I don’t think I’ve ever told the story of how Mr A and I met on this blog. That’s mainly because he likes to remain an International Man of Mystery. But it’s too late now, as I’m posting this and he won’t know until he reads it. (Sorry Mr A!)
Anyway we met in a very RomCom-like way when our friends sat us next to each other at their wedding. “Here, these two are single, let’s stick them together.” Turns out they knew what they were doing, as we hit it off and the following week went on our first date together. So far, so straight-forward.
What Mr A didn’t know, but was to find out on our second date, was that I was about to go travelling for nine months.
Having recently failed to get a promotion I’d applied for at work, I’d decided enough was enough and I was going to spend the last year of my 20s on a big adventure. My metaphorical bags were packed and I was committed to the trip. What I hadn’t planned on was meeting someone I liked right before that trip.
However it never once crossed my mind not to go, and Mr A never asked me to stay. Which was good; as I think he knew what the answer would be. Travelling is something which is in my blood. And I’m sure lots of you reading this know what I mean when I say that, but it’s sometimes hard to explain to other people who don’t get the travel bug, who don’t know what it’s like to have itchy feet all of the time.
In the past I’d always travelled alone, as I’d never met anyone that wanted to travel like me. And I was actually fine with that. I love the freedom of travelling by yourself, being able to go wherever you want and never having to do something you’re not interested in. I met plenty of people along the way and although there were occasional times when I felt lonely and wondered what it would be like to travel with someone else, it wasn’t something I longed for; I was content with my life.
So when Mr A came along it was all a bit out of the blue. We had a couple of lovely months getting to know each other before I left, but although we said we’d stay in touch we didn’t make any promises to each other and I had no idea what would happen when I boarded the plane.
So it was a surprise when just a few weeks into my trip Mr A called me in Peru and asked whether he could come and visit. I thought about it and suggested maybe he could come to New Zealand or Australia, the half way point on my trip. But instead he suggested coming to meet me in South America for Christmas and New Year – just a couple of months away.
And that’s when I freaked out.
I had never travelled with a boy before. I was set in my ways. I have my own little travel routines and I was used to doing things in the way I’d always done them. Travelling on the road can be stressful at the best of times, let alone with someone you’ve only know for a couple of months. What if we hated each other?
All of these thoughts whirled around in my head as I tried to make my decision. But it turns out Mr A is a very persuasive man and a couple of months later I was waiting for him at a hostel in Buenos Aires. I was so nervous I hadn’t eaten all day but as soon as he arrived we went out for dinner and it instantly felt so easy again.
Two days later it was Christmas and we had a brilliant day celebrating with other travellers in our hostel. In between Christmas and New Year we went up to Iguazu Falls and it was then that I started to see the fun of travelling through someone else’s eyes. All of the things that I had got so used to – and that often felt like a chore – like the dreaded night buses, were new and exciting to Mr A and I got swept up in his enthusiasm.
For the first time I discovered how fun it was to travel with someone. To have another person to share those special travel moments with. To have somebody next to you to point funny things out to. And, most importantly, to actually have someone to stand in those millions of photos you take.
Our three weeks together seemed to fly by. We saw in the New Year together, danced tango in Argentina and climbed a volcano in Chile. It was a lot of fun. And then suddenly it was time for him to go home and for me to continue with the next six months of my trip.
I’m not going to lie; it took a while to get back into my stride. I missed having my travel side-kick. I missed his reassurance during the stressful times and I missed hanging out with him in fun times. But I also knew that I may never get the opportunity to do this trip again so I made sure I made the most of it. My travels through New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Burma and China were amazing and everything I’d hoped for and more.
But it was also nice to arrive home to Mr A waiting for me at the airport, along with my family.
Since then we have travelled many places together. We’ve been on safari in South Africa, eaten our own body weight in pretzels in Germany and done a road trip in the US. I love that I’ve found someone with the same travel style as me, someone who gets just as excited about spending the night sleeping in a concrete wigwam as I do.
But I’ve also had to learn to compromise now that I travel with someone else – did you really think it was me who decided to visit the world’s biggest meteorite site?
Solo travelling is amazing. It’s eye-opening and exciting and I’m so happy that I’ve had so many opportunities to do it. But travelling with Mr A is pretty cool too. In just over a week I’ll be marrying my travel buddy and I can’t wait for the adventures ahead!
What’s your travel style? Do you prefer to travel alone or with someone else?