She travelled to Vietnam to see a beautiful, green-eyed love called James. He was Irish, had an irresistible accent. He could play the guitar and she loved him. They had met in Australia while he was travelling. And, after he left Queensland, they would chat every day. Fall asleep on the phone together. Plan their reunion in Southeast Asia.
She met him at a hostel near a Vietnamese beach. They laughed. Had sex. Made a bonfire on the sand. It was everything she had imagined. Until he took a phone call, and his behaviour changed.
She tried to shake it off. But he got weirder. She didn’t know what was wrong. Where once there was free-flowing communication, and nothing, it felt like, was hidden, she was all-of-a-sudden treading on egg shells and unable to diagnose the problem.
After a few days of pushing against each other with heart-achingly forced smiles, she received a message from his girlfriend.
She hadn’t known he had a girlfriend. She also hadn’t known that this girlfriend was expecting him to come back to Ireland. She thought he was coming back to Australia.
She left him there and travelled the rest of Southeast Asia by herself. Heartbroken and lonely and overwhelmingly confused. He kept sending her songs he’d written on his guitar. But he didn’t break up with his girlfriend.
Now, years later, she still wonders about him. And she still never wants to go back to Southeast Asia.
Holidaying together can make or break a relationship. We all know this.
Some scenarios, like the one above, doesn’t have much to do with the holidaying, it’s more to do with the person in question. But still, these horrible unknowns, these hidden tensions, have a habit of arising while on vacation.
They come up as guards are let down. They appear once the relationship is thrown into a together-24/7-in-an-unfamiliar-place type of intensity.
We’ve all been told “Oh it’s your first holiday together, I wonder how that will go?” as we’re about to disembark somewhere exotic with our newest special person.
(As if we need any more pressure between thoughts of too-stark airport lights, late nights, early mornings, language barriers, as well as disagreeable food and thin bathroom doors.)
Yes, the beach time and the cocktails and the adventuring can bring you closer.