Flings, one-night stands, impulsive kisses, seductive enticing, flirty encounters, call them what you want, but romance is bound to be on the cards during trips, especially when they are far-flung and over extended periods of time. I was well aware of the ‘sleep around/kiss anything that breathes’ theme of backpacking before I left England, but as a ‘dignified young lady’ it wasn’t the No 1 of my priorities. However, I’d heard countless urban legends of two souls meeting on a random shore in the world, falling wildly in love and living happily ever after with 2.4 children and a mortgage. In fact, I knew of two people whom this had happened to! The Jack and Hannah Dream: a young couple that had met in Tasmania during their gap year, kept their love alive throughout university (he was from England, she was from Switzerland) and have now migrated back to where they first met. * Sigh * a travelling fairy-tale! Extremely rare though…
Sure, I had the odd steamy encounter during my trip (avert your eyes mum!), but one in particular continues to stand out. In the small village of Pai in northern Thailand, I met an Australian (lets call him Sam), who had just got through a long stint in India. Many sunrises and sunsets were witnessed together over the mountains and rivers of Pai, but the fleeting meet was soon ended as we parted for Christmas. I fully expected to never see him again and for him to be left as a screensaver for my mind on long boring coach trips, but like a boomerang we came back together on a southern island at new years.
It definitely was my Thai romance where I was treated like a princess, due to him not travelling on a shoestring like moi. However, I did notice that with my developed tan and my half Malaysian blood, I was mistaken as Thai. Some of the looks I got from other Westerners when I roamed the streets with Aussie Sam left me wanting to write on my forehead: ‘he isn’t paying for me’.
Cue the next 7 months of worldwide meets. Every month we saw each other in a different country or city, despite his travels officially ending after new years: he flew to Wellington (New Zealand) to see me, then I caught him in his hometown of Melbourne, then Easter in Brisbane before another stint in Melbourne… we then spent my last 3 ½ weeks of travelling together, alone, in Indonesia and Singapore.
Travelling one-on-one with someone really opens your eyes to their true personality as stressful situations have to be dealt with together, and overcome! I was pretty sure he’d want to kill me after (or vice versa??) but he remained the person I’d got to know. There were no weird tendencies or neurotic insane personality that had been hidden… and dare I say I fell in love all over again.
It was pretty naïve to think things would work out between us as there was that minor obstacle of us living on different sides of the world. But the secret is, don’t over-think things and see what happens. What’s that? I’m heading back to Australia after 6 weeks at home? Well, would you look at that…
Happy travels, the world’s your oyster. xx