I’m not usually one for soppy romantic stories.
While I do watch the occasional chick flick (a guilty pleasure saved for nights when I’m home alone and stuffing my face full of chocolate) I usually gravitate away from the guy meets girl – fall in love – happily ever after thing.
But 4 years ago today, I met a guy while I was travelling. An amazing guy, that I just couldn’t get out of my head. And tomorrow we’re going to exchange some rings and some words for a lifetime of adventure.
Where I stayed in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
We hooked up
I was working as a travel agent in Tasmania and my company had sent me to Bali for a few days. The trip was meant to get me familiar with the place so that I could sell it to my customers and included a bunch of hotel inspections as well as some fun activities with the group I was travelling with.
On our last evening, we head out to a few clubs in Bali’s infamous nightspot area of Kuta. While clubbing is really not my thing anymore (am I old?), I was indeed having a good time at ‘ladies night’ and being given free ethanol-like alcoholic drinks from whichever club I was partying at.
When we decided to head across the road to somewhere a little quieter, I glanced across the room we’d just entered and spotted a curly blonde guy who I thought was about my age. He noticed me looking, and wow, did he have a cute smile.
What I now know as an act of shyness and inability to approach women, he walked right by to the dance floor. I followed and sure enough, we were soon swapping saliva to the sounds of ‘Hello’ by DJ Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette, a song that the Balinese club owners apparently thought all the tourists would like (I guess they were right).
On top of our dancefloor extravaganza, we also spent hours sitting on a bench outside the club talking about ourselves and finding out that we actually had a lot in common. At the time that mostly consisted of the artists in our respective music collections, but hey, it was really easy for us to talk about.
I discovered that his name was Robert, he was from Newcastle, Australia, studying computer science at university, and travelling to Bali on a trip with his family members and best friend. I also discovered he was 4 years younger than me, but it didn’t seem to matter. We got along great.
Newcastle, Australia. Robert wishes to advise that he now has a really cool beard and no longer looks like a tween.
We moved in
The next day I left Bali, heading back to my hometown of Hobart, Tasmania. We added each other on Facebook (as many modern romances start), and we spent the next 3 weeks chatting online like starry-eyed teenagers until he came to visit me 3 weeks later.
Over the next 3 months we both travelled between our home cities, before I finally decided this guy was definitely a keeper. So I packed as many things I could fit into my tiny Ford Laser and took the ferry from Tasmania to Melbourne to start the long drive to Newcastle.
I’d lived in Hobart my whole life, so moving interstate was kind of a big deal for me. But the risk paid off, and while I initially felt some homesickness for my home state, we settled in and happily continued getting to know each other.
A year and a half later we decided to move to Sydney. It seemed a better fit for us and Robert could transfer to a better university to complete his degree. We’ve now lived in Sydney for 2 years and have loved every minute of it, embracing the ‘Inner West hipster’ lifestyle and discovering what it’s like to live and work in a major city.
About 5 minutes after we got engaged in St Petersburg, Russia
We got engaged
For a while I’d had a dream of spending a few months backpacking through Europe. We had travelled together on a few small trips to Thailand and USA, but this was going to be something much more significant. Luckily, Robert was keen on it too. Our trip was going to take us from Moscow to Paris over 3 months.
A week in to the trip and we were in St Petersburg, one of Russia’s most picturesque cities. One night we were heading out to have dinner at a nice restaurant, when Robert insisted that we take a pedestrian bridge crossing one of the city’s many canals along the way. We were already running late but I agreed. We got halfway across, then he pulled a ring out of the inner pocket of his coat and nervously asked me to be his wife.
I was stunned for a second, then remembered that I should open my mouth to say yes!
He then told me he was really worried about dropping the ring. Our romantic pedestrian bridge stood over a flowing river and if he’d dropped it we definitely would not have seen it again. Apparently I’d almost found the ring at one point when we were moving furniture out of our apartment before we left, but luckily our housemate had saved the situation by offering to empty the drawer that it was hidden in.
The next day we Skyped our parents to deliver the news and started discussing what sort of wedding we wanted. It’s turned out to be very relaxed, DIY, anti-traditional, and hopefully a whole lot of fun.
Hanging out at Lake Bled, Slovenia
We planned our next adventures
To us, getting married does not mean settling down, pumping out a few kids, and getting a mortgage for a house we can’t afford. We’re going to do the opposite of what society expects us to do by spending our married life exploring the world.
In May we plan to head off to Latin America for our honeymoon, then we’ll be attempting to live in New York City for a few years. I couldn’t have picked a better partner – having someone who shares my love of exploration and who accepts and encourages my ambitious goals means everything to me.