ONE WAY

About a month earlier I found myself in NYC --  a result of being nearby in Toronto on a one way ticket from San Francisco. I left it open ended to extend past the week I’d planned in the event things were ‘going well.’

I went to Toronto for a boy. We’d met last year on a magical island in Brazil, and after two days of ‘getting to know each other’ kept in touch over Skype. The plan to meet up in Cuba solidified over the next 9 months. While the excitement to reconnect was there, I knew we were very different people and lacked things in common. But the distant memory of an attraction blinded any hesitation. Fast forward to the end of that adventurous month in Cuba, and I felt very connected (attraction can be blinding!) But deep down I knew there wasn’t much else besides our shared experiences in exotic places.

He moved to Toronto right afterwards, and the invite to visit was thrown out casually. Thinking, “What’s the point, it’s long distance...” I didn’t take the invite too seriously.  At 37 and single for some time, I really do want something with the potential to move forward. For real. And I actually am open to taking on the challenge of location logistics, and a believer in anything is possible. Yet, I consistently choose people or situations that are ultimately unavailable with little to no potential for longevity.

A combination of a free ticket and influence from a close friend -- because "You just never know!," I booked my one way flight to Toronto for the end of June.

That first day I knew my decision to come was not the best move. It was obvious to both of us.

Not sure what to do about my uncomfortable predicament, I called a friend in NYC. “Girl, come to New York!” she said. I didn’t realize how close it was. One way ticket to NYC was booked for later that week.

A visit to Barcelona was looming on the horizon for sometime in the summer, a reunion with a group of travelers I’d also met in South America. Not able to commit to a specific time because I could have a job I sat back on our group texts as they tossed around dates. All of a sudden the plan to meet in early July solidified. Physically I was now much closer to Europe, didn’t have that job, and still had a lot of unused airline miles. A one way ticket to Barcelona was booked for the following week.

I’ve been asked whether I am running from something or trying to find something, in regards to all of my travels this past year. While I tend to find these types of questions a little assumptive, as i think it implies that a traveler only looks to escape, is lost, or seeking something outside of what the cultural norm says you should be doing. Especially at my age.

Personally -- I thrive on new experiences, am insanely curious, have a short attention span, and loath the mundane. I crave connecting with new people, and really do enjoy getting outside my comfort zone because sometimes that uncomfortable helps me to feel truly alive. I remember the excitement of taking a bucket shower in Kenya, because it was different. I love to shop in foreign grocery stores because it’s different. I didn’t mind living out of tiny backpack with only two pairs of underwear for a month in Thailand, because it’s a different kind of challenge.

Ultimately, I enjoy saying yes to things to see where it can go, what will unfold. Because we really don’t know how things will go, at any point with our decisions. We can only hope for a positive outcome, or an experience to go the way we want. So while there are many benefits to a one way ticket because of the flexibility it can afford you, I’ve learned that you have to remain open to things not going your way once there and choose a different direction than planned. And who knows, there could be an even better opportunity awaiting. Because if life was predictable and safe most of the time -- how boring would that be?