I think I use new romantic relationships to satiate my wanderlust, my desire to travel and move and change and experience. I move through a new relationship like a tourist travelling through a city, seeking out all the recommended places. I hit the pavement every day, spending twelve or more hours learning about what she has to offer. Then, at the end of the week, I pack up my suitcase, get on a train, and unceremoniously move on to the next destination. I may think about her again, I may write about her too, but our time together is up. It has served its purpose. I’ve learned everything that there was to learn, right?
Well, I got the tourist experience but I’ll never know what it’s like to be a local. In my romantic endeavours, I typically develop a tourist’s understanding of the other person, a surface understanding largely made up of what was put on display with a few quirks thrown in for good measure, and then I move on. I’ve only done the local experience once before when my partner and my home were one and the same. That was interesting, but it was a lot, and it’s incredibly rare that I meet someone who makes me want to go there—to immigrate, if you will.
You can’t really say that you know a place when you only know it as a tourist. Moving through the world, and your relationships, as a tourist can be fun but it’s not sustainable long-term. Eventually, I will need a home. And as much as I enjoy travelling, I know that I am capable of building one. It will be a lot of work, but I am more than willing to work as long as I am able to take the next step, which would be visiting a place and realizing that I’d rather stay on than catch the next train.