Oh Love.. ( Keep reading, it does get interesting later)
You know me. Traveling also ( and especially) means finding a solution to Life mysteries, the Universe and everything. ya know. What better day to share that than the most useless, most commercial day of the year? Valentine's day.
It's okay the rest of the year you can all cheat on each other, kill , hate as much as you like but NOT today. Today , you have to love ( and buy expensive stuff to prove it)
Guess what ( as a friend gently reminded his facebook friends the other day) : '' Don't worry if there is no one to love you on Valentine's day. They don't love you the rest of the year either'' )
True. You can't make up a day for Love. Because it's f***** every day.
Let me explain ( it gets interesting later) When you travel you have to sort of live Life as you don't know it. Because Life as you know it tells you to not trust or even talk strangers. You'd be in a hell of a mess if you didn't.
So, as you learn to let go of what you know ( it 's either that or you jump off a cliff but you don't even have a travel insurance.Imagine your poor parents who d have to pay a fortune to repatriate you ) you also learn to Love in a new way.
That 's how , in just one year I added to my family 2 Aussie parents, 1 scot/kiwi sister, 1 Australian nephew, another sister ( or possibly future wife) from Tassie and a place in New South Wales , Australia that I definitely call Home.
Not to mention my family back in the UK with another mum whom I literally call mummy and all these people in a backpackers' hostel that I have to invent new family names for. NB Yes, I do have a real family in France and yes, I'm a an only child ( Spoiled little brat. You did not see that one coming, did you? )
It does lead to confusion sometimes . To the question '' Don't you miss your family Annabelle?'' I get confused and usually answer '' Which one?''
It thus turns me into that girl with multiple partners ( and possibly personalities) , who has kids round the world but don't give a damn about it and keeps traveling.
I really love when people grasp the essence of who I am.
Love as you don't know it is hard to explain with words. It's like loving strangers the way you love you family or even yourself. See where they go wrong and remember that f***** go wrong too , leave them the space to be and simply love them as they are.
Up to now , I've done a brilliant job doing that..... with strangers. When it comes to people who are close to me I have a little more effort to put in ( my exes will notice it is very nicely said. D'oh.)
So when you meet a nice Aussie guy while traveling after all the changes you've been through the last year , you think it's time to apply your theory of unconditional love and you dear wisdom and NOT have a relationship as you know it. Time to evolve as a human being ( and stop being a shitty girlfriend. Ie stop being a girlfriend FULL STOP)
Wanna know how much of a shitty girlfriend I can get?
Valentine's day 2010 :
I run a hostel with my partner at the time. I decide to cook for Valentine's day. I put my wonderful ready made dinner in the oven and........... decided to organize a speed dating cession for our lovely single guests. Got drunk with them giving everyone the best chat up lines tips ever. It's only when I sobered up, around midnight, that I realized that dinner was still in oven and hungry partner gave up any idea of romantic evening a while ago.
'' Sorry I can't do this'' That 's me telling my fiancé as I leave our house in France to go live in a tent in a backpackers' hostel garden in the UK. He still has my furniture today.
NO. LOVE AS I KNOW IT. Not working.
So I changed. I reached that point of no expectations, see where we go and if we don't go anywhere that's sweet. Come and go as you please, I will come and go as I please. No text message, no chains. No worries. That was brilliant. I had finally invented Love as I don't know it. Unconditional Love with someone I have an intimate relationship with. I did not feel the need to change for anyone , I was FREE and left all the freedom in the world to The Great Other. I felt like a modern version of Jesus. Forget about roles , seize the day , respect each other. I felt in touch with all that.
Until that day.
'' Look mate, I work a lot , I'm never at Home I don't have time for a girlfriend. Sorry''
My first reaction genuinely was :
'' Who wants to be your girlfriend , love , that's disgusting'' but I understood that it was ME he was talking about.
He just called me a GIRLFRIEND. The thought that all he could see in me was someone who was trying to steal his freedom and expected to be entertained for a lifetime when my real intention was the total OPPOSITE made me burst into tears and really look like a GIRLFRIEND. D'oh.
From a modern Jesus I became that needy , desperate, homeless French psycho hunting for Aussie meat. A girlfriend.
It took me 8 hours, chips, jam toasts and listening 322 times to ''the show must go on'' to recover from the fact that my first mission as a messenger of unconditional Love was an epic failure. What would f****** Jesus do. Oh yeah. Get crucified. Took me another 2 hours to recover from THAT.
So , that unconditional Love as we don’t know it is bull**** right. All this money I invested in that. I felt like a Mad scientist who had worked years on a project that was impossible. What now? Get back to Life as I know it. Settle for second best ...... ???
Then I gathered enough "Love" to go back to the Red Cross shop where I volunteer.
'' WHAT? HE DUMPED YOU'' my friends said.
'' No , it 's not really like that, it was a misunderstanding..........''
‘’ Annabelle, HE DUMPED YOU’’
Ok ok.... I don't insist because everyone in the shop was now staring at me with THE '' Poor girl she came all this way to get dumped in FRANKSTON. Harsh.''
'' Let me call Linda , she'll have you?''
Then she left to call Linda straight away and I heard her tell my story to a total stranger.
'' Who the F**** is Linda?'' I ask
She's my 81 year old friend, she's lovely.
'' Make sure she knows I don't intend to marry her'' I add, just in case. Love always needs an explanation these days.
2 days later I leave dear Frankston ( I did not stay at Linda's in the end) and go back to the Hostel in Melbourne with my big backpack, heavier than ever ( the emotional luggage and that)
I start chatting to random people about fashion in Paris, How much Sydney sucks compared to Melbourne, about me being from France / England/ New South Wales.
I could feel that weird thing in me. I did not want to name it. Too bloody scared now.
'' You'll make the fun in the hostel on Valentine's day'' tells me that guy I just met. I was telling him and other staff members about speed dating and burnt dinners. They all laughed for 5 solid minutes.
I could feel that weird thing in me. I still did not want to name it.
Later that night I meet a French friend of mine whom I met a couple of weeks ago. She just got dumped by her British boyfriend ( I was just hoping she would ask ME for advice with the Brits. Because I'm just as good as with the Aussies , mate. But she just needed me to translate one of his messages. Good lord it's good to be bilingual these days.) She was with a friend who got dumped by his Aussie guy who had asked him to move in with him about 10minutes before. D'oh. They thought they had a story until I told them mine.
That's me telling Ze story:
'' So we're in his house , right. The guy nicely tells me that the very thought of my presence suffocates him ( we all use the same lame work excuse to convey this message , huh. Been there, done that... ) and then tells me '' I'm off now. Stay as long as you need to sort yourself out. Put the keys in this envelope in the mail box when you go. That was great. Best of luck mate. Bye'' And he left! Here I am standing his empty house, with the bloody envelope in my hand slowly understanding I was not f****** Jesus''' ( I'm mining it for them)
'' NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, HE DIDN'T'' my friends stared in disbelief.
We laughed for 10 solid minutes at my most embarrassing traveling story EVER. And all agreed on one point : POOR GUY. He will never go anywhere near a French girl on a drunken New Year’s eve EVER AGAIN.
In France, we have a website called viedemerde.fr ( means : shittylife.com) where people record their worst times in Life. You know when it gets so ridiculously bad that it's funny.
We all agreed that the keys in the mail box and the '' best of luck mate'' would be number one this year.
'' Thanks Annabelle, you’re so funny ,you make our shitty Life feel way better.
No worries Mate. That’s my Life mission I guess
'' We should all spend Valentine 's day together '' My friend says.
Love… You can't control what people feel and think about it. No matter how much freedom you are willing to give them. Control them , you get what you want. Give them freedom, you get what THEY want. I chose the second option… for better or for worse.
Other people have their own sets of rules and can only give THEMSELVES what they need.You bloody can’t do anything about it and should not.
The good news?
It applies to you too.
Love as you don't know it starts with the most obviously awesome person you ve ever met. And it's so bloody simple that we just don't do it.
YOU. D'oh. Love without conditions all the shitty mistakes you make , how much of an embarrassment you are to yourself sometimes, because in the end we are all on the same bloody boat. We justhave to make sure it does not sink.
My friends the Brits gave me this huge tip to achieve ''Love as you don't know it'' : Take the piss out of yourself. Don't take Love so seriously.
Because that's the only REAL way you'll ever have to get your message across.
Oh and '' Happy F***** Valentine's day everyone'' Love from.... Jesus.
You can now like my page '' Citizen of the world'' and follow me on facebook
Or even sponsor me to spread the love! https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=4CARP4WL4ZFAA