When I stand out in the midst of a busy highway in Serbia with my thumb out, surrounded by signs in Cyrillic and having thousands of strangers pass me by with repeated rejection, I am fearless — empowered, even.
When I don the harness that will strap me onto a single rope as I descend waterfalls in the Highlands of Vietnam or drop down the steep face of Table Mountain, I am fearless and alive.
As I jump out of an airplane, propel down the sheer cliffs in Crete and hike in the stormy Alps of Switzerland, I am fearless. But, this is the scariest thing I have ever done.
This may be the one thing I back out of, the only edge I've stepped away from: the edge of falling in love.
Travelers should be the ones who don't fear relationships, but most of the time, we are famous for our relationship exits or escapes and our eternal status as “single.” But, what if we, travelers, aren't tapping into our power as lovers?
What if the same exuberant enthusiasm and daring fearlessness that defines our incredible travels could make us remarkable at relationships?
Isn't this lack of control we have when trusting another so deeply what we crave when we land in a foreign country with minimal forethought, planning or reservations, only to see what adventure awaits us?
Shouldn't a generation that craves adventure and spontaneous decisions be thrilled at the uncertainty of a relationship?
Don't we follow arbitrary roads in foreign countries, uncertain of where they lead, only to find treasures known only to us?
Aren't the brave ones those who dare to step out of their comfort zones? How is love so different?
Aren't we braver when we step out of the safety zone as a single, independent adventurers and into the world of relationships? How daring is it to commit to a single person in this world of seven billion other humans?
Maybe this commitment isn't forever, maybe it's merely a stop on your incredible travels, a layover that turns into an unexpected adventure.
I challenge travelers to embrace their inner Aphrodites, to bring their adventurousness and daring passion into that which we fear the most: relationships.
Certainly there are the emotional highs and lows of relationships, but the travelers — those who wander with their whole beings — know that the whole point of traveling is to embrace these ups and downs.
In travel, there is no middle ground. A day may begin with lost luggage, overbooked hostels, cold airplane food and end in new best friends, perfect sunsets and the warmth of a perfect local cocktail.
The highs and lows aren't just a part of the adventure; they are the adventure itself.
The euphoric high of love is without fair contrast if days are void of lows, and that is what makes those of us who are crazy enough to travel the same ones who are crazy enough to love.
The passion that drives a person further to explore and face the unknown is what makes us willing and patient to grow with other humans.
It is the fear of hitchhiking and trusting complete strangers with our lives that allows us to fall madly in love and trust our lovers with our whole hearts.
What if we no longer equated our wandering minds and souls with a lack of relationships?
What if we found the freedom to go further within the arms of the ones we love? What if we were empowered to embark on grander adventures within their embraces?
What if we became so fearless about falling in love that we never held back?
What if we treated it like another waterfall in Hawaii, where we run fearlessly over the edge, trusting and knowing that splash below is pure, refreshing and perfect?