No shared stories, no meaningful relationships

No shared stories, no meaningful relationships

“Happiness only real when shared.”
― Christopher McCandless aka Alexander Supertramp

The movie “Into the wild” has had a very strong influence on my dream to go on an adventure one day for a longer period. Leave all the crap behind, throw my clothes into a backpack and just go and see what life brings me. Just be up there, on my own. That was the dream.

I watched the movie way too many times, but usually not till the end. I enjoyed the first part of the movie but didn’t like the ending. I connected with the fun part but didn’t understand the sadness he had at the end. Guess, I just hadn’t been in his position to get it. 

Now, years later

When I was planning my solo trip to South-East Asia last year, life tricked me. I met and fell in love with my girlfriend Grete. After knowing each other only for some weeks, I made a bold move and invited her to an adventure with me. She must have been crazy, but she said yes. Solo became a duo.

For now, we have been living and tripping around in South-East Asia for over 8 months already. Not a long time compared to many travellers we have met along the road, but significantly longer than any usual holiday trip. Our time here has challenged us and offered countless experiences, situations, and emotions. Some of them wonderful, some them annoying as me singing.

Me and Grete smiling between tea bushes
Sharing happiness

And a truth is, I have been extremely lucky that she is here with me. We have fun together, backtalk strangers, express a full range of emotions, share food, and take good photos of me. All these small things that we will remember together. We share these moments, we share the story.

She is the one who finally made me understand the quote about sharing the happiness (and the sadness). 

But I can’t be too clingy and put all pressure on her shoulders. We both need some energy from outside to nurture us and keep us fresh in our relationship. 

Let’s meet strangers!

Guess what, it’s not too easy as a couple. Come on guys, who want to be a third wheel? Yes, it was a bit difficult at first, but we tried to be chill, stay in hostels, and start conversations ourselves. Later, when I found guys to play futsal with and Grete managed to get her first photoshoot clients, things got more natural. 

Creating cool memories with a local friend.
Who’s the third wheel now?

We have met some wonderful people who have inspired us and have shown us that there are just so many ways to live our lives. Couple moving from Holland to Kazakhstan because of curiosity, a girl travelling solo for over 5 years, a 60+ Irish woman being a solo environmental journalist, a 25-year old guy who started investing while he was 14, and so many more wonderful and interesting people.

We have had a lot of fun with them, created cool memories, shared our stories and kind of got to know each other.

But our journey always goes along, just like their’s. Even if we connected well and felt good together, we won’t probably see them again ever.

There is usually just not enough time to call people we meet here as friends. Our relationships don’t go deep enough.

So, let’s bring on real friends!

Having time to think while travelling, my mind often drifts back to different memories from my past. And most often these are with my friends back home. Memorable stories from parties, hanging out, kicking a ball in backyards, or often just doing something stupid. 

I really believe in creating stories. It’s something that sticks people together and gives a possibility to laugh at them later on. I am really sad that there won’t be any new stories created here in South-East Asia with my friends.

“It ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none. ”
― Snoop Dogg

Sharing the moment with my new beer buddy
Had to find a new beer buddy if no friends here…

And if I go back will they want to hear my stories at all? How to tell my stories so that it would be interesting to listen but doesn’t make them feel bad in some way?

What about their stories? I am really afraid that I am missing out a lot while being here, afraid to become stranger to them.

Thankfully we have social media. We can chat, call, and like each other’s photos (PS, every like counts!) and stuff. But it’s mostly just swimming in a shallow water. 

Losing touch with friends is probably the biggest set back on travelling

Oh, wait! I forgot my family

“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”
― Mario Puzo, The Godfather

I happened to see a YouTube video telling that 95% of our success is “programmed” us from experiences in the first 7 years of our lives. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I know that our families have a huge influence on our lives.

I see it when coaching kids. Boys with supporting parents usually behave better, play better and look to be more intelligent. While the ones, who kick others and don’t listen, are usually missing something, it’s mostly their parents’ attention.

I am very lucky to be born into a strong and supportive family. After years of supporting my football career, my mom now looks to be a bigger football fan than me. For me, its the perfect illustration.

Obviously, it has been really important to keep my family updated with our travels daily. Writing about our experiences, sending pictures, doing weekly video calls, and sending postcards from every country.

But there have been times when I have been really missing home, relaxing with my family, and eating familiar food. 

Thankfully my mom and aunt had the possibility to visit us here. It was fun being a tour guide, showing them the life here in Malaysia, and seeing them in new situations. Those new experiences helped me to know them better. And again, created new stories we share now (soon to be boasted in front of our neighbours). 

Wearing fruit hats together with my mom
That’s a new situation…

To bring everyone together

It’s been a long road from a dream of solo travelling to happily sharing everything with my girlfriend… to missing friends, family, and meaningful relationships with new people.

I understand now that the stories that really matter, are stories created together with others. These stories are fundamental to meaningful relationships. And meaningful relationships are the key for a happy life.

That’s why meaningful relationships are in my “top lifetime goals list” next to location independence and financial freedom.

Question is, how to combine those all?

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