Different me

“Hopeless Romantic has been unleashed, sick bucket recommended.”

A year ago I decided to simplify my life and remain single. I ended my relationship with C and began vigorously planning my trip around America.

I then met a man online accidentally who changed everything more than he’ll know.

I had planned to briefly leave my American adventure for him and go to him in England when I returned in January. One flippant comment made by me in Colorado changed the relationship that I hadn’t seen coming.

The person I was when I left England is a very different version to the one typing now. I have only been traveling for five months but can see, in photos and in my self, how different I have become. Five months ago I was only what I had seen and known, I still am only this but the change is I have seen and know more. Much more than I could’ve dreamt. Back in England I was narrow minded. I had limited knowledge of experience and had been so involved in overcoming my own obstacles that I was engulfed by that for too long.

My narrow minded self had only experienced drugs, for example, in seedy University parties during my time at London where my friends were uncontrollably high on whichever drug of choice it was that night and I then spent the remainder of the night trying to make sure they didn’t OD, pass out or hurt themselves. Looking back now this was University. They did the same with me when my eighteen year old self drank too much tequila.

My flippant comment to My American (as he shall be known here) was regarding drugs. I was barely two months into my trip and had just arrived in the first place of my trip where marijuana is legal. Being a complete tourist I took photos of all the Medical Marijuana Stations and posted them on my social media site. My American sent me a jokey message asking if I was getting “baked” in Colorado, my response stated that I hate drugs and am the worst person to be in a “drugs are legal” State. Had I been asked that question now my response would still be no, but would contain less single-minded tones.

When I read my old messages back, as I have done a lot in this trip, I always think of how I would respond if given those messages now.

When I left Colorado I went straight to California. I started in San Francisco and worked my way down to San Diego. I changed the most in San Diego. Suddenly I was surrounded by drugs on a daily basis by every type of person you could imagine. My first encounter was at the weekly beach bonfire. Locals and travelers all huddled together by the fire, singing along to the guys on guitar and the one guy who made an impromptu drum set with trash cans, were sharing stories along with splifs, pipes, cigarettes, beer and blankets. I had never seen anything like it. I watched as everyone made friends with whoever was near them, some smoking some choosing to pass, all joining in the chorus we all knew then continuing with our stories. Up until that moment marijuana had been a seedy back alley, a hidden hideaway in a dark loud central London nightclub (back when smoking indoors was legal), it had been Amy Winehouse (who I had been stood behind in a North London club restroom when I was eighteen and was the highest I had ever seen anyone) – the celebrity version, not the talented musician version. I had only seen drugs with “wasters” and had only seen extremes. My friend telling me she thought she was dying as she turned white and began shaking after taking a pill she wanted me to take with her at a University party, another friend grinding his teeth so hard I could hear it as he sweat profusely and rolled his eyes back towards his head after a party, listening to a University drug-deal going bad outside my friend’s room as she told me to pretend we were asleep. My experiences of drugs had been this. So when My American asked me if I was getting stoned here I instantly jumped back to my only drug-related memories and went on the defensive; mostly because I never wanted him to think of me in the only way I had experienced drugs, not knowing any alternative.

In San Diego I became friends with one guy whose job is making glass bongs. I met him at that first beach bonfire and had initially not wanted to even speak to him. The more time I spent in San Diego the more I saw and the less I cared. That guy became a good friend to me and on my first day back in San Diego from my three week break in Hawaii, took me to my favourite burger place where we caught up on what I had missed over the three weeks and ate veggie burgers together (his with bacon) in the funky bus seat of the unique burger bar.

Having now experienced drugs in a more social manner I understand My American’s worry over my initial prejudice a few months ago.
I had never known them in the way that he does; the Californian way. To me they had only ever really been experienced with negative consequences.

I still do not smoke marijuana or take drugs, I doubt that will change, however my attitude towards them has. I also don’t drink vodka, but I don’t care if others do.

Five months ago I didn’t drink whiskey (I now love whiskey and cream soda – discovered at a college party in Baton Rouge, Louisiana), I didn’t drink red wine, I did drink soy milk and loved peanut butter (now hated), I couldn’t surf (…well this one’s debatable depending on the other’s prospective but when I’m telling the story yes I can surf), I had a deep fear of heights and insects, rarely smoked, and had predominantly male friends. These may not be strides and they may not be huge to some, but to me they all add up to the woman typing today. Five months and a lot of learning. Learning only I could do by seeing and experiencing everything that I have. It would be impossible to go back to England the girl I was when I left; she has lived too much to ever be her again.

I am now a day away from flying to Australia.

I flew to Hawaii initially to ‘get over’ My American rather than flying back to England to be with him; that didn’t work. I still think of him each day and am devastated that we can’t be what we might’ve been. However I am the embodiment of Hope. Hope that we are in each other’s futures, whenever the time is right. I’m not the woman for him yet, and he’s too much of the man he is for me right now. I have more to live until I will be quite ready. I just hope he can, and wants to, wait.

Perhaps five months from now I am writing that I flew to England to see him, or he flew to Australia and we met. Perhaps I am writing that he is engaged to another. And maybe I am writing that we are still in the same position, waiting for our time.

All I know is since meeting him everything with him felt right. I never had that pure feeling with anyone else. It could be just another lesson I will learn and look back on but I truly hope it’s not. Before him I had never even thought of creating a family, in fact I expressed strongly to my ex that I would not have children and never wanted to marry – a statement I had carried since my parent’s divorce when I was three years old.

I am now going to Australia for a year, initially, returning to America for Christmas next year. I will then potentially return to Australia for a further year, but we will see how I go.

A few months ago I was talking with My American about moving in with him when I return to England in January. Two months after we began cooling off our communication together I am moving further away. I do wonder if he knows the impact he has had on my choices, or if he just thinks I am a runaway or even if he thinks of me at all. Either way, had he told me that he still wanted me to move in with him when I was to originally return in January I would not have applied for my Australian Visa, bought my ticket from New Orleans to Melbourne, and found my house. I would’ve been with him in a heartbeat. Part of me still would.

Time is my best friend and worst enemy. But I’m using my time to experience, and that is never time wasted.

Hopeless Romantic unleashed and on the loose…last seen headed for Australia…




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