Stories of 12 Long-Term Couples Who Found Love on the Road
“Being born in Saudi Arabia to Sri Lankan parents, lived in both India and Australia, you came all the way to Sri Lanka, where your roots are from, to find love. And now you are here. You live here.” – Zahil loves to pull Nathan’s leg at work.
Love happens. You can’t make it happen. And sometimes, you find love in the unlikeliest places. In 2015, I met Nathan in a backpack hostel in Colombo. Little we knew that we’d be each other’s best friends. Three years later, we are still together. It’s an infinite journey. It’s about learning what each other loves, learning their flaws and accepting them. It’s about helping each other grow as a person. It’s a big beautiful journey of highs and lows, where you help each other achieve even the tiniest of tiny things.
Three years later, in one tropical morning in Colombo, Nathan and I are writing one of our favourite blog posts. These are stories of 12 long-term couples who will give you all the feels, and make you believe in love.
1. Viola of The Blessing Bucket
Viola met Alan in 2013 when she went to Australia for an exchange program. While she lived in Sydney for several months, they didn’t cross paths until she was almost leaving. They both met at a camp, but by then, Viola only had one month left in Australia. They both then decided to take one final trip together to picturesque New Zealand.
“Thanks to beautiful Middle Earth, it was such an epic trip. By the time the journey was coming to an end, we were already inseparable. Alan and I both bawled our eyes out at the airport. We thought that was it, we’d never be together again. But my plane hasn’t even landed in Canada yet, before he messaged to tell me how much he wants to be with me. That was when we knew we had to give long distance a shot and make it work! In the past five years, we have taken turns visiting each other, and traveled to 10 + countries together. During times of being apart, we call almost every day.
“Coming this December, I’m finally gearing up to buy that one-way ticket to him. We have come a long way, living through many highs and lows in our relationship. But we always knew that it will be worth it in the end because we really love each other. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, you fall in love at seemingly terrible timing and in unfavorable circumstances. But don’t give up if you are sure that you’ve found the right person. Some things and some people are worth fighting for.”
Viola documents her journey on @theblessingbucket.
2. Alya of Stingy Nomads
Alya met her husband Campbell in a small town in Palawan, about 4 and a half years ago. They were both traveling solo and staying at the same hostel.
“First, we started doing short weekend trips to the different parts of the island and later decided to explore more of the Philippines together. We spent 2 months traveling around the country, after that I had to go back home. Two months later we met up in Nepal and hiked to Everest Base Camp, it was the beginning of our long-term travel together. Since then we’ve traveled together to Europe, Central and South America, went back to Southeast Asia and spent some time in Africa.
“After about 2 years of permanent traveling together we decided to start a travel blog Stingy Nomads. We both like hiking, diving, and surfing and now mostly travel to different parts of the world for one of these activities. Last year January we got married in my husband’s home country – South Africa, by the way, I’m from Russia, so we’re from two quite far away countries. Now we live somewhere in between Africa and Europe chasing summer and good weather.”
Follow their travels on Facebook.
3. Rashmi of GOBeyondbounds
Rashmi and Chalukya studied in the same college. They both had many mutual friends, but even after 4 years of college, they had never met each other. In their final year, they were placed in the same company for work. As soon as they finished college, they both had to go to Trivandrum in Kerala for a two-month training.
“Even here, we used to plan trips on weekends to different places in Southern India but as it was with our classmates from college we never met. Finally, due to some reason, I missed the trip to Kanyakumari with my classmates. Then later when my hubby and his classmates planned the trip I did not want to miss the chance. We both had a common friend who was ready to join me on the trip. Other than him I did not know any of my hubby’s friends. My friend introduced me to everyone. We had a wonderful time in Kanyakumari, it was one of the most memorable trips. I made new friends and we (Rashmi and Chalukya) became friends for life.
“We both moved to Mumbai for our jobs, loved the city and settled here. Our wanderlust continued even after we got married. We started exploring Mumbai, then India and then Europe. We even traveled with our daughter and have traveled to 20+ countries with her.”
4. Ali of Ali’s Adventures
Who says that the internet isn’t the place to meet your soulmate? Ali and Andy met on Twitter and this year, they celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary.
“It was so strange to finally meet this man in person, yet it also felt completely natural. We were in love. I visited him in Germany several times in the following months, and about 10 months after that fateful tweet, we got married outside of Atlanta. Shortly afterwards, I moved to Freiburg, but now we live in Berlin, and in 2018, we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.
5. Erin of Sol Salute
“I knew she wouldn’t stop moving until she fell in love, and that’s what happened when she met Juan Martin.”
That was the first line, the first line of Erin’s best friend’s speech at their wedding. And she was right!
“I had been traveling and living in Spain and the Virgin Islands, and was recently settling into life in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A good friend was visiting so we went out dancing and I saw him immediately. I stared and mentally willed him to talk to me, but when he didn’t, I decided it was time to go back inside and hide, because he was clearly not interested! For the next two hours, Martin (who absolutely loathes clubs and discos), combed the crowd looking for me. He had felt the same thing I had and had to give it a shot. We met, he bought me a drink. We discussed our strange, long last names. He even gave me his business card so I could see how his long Polish name was spelled (which helped us get in touch after I lost my cell phone later that night). 8 years later, we’re still together in Buenos Aires and I really believe the stars align just right when something is meant to be.”
6. Ruben of Gamintraveler
“I met Rachel on my first trip in the Philippines 4 years ago. I was planning to visit Manila as my first destination, but last minute, I decided to stop a couple of days in Angeles City, in the province of Pampanga – 100 kilometers north of Manila. I met Rachel through Couchsurfing, a website where you can stay and connect with locals during your travels.
“In the beginning, I was only planning to spend a couple of days in Angeles City before going to Manila, Boracay, and El Nido, but ended up spending two weeks in the city with Rachel. I didn’t have time to visit the most touristic destinations in the Philippines as planned. After a couple of months traveling in Indonesia and Australia, I finally settled in the Philippines with Rachel. That´s how we started our travel blog and Instagram while we travel around Southeast Asia.”
7. Orla of All The Ways You Wander
Both Neil and Orla were living in Dublin, but it was a journey down under which brought them together. They’ve been together for 14 years now and share their adventures on All The Ways You Wander (follow them on Facebook here).
“When we were in our early twenties, we both left our homes in Ireland to find work in Australia and ended up being in the same training group in a call center, selling life insurance! On a night out, with the whole gang, we ended up sitting together and hit it off immediately. That night, after Neil ‘missed’ his train, we walked the streets of Sydney for hours, talking and getting to know each other. Before we knew it, the sun was coming up and it felt like the beginning of the rest of our lives. We moved in together after our third date and have been inseparable ever since, travelling the world together, hand in hand, through thick and thin. We probably would not have crossed paths back home, even though Dublin is a very small place. Some might call it destiny or just pure luck that a journey to the other side of the world helped us find each other.”
8. Rachel of Rachel’s Ruminations
Rachel met her Dutch husband Albert in the 1980s in Malawi. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher and Albert was a dentist with an NGO. They both were placed in Mzuzu, in the north of the country. Although they arrived at the same time, it took a year before they got together.
“Since my contract was only two years long and his was four, I went home, and we carried on a long-distance relationship. Keep in mind that in those days, there was no internet, no mobile phones. He didn’t even have a regular landline phone! So we wrote letters … lots of them.
“I went back to visit a year after I’d left, and then again a year later. When his contract was up, he returned to the Netherlands to start applying to colleges to pursue a masters. That third year, we got to see each other on three visits, since he was relatively nearby in Europe.
“After almost three years of a long-distance relationship, he arrived in the US. We got in my car in Connecticut and drove across the country to California, moving in together once we arrived at Berkeley. Take my word for it, if you ever need to test a relationship, try this: a) correspond for years only by letter, rarely seeing each other, b) then take a long road trip together, and c) move in together! If you can stay together through that, you’re meant to be together! We’ve been married now for 28 years.”
9. Eric and Lisa of Penguin and Pia
Eric and Lisa’s story is not a conventional “boy meets girl” story. They first started talking because of Instagram. They were both living in Edinburgh at the time when Eric posted a photo of Edinburgh Castle. Lisa commented on the photo about where to take the shot – and the rest is history.
“We actually never met at first – Eric went back to Canada and we almost didn’t message again. Months later, we reconnected by chance and started talking long distance – growing closer to one another as the time went by. Determined to finally meet, we planned a whole Europe trip over Skype. This means that the first time we ever met in person was the start of a two week trip around Europe in the winter. Our first trip together was something we will never forget and always hold special. It was perfect.
“Over 1.5 years later, we’re still together having moved back and forth between Europe and Canada. We’ve created our blog “Penguin and Pia” – and we’ve let nothing stop in our way to be together. And that’s the story of love on Instagram!”
Follow Eric and Lisa on YouTube here.
10. Ryazan of Everything Zany
“I guess it’s true when they said that you will find love when you least expect it.”
“My husband and I met in an unconventional way 10 years ago, we met on an online dating site just after I moved here to the UK for my further studies.
“I moved to the UK for my studies and to heal myself from a break up with my ex-boyfriend. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to grow and be in a ‘new’ environment away from all the stress of my previous relationship.
“My husband also came back to the UK from Mauritius where he lived as an expat for a couple of years. He returned to the UK to try to save his previous relationship with his girlfriend. However, it still didn’t work out. My UK friends kept on pushing me to try online dating and meet other guys. So I signed up and eventually met my husband. I didn’t realize he is ‘The One’ when I first met him.
“I thought it was just an ordinary date nothing unusual. We have the same interests and values. We might have a few differences in our interracial relationship, but that’s ok, that makes our relationship interesting and blissful.”
Follow their journey on Facebook.
11. James of Porrtugalist
James met his girlfriend while working at a marketing agency in Edinburgh: she worked on the social media team while James was based in the PR department. James already had plans to explore the world but decided to put them on hold.
“When it became clear that things were going well, we started discussing travelling. Rather than work odd jobs along the way, we both decided we wanted to go freelance and try to work while we travelled. However, since we’d only just established our businesses, we weren’t sure how successful we would be.
“Then we discovered housesitting, which took the stress off worry about rent. We began applying for housesits in France, and managed to line up 9 months of housesits back-to-back and one in Portugal. Maybe, just maybe, we would be able to make this work.
“This year marks the 6th year on the road for us, and during that time we’ve lived in France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and South Africa as well as spent time travelling through South East Asia and Europe. Travelling together can make or break a couple, but thankfully we fell into the make category.”
Follow their travels on Pinterest.
Sonja never intended to fall in love while travelling or living abroad. Like most of us, she thought that would mean having to share her decision with someone else and no just go somewhere on a whim!
“Well, it turns out that has never been a problem since the person I fell in love with is someone I want to spend my time with, no matter where we are! I first moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, at the end of 2012. I spent most of 2013 finding a job, working, exploring my new country and as much of Europe as possible. Travelling so much did make it a bit harder to make friends in Edinburgh, so I joined a Meetup group where I met another girl from New Zealand.
“We fast became friends and I was in time introduced to her flatmates, one of which is now my husband! We spent the second year of my visa half together, half apart as he was travelling, and then my visa ended and I had to leave the country, and moved to Australia for almost a year. It was a tough time but I ended up moving back to Europe, to Spain this time to teach English. We reconnected and the rest they say is history! I moved back to Edinburgh last year after a long and difficult visa process and we got married. We now live here happily, travelling as much as possible, including a huge honeymoon back to my home country!”