What Love Sometimes Looks Like

Watching Alice pull away made me sad but it also gave me the itch to get moving myself. There was no longer a reason to stay in Austin…or was there…?


I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not to share this with you. One could argue that my love life is none of your business. But really, nothing about my life is your business, I choose to share it with you. In a world full of half truths, misleading images and facades, I want my story to be a refreshing dose of the cold hard truth. Anyone who knows me, could tell you that the “cold hard truth” is kinda my specialty, so in a way, there was probably no avoiding it. Another reason for letting you into my love life is to provide some relief. Society has done a fantastic job of drilling in a cookie cutter image of what our romantic relationships should look like and if they don’t look like that, we feel like there’s something wrong with us. Or we might throw away something great because it’s not meeting those impossible to meet make believe standards. If you’re like me in any way, romantic relationships might be extra, crazy hard. I spent a long time wondering why my love life didn’t just fall into a neat little package. Why it never seemed to look like anyone else’s. I finally came to realize that I am different, have been my whole life, why would I expect my relationships to be conventional? I am strong willed, stubborn, opinionated, independent and introverted to boot. All makings for complicated partnering if you ask me. So in the spirit of total transparency and with hopes that you feel reassured by my far from perfect love life, let me introduce you to Jeffrey! The man I messily love.

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Jeffrey and I had been together for a year, broke up for a year and had semi-recently come back together again before I left. Mander complicated an already complicated relationship but the one thing we knew for sure, is that we loved each other. So we said teary goodbyes and comforted ourselves with plans for him to visit me on the road. And that is just what was about to happen! That itch I had to leave Austin would just have to wait to be scratched. If Jeffrey was willing to get on a plane to come see me, I was more than willing to hang out in Austin a little longer. We had talked a lot about whether this sort of life would be attractive to him or not, so I was super excited to not only see him, but also for him to get a taste of Manderland. We made plans to poke around the city for a couple days and then have a proper Mander adventure to Inks State Park.

Jeffrey arrived in Austin and my awesome new friend, Erica, let me use her car to pick him up at the airport. I swooped him up and got some long overdue hugs and kisses. We went to Mander, dropped of his luggage and headed to one of my favorite Austin discoveries, Juiceland.

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While I’ve been traveling around I often think, “Oh Jeffrey would like this.” or “I wish Jeffrey was here to see this!” It was awesome to now be able to share some of those places with him. After a few days of showing him around Austin, we were ready to to see a new place together.

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Not too far out of Austin and into the hill country part of Texas, is Inks State Park. It was cool to see yet another different looking landscape in the same, giant state. We reserved a campsite in the park and filled our days with hikes. It was so fun to have a hiking buddy! I loved that he hikes the same way as I do; with a sense of wonder. In no hurry, stopping to look at the details and inspect various eye catching things. I usually feel rushed when I hike with other people, and that I can’t stop to take pictures for too long or I will annoy the other person. Not with Jeffrey! We had picnics, goofed around, looked at rocks and cacti up close and dilly dallied until our hearts content.

We spent one week together, exploring, loving on each other and fighting. Yes, we fought. We were around each other 24/7 in a tiny space. It was bound to happen. But the truth is, we kinda fight a lot. Both of us are often pushed to the brink from this but it still hasn’t destroyed our love. Probably anyone that has seen our relationship from the outside, wouldn’t understand why we are even trying. We don’t even live in the same state anymore! I won’t speak for him, but here’s my take on it. We fight a lot because we unintentionally poke each other’s wounds. We poke each other’s wounds because we are each other’s teachers.

“Hey, you haven’t healed this part yet, see? *Poke *Poke.”

“Ouch! That hurts! You big meanie!”

Let the fighting commence.

We have an insanely deep connection that I haven’t felt before, which is maybe why the pokes are so precise. Our souls are coming together and getting down to business when it comes to their evolution. No time to mess around! Despite all our fighting, at the end of the day, we love each other unconditionally. He supported me to go after my dream, even though it meant leaving him. I support him in following his dreams, even though it may mean not being with me. In my opinion, that is how you truly love. We are invested in each others growth and happiness. There’s a weird peacefulness I have about my love for him. I didn’t come upon it easily. It has been painful and filled with heartache but I’ve come to realize that the love we share is beyond my ego/physical self. It’s just there. It’s imprinted on my soul. I’ve probably carried it with me for many lifetimes. Even if I don’t get to have it logistically close to me, it isn’t going anywhere. Neither of us are sure how things are going to pan out but if Mander has taught me anything, is that it’s best to take things one day at a time, there’s a whole heck of a lot you can’t control and that having hope and faith can make a world of difference.

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So how’s that for an unconventional love story? One that may not end in happily ever after. Or not the happily ever after you’re used to seeing anyway. What I hope you take away from me sharing this with you is this. There is no one size fits all to life and love. So don’t let people tell you how to live your life, or how to love. Don’t let other people’s reality’s define yours. You are the only you and your life should reflect that. Let your love be as messy as it needs to be. The most important thing, is that you love. Love hard.

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Please consider donating to my Gas Money Pool on Paypal by clicking here. Any donation goes straight into Mander’s tank. At 6 mpg it sure costs a lot to keep the old girl on the road. But with your help, I can continue to collect stories and take pictures to share with you on my blog and Instagram. Thank you for being a part of my journey!

You can also support me by shopping my vintage clothes collection, Freedom to Roam. These clothes are found at various thrift stores across the U.S. and purchases help keep me roaming!

Until next time, much love and Mander on! 

 

32 response to "What Love Sometimes Looks Like"

  1. By: Craig Posted: May 23, 2018

    I’m a recent subscriber and this is my first comment. Thank you for sharing a very personal part of your life. I wish you and Jeffrey the best!

  2. By: eremophila Posted: May 23, 2018

    Thanks for this. Yes, I get it, as I also have those I love yet I live a single life. It’s just how it is this time around, same as having no long term place of abode in this life. Simply a different range of experience in this current life. Accepting that brought peace.

  3. By: jeffreyjamesmusic Posted: May 24, 2018

    Love you to the moon!

  4. By: Erik Posted: May 24, 2018

    Thank you for sharing such a personal point. Your smile confirms the deep love you have to each other.

  5. By: Michelle Topham Posted: May 24, 2018

    That is such a great way of putting things. Love is messy. Love is often hard. Yet so many people give up on it when it isn’t the ‘cookie cutter’ way they think it’s supposed to be. The love of my life was difficult from the first day I met him, and he never got any easier. We broke up, got back together, broke up, got back together and finally worked things out and decided to get married. Of course, there was no way that was going to be easy either, as he went and died the day before our wedding. (Well, I never expected him to be easy and, right until the bitter end, he wasn’t! 🙂 ) Don’t regret a single day of it though. Loved him. And will always love him. And the time I was with him will always be one of the happiest times of my life. Good luck with yours. He looks like he might be a keeper 🙂

    • By: agirlandhercommander Posted: May 24, 2018

      Wow! I’m so sorry that happened to you but I’m very happy you got him for the time you did. I’m guessing the feelings were mighty strong to keep trying and not a lot of people get to experience love that deep. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I think it helps everyone to see different examples of nontraditional love stories! 💖

  6. By: debsaidit Posted: May 24, 2018

    Love looks good on both of you. Thank you for sharing this intimate slice of your life. It’s tough to love a determined independent strong woman. I know this, and thank God I have a partner who loves me so hard. I adore following you.

    • By: agirlandhercommander Posted: May 26, 2018

      Thanks for reading Deb! I’m glad you found someone who loves and supports your bad ass self! You deserve it!

  7. By: Pamela R Pyle Posted: May 25, 2018

    Aw So sweet. Thanks for sharing. You both are adorable. My hubby always said it it was meant to be it will happen. Sometimes you have to give it a little help. It did for us for 31 wonderful years. I miss that man of mine. I too am an independent, determined , strong introvert woman. My hubby always encouraged this in me instead of trying to change me to what others thought I should be. Hold your ground sister. It is your life and we only live once. If you ever get to Idaho I would be honored for you to drop in. I have a nice place for it here. Peaceful.

    • By: agirlandhercommander Posted: May 26, 2018

      I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for your kind words and your offer to open your doors to me. There’s a good chance I’ll take you up on that! 😘

      • By: Pamela R Pyle Posted: May 29, 2018

        I would love that. I have kind of a crazy fun place here. Peaceful. Frogs might keep you awake at night. LOL Preview of my place. And the driveway is easy in and easy out. The cattle drive only happens twice a year. Would not want you to think you would be bothered by the cows. Unless you come here at the right time. 🙂
        https://www.flickr.com/photos/50185661@N03/ Link is safe just pictures of my place and crazy art.

  8. By: Julia Posted: May 26, 2018

    Really lovely post, my friend.
    Hope things are going well down there. So great that your mom and sister visited!

    • By: agirlandhercommander Posted: May 26, 2018

      Thanks Julia! It was so nice to see them. I’m hope you’re enjoying your well earned summer!

  9. By: Chris Posted: May 27, 2018

    Happened across your youtube video, and caught your blog tonight. Struggling with my own “unique love” and get so much of what you shared about yours. I needed to hear it…thank you! And, great job with Mander…”she’s a bute Clark” 🙂 Safe travels and keep loving hard (and messy:)

  10. By: 4theriders Posted: May 29, 2018

    I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve left that relationship behind though, and found a much, much better one now. We live and travel in a 30ft rv together and almost never, ever fight. Life is good. Btw, this is @tinyTinaTurnerDog on ig. 🙂

  11. By: Cherri Hoek Posted: May 30, 2018

    Stumbled across you on youtube. Enjoyed looking over your journey. Arizona here! Thank you for sharing.

  12. By: The Curly Nomad Posted: May 31, 2018

    Very sweet and I love your honesty. It’s called fish-loving someone when you love them so much you’d take them out of their water. You both have learned how to not fish-love each other, even if it is messy. 🙂

  13. By: Lloyd Purvis Posted: June 4, 2018

    Nice job on the RV….I admire folks able to pack themselves into a small unit and hit the road…be safe…

    Best of luck to you and Jeffrey…what will be, will be….love harder than the battles and y’all will always be together….just don’t poke too hard…some wounds need be left alone …

  14. By: April Posted: June 10, 2018

    Hey! I seen you on YouTube showing “Mander”, and I love what you did to it, it looks really good! Also you are inspiring! I’ve recently had a huge lifestyle change, and I’ve realized time is so precious, that life is more enjoyable when you actually make time to live! I was working non-stop and was extremely stressed and overworked. I got sick and had to quit my job at a nursing home. Now I’m broke all the time, and have to find a way to make a living, but I never want to go back to killing myself just pay for more! So I love that you are traveling, I’ve always wanted to do that. I would love to have a camper or motor home or something decent to live in and travel in. Just be safe! I would definitely have protection, you can’t trust people anymore. Some you can, but you never know these days. Anyways I don’t have Instagram or I would follow your journey on there, but I can come on this site or YouTube and Facebook. Have fun, enjoy it, and be careful. Bye.

    • By: agirlandhercommander Posted: June 18, 2018

      Thanks for reading April! Good luck on your path where ever it leads you! If you ever do get out on the road, you will soon realize that this world isn’t such a scary place and little to no one is out to do you harm. Take care!

  15. By: Nina BW Posted: June 19, 2018

    This such a beautiful and honest post… I loved it. Thanks for sharing!

  16. By: James Lande, Old China Books Posted: July 17, 2019

    “Probably anyone that has seen our relationship from the outside, wouldn’t understand why we are even trying.”
    Jesse, we who have followed your relationship with Mander for over a year, outside and in, would have a lot less difficulty understanding any other of your relationships. A David or a La Pieta starts as a solid block of marble, begins with extraordinary materials, but only with the effort, persistence, dedication and sacrifice of the sculptors can it be chipped flake by flake over time into something which may last for time as an example of beauty. And if, in the end, all that is achieved is just a really fine pot, that will be more than all of us, except perhaps Michelangelo, can even hope to achieve. One can gaze longingly at the chapel ceiling, but it may be better to savor each of the delicate brush strokes that gradually fills in the frieze.

  17. By: Heidi Posted: August 2, 2019

    Thank you for sharing this story. I started following your Instagram and then started poking around your blog and this story is eerily similar to mine. My partner (also Jeffery) and I have a complicated relationship. I am in the process of looking for a camper van to hit the road in, which he fully supports. He will stay in MN for the next few years and then maybe join me on the road. There have been many conversations, fights, and tears in trying to navigate the logistics of love when it isn’t what either of us envisioned when we met. Your experience has resonated with me. Thanks again for sharing your story and giving me hope that unconventional love can be the best kind. Safe travels! Xo

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