Travel: Distance only makes the heart grow fonder

By Brianna Coffey, Lambda Travel Columnist, and Damen Tokiwa

Brianna is a third year Laurentian University student, who is currently completing a semester abroad. She’ll be contributing monthly articles to the Lambda, depicting her experiences while traveling.

In 2016, the average university student is faced with impactful and exciting experiences such as pursuing a degree, traveling to new places, finding one’s self, and maybe even finding someone special to experience these things with.

Depending on the nature of some key decisions, this can mean leaving loved ones behind – or even watching them leave.

Sometimes, two adventurous people with set goals in mind to travel across the world can create inevitable distance. But, before you get the tissues out, know that distance does not have to be a bad thing. Of course, every epic love story needs something to make things interesting.

A little bit about us: Damen departed for nearly two months in mid-July of this past summer on an exchange to France. Four (way-too-short) months later, I took off for Spain for five and a half months.

We have decided that the next big adventure we are doing together (finally).

However, during this time apart, we are learning each day how to make our long distance relationship work, and in the spirit of this past Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share a little bit about our story and some tips on how to make the most out of your distance apart from your special someone.

Ask Dame

Schedule dates: Despite the distance, we (luckily) live in the digital age. Skype, Facetime and Facebook calling are literally at our fingertips, allowing us to communicate with whomever, whenever we want.

Whether it is eating, listening to music, or just talking, recreational activities are still doable and make a world of difference when you’re apart from someone.

I sometimes refer to it as my ‘breakfast in Europe,’ when I stay up until 2 a.m. to eat with Brianna.

Be creative and make the best of it!

Embrace the loneliness: My advice is to embrace this time of independence and harness this as an opportunity for reflecting.

Use that time and energy and put it towards schoolwork and other friendships. Keep busy by joining clubs and going to social events you normally would not.

Turning the isolation into a strengthening outlet for individuality has been a rewarding surprise.

Ask Bri

Make your time together count: When the distance begins, it becomes more about quality over quantity than it ever has, and that is the true test.

Embrace the moments you have connecting with your special someone, and always keep in mind that the next time will be even bigger of a treat to chat.

When Dame was in France, one text or quick Facetime video chat made my day. I lived for the adventure updates. Now it’s my turn. I love sharing my day-to-day stories with him. Being together is a luxury, and so is being able to connect via Facetime or text.

Be supportive of the goals of your partner: I’d say that in university, we are living in the most ambitious time of our lives. If your partner has big dreams, support them.

Spend time understanding why they may want to venture off and share their excitement. Love is a liberating thing and should never hold anyone back from doing what they want to do in life.

Damen has been more than supportive of my decision to leave for Spain, just as I supported his exchange to France. The fact is, even though you are apart, you still need your significant other, that doesn’t change.

Long distance relationships can teach you so much about your partner and yourself that you would have never learned if you were always together.

Couples that can make it through the distance, sure do earn the heartfelt reuniting. Pursuing your dreams is more than worth it in the long run, whether you are single or in a relationship.

Cheers to love and love for adventure!

-Photo by Brianna Coffey and Damen Tokiwa