For as long as I could remember, I have always been a hopeful romantic. Maybe I blame all these rom-coms, but I have these rose-tinted scenarios in my head about life with a soulmate. Someone I can connect with on a deeper level. I have a lot of faith in the fact that this girl is out there. This girl I’d like to call The Unicorn. Unfortunately, the Unicorn has never appeared in my life. But here’s a story about how I mistakenly convinced myself that I met one, and how it changed the course of my life forever.
In the fall of 2014, I left New York City with my eyes set on Los Angeles. Why? Because I am just remarkable at reasoning with myself. I said “Ricky, your parents are getting older so you should move closer to Seattle. Maybe grow up and start planting some roots, young man. Just move to LA so you can at least be on the same side of the country.”
But first, I thought it’d be a great idea to take a trip to Hawaii. There’s no better time to take a trip than when you’re in between jobs. Without a new job lined up or an apartment, I took off.
I spent a week in Honolulu with my best friend, Jeano. We hiked, we surfed, we tanned. Hawaii was my new favorite place on earth! We finished a pillbox hike in Kailua and just sat staring at all the fluffy clouds. I thought: “Ricky, you have no job, no home, no stability whatsoever, but you know what, who cares. You are looking at where the ocean meets the sky. Let it sink in. Enjoy it. This is life.” I had not a care in the world and it was the most liberating feeling ever. Can I just stay here forever?
Throughout the week we were swiping on everyone’s favorite app: Tinder. I never really used it before. We had a “swipe right only” joke going on. But little did I know that a swipe would eventually cause a chain reaction of events. This swipe changed my life. I matched with this girl so beautiful, I thought she was a catfish. I decided to meet her up on my last night in town.
We hit it off immediately. But I was leaving in less than 24 hours. She was thought that I was a local. I desperately wanted to stay, but I didn’t want to throw away my goal of LA for a girl, right? But what if this is the opportunity that I’ve been waiting for? Can I afford to pass on it? What if she’s The Unicorn?
I felt really perplexed about this, but I still had to hop on the flight home and surprise my parents for Thanksgiving. We talked throughout the holiday and after a week in Seattle, I was supposed to fly to LA and start my new life. But I didn’t. Instead, I caught another flight back to Honolulu.
I spent a good while out there with her. I lost track of time. I couldn’t tell you how long I was out there for. We started thinking about ways for me to stay, permanently. I began applying for jobs.
I know, I know, I got lost in the sauce. The thickest sauce ever. But in the back of my head I was really disappointed in myself. “Ricky what the hell are you doing? I thought we had a plan! You’re just going to throw away all of your goals for her? You’re an idiot, bro.” I couldn’t do it. I guilted myself back to LA. I should’ve made up my mind and stuck to the plan in the first place. But it’s hard for me to make a rational decision when my face is constantly stuck on heart-eyes emoji.
A few weeks pass by in LA and I’m still pretty jobless. Unicorn-less. Hopeless. It was a far cry from fluffy Hawaiian clouds. I thought Los Angeles was great, but my feels were back in Hawaii. I kept faith that somehow life would work itself out. Sometimes it seems like nothing in life is in motion for you. But then I finally got a call back for an interview! For an airline! Perfect, right?! The job required me to relocate to Seattle. In my eyes, I can kill two birds with one stone: be closer to my family and fly back to see her whenever I want!
Without hesitation, I flew up to Seattle on a whim. There was NO WAY IN HELL that I wouldn’t nail this interview. My entire existence was riding on it. Needless to say, I got the job. Unfortunately, I failed to realize how long the hiring process would actually take. You’d think that homegirl would be really happy about all of this news. But surprisingly she was really impatient. Borderline-unreasonably-impatient. Here I am making a long-term play and she couldn’t muster up any appreciation. Come on, girl. I really should have read the signs, man.
The wait took a legit strain on our long-distance relationship. As it grew longer, things got shakier. She was unsure that things would actually work out. Unsure of this new plan. Unsure of me. In all fairness, I did fly away from her twice already. But this was different. This was something concrete. This was my attempt at planting a seed (not an actual one, thank God). I tried my best to reassure her. I just had to wait for my background check to go through. And boy did it take its sweet time to go through. It might have been the longest wait of my life. When I finally got the call for training, I flew her here immediately. I wanted to set up this back & forth lifestyle until I could chill in Honolulu with all of my clouds forever. Little did I know that I was a little too late.
After she came to visit, she ghosted me. She stopped responding to my texts and answering my calls. I just couldn’t understand why. What did I do wrong? I did my best to make the most out of my situation. Foolishly, I decided to take matters into my own hands and go see her. I just needed an explanation. When I got there, she wasn’t home. She was at another guy’s place. I waited for her to come back. We had a short conversation and she brought her brass knuckles to the table, like I was going to hurt her or something. Nice. Her reasoning for ghosting me was because she felt like she needed somebody to take care of her financially (which I obviously couldn’t do at the time). So there you have it kids. Love just isn’t enough sometimes. Afterwards, I was out on my ass at 4:24am. I will never forget that feeling. I will never forget how I was treated. I left immediately.
A lot of introspective thinking can happen on a plane ride. It’s nice and quiet. You are confined to a small space. It’s cold, and nobody can reach you. I began assessing my situation, assessing my life. Here I am, with a random job in a city that I never wanted to live in (no offense, Seattle). I strayed away from what I really wanted for myself by putting too much stock into someone I barely knew. I was just so sure that I made the right moves. How could it all go wrong? My emotions were all over the place. I failed big time.
It took me a couple months to really pick myself back up emotionally. There was a lot of soul searching involved and asking myself some of the tougher, existential questions. The questions we often gloss over or evade. I really had to build my self-esteem from ground zero. I often replayed everything in my head, hoping to learn from this disaster. As bitter as I was about all of it, I tried my best to not become jaded about the concept of love. When things fail enough times, you begin to lose a little hope in them. It wasn’t love that failed me though. Throughout my bounce back process, I realized that sometimes things don’t need clear explanations or logical reasons for happening. “Ricky, things don’t need to always make sense at the time. They just happen because they needed to. Curses now, may be blessings later.”
And in this case (err curse) that’s exactly what happened. I sat down with my thoughts, patched up my wounds, and made a plan. Instead of crying over spilled milk, I decided to take advantage of my situation. Now that I’m in Seattle, I can now spend much more time with family. My job gave me flight benefits, so I began piecing together plans to see the world. Traveling was never my ultimate goal in life. I wasn’t one of those wanderlust adventurer types. The cool YouTube videos and the pretty Instagram photos were pretty enticing, yeah. It seemed great, but it just wasn’t my lane until the universe created it for me. I was blessed with this opportunity and it was time to make the best of it.
In two years, I have traveled to 17 new countries. I’ve had the opportunity to see places that I never would have imagined. Last year, I visited all 7 Wonders in a span of three weeks. Also, with the help of my best friends, I started a travel group called The Thrill. Originally, we started this to hold each other accountable for our personal goals. But since then, have expanded to collectively share our travel experiences.
I don’t live to travel. Each trip is about learning the role that I play in this world. I use travel as a tool to understand my growth. What a blessing it has been.
Regarding my search for the Unicorn, I’m done with actively searching. I am finding that it’s best to just focus on my own spiritual growth. I have a handful of dreams that I plan to knock out, but I still believe that the right kind of love is out there for me. I am not jaded by this experience at all. There’s a lot of time left and a lot of life yet to live. There is no point in rushing something that you want to last forever.
On the surface, this might seem like a story about guy who got burned by making a terrible decision to chase a girl. But in retrospect, I’m really grateful that all of this happened to me. If I never had met her, I would never have had this opportunity to see the world while also learning so much about myself. Her? She recently reached out asking for another shot. But I can only hope that she found whatever she’s been looking for in someone else. Because for me, I’m searching for myself. I’m forever on the run.
You can follow Ricky on:
His Blog: Ricky On The Run
His Instagram: @instaricky.
And you can follow The Thrill on Instagram: @seekthethrill.