Climbing Ropes: We Can All Brave The Distance

Written by  April 28, 2015

As Elizabeth sets out for Australia, she considers how to best maintain long-distance relationships. 

I didn't quite plan this out in one of those "five-year life plans upon graduation." My travel plans sort of happened really fast, yet when I step outside of my exciting adventure it seems as though they had been forming all along. I am saying it in my head, repeating it like a mantra: You're going to Australia, Elizabeth.

What keeps me going through the toughest situations while planning to live abroad are the people who support my need to travel, to write, and to fear enormous spiders and getting clocked by muscular kangaroos. My close friends, my family, my loved ones and many people I meet (if only for a brief moment) all have incredible lasting impacts on my life and my decisions. But how can you keep these relationship over such a distance?

I have never had a long-distance romantic relationship able to endure the kilometres, but I have experienced friendships that only grow stronger through distance.

It's a scary thought, isn't it? When you become so close to someone and then the word "distance" gets thrown into the equation. Whether friendship, love or family, it's a scary new change. How can you deal? How will we talk and see each other? What if we break up?

Well folks, this is no article about how to use Skype or email, I trust that you will figure the programs out yourself. This is a blog searching for and discovering a much deeper meaning. This is a blog about the connection that souls make with each other where distance simply cannot cause deterioration, only strengthen the relationship. This blog is also my way of telling my friends that I'm living in Australia—but not to fear it.

This blog is going to help you discover that the confidence you need lies deep within you, ingrained in your very being to do exactly what you are meant to be doing, and those who stick around are those who are climbing that same rope you are, just trying to make it to the top.

Think back to those ropes you used to climb in gym class in high school. My theory is don't look down; instead, when you are scared, look to the rope next to you and notice that other person in the exact same place as you are—on the rope and the only place that either of you can go is up. My roommate and best friend, Kendra, and I have had this same ropes theory for years. We've learned that over time, over travel, over distance, Canada to the Netherlands, to Africa, to Australia, that true love's connection lies much deeper than just where you live.

I have never had a long-distance romantic relationship able to endure the kilometres, but I have experienced friendships that only grow stronger through distance. I call those who don't let time or distance affect our relationship my soulmates. (Sex and the City had it right; what if your friends are your soulmates? Hold on there Charlotte, let's expand that thought—what if everyone you meet is your soulmate, destined to steer your life in the right direction, whether you stick together or not?) I have learned that when you climb the ropes of life with soulmates by your side, you can accomplish anything.

I get a lot of questions from those who don't understand the purpose I have (that I also don't entirely understand) which is travelling and writing. "What about Mr. Right? What about a career? What about the future? How can you just up and leave?" But for those climbing the same ropes that I am—whether it be travelling alone or finishing nursing school—they truly understand what I am going through. That's why these relationships are able to brave the test of time and the Pacific Ocean. 

The best thing you can do as a loved one of someone with such a strong desire to pick up and move to another continent is to support them, even though it may not always be easy to understand. You can weather the distance—believe me. Let me assure you that my moving to Australia will not affect our friendship, as long as you don't let it. I know I won't. Distance only makes the heart grow fonder, as long as those two hearts are truly connected.

So maybe I haven't met the right man or found the right career? We are all just climbing our own ropes. 

To those who don't quite understand my views, or my sense humour: I am not worried about the fate of my future, my future Mr. Right-Now-I-dont-want-to-travel, or what sort of career is meant for me. I am on my rope and choosing to not look down. 

Speaking of which, see you Down Under.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Elizabeth Tirkalas

Elizabeth had two dreams when she was a child; the first to travel the world, setting her feet on every continent she could, and the second, to be a writer, and perhaps join the circus along the way. Elizabeth is an Ashtanga Certified Yoga Instructor. She graduated with an undergraduate BA degree in History and English Literature from the University of Western Ontario and studied Humanitarian Aid Management in the Netherlands. A Canadian expat, Elizabeth blogs about her life working abroad in Australia.

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