love on the road, long term travel and love. Is possible to combine love and travel?, long distance relationships

From my Balinese Engagement to Ballet/English Teacher in One month.

Clelia Mattana ASIA, BLOG, FUN CORNER, INDONESIA, THAILAND 61 Comments

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 LOVE ON THE ROAD. FAIRY TALE OR JUST AN ILLUSION?


WARNING: This may be the last post you read in here. I expect my family to murder me after sharing so many personal memories with you..


love on the road, long term relationships


I pondered whether writing about this or not. I know people are curious. I’m sure some of my friends back in Sardinia were just waiting for this post to be published. I can totally see you wondering “Engagement??moving to Thailand? Ballet?… “WHATTT”?!’


In the end, I thought, why not? that’s my trip, and this was a huge turn in it. It deserves to be documented properly.So…let’s get started! sit down, make yourself a cup of tea or grab a beer and keep reading!

 


HOW DID I END UP BEING ENGAGED AND MOVING TO THAILAND  AS A BALLET/ENGLISH TEACHER, 3 MONTHS INTO MY TRIP?


The short answer is a fat  dose of good luck!

However, I  know exactly where all this started: my hostel room in Siem  Reap. I was pondering about traveling solo for a while, and I finally decided to buy a one-way ticket to Bali.


I still remember that evening: Sitting on my bed, I couldn’t stop putting my hands on my face, laughing nervously and saying: “Oh my God. I can’t believe I just did it!”


Me, Tomas and the cute little Thai Kids

Me, Tomas and the cute little Thai Kids


In case you’re wondering…No, I didn’t choose Bali because I hoped to live my very own “Eat, Pray, Love”  fairy tale. I aint no Julia Roberts here!


What I didn’t know at the time was that even without being Julia, Bali would have changed the course of my trip forever. What if I hadn’t decided to travel alone? what if I had chosen another destination?None of the events I’m about to write would have happen. Life it’s just a fricking Russian Roulette, isn’t it?


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 BALI CRAZINESS part I: “THE MYSTERIOUS ROOM MATE”


 


So, what happens in Bali, stays in Bali right? not quite!


Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I first arrived in Indonesia. When deciding where to stay, I kept changing my mind a million times. I wasn’t sure whether to try a dorm or stick to a single bedroom. In the end, I compromise and booked a 2 bedroom at the amazing “Big Pineapple backpackers“. That place  is absolutely magic (especially for romance!  There is even a group where all the people who met in there can post their pictures, so cute).


When I arrived, my roommate wasn’t there, and I was pretty shocked when I discovered that he was a guy! I might be naive, but I thought that hostels arranged the rooms according to genders. I was obviously  mistaken.


I got comfortable in my room and started taking a look around. I saw a pile of stuff on my room mates bed, and I decided to check it out.

 

 

No, wait.



I didn’t check all his personal belongings like a stalker! I just wanted to have an idea on who this guy was before meeting him. I mean, a stranger sleeping in my room?  I needed to make sure he wasn’t a creepy perv or worst a serial killer. Right?


Here is what I found:


A pair of quite weird, short flippers:  “Is he a  surfer or something”? being in Bali, the odds were quite high. A surfer. No records for surfers serial killers. Good.


What else? A small backpack, a white shirt, a pair of sunglasses and some perfume..I start  trying and figuring out the guy by these items. All I got was the image of a hippie in sunglasses and a surfboard with flowers.


My room mate, as i imagined him :)

My roommate, as I imagined him 🙂

Late that evening, the mysterious roommate finally showed up. Surprisingly, he  wasn’t that far from the idea I had of him.


Blond hair, blue eyes, and a tiny figure. In a hippie outfit. Bingo! I must have a future as a private investigator! He was just missing the flowery surfboard. Pity.


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 THE MYSTERIOUS ROOMMATE REVEALED:


tomas

I introduced myself with a smile and I gave him 2 kisses on the cheeks. He stood there for a second, with a face half surprised and half embarrassed. Obviously, he didn’t know that this is a common behavior in Italy.


I thought he must be shy. He thought I must be a slutty girl, other than that, we didn’t have any special thoughts about each other.


The following day we met again in the hostel swimming pool. We started chatting casually and we didn’t stop since. He was a nice, funny, interesting guy. With an impossible surname and a funny South African accent.


Some people may assume that, since we were sharing the room, everything was  speeded  up. Not at all. Our room temperature was about 40 degrees and the  poor guy always wore  pajamas to go to bed. Out of respect.


The subtle flirting started after a while. Innocent flirt. You know, the kind you see in middle school. Talking about it now, we weren’t even sure that anything would have happened at that point. I guess I’m not that much of a femme fatale while traveling!


We simply enjoyed each other’s company and  we valued our new friendship more than anything else. Which is a very valuable (and rare) thing nowadays.


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THE ENGAGEMENT:


From innocent flirt to being engaged? how is it possible? yes! we got engaged old school. We hadn’t  even kissed yet.


One night, at dinner, he saw my mother’s engagement ring and we created a plan to get engaged, just for fun. We had to choose a proper location and he had to go on his knees and propose with a real ring.
Disclaimer! None of us had any plan to get married in the immediate future! Personally, the idea of marriage freaks me out. But I wanted to try the experience. After all, not all the marriage proposal have a happy ending.


We went on a day trip to Ubud, and he bought me the ring you see in the picture in a local market. He chose it among some really ugly rings. Apparently the guy has good taste!


My beautiful, cheap Engagement Ring!

My beautiful, cheap Engagement Ring!

The following weeks in Bali and Gili’s, we were re-named “the happy couple”. People assumed we were on our honeymoon, which was perfect, as we got to experience the whole romantic thing. Including candlelight dinners on the beach and breakfast in bed 🙂


We never, ever stopped talking and laughing about everything. It was crazy!


I got everything:The romance, the laughters and an incredible guy on my side. But I didn’t fool myself obviously. I knew this had to end.


 


 FROM THE ENGAGEMENT TO MOVING TO THAILAND:



From my decision to continue the trip by myself, to meeting Tomas  and moving with him to Thailand . How did it all happen?


Tomas and I had to say goodbye after 1 month of unforgettable adventures. He had to go back to  Thailand where he is an English Teacher.The day he left I was obviously heartbroken. What do they say: “You don’t realize what you have until you lose it” right? yeah, true. But that’s life, and I tried to deal with it.


During our travels I mentioned my idea to be a teacher . I wanted to try the experience and  I was working on it even before meeting him.


As soon as he got back  to Thailand he told me that they were looking for another teacher at his school.  If I decided to accept the offer I had to fly to  Thailand by the next Monday (it was Friday when he gave me the news).


You can imagine my reaction: I thought it was a joke! when I realized that it wasn’t, I felt happy, scared and excited. All in one. Before taking such an important decision, I asked for advice from everyone. Meaning I was just missing the Pope’s advice and I was done 🙂


On the one side there was my trip: accepting the offer also meant putting my trip,my plans and my dreams on hold for a while.On the other side, there was a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience life outside my comfort zone.


Tough decision. When  I woke up the next morning  I knew what to do. I went online and bought a one-way ticket to Phuket. I was  ready to start a new chapter of my life in the isolated village of Map Ammarit.


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 FAST FORWARD 50 DAYS LATER:


 

Map Ammarit located on the map.

Map Ammarit located on the map.

Fights with Scorpions and huge spiders. The unbearable heat. Spicy Thai food all over the place. A squatting toilet, and 2 classes of adorable, screaming little pests  in pink tutus…


Does this mean that I’m regretting my decision? Not at all. I had some tough times in the beginning, trying to  cope with the cultural shock.


If I look at what I got now: the opportunity to be more than a tourist in Thailand, being a ballet teacher -which I love- and living with my wonderful, messy, sweet boyfriend.  I can only feel blessed as this is so much more than I had planned for my trip.


Everything happened so quickly, just one month. And I learned another couple of lessons from my trip.


Every single decision can affect the course of the events. Everything happens for a reason. It is scary as hell. Painful. Tough sometimes. But if you are not willing to take your chances, you’ll never know what life has got for you.


As you can see from my story, sometimes life can surprise you with wonderful things!



Have you ever had a story where a decision you made changed your trip/your life in a significant way? I’d LOVE to hear your stories too!

Cheers!

Cle

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FAST FORWARD 1 YEAR: DID THE HAPPY COUPLE  LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER?


 

love on the road, long term travel and love. Is possible to combine love and travel?, long distance relationships

Pretty cute huh? so what happened next?


Ahh I bet that you  want to know what happened to this cool happy couple on the picture above one year later right?.Did we survive the test of time? did the fairy tale is still on?


I’m sorry to disappoint all the romantic hearts out there but no, the story ended in October. We had an amazing time together but not all the fairy tales have a happy ending. This doesn’t mean that it wasn’t special, or that it is not possible to find the love of your life on the road, so don’t lose your  hope 😉


Even if we split up, we managed to stay good friends and we still chat from time to time. After a few months back in South Africa he decided to go back to Map Ammarit to be a teacher again, whilst I decided to continue my travels and visited some of the most amazing countries, collecting incredible memories and life experiences.


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IS LOVE ON THE ROAD JUST AN ILLUSION?


I don’t regret my choice to follow him to Thailand, that experience taught me so much and I’m sure it will remain in my memories for many years.


So people, even if this story didn’t have a happy ending, don’t lose hope. I still believe that love on the road is definitely possible, it just takes sacrifice and a strong will to be together no matter what the obstacles are.


I met many people who fell in love on the road and they are still happily together. Traveling is just part of life so, regardless of where you meet your possible soul mate, I don’t see the trip as an obstacle, on the opposite, it can even be the main factor to keep two people together.


I’d like to end this post with a quote by Confucius:

Wherever you go, go with all your heart


Safe travels everyone 🙂

 

I put all my effort to write this for you, like it and make me happy!
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Comments 61

  1. Pingback: "Indiana Jones And the Cursed House": Surviving an Insect Apocalypse in Thailand - KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL

    1. Hahahaha, ah well, not exactly a happy ending but we are still good friends (which is quite remarkable). In the movies there is almost always a Happy ending, life goes slightly differently 🙂

        1. Nope, this means that I’m not writing about my personal life too much on the blog 🙂 I wrote this when I was starting out but now I don’t really like that I don’t have a personal life anymore, so I try to keep quite. All I can say is that I’m not married with kids and living in the suburbs 😀

          1. Thanks Kimberly! Every life choice has its pro and cons anyway! I hope you’re happy with yours 🙂

    2. Hi Clelia

      You’re absolutely living life in the true sense. Where are you headed next? Life is too short to be lingering around in one zone… I really wish I could travel without a plan and go to the Himalayas.. Its known to be a place where you find your true self..

      Bon Voyage

      1. Thanks! You can say that I’m truly living my life, the good and not so good bits…all part of the experience!As for my future plans, I am preparing to move to Mexico! Time to explore central and South America now!

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  4. If I may Clelia… (with warm smile)

    “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    You embody exactly what Emerson speaks of and more! Bravo!

    P.S. I too thoroughly enjoyed the personal (engaging? – wink) story-sharing! Humanity, the human touch is what makes ‘traveling’ the globe life-fulfilling… life-changing… life-giving! 🙂

    1. Actually, the funny thing of this story is that there is even a “third chapter” to it… Obviously i wrote about my love story in here in a light-hearted way but we had a pretty intense relationship so let go was definitely not easy and after being apart for a while, we added the third and final act to the story.

      Unfortunately, some people are not meant to be together for many reasons and once again our story ended, this time forever and I’m glad to say, in very good terms. We are now really friends, just friends, and I wish him all the best! 🙂

      1. It sounds like a fantastic outcome nonetheless! I am a FIRM believer in doing your human & heart’s best not to burn bridges with anyone — one never knows how life, how events, how things could bring your paths back together; hopefully not in a train wreck(!) 😉 — even with ex’s. I’m fortunate to have many genuine, intense past relationships with ex’s and we still infrequently chat sometimes. It’s our way of showing each other that our “time together” was not wasted & never would be. Some people find that very odd. I don’t; not in the least!

        I am very happy you and your ex-fiance did it on good terms. That speaks volumes about your and his characters. Bravo Clelia!

        1. hahahah I like when talking about him as my “ex-fiancee'” 😀 The (fake) engagement was so much fun! I think that in most cases with enough time, people can still be friends or,at least, remain in good terms. I also might add that not all of the relationships are similar and in one case my ex doesn’t even want to know that I’m alive… but that was mostly my fault soI dont blame him.

          This particular ex is a very good person and he will always remain in my memories no matter what! (no it’s not a subtle declaration that I’m still into him and he knows that) 🙂

  5. I have been traveling around the world since 2002. This whirlwind engagement is typical of many of the experiences I have encountered on the road. Especially when you first start traveling. But as you get older (now 40) you come to see these experiences for what they are. You meet someone you connect with and you begin to recognize it as just another enjoyable experience with no significant meaning other than to enjoy the moment itself. We tend to idealize people when we first meet them, especially when we are traveling abroad. We get caught up in the excitement of it all and it is often difficult to remain grounded. Especially when we are, as world travelers, quite literally the opposite of grounded. In the end I learned some very powerful lessons about love and infatuation for that matter. The real challenge comes years later when you decide to settle down somewhere, as most travelers eventually do. Best of luck.

    1. Thanks for your insights Jason. I tend to agree to what you say but in a way, dismissing a story that started while on the road like just infatuation might be limiting in certain occasions. In my case it wasn’t exactly just an infatuation, we gave it a shot and for many reason, it didn’t work out. Settling in a place is something I am seriously considering for quite a while now, relationships or not as traveling non stop can be exhausting and leave you without energies. I’m still the kind of person who, no matter what (I’m 38 so not exactly a teenager and I have had long relationships on my back) I am still willing to experiment and believe in love. Not naively, I’m pretty grounded and conscious of what real love is, and it’s definitely not all roses and flowers. It takes sacrifice, compromise and patience to keep it going. But of one thing I’m sure. It is always worth the shot.

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  7. I just read this now. I, too, followed someone to Thailand and lived with him there for 4 months. We met in a hostel in Saigon in 2013, and he followed me to the Philippines. He couldn’t take my country’s heat so we decided to be based in Bangkok for a while. Alas, it ended too soon. Still, like you, I believe we can also find love on the road. xxx

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  10. Hey! Amazing love story and great blog!

    My love story is different…
    It started during a hot summer in Sardinia and is still going on in the South-east Asia!

    After some months together we decided to travel the world!

    A pity I just read this right now because we were in Phuket and Krabi region just only few weeks ago!

    Anyway… I wish you all the best with your life!
    R.

  11. I love this story. Mainly for the fact that you took a leap. I’m not in a romantic situation but I’m about to do something crazy too. I’ll write a post on it but this is a beautiful story. Live life without regrets, you’ll have these amazing memories to pass on one day. Isn’t that what we travel for? These crazy situations that we get ourselves into. Its so unpredictable but I love it. I agree it is tough, but later on the reward will be great even if you don’t see it yet. Thats what I’m telling myself.

    <3

    1. Everyone should take a leap Laura, you made the right choice. The experience will always be worth it, no matter how it ends 😉

  12. Awesome story! I didn’t know you were close where I live, we should’ve met. Of all places too, Bali is such a romantic place where you meet wonderful people and potential lovelife. Yet for those who still have a real itchy feet, it Bali romance just doesn’t last. 🙂 Well, lucky for those Bali romances that lasted. <3

    Hope one day to meet you on the road.

    1. Thanks Lyndsay!ahhaha I didn’t know about the Bali “curse” for romance..damn it.

      Definitely a romantic place tough. Anyway, we never know whether a love story is going to last or not when we start it, so I always stay on the positive side and never lose the faith 🙂

      Would like to know about couples who survived the Bali curse now!

      You said we were very close,where are you staying at the moment? as for now I’m back to Europe to have some work done before my next adventure..

      1. Hahaha! Well, I just know a lot of people and back then I was like! Oh wow, why is Bali such a magical place? But now, I still hear from them and it’s their now called ‘backpacking fling’. OMG, what is happening?!

        Then again, I still know a couple of friends who is on the early stage so let’s not call it a curse because they all look great together with their partners. 🙂

        We were just not meant to survive the Bali romance, its not in that part of the world for us. Mine is in Thailand!

        Well, talking about Thailand I saw you were close to Chumpon and I am in Suratthani City (we both know Chumpon is still in Suratthani) but we will not stay here for long.

        Goodluck to your next adventure!!! Safe travels always.

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  14. Ohooooh, tears of both joy and warm, romantic feelings are slowly spreading to my dark, Danish eyes….
    Miss K…wauw and lol and oooohhhhh and…
    Sorry, I just need a minute…

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  16. What a wonderful story! How long are you staying in Thailand for? And i agree with Stephanie…i need to buy a ticket to Bali 🙂

    1. I don’t know how long i’m staying here for… i have some projects and i am not planning on going back to Europe any time soon!

    1. Hey Stephanie, even if my engagement was purely for fun, i’m still so happy that i decided to follow my heart! And YES go to Bali!!! I can’t guarantee that you’ll find your price charming, but it’s definitely a magical place!

    1. Maillot, you simply need to subscribe to my newsletter (you’ll find it on my home page and on the sidebar on several pages)

      Cheers
      Cle

  17. What!? I had no idea you got engaged. Congratulations on that. So, so, so happy for you. I’m also super excited for your wedding. Any plans? Any ideas? I wanna know it all! As for the teaching, I’m happy once again for you. Although you got stuck in a remotely located Thai village, you will quickly pick up some Thai and get familiar with the locals. By the way, how’s been your Thai language so far?

    1. Hey Agness, no no wait… i’m not getting married! The engagement was real, as far as my crazy holiday in Bali was concerned! Other than that, we are still together, living day by day, but knowing that we need to make the most of each day, as i will be continuing my trip and he has to go back to his country! Despite this, i’m still happy that i’m having the opportunity to live the life i always wanted. My Thai language?? Oh dear…terrible! i know the basics, my bf is incredibly good at it. But hey, he had 5 months alone with the locals to learn it the hard way! i hope to catch up very soon!

  18. a nice blog 🙂 and an amazing story! after few days in Italy with him and a long weekend in NY I got engaged to the man who now is my husband, so I know how you feel 😉

  19. Inspiring post, i’m so glad i found it! I’ve had a similar experience.Four years ago i was promoted and my boss told me i could choose to be relocated to Seattle (i’m from Houston). After 1 really painful week i decided to take the offer and i moved there. I’ve never been happier with my decision. I met my wonderful husband on my second day in the office. And the most incredible thing is that he also moved from Huston! Same office, we never met there! 🙂
    I wish you all the best for your story and also for your adventure in Asia! Keep posting your stories, i love them!

    1. What an amazing story you shared Roxana! this confirms even more that coincidences are real. Happiness always comes for people who are able to take risks. I’m firmly convinced of that. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us. I wish you all the best and thanks for your nice words. It’s really encouraging to know that there is someone out there who smiles because of my crazy adventures. I’ll make sure to keep writing/living them 🙂

  20. Oh my goodness! Lovely story but you leave me hanging! What happens now? I’m so glad to hear your conclusion to this story. Of course life is about taking chances and living in the moment. I think whether this turns good or bad it is important that you experienced it. There is nothing worse (in my opinion) than the “what if?” of regretting NOT doing something. I find life so amazing… that ONE decision can completely change the course of your life. Where would we be if we chose the other option? I’ve had so many of these experiences and I think so far, I’ve chosen right 🙂 Sitting here in Mauritius, the gorgeous honeymoon African island… I can’t complain too much. Life is beautiful and full of surprises. So happy you shared this story with us!!! So happy you got your adventure 🙂

    1. Savannah! You were among the poor people who gave me a huge help and support as i was still in the process of deciding whether to accept the offer or not!
      So thank you..if i’m here it is also because of your wise words! 🙂
      what happens now? no idea! i love my travel philosophy, the here and now is all that counts. That’s the only way to be happy for me. I know it’s crazy how One decision can change everything. You surely chose wisely my friend! look at you.. Brilliant young writer, with an incredible boyfriend,an incredible life, writing on my blog from Mauritius. What are you doing online?? close that computer and enjoy your holiday! 🙂

  21. glad to see ur still alive and happy and thanks for have given me a preview on that engagement story when i asked you back then. you can imagine how much pressure i got from our common friends to get the details for them lol

    take care and keep smiling!

    1. Hey Chris! yep, still alive…the insects had some mercy lately 🙂 I know i know, my engagement generated some questions among all my friends! I had to share the details. Fair enough! So happy you are following my crazy adventures Big hugs xx

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