Featured Header Image by Travelbusy.com
If you, like me, dedicate a large portion of your time to travel, and spend more time traveling than you are resident in your own country, you’re more than likely to meet someone overseas.
Which is a pity, because long distance relationships don’t work, right? OH MY GOD WRONG!!!!! I swear I will hit the next person who tells me that long distance relationships NEVER work out…and there have been many.
I’m Megan from Australia, and over the last 5 years I’ve spent an accumulation of 6 months out of every year abroad. So it’s not surprising that I met the love of my life while traveling. We have a pretty incredible story – so I’m told – which included pulling off one of the greatest long distance relationships ever, being almost 15,000 kilometers apart.
Mike is from America. We met in Africa (Tanzania actually). I still love the reactions we get when people ask “so you’re from Australia, he’s from America – where did you both meet?”!
After having both finished the Mt Kilimanjaro climb, we met through mutual travelers at the hotel at the bottom of the mountain. Before we knew it we had spent hours talking to each other and laughing together, and found ourselves sitting beneath a starry African sky in the early AM hours. Dinner had turned into breakfast and we forced ourselves to say goodbye before heading towards separate flights. We swapped emails and phone numbers, not having any clue that our wedding in Hawaii would be less than three years later.
So how did we do it?
I firmly believe that you can make anything work if you want to. It’s that simple. That’s the big secret. If you truly want something to work, and you put everything you have into it, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. I wont lie – long distance for 18 months was incredibly hard, but we made it work by maintaining:
We spoke every day. I got an amazing phone plan where I had unlimited calls to international mobiles, and we would talk for hours. I would call around 11pm after getting home from work, meaning I would “apparently” sometimes fall asleep mid conversation :S, which meant Mike picked up his phone every morning around 6am in America.
Being forced to talk on the phone meant that we got to know each other a lot more intimately, and a lot more quickly than we otherwise would have. A few months in, I may have had only spent 12 hours physically with this person, but I felt like I had known him for years. Skype video chat is also amazing.
Work out a time which works in both time zones and try to stick with it so you have consistency.
Honestly, the concept of phone sex is ridiculous to me (that’s just me though – it might be your thing!), however that’s not to say that you can’t keep the romance alive, even from 15,000 kilometers away.
After flying home from Africa and fitting back into “reality”, roses arrived for me on my first day back at work! Mike had gone online, found a florist in my area and ordered them to be delivered…from America! – to which my mother’s reaction when I got home that evening was;
“How long did you spend with this guy? 12 hours? Megan you must have been amazing in bed!”. Awkward!
Over the months there were a constant string of romantic emails, chocolates, mixed CD’s, letters, and even pizza!!
One hotel reception shift I had a pizza delivery man come in at lunch and drop off a Large Hawaiian, bottle of Fanta and chocolate lava cake; all which had been ordered and paid for by Mike online, from America!!
60 days out from us meeting in Scotland for New Years 2011 I received a box which had 60 letters; one each day until we met up! It might sound horribly corny, and you may now wish to throw up, but seriously – don’t underestimate the power of being sickly sweet!!
Surprisingly, it does actually help when you consistently catch up with the person. Mike and I took our circumstances as a great opportunity to travel and met up with each other around the world.
After meeting initially in August 2010, we went to Scotland for that Christmas and spent the New Year touring London, Amsterdam and Paris. He then came to Australia in April 2011 and spent a month with my friends and family before proposing!
We spent two weeks in London in June of that year (where he proposed again, with a ring this time!), and he was back in Australia in October for our engagement party. I spent Christmas and New Years in America with him (where he proposed again…to be funny…on the big screen at Madison Square Gardens during a New York Rangers Game), and he moved to Australia on a 12 month work/travel visa in May of 2012.
We got married in Hawaii this Valentines day just past, and I’m now blogging from Florida where I’m spending the next 3 years until I gain American Citizenship. (Immigration is a whole other blog which I will rant about at some other time).
We both worked 2 jobs to pay for all of our travel; 16 hour days, in my case while at the same time studying Journalism and Law full time at university and still maintaining a pretty impressive social life.
Find the cheapest flights to your partner by downloading the free Skyscanner app. Click here.
Don’t listen to negativity!
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me my relationship was doomed I would be set for life. Listen to what your friends and family have to say, sure, but thank them for their opinion and continue living your life.
Family rumors circulated amongst the extended family that I was heading off for Christmas in Scotland with someone I had met on the internet (although let’s be honest I’ve met worse guys “conventionally” in bars and nightclubs than I have online); that Mike was actually 60; and I had friends who went as far to enlighten me in detail as to how I was going to end up raped and murdered, chopped up into little pieces in a garbage disposal in some dark alley somewhere in the world. (You know who you are!)
I was continually told that there was no way he was being faithful to me 15,000 kilometers away, and that I was wasting my time and being ridiculous. According to my friends Mike was creepy because of the roses and pizza and mixed CD’s he would send.
I had a group of friends in my backyard at a party re-enact the “No Gary No” add specifically for me as an “intervention”. (Watch the add on YouTube).
However all of the negativity stopped of course when invitations to Hawaii were sent out and suddenly everyone had always been cheering for our relationship from the start!
So in summary, take it from me – long distance relationships work if you want them to. We have had a pretty crazy, whirlwind relationship – but it’s worked for us, and it had to be whirlwind because of our situation.