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Long Distance Relationships: What it's Like

Updated: Jan 26

This month on the blog, I really want add more voices and perspectives than just my own. So, I asked some of the amazing travelers that I met during my adventures abroad to share their stories.


Throughout their stories, they will tell you a little bit about themselves, what motivated them to travel, a highlight and a lowlight from their travels, as well as offer some advice based on their own experiences.


My hope with this series is that you find something, or someone, you resonate with that motivates you to take a leap of faith, this year, towards expanding your horizons abroad!


For our last entry in the series, we have the honest and authentic Rachael!

 

Rachael and Sam on a cliff

Hi! My name is Rachael, and I’m a 25 year old elementary school teacher who is currently in a long distance relationship. I’ve been with my boyfriend, Sam, for just over four years. Of those four years, two of them have been long distance.


Sam and I met in university, about two months into my second year at Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy. I was studying English Literature and he was an international student studying Economics, so there’s no logical reason we should have ever met. I mean really, what are the chances of our paths crossing?


However, as fate would have it, we both ended up in the same German class. I was studying German in order to get the credits I needed to complete one of my minors. However, he was in the class to boost his GPA, given that German is his first language.


Initially nothing happened between us, since I was in a different relationship at the time. As time passed though, I realized I wasn’t prioritized in my relationship then, and I became really unhappy. I still didn’t leave the relationship though, because I was too “comfortable.”




I had been with that boyfriend since grade nine, and was scared to leave. Hannah and I were talking one day in German class about the other people in our class and that’s really when I first noticed Sam. I’ll spare the dramatic, and slightly messy details, but some time passed and I had become single. That’s when I decided to pursue the relationship that I’m in now.


Little did I know when I started flirting with Sam that he lived over 1800 kms away from me in Bermuda. Fast forward to today and we still make things work, but it’s not always easy.


I’m actually writing this while on a trip to visit him in Bermuda, which is the place I travel to the most frequently. I have also been to Cuba, several different states in the USA, and few different Canadian provinces, but I travel to Bermuda roughly every three months. I’m only here for a week, because as much as I would love to stay longer and have more time with him, I have a job I need to return to and bills I need to pay.


Bermuda beaches

I can honestly say that traveling to Bermuda probably wouldn’t have happened for me if he didn’t live here. The motivation to come here wouldn’t have existed at all if I wasn’t coming to see Sam.


It’s a beautiful place as I’m sure anyone can see, but it would have never crossed my mind to come here if I didn’t have to.



When we started dating back in 2019, we were just happy to be in each others company and didn’t bother thinking about what the future, aka long-distance, would look like for us. We lived together throughout the pandemic at his Canadian apartment, but as time passed and we got closer to graduation, we were also getting closer to him moving back home.


That meant we needed to have a difficult conversation. In our situation there were really only two choices since I still had two years of teachers college to complete and couldn’t leave Canada to be with him, at least not yet anyways.


Option one was to break up. I couldn’t move to Bermuda at the time and he had been offered a job back home so he couldn’t stay in Canada. This option was obviously not very appealing which led us to option two, stay together and make long distance work.


Don’t get me wrong, this option still sucked, but it was better than just throwing in the towel and breaking up. We talked about the options together six to eight months before he would be moving back home and both agreed that while it would be hard work, long-distance would be better than breaking up. We love each other and the distance wasn’t going to change that, it would just make communicating significantly more difficult for us!


There can be many downsides to long distance of course, but the majority of them are typically unavoidable. In my particular situation, I’m fairly lucky since the flight is relatively short, it’s only about three hours long. However, where I become less lucky is the fact that the flights can be very expensive and often include a layover in the USA.


Bermuda beaches

I always try to book with Air Canada since I’ve only had positive experiences in the past, but sometimes the price for the direct flight is way too much. So, I have to go through the stress of booking with American Airlines and having a layover in either Georgia or North Carolina.


On top of the flights themselves, Bermuda can also be expensive in general. It’s an island which means that most items are imported and therefore, everything tends to be pricier.


Outside of getting to Bermuda and the cost of being here, long distance is also hard because communication becomes more difficult. When you are face-to-face with a person you can watch their body language and facial expressions and use them to help you understand, not only what they are saying, but how they feel about what they are saying.


Most of our conversations are done over FaceTime, which means, to some extent, I can still see his facial expressions, but it’s nearly impossible to read his body language the same as I normally would be able to. This means that more of our disagreements turn into actual arguments because of miscommunications and then people's feelings get hurt.




With that being said, there are highs and lows to every relationship, whether it’s long distance or not; even platonic relationships have highs and lows. My relationship can be tricky to navigate at times, I’ll be the first to admit that, and sometimes it’s because of the way I handle situations. Even after being together for over four years, I still get jealous from time-to-time and I can still communicate poorly, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a ton of positives as well.


Anytime I travel to Bermuda, I’m always looking forward to one thing the most, and it’s not the beaches, though they are a really nice bonus. There’s a moment when you first see your partner again and no matter how long you've been together, you get butterflies in your stomach, even if just for a second.


Sam and Rachael

The entire flight to Bermuda, I have this anxious but eager feeling, where I can't wait to see him. An understandable feeling obviously, but then when I get here, there is a feeling that is impossible to describe to anybody outside of a long distance relationship.


The best way that I can describe it, is that the world kind of melts away for a few seconds when you first see them again.


You feel warm and immediately comforted. You instantly remember why you deal with the distance, the late night calls, the arguments over miscommunications, and all the other BS. It’s all for them, and for this feeling, the feeling of home as a person. Seeing him is the highlight of my trip. We could spend the whole week watching movies and not step foot on a beach once, and I would still consider that trip a success.


As difficult as I’m sure my relationship sounds to others, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Despite only seeing each other face-to-face every three or four months, we have still managed to make amazing memories together.


Aside from me being able to explore his home with him when I visit the island, and exploring where I live in Canada when he visits me, we also enjoy planning future trips that we can take together.


Rachael and Sam in a cave

This past August, we took a trip to B.C and Alberta where we got do so many amazing things together. We explored local vendors on Granville Island in Vancouver, hiked through different areas of the Canadian Rockies in both B.C and Alberta, biked the Stanely Park loop, and even took a seaplane tour.


In the week that we spent out west, we got to experience some incredible sights and wildlife, and now we have the memories from it that we get to share together. We enjoy planning trips together, not only because it’s fun to do, but because it gives both of us something to do together and something to look forward to together.


Our next few trips together, if everything goes as planned, will be an NFL wildcard game in January 2024, and a Greek Isles cruise at the end of July 2024. Obviously we will make visits in between the two trips to see one another, but these are two trips that we are planning together right now.



I want to end this with some advice for those who are about to embark on a long distance relationship, or for those who are already in one. However, I’m known for being very blunt so be warned that you might not like everything you hear, but it is my honest opinion. Here goes nothing!


Long distance relationships suck, they just do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy in my relationship with Sam, but long distance really blows sometimes. It’s going to be hard sometimes, and other times it won’t feel as bad. It comes and goes in waves, and as someone who has been saying hello and goodbye for over 2 years, I can truly say that the goodbyes never get any easier.


The goodbyes always suck, and I always cry a little when it’s time for one of us to leave and go back home, so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in the same situation. You’re not alone in the way that you feel, and your feelings are valid.


Create fun dates together in whatever ways you can until you can be together again. Date nights are important even if that means a Netflix party together, or cooking the same dish together over FaceTime. Whatever you and your partner enjoy doing, try to find a way to still do those things.


Long distance is hard, but don’t let yourselves lose each other just because it’s not “the same” as before. Life moves forwards, not backwards. You both need to do the same, move forward together. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, push through and always remind your partner that they matter to you, it never hurts to tell them one more time.


Rachael and Sam

In order to get through the tough times you have to remember why you’re doing any of this in the first place. You need to remember your reason.


There will come a time when one of you will be getting on a flight to see the other and it will be the last flight you have to take. There won’t be a return flight because you’ll both be home.


 

Thank you so much Rach for sharing your story. I know your comforting and powerful words as well as experiences will help someone going through a similar situation.


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