The thought of moving abroad for love is a terribly exciting and romantic affair, but would you actually do it? It’s the ultimate risk taking adventure as you’re putting all your eggs in a basket and jetting off to potentially start a life with someone who you have only shared a ‘holiday’ with, but if you live life without following your heart every now and then, who knows what you’ll be missing out on?

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However, it goes without saying that you need to take a big gulp of bravery, an ounce of no overthinking and a bucket load of putting your heart on the line. Speaking from the point of view of someone who’s done it and as someone who has had another do it for them, I can safely say it’s life changing and I applaud all who do it.

Imagine meeting someone in a far off distant place, your eyes meeting across the room, a connection made instantly and adventures are shared as you explore the world with the awesome person by your side. Then the travels end and you have to return to reality with a heartbreaking thump. You say teary farewells at the airport, exchange a hug and goodbye kiss and then leave not knowing if you’ll ever see this special person again. You wonder whether the memories will remain as memories and will merely fade into scribbled notes of love in your travel journal and blurry selfies of times of excitement – I’m sure there’s many of you out there who have experienced this.

You’re both at home now, sharing the odd email and the odd Skype session when the thought of moving comes up again. Should you do it? Would it be the same? Would living a life together be the same as being on the road together? All these questions will buzz around your mind in a flurry of excitement and nerves! But hey, these questions won’t go answered unless you actually do it and find out for yourself.

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Romance and travel is a funny old thing. It’s so different to dating in your home country as you’re not technically dating; you’ve skipped over that part and you’re exploring new things everyday whilst simultaneously learning about this person at the same time. Some say that you never truly know someone until you travel with them, which I believe is true, but I also think that you can spin that on its head when it comes to situations where you meet someone abroad. Romance can seem amplified a billion times as travel is in general incredibly romantic, but could your romance survive a life submerged in reality?

In travel there’s no bills to be paid, no day job to go to, no responsibilities, no routine. At home, these factors can generate stress and seeing how people cope and react to these factors are a real eye opener. Mr Laid-Back-Happy-Go-Lucky could transform into the polar opposite at home, OR the spontaneous life-loving traveller could apply their attitude to all aspects of life and still remain the amazing person who you fell for on that beach.

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When backpacking, I met an Aussie who totally swept me off my feet. I was young, curious about what this ‘love’ thing was about and was trotting around the globe with minimal cares. Up in the Thai mountains of Pai, I clocked him riding past on a scooter waving to the person I was sharing a coffee break with. “Who is HE” I mumbled as my mouth gaped slightly in fascination and it became my mission to meet him. We did meet and it was a blur of Chang beers and chats by a fire until sunrise, and then things got a bit crazy. We met again and had another night of chats until sunrise before we were all moving on from Pai in opposite directions, and we exchanged numbers and email addresses. We caught up again on a southern island after Christmas and had a ball!

I didn’t know if I’d meet him again, especially as he was returning to Melbourne, but Australia was on my itinerary so I knew it could be possible. We kept in touch, and before I knew it he had booked a flight to meet me in Wellington, New Zealand. I remember the nerves: we hardly knew each other and now we were going to spend a long weekend alone together in a city and with no other travel partners for distraction. It could have been too intense if I had over thought it, but the key thing was to go into this with an open heart and mind. It was fantastic and we felt like we knew each other for years – we then met up every month in a different city or country, ending in a two week travel of Indonesia together.

I headed home after 9 months with the usual heartbreak from travels that have ended, plus the heaviness of knowing the UK and Australia were as far away from each other as you could get. It got me pondering – I had thrown about the idea of doing my work visas in Australia and he had embraced the thought so before I had time to settle into mundane British life, I had sold my stuff on eBay and bought a flight to Melbourne. Holy shit, here we go!

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Before you think we lived happily ever after, you should know that the relationship lasted barely a year into my time in Australia. Whilst this travel romance didn’t lead to a happy ending, I have great memories that I will treasure forever and my inspired move to the other side of the world led me to meeting the most incredibly people and some of my bestest friends I have ever had the honor of meeting.

I don’t regret the tears and the break-up as the regret of not taking the risk on the relationship would’ve of been too much to bear, and everything happens for a reason. The reason for the break-up was simply that it turned out we weren’t compatible and our worldly love affair didn’t translate smoothly into an everyday life together. It was tough, especially with my family so far away but I was lucky to be surrounded by people who loved me and helped me through this turmoil, and I came out the other side stronger and more independent – I survived like everyone else who goes through a break up.
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I took the chance to move abroad for love and as cheesy as it sounds, I feel like destiny rewarded me for this. I continued to live and love my Aussie life for 18 more months, hanging with friends, exploring the city and the beautiful country. In my last few months of my visa, I was in full understanding that visas were a bitch and I had to finally fly home and end my Australia fun… but I met someone. Three months before my flight home – typical, eh? We didn’t click immediately; he worked hard to get to know me as I had shut off any possibilities of a relationship with my imminent flight looming ahead, but before I knew it I was caught hook, line and sinker.

OK, so neither of us were technically travelling as he was a Tasmanian who had freshly moved to Melbourne, and I was a traveller who had nested in the city for a while, but when I had moved to Bristol in England, we somehow kept in touch. Skype was a god send, texting doubled my phone bill and for a solid 7 months we spoke every week, nearly every day. I was surrounded by new people in this new city, but all I could think of was him and annoyingly moving was out of the question for me.

This spontaneous fellow who had always leapt at the chance for new adventures and doing things out of the ordinary in Melbourne bought a flight to the UK and soon joined me in my little english life. I’m not going to lie; it was pretty terrifying and intense for me, and I did wonder if it was the right thing to do.It wasn’t an easy ride but we pushed through, and two years later we’re living together and are pretty darn happy for now! I asked him, “Why did you decide to buy that flight?” And he answered with what my 21 year old self would’ve said back before I moved to Melbourne; “I had nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Life is too short to play it safe.”

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There is no way anyone can predict a happy ending, but I’ll let you know if mine materialised when I’m finally on my death bed and able to look back on my life. At this moment in time, I can easily say that moving for love is one of the best decisions I ever made and whilst the initial reason fizzled and faded, it adjusted the course of my life. You’ll never know if they are really ‘the one’, but you can give it a good crack as it may even lead to greater things.

Take that chance! Put your trust in fate! Be aware of what you’re getting yourself into and enjoy the ride of what life will bring – travel is an exciting experience and one trip can change your life forever.

Have you ever moved abroad for love? How did it go?

 

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog saintsonaplane.com and instagram: @saintsonaplane