Love and The Journey

There is one day every year that forces many to look their love or lack thereof square in the eyes. This is a post about both a journey across the world, and the love that can come with it, or get left behind. Long-distance love is a journey in and of itself — one I know all too well.  It’s the kind of journey you don’t buy a ticket for; you stumble across it by accident, and it doesn’t say whether it’s going to be a one-way or a round-trip, but you inevitably find out at some point along the way because you just can’t resist its mysterious lure to an unknown place…

Sometimes you say goodbye to a person, you leave them behind for a journey on your own, but even after you’re gone you feel their invisible presence, like static electricity, like a good or bad ghost — it’s hard to really tell. But one thing’s for sure: no matter who gets left behind, no matter how far away you go, your heart — with all its beautiful stories and scars — well, it always comes with you. Sometimes it’s the only thing that does.

But I didn’t write this post.

I will let today’s TwT contributor, Mara, take it from here.

Love and The Journey

By Mara, with thanks to TwT for the space to share words from my journey!

Digging new potatoes while WWOOFING. Photo by Mara.

I am living in New Zealand. And I am here because of love. Not love that is sprinkled like fairy dust, but love that spoke to me when I was on the floor wondering how I’d ever get up. Or love that somehow found me, miraculously, one among the crowd.

My journey in New Zealand began last November in Auckland with my boyfriend (B.) and a car we bought and called Hermione—a name I later happily discovered means patron of travelers.

Bark Bay, Abel Tasman National Park. Southland, NZ. Photo by Mara.

Our trip started in Northland and by the time we covered ground in Southland and arrived to Christchurch, we drove 3,500 km. It sounds ordinary, writing it like that. But it was a journey that for me had begun years earlier.

And it was a journey designed with a fork in the road. When we booked our tickets, I knew B. would return to New York City after a few weeks. I’d stay in New Zealand for an undetermined amount of time. To write. To be. To find the space I needed and that eluded me in New York. To let me really soak in my life. And to maybe find direction towards work that really feels like “Yes!”

Crater Lake, Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Northland, NZ. Photo by Mara.

I still don’t know why that decision was so simple to make, because even what’s simple is not always easy. It was the start of something perhaps so predictable, but still unseen.

When B. and I met, love followed—as easy as breathing and as familiar as knowing.

But then, love always involves a leap, entrusting yourself to someone else. So, my faith was blind. Our love would stay strong. What distance would take away, love would transcend.

Mt. Cook reflection. Lake Matheson. Southland, NZ. Photo by Mara.

And then, recently, there was a moment just as I was waiting to turn in a line of traffic that it entered my mind—just one question. It was easy, the way doubt slipped in: would our love survive the journey?

One question to release the flood gates for all others. Is love transportable? Is love durable? Is love enough? Is love renewable?

If everything begins and ends with love, I had not considered finishing this journey with our love not still thriving. But how had I made that presumption? What had told me to take that chance?

Tongariro National Park. Northland, NZ. Photo by Mara.

You see, I had to first become the person who met B., because once I was lost and without love for myself. With work and in time, I became that person who loved herself strong enough to both choose love and leave a life in New York for the journey that would diverge in New Zealand and converge again in New York at some future point.

Mara sitting in a rock. Coromandel Peninsula. Northland, NZ. Photo provided by Mara.

Now my time in New Zealand is nearly over and soon I’m going to Indonesia. Though I’m getting closer to home, I’m leaving the last place our love physically touched the ground. What I must do out of love for myself, and what I must do out of love for B. are sometimes seemingly at odds, though I know the bigger picture blurs these relatively tiny movements, the daily decisions.

We speak and we write, and most days our love carries the vast ocean and time between us, but there are times when it feels strange to be so focused on me, and also a committed part of We. And that is where the faith, in all its obscurity, comes and takes my hand.

Faith inherently is blind, but in it I know that wherever the day or doubts might stray, love—transportable, durable, renewable love—is enough. Love has been my source and sustenance, and in it, anything is possible on my journey.

Mara jumping. Lake Matheson, Mt. Cook. Southland, NZ. Photo provided by Mara.

Mara worked with Wall Street investment analysts to incorporate environmental, social, governance issues into investment strategy, until she realized she needed to give her voice to the issues she cares about. Having deferred graduate journalism school, Mara now travels, writes and curates words in an eponymous blog–:mag:. Of all the magical places in the world, Mara loves to be anywhere where she could stay…just a while longer. For more from her journey, check out Mara’s blog,, or follow her on Twitter: @maragrbenick.



Filed under Contributor, Life Stuff, Love, New Zealand, Travel

4 responses to “Love and The Journey

  1. Pingback: Surprise! « :mag: – a writing project.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Love and The Journey | Travels with Tavel --

  3. Gorgeous post!!! I didn’t want it to end. My LDR finally is coming to an end after almost 6 years together. I’m so excited for our wedding day in May. I wish you and B nothing but a lifetime of love and adventures.

    • travelswithtavel

      Wow. My LDRs never seemed to survive… Despite the fight I gave. Power to you, and congrats again 🙂 Savor it all, and thank you for reading.

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