Most of us spend the first half of our lives searching for the one, the perfect match or the ultimate soul mate. And, with the divorce rates edging out successful marriages, it seems as if even when you think you have found your better half, you realize it is just not the case.
But what if we meet multiple soul mates and never talk to them again? Furthermore, what if it is actually a good thing if you don’t?
I just got back from a life-changing, 40-day-long trip through Europe. I would like to say I backpacked, but in reality, I just used a backpack to carry my stuff.
I did “rough” it, though. I didn’t stay in fancy hotels or bed and breakfasts; I bounced from hostel to hostel and booked the occasional Airbnb when I needed to wash my clothes.
This type of atmosphere made it extremely conducive to meeting people on the same type of journey I was, which made it easy to find common ground.
Now, I wasn’t on this trip to meet my foreign prince charming or start this whirlwind romance (not to say I would have turned down the idea if it would have happened), but that wasn’t the case for me.
I was meeting multiple amazing men who I could have fantastic conversations with and enjoy their company; however, I would most likely never speak to them again and that was perfectly okay.
A lot of times, we become hung up on these “perfect” matches, and when the timing doesn’t work out, we harp on it for a while, or at least that is what I used to do.
Backpacking through Europe taught me it is perfectly normal to meet a “perfect match” and not carry on a relationship with him -- here is why:
We all know timing is everything in so many aspects of life, but it is extremely crucial when it comes to meeting a significant other.
It takes both individual lives synching up perfectly for just the possibility of building something long term. Instead of forcing something to work, you can learn so much about yourself if you relish in the time and moment you are supposed to spend with this person.
It is never a bad thing to meet people who leave an impression on your life, even if it is just for a fleeting moment.
I went on a date in Barcelona with a guy from the Netherlands. That's right; just one date, but I will remember it for the rest of my life.
We sat and talked for three straight hours, but he was heading home the next morning. There wasn’t even a chance to hang out more while in the same city, but it is okay.
Through our conversation, he helped me talk through some things, and he probably has no idea how much he helped.
A Building Block
As much as we want to force something, some people are just meant to teach you about what you want and what you don’t.
On this trip, I met multiple men who showed me qualities I would want in a life partner, and a few of them could have been my “what if,” but they weren’t because life didn’t align.
The universe never brings people into your life who aren't mean to be there. As the saying goes, they are either a lesson or love.
I learned travel is important to me, and I would love to find a man who has it as a high priority.
Not everyone finds staying in hostels, not having washed your hair and not shaving your necessary body parts attractive, but I will find one who accepts it as part of my lifestyle.
I also met a lot of men who had qualities I would never want in a partner, but were still fun to spend time with out on the town.
This one is a no-brainer.
I met a man in Amsterdam, and he physically was my dreamboat. (I must have a thing for the Dutch.) The problem? My home town is Los Angeles, CA, and his is a suburb outside of Amsterdam.
I don’t think this takes much explaining.
Yes, there are these storybook romances where you spontaneously pick up and move across the world to be with someone you just met, but I am gonna throw it out there that maybe one in 20 relationships successfully work out.
That is not scientifically proven, of course.
Sometimes, you don’t realize you met a soul mate until you have taken the time to reflect on the people you have met while traveling abroad, and they become the ones who got away.
You may have been focusing on the sights you were seeing, the food you were eating and the wine you were drinking. You were focusing on the experience of your journey, and that is 100 percent what travel means.
The definition of a soul mate is a person with whom one has a strong affinity, shared values and tastes, and often romantic bond.
If there is one thing I have reflected upon after being home, it is that my taste and values have changed while learning about and experiencing all the different cultures.
While traveling, you will meet many people who will make an impact on your life, and they might be a soul mate, but you will never see them again.
This is not a bad thing.
You can thank them from afar for helping you grow as an individual and hope you had some impact on them as well. Instead of being sad for no longer continuing to build a relationship, I will appreciate and celebrate the amazing memories made.