Living on opposite sides of the globe, they met in Tanzania at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro. Their second date was in Edinburgh. A long-distance romance was followed by proposals in Canberra, London and New York. They married in Hawaii and are making the world their home. This modern day fairy tale reminds us all of the power of living with passion and making up our own rules for life and love!
I had always secretly held onto the notion that falling in love with ‘the one’ would be just as romantic as it is in the fairy tale Disney films. However, as life went on and I grew into the ‘real world,’ I finally had to resign myself to the fact that this just wasn’t reality.
And then I met Mike.
My Pre-Mike Dating Life
Let’s call my pre-Mike dating life ‘diverse!’ I had a lot of short relationships before I met Mike. I dated a lot, but ultimately I always saw my partners as better friends than boyfriends. My mother liked to say:
‘Your extreme regurgitation of boyfriends is because you know exactly what you’re searching for and you just haven’t found it yet.’
As much as I never like to admit my mother was right, I guess she was. After having spent less than a day with Mike, I knew he was ‘the one’ I wanted to spend the rest of my life with! Crazy right!
How we Met
Timing is everything!
Mike and I met through mutual travelers in Tanzania. We had both just summited Mt Kilimanjaro. As fate would have it, Mike was returning with the two Australian’s I’d met at the hotel before my climb. They’d been thrown together to form a group of three with Mike, who was traveling alone.
We all met up for dinner and drinks after our climb. He and I ended up talking and laughing well into the early hours of the morning!
We had to leave the next day to catch flights to our different corners of the globe (me to Australia, him to America), but we kept in contact and met up for dates all around the world! A long distance relationship was a great excuse to travel!
How I Knew I’d Found ‘The One’
I knew that I had found someone incredibly special when I arrived back in Australia after we first met. On my first day back at work, a dozen roses arrived from a flower shop up the road. Mike had gone online and ordered flowers in Australia from America!
Over the following 12 months my mailbox was graced with more:
- mixed CDs
And then, 60 days before we met for our second date in Scotland, I received a box with 60 letters for each day. I was in love and thinking:
‘I’ve always wanted to live out my own romantic fairy tale – like the ones in the movies that we’re told don’t truly exist.’
But I have news for you:
‘Reality is so much better than any fairy tale!!’
Mike proved that – and continues to prove it every day!
Surviving our Long Distance Relationship
I’m not going to lie – it’s really difficult to maintain a long distance relationship, but I firmly believe that you can make anything work if you want to. It’s that simple!
If you truly want something to work, and you put everything you have into it, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. We missed each other like crazy, but this made it even more exciting each time we would meet up.
The four biggest things which made our long-distance doable were:
- meeting up
- not listening to negativity
We spoke on the phone 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 in Australia, meaning I would ‘apparently’ sometimes fall asleep mid-conversation!! That 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.
Skype video chat was also amazing! A few months in, after only having spent twelve hours physically with Mike, I felt like I had known him for years.
Romance played a big part in keeping our relationship alive – as I mentioned above, flowers, thoughtful gifts sent back and forth, and romantic emails really kept us together.
Obviously it helps when you meet up as often as you can, and Mike and I took our circumstances as a great opportunity to travel and met up with each other in wonderful locations around the world.
Not Listening to Negativity
Lastly, we didn’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 the way you want to.
Mike actually proposed three times!
The First Proposal
After having met in August of 2010, he was in Australia meeting my family by April 2011. We went out for a fancy dinner at Canberra’s revolving restaurant (great views over the whole city). On the walk back to the car, he dropped to one knee without a ring and said:
‘I love you and just want to keep things simple. Would you like to spend the rest of your life with me?’
I remember the exact date because we later went home to watch the Royal Wedding. I told Dad to write down ideas from Kate and William’s wedding while he was watching!
The Second Proposal
The second time he proposed was in Westminster Abbey in London. This time he had an actual ring.
The Third Proposal
The third time was more to be amusing.
Still living on separate continents, we met up in New York and took in a New York City Rangers Ice Hockey match at Madison Square Gardens. At half time, a proposal appeared on the big screen in front of nearly 100,000 people!
We joke that he proposed three times because he was hoping I would say no!
Our Hawaii Wedding
I finally got to marry the man of my dreams in front of my closest family and friends in an intimate ceremony on a beautiful Hawaiian island. I don’t think I can pick a specific part of the day which was better than the rest. Like our love and romance from the start, it was all a fairy tale!
We kept things simple, with the view that less is more. We were in an exotic location on the other side of the world, so we didn’t want to be stressing and worrying about ridiculous amounts of detail at the last minute. We wanted to be enjoying the trip.
We chose a location which was spectacular and spent our money on that instead of the expensive little extras which ultimately no-one remembers from the day!
We kept everything very simple and had everything from our tablecloths and table settings shipped to our hotel in Hawaii from eBay. We didn’t want to be carrying ridiculous amounts of excess baggage internationally – the stress really could have put a damper on our trip!
Our Fairy Tale Married Life
For me, being married to ‘the one’ is being married to your best friend. It doesn’t even really feel like we’re “grown up” – just always having the time of our lives together!
I think that a strong friendship is the most important part of a relationship. Staying up late talking about random nonsense, eating junk food and wine while watching a movie and cuddling on the couch – being with ‘the one’ is truly a blast!
Now that we’re married, we’ve chosen a lifestyle of adventure travel because we’ve realized that life is far too short not to be enjoying it right now and living in the moment.
Mike’s father tragically passed away last year from a brain tumor. He was only in his early 50’s and still had so much he wanted to do and see.
We’ve realized that there are no rules to life. We can have kids, a house and a career whenever we want. But we’re not going to fall apart and crumble if we don’t pursue that lifestyle, as society would have us believe is the ‘right way’ to do it.
We’ve been breaking ‘the rules’ since day one and it’s working well for us – so why stop just because we’re now married?
Since we’ve realized that life can be whatever we want to it be, we’ve:
- ice-skated on the Eiffel Tower
- climbed Australia’s Ayers Rock
- chased Alligators through the Florida Everglades
- kayaked with dolphins in the Caribbean
- and so much more!
Reality is negotiable. There’s no reason to live a ‘normal’ life when you can live an extraordinary one!
Is Everything Always Perfect?
Not at all! Living with someone means you also live with all of their annoying habits – and even the best couples have their moments!
Mike and I generally have our disputes over money and technology:
- Mike likes to spend money we actually have, whereas I would prefer to enjoy life right now and pay it off later.
- Mike’s more than happy to go weeks or even months without a phone or Internet access, whereas I sleep with my phone and have withdrawal symptoms if I can’t access my social media!
What I Love Most About Mike
Well, his photography skills come in pretty handy for my travel blog!
Seriously though, he’s such a kind-hearted and generous person and will do absolutely anything for anyone who needs it. Everything he does is thoughtful and he’s always putting other people first.
He’s totally a gentleman, but he’s also very cheeky and has a really fun and adventurous sense of humor as well as a passion for life.
Also, he cooks and cleans – I chose well!! He doesn’t let me in the kitchen for fear my horrible cooking will poison him…works for me!!
Advice for Others Still Searching for ‘The One’
I had tried so hard for so many years to find ‘the one’ and then I finally got sick of the process and stopped.
It’s ridiculously cliché but literally the moment I stopped looking and just decided to casually date people to get to know them first was the moment Mike came into my life.
There’s someone out there for everyone and they’re most likely to come into your life when you least expect it.
- Written by: Megan Claire
- Formatted and edited by: Krista Beauvais
- Photos: all photos are courtesy of Megan Claire