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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.
International Love: Maintaining a Long Distance Relationship
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 the following.
If you find the following advice helpful, we have written a comprehensive e-book with 128 pages of advice and insight into how your long distance relationship can be a success too.
We also have a free Facebook community you can join to to connect with other people who understand what you’re going through. More information at the end.
What Makes a Long Distance Relationship Work?
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.
Hot Tip on Language & Communication
It’s common for there to be a language barrier for many LDR couples, even between Australia and America there was a considerable learning curve in communication!!
There are plenty of great language apps for learning a new language, though a fun and immersive way is to get fluent in your partner’s language by watching your favorite TV.
Lingopie is an app that lets you become fluent naturally by watching and listening to native speakers communicate on TV. There are 1000s of hours of TV and movies, and all shows come with 2 sets of subtitles.
The more you watch, the more you learn.
There are 9 languages; Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portugese, Japanese, Korean and English.
You may not be able to go no traditional dates, 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, pair of studs, and even pizza!! (Pro tip – you can find coupon codes for gifts to keep your costs down via sites like CouponHunt).
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!!
My Fav Romantic Ideas
#1: Friendship Lamps
Friendship Lamps are a really cool way to add some romance into a long distance relationship. It’s a super simple concept – you both have one, and when you tap your lamp, your partner’s lamp will turn on, on the other side of the country or world!
You can send each other colors, convey messages, and this small but really simple concept is a great way to bridge the gap in the distance that separates you!
It’s a metaphor of sorts too – when the light goes on you know they’re thinking about you – you instantly light up when the literal light turns on, and it’s a visual representation of their presence, even when you can’t physically see them.
The lamps operate off Wi-Fi, so you simply plug in your Friendship Lamp and establish a Wi-Fi connection. It’s super easy to set up, literally all it needs is the touch of a hand to connect with someone you love.
Click here to buy a pair of Friendship Lamps and surprise your partner!
#2 Romantic 2 in 1 Map
Romantic maps are a great gift – once again, a simple concept, but a really beautiful way to remind each other that you’re connected, even if you’re cities apart.
Mapness.io makes these, and it’s super easy to customize the map with your own text, and your own cities. Jump over to their website and look for the ‘Custom City Map Poster 2 in 1’, where you’ll fill in the details of each location, and any text you want to add.
You can also customize and change the center symbol, so it could be a plane, a heart, or an & based on your choice. There are 4 options for sizing, and you can order it with or without the frame (without a frame it comes as a poster).
Here’s a screenshot of how easy it is to order – the maps generate for you once you add your locations, and you can zoom in or out on it to choose a specific part of the city to feature.
Order one for each of you, and hang it on your walls!
Click here to order a romantic two city map and surprise your partner. Use the code: MAPPINGMEGAN on checkout to get a $5 USD discount.
#3 Meeting Up
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, staying in a nice romatic vacation home whenever we had the chance.
After meeting initially in August 2010, we went to Scotland for that Christmas, and toured London, Amsterdam and Paris. He then came to Australia in April 2011 and spent a month with my friends and family before proposing!
The first trip we took together was a small group tour, and this was a good way to travel together but also have the safety net of a group of people to fall back on if we also needed a bit space. Check out this post for the 7 Best Small Group Tour Companies for International Travel around the World.
We spent two weeks in London in June of that year, and he was back in Australia in October for our engagement party and we used this chance to plan a trip to Moreton Island together. I spent Christmas and New Years in America with him, and he moved to Australia on a 12 month work/travel visa in May of 2012.
We got married in Hawaii on Valentines day 2013 and settled in America. During our long distance relationship, we met on average every 3 or so months.
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.
My Fav Accommodation for Meeting Up
When we started meeting up, we initially booked accommodation in fun, unique hotels, like a castle in Scotland, and a luxury room overlooking Times Square.
But when you’re spending all your time with the other person and don’t necessarily want to get out of bed (you get the gist!), it becomes a bit of a hassle to break your romantic bubble and share breakfast with 100 other hotel guests.
So we quickly realized that holiday homes are the best.
When you have a whole private home to yourself, you can stock the fridge once, and cook each other breakfast in bed (and the nice thing about a vacation home is that clothing while cooking is optional!)
The privacy and seclusion of vacation homes allows you to spend the most immersive, quality time with each other, without housekeeping interupting your stay, or other guests being noisy next door. ANd you can get amazing homes, with pools, hot tubs, wine cellars.
We use plumguide.com who have a massive collection of vacation homes around the world, and there are some pretty spectacular options.
Click here to check out holiday homes for your next meet up.
#4 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.
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!
Conclusion: LDR’s CAN Work
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.
If you’re after more advice, we have written a comprehensive e-book to provide you with detailed knowledge of how your long distance relationship can be a success too.
Over 128 pages we explore long distance love from your first contact to the moment you are together for good and find that distance is no longer an issue. More information about the e-book below.
The Ultimate How To Guide on Surviving Long Distance Love
This book takes a deep look into the subject of long distance relationships and offers practical advice, as well as authentic real life experiences and observations from our own relationship. Ultimately we succeeded in closing the distance gap and were able to live our lives together.
Each chapter will explore a different aspect of how a relationship can be affected by long distance and includes topics such as marriage, sex, having children, meeting family and friends, and immigration issues. Mike and I will both give our insights into our experience dealing with a long distance relationship as we take turns tackling each chapter.
Whether you’re young or old, male or female, gay or straight, it is our sincere hope that this book offers practical and realistic insight into what you might expect. Let this book offer you hope that your long distance relationship can be just as successful as our own.
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Long Distance Relationship Article Index
Index to Our Other Popular Long Distance Relationship Articles
General Long Distance Relationship Advice
Starting a Long Distance Relationship
Meeting Your Long Distance Partner In-Person
Sex in Long Distance Relationships
Jealousy, Cheating, and Breaking-Up
Introducing Your LDR partner to Family and Friends
Relocation and Immigration Issues When Moving to Be With Your LDR Partner
Marriage and Divorce
Young Adult Long Distance Relationships
LGBTQ+ Long Distance Relationships
Join Our Facebook Community
We receive a large volume of comments and email outreach from those in long distance relationships asking for advice on their situation, and we’re always happy to help out where we can.
If you would like to stay in touch, or have a direct line to ask us for advice on your situation, we invite you to join our Facebook group called “Long Distance Relationships: Advice & Support Group”.
This is a group for support and advice on being in a long distance relationship. It is a community of like-minded people in similar relationships, offering the opportunity to connect with other people who understand what you’re going through. Everyone is welcome – we look forward to connecting with you.