Ever since I got back from my jaunts around Western Europe, people have been asking me when and where I’m going next. It’s been happening so often that one can be excused for starting to believe that they can’t wait to get rid of me again – or that they can’t handle the excitement of me being around, yes, we’ll go with that one.
I always give the same answer – I’m exploring the other side of the world for six months or so, starting in January – and during the inevitable three seconds of semi-awkward silence as we both desperately search our internal monologues for the most appropriate follow-up comment, I add “I’m looking forward to it.”
Of course, that’s the truth. This is something I’ve been looking forward to doing ever since I started this travelling malarkey way back in 2007 with a three-month tour of the USA and Canada’s out-trousers. The prospect of sitting on the corner of a busy Chinese intersection sampling the local delicacies (food, obviously, you perverts), gawping at a rather sizeable rock in the middle of Australia, or experiencing the madness of Tokyo is one that gets my travelling juices flowing so much that all I can think about is getting on that plane in January and exploring the big wide world.
Only, I might not be.
Let’s get one thing clear, I’m a very lucky boy. I’m lucky in that my current circumstances allow me to take a hiatus from life to go see pretty things that most people don’t get to see. I don’t have a mortgage, I don’t have children, I work in a career that is relatively easy to dip in and out of, and I have no meaningful relationships to worry about.
At least, that’s what I thought was the case, until several (unrelated) recent events catalysed a re-think. No Mum, I’m not about to be a father, don’t panic, I’m talking about my relationships.
For those of you that don’t know already, I’m polyamorous – which means I am involved in multiple relationships simultaneously. Yes, everyone knows about everyone else, yes, they’re all happy with it, no, it’s not cheating. At the time of writing this blog post, I have three meaningful relationships, with a new, fourth one ascending at an alarmingly impressive rate. My attitude towards my travels and these people is that whilst I will miss them all terribly, that is a compromise I am willing to make in order to do something I love and have been wanting to do since I could spell Vanuatu. My girls, despite knowing they would miss me terribly as well (they’re only human), understood this desire of mine, and gave me their respective blessings.
However, over the last month or two, I’ve seen one relationship go through the mill and come out the other side better and stronger than ever, a second relationship reach a stage of human interaction that I didn’t think I was capable of any more, and the aforementioned new girl, who’s just plain fun to be around.
The simple fact is this – the closer I’m getting to D-day, the more I’m realising how much I’m going to miss the people I love, and I haven’t even mentioned my family yet.
For context, when I went round North America in ’07, it took me three months, and during the final couple of weeks or so, I was ready to head back home and see my family. That was at a time when I had no relationships, and was a fiercely independent individual. Now, things are different. As I spend more time and build stronger connections, I start to rely more on the meaningful people in my life, I start to lose my independence, I start to…*shudders*…have feelings.
Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not. I’m loving life at the moment, and all the people that are in it. But it does throw up a quandary when it comes to leaving everyone behind for half a year. That’s something that this time last year I could probably do without serious issue, but now I’m not so sure.
One might say that my mid-life crisis is having a mid-life crisis.