R shares the life lessons she learnt from the man she met online.
“I hadn’t begun running or training for any marathon until some friends from social media egged me on to go back to chasing my personal best for half marathons. And the duress began. Initially, running after a 5 and a half year gap sounded like this trip to hell and I shall kid you not, it turned out to be one. One loop of 3 KM had me panting as if I had already run a full length marathon distance. My legs, lungs and abdomen screamed at me for days on end, making the next attempt at running abysmal. This story began somewhere in the later months of 2015 – until my friends online decided to organised a meet for runners after a gloriously famous city marathon. There I was, sole point of contact, because everyone was running.
During this time, I had to interact with several people to coordinate about this meet, making sure I knew what to carry for whom, etc. And this is where the real story begins. While this was being planned, I had a solo trip coming up in the following month over two countries, making it my second solo travel attempt and first ever International trip.
While planning this, I remember asking for help by tweeting about it and got connected to this one person who has practically traveled a great part of the world and was also very willing to help.(I still thank my friend for helping with this connection.) Because since then, my life changed for the better. Wait, before you think it was love at first sight, let me put out this disclaimer right here, IT WASN’T. It isn’t even love I think, not yet, but this genuinely warm fuzzy deep connection I developed with him.
Let’s call him, MJD, no, they aren’t his initials. If he reads this, which he will, there will be enough laughter and leg pulling for a long time to come.
Story begins with a series of tagged posts on Instagram about his travel experiences through the two countries I had planned. They helped me plan more efficiently and I can say I traveled way better than I thought I would. But, before I went out, and after all these tagged posts, our online interaction had gone numerous steps ahead, with a keen interest on meeting offline since we lived in different cities. This part – where I connect with a runner/marathoner, talking about travel, kindness, people, connections and just about how annoying we can get sometimes – I call it “tempo” run. This helped me understand his thinking process, his emotional side of things and most importantly his kindness.
We connected offline as well, and HOW! We have traveled together several times, bitten each other’s heads off on occasions, annoyed each other too. It has been over 6 months since we first met, we aren’t in a relationship, but it has to be the most satisfying and deep connection, a clumsy person like myself, has managed to make and hoping that we get to know each other better.
Travelling with MJD, made me realize so many nuances of life I had taken for granted or not even paid attention to or just ignored. He opened my mind to life’s better fulfilling experiences, helped me in times of utter emotional distress, and held space for me when I needed it the most. It has made me a better person than what I was 7 months ago.
This is an ode, to the magic of that man that warms my heart every time I see him.
And yes, made me want to get back to running like never before!”
#100TravelLoveStories is a series of travel & love stories that you probably never shared with anyone. You can even submit a poem, painting, drawing or any work of creativity along with it. Everyone, irrespective of gender, is welcome to share. Submit the story to us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org with a catchy title & we will publish it for you, anonymously unless you ask us to reveal your identity.0