'Twas the night before London

Written by on March 7, 2010 in 30 Life Crisis, Blog, Travel - 24 Comments

A little more than 10 years ago I made a decision that would unexpectedly set the universe’s plans in motion for me.

If you asked me then, the decision held little importance in the scheme of what I expected from my life. I was a junior in college and needed money, therefore a job.

I answered an ad in Towson University’s student paper for a server. It was nothing great — two shifts a week to start at a local (and popular) crab restaurant.

That’s it.

At the job I met T. He was the owner’s nephew and was working at the restaurant, too. I fell in love with him.

The awful, first love kind of way where you never think you will ever in a million years feel the way you feel about the man you are with.

Only, our relationship wasn’t a good one. T was an alcoholic, 10 years my senior, who despised life. While his self-loathing and misery didn’t rub off on me, it was entirely taken out on me. Our relationship was one of cyclical emotional abuse. It was pints of I-love-you’s with double shots of I-hate-you’s and lots and lots (and lots) of tears. And crazy wicked emotional hangovers.

“Have some dignity,” friends would say. “What about your self-respect? How can you let yourself be treated like this? Do you really hate yourself that much to stay with a guy who is so awful to you.”

My favorite, and the most eye-opening was “You’re pathetic.” But it was the truth, I was pathetic.

There were a myriad of reasons I hung on to him for dear life, but none of them good enough to explain away the pain I let him cause me. I fed off of his kind moments. The ones where our little world seemed perfect. He was my cigarette — no matter how awful I knew he was for me, I couldn’t let him go.

I was with him when I went to Europe the first time. I planned a five-week trip immediately after I graduated college.

“What am I supposed to do?” he asked when I informed him I was going backpacking for a bit.

The question alone shot a pain through my chest. You wait five weeks for me and support me.

The entire time I was there, thoughts of him cheating on me consumed my mind, dulling every moment of beauty. I told everyone I cut my trip a week short because I had enough. Although, everyone knew it was really because I was petrified we wouldn’t stay together because of this trip.

As I flew out of Brussels a week early, tears rolling down my cheeks, I vowed I would do this the right way — filled with confidence and a smile from ear-to-ear. Someday.

After three years of having my heart torn out of my chest more times than I can count, I realized I did not want to live the rest of my life like that. Before I met T I had goals for myself, dreams I wanted to achieve. But, being in his world meant I shrugged off mine.

So, I decided to go after what would fulfill my professional life instead of my personal — becoming a publicist in Las Vegas.

“That place will eat you alive,” T spat at me the last night I ever saw him. “You won’t last.”

Oh yeah? I challenged in my head.

Four months later, I had a job in PR in Sin City.

After a four-year stint in Las Vegas that afforded me experiences I could have only imagined, I decided I had gotten everything out of my time there. I wanted to try something else.

I’m happy to report Las Vegas most definitely did not eat me alive.

It was January 2009 when I moved to Atlanta for a more business-oriented PR job. It wasn’t a fit for me, but I never said a word. I had thought Atlanta would be a more solid place to grow and I hated to admit it wasn’t.

It was September 2009 when I embarked on my “30th Birthday World Tour,” which really only took me to Croatia. The trip had a profound effect on me. It awakened something in me I hadn’t felt in … ever.

When my parents met me at Dulles during my layover back to Atlanta, I informed them my life was going to change. I confessed to them my unhappiness and disappointment I felt towards my job. I announced my refusal to simply sit idly by and watch myself go through motions in life. I had control and I wanted something more.

They pledged their support.

I wanted to make another decision, this time knowingly, that would change my life.

I booked a flight. I gave notice. I moved out of Atlanta into my parent’s house in Maryland.

Here I am. 

The night before I embark on this adventure.

I know every single decision you make impacts your fate, and I sure as hell don’t credit T for everything that has brought me to this point. But I am well aware if it weren’t for him, there is a good chance I might not have ended up right here. In this moment. Yellow lab at my feet … tucked into bed … laptop balancing on my legs … backpack at the door … leaving tomorrow night for a seven month (maybe more) journey through Europe and into my soul.

One little decision catapulted my life all of those years ago. There were plenty of times I cursed T for his existence in my life. However, at the end of the day, those years of pain were well worth the beauty and amazing and wonder my life has held every day since then and the awe and excitement facing me tonight.

I am fulfilling the promise I made to myself eight years ago.

So, thanks T. You may have been the worst thing to ever happen to me, but you were also the best.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is an avid traveler who recently spent four years living as an expat. Most notably, Diana spent nearly three years in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she worked with Save Elephant Foundation to raise awareness about the realities of elephant tourism. Currently based in Las Vegas, Diana works in many industries as a publicist, social media expert, content creator and journalist. The co-founder of the Responsible Travel & Tourism Collective, Diana has spoken at conferences about travel blogging and responsible tourism.

24 Comments on " 'Twas the night before London "

  1. Sumi March 7, 2010 at 1:38 am · Reply

    Your writing is amazing. Cannot wait to “follow” you on your travels.

  2. Chris - The Aussie Nomad March 7, 2010 at 8:03 am · Reply

    Great post D. Good luck on your trip, I hope I can catch up with you somewhere in Europe.

    Funny how moments in life can change you so much. My trip is also based from a previous relationship and how I wanted to break free of what it had made me into.

    • dtravelsround March 7, 2010 at 9:25 am · Reply

      YES. We shall catch up in Europe.

      I never thought one little decision would make such an impact, but am so thankful for the place I am today, the people I have met along the way and the life I have lived.

  3. mytimetotravel March 7, 2010 at 10:03 am · Reply

    Great post. Isn’t life amazing? Congratulations on taking charge of yours.

    Have a wonderful trip!

    • dtravelsround March 7, 2010 at 10:14 am · Reply

      Life IS amazing. Thank you so much for the kind words.

  4. Stephanie March 7, 2010 at 10:57 am · Reply

    “The awful, first love kind of way where you never think you will ever in a million years feel the way you feel about the man you are with.”

    Ugh, yes been there. It’s funny how destructive those first loves can be. Mine wasn’t on board with the whole travel thing either and in a major way that catapaulted me into it. He’d hate to know it, but he is responsible for where I am now in a multitude of unquantifiable ways.

    I’m so happy/excited for you. To the future!

    • dtravelsround March 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm · Reply

      Thank you so much, Steph. Maybe I’ll surprise you and meet you over in Thailand or something. You never know!!!

  5. Mike March 7, 2010 at 11:09 am · Reply

    Wow. Great post. Excellent job putting your experiences into words. I look forward to reading about your adventures. Good Luck!

    • dtravelsround March 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm · Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate it. It’s never easy to convey my feelings, so I am glad you liked the post.

  6. Cat March 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm · Reply

    Have the best time, D! So excited for you. 🙂 We in Las Vegas will be traveling with you ’round the world as you blog. Can’t wait!

    • dtravelsround March 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm · Reply

      Thank you Cat!!! I can’t believe I am really doing this. I appreciate the comment. XOXO

  7. Nomadic Chick March 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm · Reply

    A gaggle of puppies never makes me cry, but your post did. Every person we meet – whether horrible experience or not, will force a person to learn something. Grow, change, or evolve.

    Whatever happened before probably brought you to this exact moment. Go forth, strong woman! I love you even more after this post.

    • dtravelsround March 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm · Reply

      That is so sweet. I am a strong believer that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. People come into your lives for a moment or many, and impact you in ways you could never imagine. I often just sit back and marvel at the twists and turns my life has taken to get me to this point today.

  8. Darren March 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm · Reply

    Wow. Intense writing. All the best to you on your travels — I just traveled to Towson this past weekend to catch one of my favorite bands ever on their farewell tour. Small world!

  9. Candice March 7, 2010 at 10:42 pm · Reply

    Awesome awesome awesome post. so excited to hear about your travels, and I LOVE that you finally took control of your life. So great. And you ARE a great writer!

    • dtravelsround March 9, 2010 at 12:22 pm · Reply

      Thank you so much for that note. It was the hardest post I have ever written, but felt so good to get it out. I really appreciate the compliment. I LOVE to write. Eventually, want to turn this into a book. 🙂

  10. Joel March 11, 2010 at 9:59 am · Reply

    This is one of those posts that should be used to inspire anyone who’s going through bad times and needs to know that they can take charge of their lives. We can’t affect everything in the world around us, but we can affect how we react to it.

    Congratulations – I’m very happy for you and look forward to reading more. We’ll be crossing over in Europe for a while, I think, so I hope we can meet up at some point!

    • dtravelsround March 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm · Reply

      Joel, thank you so much for the kind words. It is such a miserable experience to have to go through stuff like that, but I swear, you come out so much better for it. I firmly agree with the statement “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger,” along with the one my friends would always tell me — “no love is worth the tears, and a love that is won’t make you cry.”You can either choose to let hard times knock you down or rise above. Sometimes it just takes a little of the first to get to the second.

      Thank you!

  11. Allison Rockwood November 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm · Reply

    Firstly I want to say thank you for sharing your story!
    My sister forwarded me your blog to read, since your story reminded her of mine. Like yours I was in a terrible situation with a boyfriend, too much drinking, cheating, lies and emotional abuse. But no matter what he did I always stayed with him. My breaking point was when my parents told me “you must not think a lot of yourself” Broke my heart to hear that from two people I knew loved and cared for me. Finally I walked……it has been a year and I am still going through his torture tactics but I know eventually there will be an end:) I am beginning a new journey, going back to school for nursing so I can travel:) I love this quote”Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life” I hope you ad safe travels:)

    • Diana December 3, 2012 at 3:33 am · Reply

      Going through what we went through is not easy at all. One year? That is amazing! You know, after 10 years, T and I are friends and speak. Entirely different “relationship” if you will. We didn’t communicate for a long time, and then about a year ago, he reached out to me and we spoke about the past. It was very cathartic and needed. But, going through it was such hell. I was at a point I never thought possible. I was desperate to make things work. I was, as my one friend called me, “pathetic.” I learned a lot though — the things now, as far more of a grown up than I have ever been before — what I will and will not tolerate in a relationship. I also feel a lot better about myself. Once I realized I didn’t need someone else to love me in order to love myself, my entire world changed. Congrats on your new journey! Keep me updated!

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