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Goodbye Old Love

Tyler Michalek

Travel changed not only me, but our relationship. 

Vibrant, smart, bright, and beautiful. Warm, entertaining and always there for me. We met in 2016. From my cubicle, I’d think of her. When I’d get home, she’d welcome me. With her, I laughed, I felt sad, I escaped.

Even when I left my job and lost all motivation, her affection remained. When I moved home to Texas, she came along without asking questions. From sun up to long after sun down, we spent nearly every hour of every day together in 2017.

But then, I got the offer to move to Colorado for a ski season. I tried to find a way for her to come with, but she couldn’t fly, and I’d decided to leave my car behind. We stayed in touch during those first three months. And before leaving for Korea, I came back home to visit. We tried long distance, but—you guessed it—we drifted.

Before leaving for Korea, I came back home to visit. We tried long distance, but—you guessed it—we drifted.

After Korea, I visited again, before embarking on another trip. It was obvious that things were different. I’d experienced too much. I’d met a girl. I’d fallen in love with literature. In a week at home, we only talked once.

In Alaska, I forgot all about her. I know, it’s harsh, but true. Far from technology, or other common reminders in modern society, the summer of ’18 was more like ’78 for me. During a quick stop-over before heading to Europe, I ignored her. I’d moved on.

Seven weeks later I returned. With another winter in the mountains ahead, I considered reconnecting. After all, her company was especially nice on those cold days in bed. We talked about it, but it didn’t feel right. I couldn’t commit to the obligation.

All winter I read and wrote. Telling stories, and recounting memories from our year apart. Without her, I’d experienced so much. I’d left my comfort zone. I felt free.

When I arrived the other day, I knew we had to talk. In my old room, she sat, exactly where I’d left her.

“Look, I’m really sorry, but…” I started, and she interrupted. She pled her case with her beautiful face. “No, I’m serious, I have to tell you…” I snapped out of it. “I’ve moved on! It’s over!” I said, then yanked her plug from the outlet. Her screen went blank.

On the wall, where she stood for so long, is an empty stand. Below, a spot where my desktop computer once sat. (I sold that on Christmas day.) A dresser and desk are really all that are left in my old room. Both are nearly empty. I’ve sold most of my clothes, too. In front of me sits a guidebook, my passport and a stack of cash I received in exchanged for the oversized screen. Up against the wall leans a map.

Since I began travelling, my priorities have shifted. I’ve found freedom in a backpack. In a few hours, another red pin will become reality. More memories funded by old things.

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Published in Volunteer Abroad Blogs
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Tyler Michalek

From financial consultant to volunteer farmer, Tyler Michalek has learned to invest in the experience over 401k. Currently travelling Asia through Workaway, Tyler is on a mission to prove that connections through cultural immersion are more satisfying than financial compensation.

Website: analogabroad.com

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