This is not a story about two people finding each other and becoming one.

It is a story about a couple who planned their long term trip together for years, drifted apart and separated just shortly after their actual trip began. How I had started my travels as a part of 2 and became a solo traveler.

But it is not a sad story. It took a struggle but in the end I gained a close friend that I don’t want to miss in my life.

Christian and I had been on a freighter heading towards Rio de Janeiro for over a week when we said out loud what had been in the air for much longer. Something we hadn’t wanted to admit before. There was no fighting, no harsh words. As corny as it sounds but we hugged each other, shed some tears and decided to be mature enough to stay friends. In that moment, both of us probably thinking that might just remain a wish (spoiler alert: luckily it didn’t). We also decided to keep on traveling together.

 

Christian watching one of the many sunsets we'd been able to have during our freighter trip across the Atlantic OceanChristian watching one of the many sunsets we'd been able to have during our freighter trip across the Atlantic Ocean

 

Sometimes when I think about how things turned out it just feels like a joke to me. A bitter one but still kind of funny. We were together for over 6 years, planning a life changing trip for a big part of that time, having a whole life together, family, friends… And when we actually get to start this long desired trip, what do we do? We break up. How stupid is that?

But it wasn’t stupid. The timing was shitty but it was only so because the both of us were trying to save our relationship. There is things you don’t just throw away. This was one of them. But sometimes you get to a point when you realise you aren’t happy together as a couple anymore.

I am pretty sure I don’t have to tell you any of this. Most of you probably have had a similar situation before. What made this break up a bit special, at least for us, was that we couldn’t just have a time off from the ex. We decided to continue to travel with each other because both of us still wanted this and we were great at traveling together. So, we made the best of it.

 

Leaving Hamburg on January 11th, 2019Leaving Hamburg on January 11th, 2019

 

Anyone experienced in traveling with others knows that it can be a pretty intimate and sometimes tense situation already, even without preoccupations like we had. I have no clue how but we managed it. It wasn’t always easy but we did it.

Until that one day… When Christian told me he wanted to go home. “I’ll help you find a car, we do this O-Circuit and then, I think, it is best I return home.” He explained his reasons. I was overwhelmed but completely understood his decision. Overall it wasn’t much of a surprise.

I never actually doubted that I would continue without him but in that moment it hit me… I am gonna be a solo traveler. By that time, I considered myself a pretty independent person but up to that point I had never traveled anywhere solely by myself. Except as a foreign exchange student to the USA. But that was years ago and I had a host family that I was brought into right from the start. To be frank, in the years prior to the moment Christian said he wanted to return to Germany, even if I wasn’t actually with him, my then current life was with Christian, even after the break up.

To sum it up: It wasn’t a small bite for me to swallow.

But after all, things turned out superb… This last track we did together, the O-Circuit in Torres Del Paine NP, has taught us more than one life lesson. It remains one of the most memorable hikes I have done so far. For a big part this is because of Christian. I am grateful for this experience and, I guess, for a last big hike together it couldn’t have turned out better.

Frankly, I did not actually have my first solo traveling experience until a couple of months after Christian had left for Germany. The first and one of only 6 other hikers we met during the first 2/3 of the O-Circuit was a kiwi. He and I ended up traveling with each other. Of course, I was far from knowing by then but he will eventually be the reason I am in New Zealand a year later, writing this blog post.

I still stay in touch with Christian and we have phone calls on a regular basis. I still consider him a close friend, maybe even closer than during the relationship. See, for most people a relationship is a black and white thing. They are together and once they break up, they break up for sure, including breaking off contact because they tell themselves it doesn’t work any other way. But we didn’t choose to connect with our partner for no reason in the first place, did we? And sometimes, individuals being part of a relationship develop in a way that isn’t enough foundation for the very same relationship anymore. Then, if these individuals still do care for the other, there isn’t only black and white.

After all, that is what life is about… Not what happens to you but what you make of it. Sometimes loosing a lover can result in gaining a friend.

Back

Leave a comment*

(*Please see A word or two.)

Recent Posts

Why I journal my hikes

Why I journal my hikes

Something that was initiated by a spontaneous purchase of a tiny little notebook has now become a fundamental part of my post trekking process: Journaling. Take a click if you want to find out more about why I highly recommend picking up this habit.

Trekking at high altitude

Trekking at high altitude

Welcome to the next level and goodbye to knowing the limits of your body:
A few insights on trekking at high altitude...

When Two Become One

When Two Become One

A short insight on how my South America journey started out as part of two and how I ended up travelling on my own.

Recently Added Tracks

Sendero Cerro Guanaco, Tierra del Fuego

Sendero Cerro Guanaco, Tierra del Fuego

This was the first hike to really challenge me. I would get first glimpses of what Patagonian weather can be like.
The views of Tierra del Fuego, the experience hiking to the summit of Cerro Guanaco were simply humbling.

Avalanche Peak Loop via Avalanche Peak and Scott’s Track

Avalanche Peak Loop via Avalanche Peak and Scott’s Track

Arthur's Pass is one of my favorite areas in the South Island of New Zealand which puts Avalanche Peak Trail on the list of my personal hiking treasures in the country so far.
Lovely early autumn weather made this a nice, steep but relaxing trekking experience.

Pinnacles Summit via Webb Creek and Pinnacles Track (Kauaeranga Kauri Trail)

Pinnacles Summit via Webb Creek and Pinnacles Track (Kauaeranga Kauri Trail)

This track was my very first dive into New Zealand's world of tramping:
Rainforest vibes, very old trees, a staircase to heaven,...
Well, not heaven but to the summit of the Pinnacles, at least.
Oh, and views that expand over almost the entire Coromandel peninsula.