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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..
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!
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!”
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?
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.
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.
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.
THE MYSTERIOUS ROOMMATE REVEALED:
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.
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!
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.
FAST FORWARD 50 DAYS LATER:
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!
FAST FORWARD 1 YEAR: DID THE HAPPY COUPLE LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER?
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.
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 🙂