Like sand through the hourglass.

The French have a saying, “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas.” – The heart has reasons that reason does not recognise. When it comes to love, the heart often does not recognise race, culture, skin colour, religion or language. But that’s not to say it can’t get in the way.

The thought occurred to me that I really don’t know many foreigners. I mean, I have friends who come from all sorts of cultural backgrounds (this is Australia, after all), but when it comes to knowing legitimate travelers or expatriates, my knowledge is limited.

Even though the social stigma associated with intercultural relationships has been significantly mitigated since the 1950’s, the inherent challenges they pose are as real as ever. Sure there’s the obvious obstacles – language, politics, religion – but perhaps the most underrated challenge lies not with attitudes that can’t be helped, but with attitudes that can.

We all travel. We all enjoy visiting faraway places and basking in the world’s cultural glory, but sometimes the hardest part about traveling is learning how to form new relationships. Fast.

Few of us really go out of our way to befriend travelers on home soil. And why would you? After all, we’re talking about people who have one eye on the proverbial hourglass. Time is of the essence. What’s the point in starting a relationship that already has an expiration date?

It’s a fair question, to which I say that all relationships have expiration dates. Some are stamped on from the get-go. Others we must stamp ourselves. The beauty in “tourist-citizen” relationships is that the stamp is visible from the outset.

The idea of a relationship ending before it really begins might sound like a bad dream to some, but me? I kind of like the idea. It’s a chance to meet someone who, for whatever reason, fate has thrown your life’s path together.

Think about it. We visit certain places on certain days at certain times. When we visit these places, we look in certain directions at certain moments. We hear certain sounds, bask in certain smells, brush against certain people. If we were to do anything different, perhaps our lives would be different. It’s almost poetic.

If you’re lucky enough to meet a tourist or someone from another culture, my two cents would be to run with it. Don’t let time stand in the way of happiness.

Every song ends, but is that any reason not to enjoy the music?

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