Have you ever fallen in love on the road?
I am so excited. Kelly, Rebecca and Emma invited ME to co-host this month’s travel link-up. Yes, ME! LLC does a little happy dance.
November’s post is all about falling in love on the road. It could be with that delightfully warm and gooey piece of baklava in Istanbul (guilty, several times over), an American maths student with crazy hair called John from Berkeley that you met in a hostel then strolled the cobble stones of Paris with for one freezing February evening aged 21 (ok, that was me, we shared some chicken McNuggets in McDonalds as it was the only place open at 1am and I never saw him again~ who and where are you John??), or a pair of boots that have lasted a gazillion years and never fail to see you through thick and thin (I am still searching for that one of a kind love). Anything goes.
So here I am to tell you all about the one love I still can’t get out of my head and don’t hesitate to drunkenly tell people our story when I can corner them and pretend they’re listening after a few G&Ts. I am now going to corner you.
It sounds obvious but this is about my Mister Man. We met in China 11 years ago. It wasn’t love at first sight; it certainly wasn’t love at first interruptions of me watching box-sets of 24 when he was visiting my flatmate (I hate it when people talk over the tv, drives me insane~). But somehow, after a year in China and two years of him crashing on my couch in London whenever mutual friends were in town, he became the absolute love of my life, someone I hesitate to travel without and someone who was prepared to wait for me while I spent almost two years desperately trying to claw my way back to London from the other side of the world.
Freezing our cheeks off in the Bolivian desert
Mr Man stormed into my life one fine March day in a little industrial town called Changzhou. We both attended my neighbour’s birthday party at Changzhou’s infamous Dinosaur Park and that night at dinner he started talking about his trip to Washington DC. Having spent a large chunk of my life there I immediately jumped in and tried to start up a conversation about the city, but got very much dismissed by this charming Brit and vowed never to bother talking to him again (he lived five hours away, I genuinely thought this would be an option).
After a summer where he appeared to always be one step ahead of me on the road and I was constantly hearing tales about his crazy adventures from other expats I’d bump into, he happened to move to Changzhou and was a frequent visitor at my house and the parties we used to throw. He thought of me as annoying (I prefer to think of it as organised and alert~); I just thought he was a 20 something Englishman having the time of his life in a world where the beer was cheap and the girls worshipped him.
Fast-forward two years and we had both been seeing a lot more of eachother on his regular visits to London. We’d both calmed down somewhat and I began to look forward to his visits. About a month before my visa was due to expire and I was due to head to India for several months before settling back in Wellington, I got an invitation to attend a football match in Liverpool with him.
Details can be spared here. But that Everton vs Wigan match sparked something and we had an amazing weekend. The next weekend I found myself back in the North West wondering what on earth was wrong with me. I was LEAVING THE COUNTRY, FOREVER. One week later he was in London for my leaving party.
I have never cried such ugly tears as when I had to say goodbye to him. We agreed to just see what happens. Six months later, having written to or skyped eachother almost every single day despite being in some random locations during my couch-surfing phase he found himself in New Zealand for a month. As far as I was concerned at that point there was no one else. Despite everyone around us saying there is no way it could work, we kind of knew it would all work out fine in the end.
Six months after that, after an amazing two weeks in Turkey, I discovered that I finally qualified for a Highly Skilled Migrant Visa to allow me to return to the UK (thank goodness all of this happened back in 2007/08 as there’s no way they’d let me in now!). So I applied and got that, resigned from what was my dream job (sometimes these decisions need to be made but I did wonder if it was the right decision for many years), and decided to take the gamble on moving back to London.
Turkey – moments before we crashed the scooter…
We did a 10 week road trip from San Francisco to Buenos Aires. If there’s one way to test a relationship, try not seeing eachother for more than 6 weeks over 20 months then being in eachother’s pockets 24/7.
We didn’t kill eachother, though we may have come close a few times when it involved my map reading or his continued insistence on sharing dinners that were clearly meant for one (he had a point, I ran out of cash three weeks before the end of that trip), and at the end of that moved in together in London.
Move along to now, November 2014, eight years after that fateful weekend in Liverpool and here we are. Happy as can be, with a cute little munchkin, another one on the way, and about to pack up everything again to start a new adventure.
Don’t get me wrong, long distance wasn’t without its doubts and heartaches, but I truly believe that if you both really want it to work and believe in it, even if no one else does, then it can work out for the best.
At the end of the aisle on our wedding day in Sri Lanka~
And that was how I fell in love on the road. I can’t wait to read everyone else’s stories! See the widget below to join this month’s travel link-up and don’t forget to add in your own post before the end of this week too!