
The biggest problem with this lifestyle choice is saying goodbye.
I grow attached through genuine relationships, and as a result, when it’s time to leave, it hurts.
Sometimes I wish I were more like other travelers, and just pass through a place, see the sites, collect good Instagram photos and check off another country.
Like sleeping around, it’s fun for a while but eventually the lack of substance and intimacy would bore me to death.
The more I travel, the more I realize that this life is about people, not places.
And it’s for that exact reason why each new adventure has become increasingly difficult.
How would you feel if you knew that the relationships you started came with an expiration date?
Would you protect yourself and your feelings more? Would you grow colder?
I know social media makes it easier than ever to stay connected, but nothing compares to being present.
And the only answer I have to “why does there have to be an expiration date” is the ultimate internal battle between ambition and relationships.
The devastation we witnessed in Nepal, and bonds formed as a result, were no doubt the most dramatic I’ve ever experienced – but this isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way.
Feeling cold and detached is a topic I’ve been trying to write about for a long time.
Saying goodbye to amazing people has made it harder for me to meet new ones. This includes leaving family and friends back home for months on end.
On this trip to Istanbul in particular, I’m crippled by the thought of leaving again, and I question the point of getting too involved here.
That’s not good. I’m stuck between not being present and not wanting to get too attached.
I know relationships come and go, and that’s a part of life, but I’m pushing the action at a much faster rate than normal. That’s because my success with this social experiment called Tourist2Townie.com is directly related to the connections I’ve developed while living abroad.
So, what’s the point? Besides the therapeutic act of writing this down, where do we go from here?
I guess my biggest concern is that the people I’ve “left behind” don’t know how much they mean to me.
Each and every relationship has been unique, and they’ve all been either a blessing or a lesson.
I don’t look back very often, but every now and then it’s good just to see who got you here. I cherish the memories I’ve made with the people I’ve been so fortunate enough to meet.
They’ve all helped me develop into the person I am today, and they inspire me to do more.
I strive to create a life filled with substance, based on authentic relationships and experiences.
As for my time in Istanbul, I’m sure this uninspired feeling will subside. I wont let this opportunity be hindered by my precautions…
I’ve started meeting people through pick-up basketball, and just last weekend I shot a crazy food video with a great group of local friends.
I just hope, while I’m constantly traveling and forming new bonds, that the people in my life, both past and present, understand how grateful I am.