To those that know our story, you know how it goes. Girl leaves home to travel the world. Boy leaves home to travel the world and in some weird coincidence, we happened to be at the right place at the right time. Because of that split second on the sand dunes where we met, we soon found ourselves having some of the best times together while traveling.
Falling in love while traveling, the seemingly ultimate dream for us nomads and dreamers. After all, who do we have most in common with but other travellers as well? Yes, Tom and I met in the most unusual of ways, but unlike most travel flings and acquaintances, we decided to stay together. Surprisingly, a lot of our readers have asked us how we did it. That was when I began asking myself, “how did we do it?” Did I leave for my trip with the hopes of falling in love? No. Did I plan to meet someone along the way who would end up changing all my plans for the next year or so? No. Am I sorry it happened? Absolutely not.
Read: How to Find the Perfect Travel Partner
Be open to the experience. I learned the hard way that if you keep yourself closed up to new experiences, you might end up missing out on some of the best things that life has in store for you. I used to be a big cynic when it came to love. Yes, I was that friend that would always sigh saying “it’s not worth it, he will be in and out of your life.” I used to wonder why some people would invest so much time in getting to know a person when in reality, your relationship in the future would consist of merely liking each other’s Facebook statuses.
I had this mind set for a very long time until one night, a good girlfriend of mine was crying on my shoulder because of her most recent heartbreak. As usual, I started giving my usual spiel but she interrupted me and said, one of the most cliché lines, but for some reason, that evening, it made perfect sense to me.
WOW. That was when it hit me. People come and go in your life, and no matter how long or how brief, each one teaches you a lesson. When Tom and I met, both of us didn’t think much of it. How could I have possibly thought that the guy I met rolling down the sand dunes would be the same person who I would travel around the world with? But, because I was open to the experience, I ended up getting to know one of the most loving, fun, and incredible human beings that I know.
Read: Things I Learned from being a Solo Woman Traveler
Don’t overthink and stop expecting. BOOM, there I said it. You’re welcome, boys. More often than not, we women get carried away. We meet a guy who we have a wonderful conversation with all night long, and before you know it, three of your best friends already know what he was wearing, what he looked like, and gasp, god forbid, how he even smelled like. Now, I may sound a bit unfair as I was never your typical girly girl, so pardon the generalization. Often times, we overthink situations and set our expectations for it really high.
When falling in love on the road, take a moment to pause and catch yourself before you let your imagination run off. It wasn’t until Tom arrived in the Philippines where I acknowledged the fact that Tom was actually into me. Yes, we had traveled for almost 2 months together prior to that, but sometimes, the best things happen when you least expect it.
The only reason why Tom and I managed to make things work was only because we talked and communicated with each other. When we were getting to know each other, Tom and I did nothing but talk. We took our time and got to know each other. We asked each other random questions as if we were preparing for a couple’s trivia show.
We felt the weird urge to get to know each other’s ins and outs. “How do you like your coffee?” “What’s your favourite color?” “What’s the name of your childhood pet?” We talked day and night and laughed at the most mundane things. We got to know each other and made it clear right off the bat what we wanted from each other. We saved ourselves the awkward phase of asking questions like “what are we?” and the infamous, “where is this going?” We decided to go with the flow because ultimately, all that mattered was that we enjoyed each other’s company.
One of the things that we love about each other is that we take the time to get to know and learn from each other’s cultures. In the beginning of our relationship, it baffled me how much bread Tom could eat. Little did I know, he wondered the same thing about me and rice. He taught me Welsh expressions (which made no sense to me) while I taught him some not-so-proper Filipino phrases.
We would fondly talk about how differently we grew up but how similar we both turned out to be. One of the most beautiful things about falling in love while traveling is discovering another culture and way of life as it is shared to you by someone special. To me, there is nothing more endearing that trying to learn a foreign language or dialect, even when you end up mispronouncing every word in the sentence.
Read: What to Expect When Visiting the Philippines
Now, I won’t pretend that we did everything perfectly. Neither will I pretend that I managed to act tough throughout it all. No matter how you put it, Good-byes are hard. As I am writing this, I remember ever so clearly sobbing by myself by the port in Koh Phangan. Tom left on a ferry heading for Koh Phi Phi and I was going to catch a different ferry heading back to Bangkok to catch a flight back to the Philippines. The reality was settling in and I had to face that fact that I might not see him again.
As travelers, this was our reality. I once met a girl who told me a story of meeting a guy and having the most romantic night of her life. They met, ate, danced, and talked all night long. They had one magical night together, but she said dropping him by the airport the next day was one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do. Some connections happen instantly while others pan out through time. When I said goodbye to Tom that day, both of us had plans on seeing each other again, but as travelers, we knew anything could change. Did I secretly wish it would work out? Of course, I did. Did I expect it happen? No. We took it for what it was and were grateful for the memories and experiences that it brought along the way.
In the end, we were lucky. We were one of the few that actually managed to make our love story on the road work. I admittedly was pessimistic about it all. He lived halfway around the world and was in the middle of an around the world trip. I, on the other hand, had just finished my year-long trip, knowing I had to return to back to the real world of working. But, if you want it hard enough, you can make it work.
I believe that this applies to anything in life. You want something? Work hard for it. At the time when Tom got to the Philippines, I was in the middle of a master’s degree course, working a job that I wasn’t really enjoying. I had almost no savings as I spent it all during my year of travel. He on the other hand still had the rest of the world to see, but somehow, we managed to make it work.
I have heard of long distance relationships that have thrived and succeeded because both ends were determined to be with each other. And yes, there will be times where it won’t work. It will devastate you, and maybe even make you become a lot more cynical. What matters is that you accept the fact that things don’t work out for a reason. Maybe he wasn’t the right one, maybe it wasn’t the right time in your lives. Whatever it was, accept, move on, and embrace your situation.
Since we left everything that was familiar to us to once again embark on a journey that would take us around the world, things have been a lot clearer. Although we left our chance for financial security and our life of routine and comfort, we have never been happier. Some call us crazy, some call us brave.
What matters to us is that we are living our lives pursuing something that we love. It is crazy that halfway around the world, there was someone else who wanted the same things out of life as I did. Yes, we argue and disagree, but at the end of the day, there is no one else I would rather be with to experience everything that the world has in store for me. Want more inspiration? Check out this article featuring friendship and love quotes.
27 thoughts on “Falling in Love While Traveling | What It’s Like”
how lovely your love story, i really love your post. i wanted to share my lately experience, although its not ending with happy like all of your stories in here
I just back from Bali 2 weeks ago, and i met someone in there. actually i came to Bali as a part of conference with several countries and i met someone from the conference and we end up with traveling together, even though its only 2 days but i never felt happy like im with him. We visit several place, and during the trip we made an idea to try outdoor sport that we never try before, like surfing and bugee jumping everything that challenge our selves, at the first i felt really scare because i cant swimming and i have phobia with high but everytime he said “i got you dont worry” suddenly all of my afraid was gone and i feel really brave to try it. we spent the night with dinner and go to the club, and we talked a lot although its randoms topic but i feel were so connected, we keep laughing all night long and thats the first time i can laugh very hard like that and thats something i never get from my boyfriend. But right now we’re back to our country, i back to Jakarta and he back to Tokyo, im trying to texting him sometimes but when he response its only an answer theres no open question feels like he doesnt want to much talked with me. Although we might be never cross our path but im still feeling grateful to met him and have little adventure with him.
What a wonderful post!!! We, too, met while traveling and had a similar tale! here’s to finding love on the road! xxx
I met the love of my life at Munich in Oktoberfest … you can read our story on Amazon 🙂 Once Upon an Oktoberfest: A Love That Went the Distance
Nice post, reading this makes me feel like that I’m hearing my history again but in diferent places. I’m an Ecuadorian and my boyfriend from the United States. We met 2 years ago in Cuenca-Ecuador, he’s a pasion traveler and came to Ecuador since 2010 for helping people from the “Guasmo sur-Guayaquil” in constructions and others travels that providing dental health with him father who is a excelent dentist and a dental team during a week, for the weekend all the group visited Cuenca, my boyfriend and I met in a Club we and danced all the night at the end he asked me for my telephone number, email or something through which he could contacte me, after that day I knew that I can’t forget him. We kept in contact for 1 year 4 months and now we’re together like a perfect happy couple and we’re planning for continue our relationship moving to USA after I finish my dentistry studies. True love knows not distance as long we keep each other in our heart. My question is “Is it possible to love someone you’ve only seen once in your life?” the answer is “Yes, it is honestly I belive in love at first sight.” I’m happy for your history too, good luck you guys :)!!!! (sorry my english isn’t perfect but I hope that you can understand me)
Nice post, reading this makes me feel like that I’m hearing my history again but in diferent places. I’m an Ecuadorian and my boyfriend from the United States. We met 2 years ago in Cuenca-Ecuador, he’s a pasion traveler and came to Ecuador since 2010 for helping people from the “Guasmo sur-Guayaquil” in constructions and others travels that providing dental health with him father who is a excelent dentist and a dental team during a week, for the weekend all the group visited Cuenca, my boyfriend and I met in a Club and we danced all the night, at the end he asked me for my telephone number, email or something through which he could contacte me, after that day I knew that I can’t forget him. We kept in contact for 1 year 4 months and now we’re together like a perfect happy couple and we’re planning for continue our relationship moving to USA after I finish my dentistry studies. True love knows not distance as long we keep each other in our heart. My question is “Is it possible to love someone you’ve only seen once in your life?” the answer is “definitly I belive in love at first sight.” I’m happy for your history too, good luck you guys!!!! (sorry my english isn’t perfect but I hope that you can understand me)
I knew I have to comment on this article because whilst I’m not really in an LDR with the person I met (coincidentally in Vietnam as well hahaha), reading this made me feel assured that my doubts and thoughts are valid. I specifically got bit on the part where we just enjoy the company of each other and not necessarily having to define what we are! My mom also said the same thing; mom knows best after all! At the end of this year we made plans to meet in Thailand for Full Moon Festival after him coming to the Philippines for two weeks and visiting him back in Saigon after lol. I hope he doesn’t see this though otherwise I’d be too embarrassed when I see him again hahaha!
OMG! So sorry for the late reply-this got lost in our inbox. So funny that you guys met in Nam too! Hope everything goes well with your meet up! Rooting for you guys x
Haha it’s okay! Looks like I’m doing solo travel to Thailand though. Oh well, silver linings! Happy holidays to you two 🙂
Very inspiring !!!
Im struggling myself how to make it work for an LDR after i met my love underwater (as we are scuba divers) .It initially kills me every day worrying and bein scared what or where we will be and or if we will be together again in the future.But as I open my mind and just expect nothing but surprises I still believe it would work ànd it is the love and the trust that make us survive the distance, we are both surprised and happy about how we found out that we are very fascinated for each other from the day we met until he left and we connect virtually. This year we plan to be together again for a 2months dive trip around Philippines :))
Keep inspiring guys ♡♡♡
Awww! Wishing you many happy dives. We loved Palawan and Cebu for diving! Hope for all the best for you guys
This is such a great post. I believe it doesnt matter where you meet, if it is meant to work out …. one day it will! I love the communication part! i am so happy that i do not have to be “dating” someone in the age of text messages and Facebook! (me and hubby were married before we even had Facebook accounts! and he didn’t have a cell phone!). I’m so happy you guys have made it work! enjoy your travels!
Aww thank you @lindsaynieminen:disqus!! Ahhh dating nowadays is definitely different!
This is a great post! I’m really glad you open up to new possibilities in your life, Anna, after being cynical about it. Although I don’t really have experience in long distance relationship for over two months, I’m aware how hard it can be to say goodbye; however, I’m really glad that you and Tom made it work – like you said, if you want something bad enough, and that your partner wants it bad enough too, it can work. Communication is the key! You guys got this! I’m happy for you both!
Aww thank you guys! looking forward to featuring you both! @deafwanderlust:disqus
More of this please 🙂 I read this story to Camille on the way to Makati earlier today. We love hearing these types of stories. We can totally relate and we completely agree with the ideas of this dreamy journey of love. This relationship stuff takes work whether on or off the road and the hearts desire is there if it’s there. There’s just an added layer of complexity with the distance and running around. We can wait to meet you both and share the love.
SO EXCITED to meet you both too! Hurry and come get to Bali! We will join you for date #400? hahah
Yes, I’m jealous but yes, I totally think you’re awesome haha! You are totally right that if you want to be together and want it badly enough, you will make it work. I know that now. I still haven’t met the guy where I’m willing to sacrifice anything for a relationship yet though. I truly hope that day will come but not for a while yet ><
Aww gosh! Thank you @TeacakeTravels:disqus!! I love reading your tales of travel too! It will come..in the meantime, continue being your awesome self!
Great story! I totally agree–if you want something bad enough, you will most likely find a way to make it work. Long distance relationships can be hard, but glad you were able to make it work!
We actually didn’t do a long distance relationship! Tom moved to the Philippines to wait for me to finish my masters. As soon as I finished, although he got a great job offer, we decided to pursue our love for traveling!
Oh, I love reading posts like this. I’ve dated my fair share of men met abroad, though they rarely spoke English. Sometimes I think that’s why they worked at all, and other times I think that’s why they didn’t last long enough. Then I ended up marrying someone I’d met at university, practically the boy next door!
Haha! The odds of that! But sometimes, that’s exactly who we need. 🙂
Yes some things are worth the effort no matter how far and few the times may be in between, congrats to the both of you for choosing a life of here and now.
Very cute. I love when you can be crazy together. It makes life so much more beautiful.
What a terrific love story. You’re right no matter how you meet someone and you want to make it work you have to work at it. Getting to really know each other is key. Best of luck to you both may you have many wonderful adventures together.
Thank you @foodtravelist:disqus!! We are looking forward to sharing more of our adventures!
It’s good to be crazy together;) A lovely story – very romantic in a quirky sort of way xx