Week #28 – Spending Time Apart
After spending an amazing time in West Sumbawa together, Pierre and I decided to go separate ways. He continued east, taking the local bus for 36 hours to reach Flores. I decided to travel back to Lombok alone.
It’s been about 6 months since we left NYC to travel the world and create a mutual project together. Flash forward 6 months later, and I am proud of the creation we have made together. I am grateful for the places that we have been to and the people we have met along the way. I went into this project in hopes of being able to build a viable business together (basically a project that pays) but also simply because I wanted to tell a beautiful story about our travels to our children one day. I have no doubt that we will accomplish the latter, but the former is full of challenges. Pierre has a strong drive to create, and I truly believe in his talent as a photographer, vision as a videographer, and passion to share what he loves to do with the world. But I am half of this project and struggle to find my own way.
I find myself spending valuable time comparing ourselves to others. I take a look at so-called success stories and spend countless hours analyzing how they got to where they are today. I take a look at other creators who have started around the same time as we have and wonder why they have more followers on Instagram, why they have more views on YouTube, and how they got there. The worse came when I started to compare myself to teenagers on Instagram with crappy holiday photos. How do they have so many followers? Why can’t we crack the code? On a grander scheme I wondered what will become of this project when we both stop traveling full-time. Where will live when this project ends? What will I do for work?
All this worrying and self doubt can take a toll on you mind but also your body. So when Pierre mentioned that we would need to take a bus for nearly 36 hours across the island of Sumbawa before catching a ferry to Flores, I decided that I didn’t have the will or strength to join him.
This leads me to another important lesson that our adventure together has taught me: the importance of taking time for yourself. Traveling full-time with your partner is extremely rewarding but it can be challenging as well. This was the first time in our entire relationship where we have spent almost 24 hours a day together. We are constantly making decisions together from the small (what to eat for breakfast) to bigger decisions (countries to visit, how much to spend). Whether you like it or not, the two of you start to converge into one being. It’s extremely important to remember that despite this, you are still your own being. What may be right for your significant other may not be right for you. A part of me was devastated to be missing out on seeing Flores, but at that point I was more concerned about getting some much needed mental relaxation on my own. I said goodbye to Pierre and hopped on a bus back to Lombok where I would conduct my own self-retreat.