Inspire

What It’s Really Like To Fall In Love Abroad

The fact that you’re away from home changes your story, but it also changes the way you fall.

Travel can heighten our emotions in the same way as when we fall in love. And when both happen at the same time, it’s something special.

I fell in love while studying in a quiet Spanish town, where I was happier, braver, and more curious than I’d ever been. And, while I might not have realised it at the time, falling in love abroad was an experience different from the way that most people fall in love. The mere fact that you’re away from home changes your story, but it also changes the way that you fall.

The bubble

Falling in love abroad was easy, at first. It was utterly romantic. We met while touring La Alhambra, a spectacular palace complex in Granada, on a misty morning; our first date was in the back corner of a quaint Spanish café, and our afternoons were spent drinking wine and walking along the town’s cobblestone streets.

But you can’t ignore the inevitable for long.

The realisation

After a few weeks, you start to notice the ticking clock attached to your relationship. The bubble bursts, and you become keenly aware that you’re headed full speed toward the day that the whole thing falls apart.

With this realisation comes feelings of doubt and dread that you can’t seem to shake. Questions plague you during every night out and every cup of coffee the next morning.

Is this real? Can I trust my own emotions? What happens when we leave? How is this going to end?

It may seem romantic on the surface, but just below it is serious doubt. You’ll question your feelings, whether they’re worth pursuing, and what happens when your holiday is all over.

The choices

Fourteen thousand, four-hundred and eighty-one. That was the number of kilometres between my home and his.

The truth of falling in love abroad is that you’re going to face intensely tough choices, and no matter what you choose, it’s going to hurt.

If you decide to break it off, you’re heartbroken. And if you decide to stay together, you face a whole new reality – the reality of a long-distance relationship and figuring out who you are as a couple outside of the place you met.

The decision to break it off or stay together is only the first of many tough decisions, but it also might be the worst of them. We broached it a dozen times in our last month in Spain, saying each time that we’d talk about it later.

After a goodbye that left me feeling like I’d been punched in the gut, our evenings strolling the cobblestone turned into early morning calls and we spent our time trying to navigate the maze that is long-distance love.

But for as difficult as it is, falling in love abroad is also eye-opening, exciting, and totally worth it. It shows you how determined you are, how resilient, and how far you’re willing to go for love.

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