A True Travel Love Story
I’d left England for many reasons. My feet were itchy and it was time for another explore. What did I have to stay for anyway? I’d quit my PR job and vowed never to go back, I’d moved out of London to stay with my dad for a bit and my love life while eventful, was not leading anywhere. How wonderful to have all the love-life pressures of a 30-something London girl washed away by the wanton tides of travelling. I had a year long round the world ticket.
I noticed him playing guitar in a hostel in Colombia, aptly named “Dreamers”. He’d noticed me too because the next morning he invited me on the hostel beach excursion. I came with my friends, a motley crew of dreamers and eventually we started chatting. I was quite taken by the long blonde Aussie locks, the intense, interested eyes and the cheerful demeanor as he delivered his travelling tips. That night he pulled out the guitar again and I sat transfixed, listening to a ton of my favourite teenage indie tracks lustily sung by this guy exactly my age. We went to a house party and back at the hostel while making eggs for our gang, we kissed in the kitchen.
The next day I watched him from the other side of the pool. We chatted when we happened to swim at the same time. He learned that we were off on The Lost City Trek (a multi-day trek, see here for my blog post) the next day and suddenly he was coming too! As we sweated and sweltered on the hottest, most humid walk of my life, we found we could talk and talk. We shared and explained and got closer. He was off to Cuba a few days after our return. The night we got back, I booked my ticket. That was July 2012.
In Cuba we both realised that this was no ordinary travel tryst. Two weeks later and we were committed, we’d travel Colombia and Ecuador until Bronson had to fly back home to Australia for his brother’s wedding. Two months and a half we travelled and needed no one else. I was revelling in getting to know this well-read, charming, often shirtless Aussie guy, but at the same time, cheesy as it sounds, there was an instant connection between our inner selves. It was just so easy. About three weeks after we first met, it happened. We were watching a film, snuggled up in bed, when suddenly we looked at each other, deep and long. Something passed between us and at that moment we knew. The next morning, Bronson told me that he was thinking about that moment, about how he loved me. What I felt for this man was above anything I’d felt before.
Then we were apart. For three and a half months. It was torturous, so hard. He was working like crazy with a long commute to afford the upcoming flights. I was listless on my travels south to Buenos Aires, missing him like a mad thing. (Things were good when Zoe and Waleed came out for some weeks though, thanks guys!)
Eventually, the day came: 30th December. I met this man at Gatwick Airport, England, a rugged up, shorter haired, stubbly man and he was just different. The easy-going, bronzed Aussie I loved was hiding a little, maybe he needed a bit of coaxing out. Skype is a funny thing. You think it’s just like chatting to someone in front of you, but it’s not. There is a very big difference between 2D and 3D, but apart from the visual aspect, you miss out on smell, touch, gestures and body language. Not completely, but a bit, we had to relearn what we loved so much about each other and find that magical connection again. Well, it wasn’t very hard. We talked and talked again. There are many wonderful things about Bronson, but high on the list is his ability to communicate and his openness and willingness to talk about emotions and our relationship. It fast-tracked our path to happiness.
Two weeks later, almost exactly a year after I’d left England the first time I was leaving again. We flew to Buenos Aires to start a new life and for me a new experience in teaching. In fact, we left it up to the higher power (call it what you will, I call it God). We had no jobs, just a little cash and the only plan was my month long CELTA course where I’d learn how to teach English as a foreign language. In the first week Bronson was accepted to work at an excellent International School and as soon as my course finished I was asked to start teaching English Literature at the same school. I stopped blogging at this point because I don’t think it’s a good thing to publish your life online when it mostly consists of school life and love life. I just have to say that the kids we taught were AMAZING and I miss them.
We left 6 months later, almost exactly a year after we’d met. Those first six months of living together intensified our relationship and we realised there were things we wanted to do before settling down, such as travel Central America. We hadn’t actually had a solid chat about the ‘settling down’ part of our future, but… Well, we went back to England for two weeks, then embarked on a month long, 700km walking pilgrimage across Spain: El Camino de Santiago. I wrote a small page and drew a small corresponding picture for every day of that trek. I’ve blogged these if you look back. Every step whether in silence or chat, pain or comfort, in sunshine or in rain, every step strengthened and solidified how we felt about each other. A little aside: El Camino, this pilgrimage, is well known as being a metaphor for life. I think it doubles as a metaphor for relationships.
On 3rd September we completed our walk and the next day Bronson asked me to marry him. He wrote a heartfelt sonnet; the final rhyming couplet was a proposal. I read it as we sat in a grassy park, watching the sun set on the cathedral we’d spent a month walking towards.
12 days later and we were back in Buenos Aires, but this time we were just passing through on our way to the next travel adventure: Argentina, Chile, Peru and then a flight up to Panama City. We arrived in Panama on 10th October 2013. What excitement! What fancy-free adventure! There was only one glitch. Money. We’d got quite far on our B.A. gains, but they were fast running out as were the sorry remains of our travel funds. Our plan had been Australia for 3 months from Christmas and then England for the rest of 2014 and onwards, but this was not a good plan. I couldn’t work in Australia because I’d be on a tourist visa, for the same reason when we arrived in England in March, Bronson couldn’t work until after we were married and he’d got a partner visa. Plus we were getting married in July, the start of the school hols so no work for Bronson until September. No, we hadn’t thought this one through. By the time we realised that our England plan was seriously flawed, it was too late. Vacancies had been filled and we were screwed. I was trying to ignore this fact, but the Mud Trek (a.k.a. El Mirador, see last post) gave me ample time to dwell on the future. We were in trouble.
This was two weeks ago. Since then our world has been turned upside down and the right way up all at the same time. On our return from Guatemalan mud hell, Bronson found a message waiting in his inbox from an old housemate. There was a vacancy at his dream school – a school that teaches student leadership with a focus on outdoor ed. 9 days, 7 pages of application and one Skype interview later, Bronson was accepted. So next year we’re living in Australia! I can’t work while I’m on a tourist visa so I’ll have all the freedom in the world to work on my paintings. Hopefully by our wedding I’ll have a huge portfolio and on our return to Australia I can start exhibiting (while job hunting haha!)
I prayed and prayed for God’s hand in our lives and he’s literally given me everything I dreamt and prayed for. I spent the early months of last year trying to work out what would make me happy (that I could make happen). I decided I wanted to work outdoors, live by the sea in a small town somewhere warm and find direction. I can’t believe it’s all happening and on top of this I’ve met my life partner. I’m writing this from a hostel in Mexico with Bronson sleeping next to me in bed. Despite the torrential, all-day rain storm outside, I feel the luckiest girl in the world.