"Travelling can either make or break the relationship”, my mother once said, as we were both travelling on a train to nowhere. It was a rainy afternoon of November when I just told her about my plans of travelling with G, my boyfriend of not even 3 months. She slowly tucked her hair behind her ears, looked at me, then looked through the window, admiring the rain droplets and smiled. "That’s how my story started", she said, "I was on my way to a different city, when, on that train platform, I met your father".
She didn’t continue, she took a deep breath and asked me to send her a postcard from each location me and G were about to visit.
Our travelling story started in December 2013, when we both took a plane to Hungary. Trembling with emotions, we showed our passports at the border control and smiled at each other in expectation. We had no idea what we wanted, what the future held, or how our relationship will evolve. But we do know now, that it all started with one plane ticket, and it continued with few dozen more. Our first trip abroad proved challenging. We could barely explore the city, as the Eastern European cold took a toll on us. We argued about how to spend our time in Debrecen, laughed at the weird food we tried at the Christmas markets and got frustrated with the level of service we received in restaurants. It all happened within a space of 4 days. The shortest and longest days of travel I’ve ever experienced.
Upon return, we wanted to push our travelling boundaries and booked one week to Rome, a romantic city which was meant to involve Italian food, walks hand in hand along narrow streets, photos upon photos of us exploring Italy’s cultural soul. Our experience was completely different from the expectation. I fell ill in the first two days, hence G had to look after me in a far from a 5-star hotel at the edge of the city. We were both relatively new to travelling still, thus we barely knew how to find the right restaurants, avoid tourist traps and seek a destination true gems. In the end, we came home with a couple of overly expensive souvenirs, few hundred pictures of pasta and new memories to laugh about. It took us another 5 trips around Europe and 2 long hauls to the other side of the world, before we became the well versed, witty travellers we are today.
We had ups and downs with moody Sundays and happy brunches, moments when we argued about ridiculous things such as the long queue at the Beijing airport, occasions when we were too grumpy and tired to pose for a happy photograph. Spending 24/7 with your loved one can be challenging, but also wonderful. We realised during our trip to Tenerife, in May 2014, that travelling together meant being able to mould into each other, understand the other person and learn everything there is to learn about them. Beyond silly compromises such as the number of toppings our pizza should have, or how many suitcases we should carry us, we realised that we had a once in a lifetime opportunity to completely open up to another person, cross all boundaries, have no secrets and bear no lies. And such, we became not just travelling partners, but best friends. In time, we learned how we both love the outdoors, soft adventure travel, road trips and amazing food. We became these foodie travellers in search of the next best destination. We understood that we both needed to feel cherished, respected and loved, hence we took our communication and friendship to a whole new level. The more adventures we shared, the more addicted we became to each other.
It wasn’t until December 2015 that we finally crossed our biggest destination off our bucket list: Japan. After three weeks spent exploring Honshu, we decided to take a trip from Kyoto to the top of Mount Hiei. This romantic, overwhelmingly beautiful place, made me smile whilst admiring a beautiful landscape of thick pines and hilly tops. It was then that G took my hand, looked me in the eye, and asked me to marry him. He told me that it was because of our travels together, that he realised, he wouldn’t want us to ever spend 1 minute apart.
Paulo Coelho once said: “Sometimes you have to travel a long way to find what is near”. It was travelling that opened our minds and hearts, allowed us to spread our wings, enabled us to really know one another. It was after miles upon miles of travelling that we realised we’re better together, we’re soul mates.
Months passed and we continued travelling before we got married in September 2016, when during her toast, my mother said: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart, as Confucius wrote”. And so, we started a new chapter, beginning with our honeymoon in the Seychelles. We have been travelling ever since, 24/7 together, with our minds open and our hearts full.