Most romance on the road is fleeting, but when it’s right, it’s right. We asked readers if they met their soulmates while travelling, and fell for each of these stories: some poignant, some adorable and some still trying to make it work
Drive on, dear
In the early 1970s, I was a bus operator in Europe. On one 10-week tour I drove three Canadian girls in a group, and I took a shine to one cute little redhead who I quickly found out was from Saskatoon, Sask., (took me a while to learn how to pronounce that, being I was from Australia). We struck up a conversation during the ferry crossing and the friendship blossomed very slowly until we arrived in Switzerland and an all-day hike had Judy and I paired off; that’s when we got to know one another quite nicely. By the time we arrived in the Greek Islands, we were talking about dating once the trip was over. When we arrived back in London I was helping unpack my bus and spontaneously proposed to her on the sidewalk with all the other passengers still around. I was ecstatic when she said yes. An engagement of almost two years went by until we moved to Canada and got married in 1975. It has been over nine years now since I lost this wonderful soul to cancer, and I still think about her every day; ours was a love that simply doesn’t go away. Alan Sneddon
It must have been the tchouk
My boyfriend and I met in 2011 in Kara, Togo, West Africa, during my second year in the Peace Corps. Liam was on a six-month international university student volunteer exchange program. We ended up talking at the tchouk hut, drinking the local millet beer (served out of plastic garbage cans and drunk out of calabash gourds) till late in the night. And then giggled as we walked home and peed in the corn stalks. After six months of spending all of our time together, Liam continued on his planned backpacking trip up the West Coast of Africa and I finished my service. We saw each other four months later, briefly, in Oregon, and in 2013 Liam and I moved to a remote village in Haiti (crossing a river by foot, then hiking an hour up a mountain) for six months where he did research for his master’s. We are now finally together full time (and with electricity!) in Guelph, Ont., where Liam is still writing his thesis and we regularly Skype with all our friends in family all over the world. Stacie Knight
From FaceTime to full-time
Last summer, my sister and I travelled to Turkey and Greece. Adrian, an Australian, was on the same tour with his sister. One fun night out, Adrian and I kissed like college kids on the dance floor of a bar in Canakkale, Turkey. We were inseparable during the next five days on a cruise through the Greek islands, and saying goodbye to him in Athens was much more emotional than it should have been after only knowing a guy for a few days. We talked every day via iPhone’s FaceTime while he continued to travel Europe and I returned to real life in Halifax. Four weeks later, I met him in Frankfurt and we travelled together through Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. My last morning, while in tears worrying about our future, he told me he loved me. Eight weeks later, he came to Canada (his 21st country in 2013) to spend six weeks with me. He left two weeks ago, and I’ve just booked two months in London (his now-home base) and plan to move there in September. It’s going to be difficult with immigration rules in all three of our countries (Canada, England and Australia) but we’ll figure it out! Christina Copp
Our little bundle of love
My husband and I met in Australia. We were both there on a working-holiday visa and met about four months into the year away. I am from Toronto and Daniel is from Montreal; we have been married 3 1/2 years and have a daughter named Sydney, since that is where we met. Richelle DellaVella-Johnston
Love at 30,000 feet
One of the biggest surprises of my life was meeting my hubby on a Canada 3000 flight. It was almost 14 years ago, and we were both flight attendants at the time. We were working the same aisle on the flight and every time he passed me the orange juice over our drink cart, I blushed like mad. He asked me if I was okay, much to my embarassment. We were married at the Millcroft Inn in Alton, Ont., one year later. We’ve both been out of the business for 13 years – our airline went under less than three months after we married – but life is good and travelling brought us together. We still love to get out there! We’ve been to Hawaii, France, U.K., Mexico and on many trips to the U.S. and across Canada since we met. Danielle Wilson
“Don’t fall in love with any Australians’”
As my mother dropped me off at Pearson for a flight to New Zealand, she told me to have a great time, live in the moment and whatever I do “don’t fall in love with any Australians.”
In Queenstown, I was broke and needed a job at the local call centre. In walked Scott with bare feet, in an office.; no one batted an eyelash. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. We chatted a bit and I learned he was Australian. By Saturday of that same week we were inseparable. We spent Christmas together. By February we were living together; I then broke the news to my family. I think they thought it was one of those flings you have when you travel, but I knew it was the real thing. When my visa was up, Scott said he was coming with me. In November, 2011, we moved back to Toronto, my home town. He immediately loved it here. He even raked 40 bags of leaves for my mom, just for fun! On Dec. 22, 2013, Scott proposed during our Christmas vacation to Australia and now we are planning our wedding in the Distillery District this fall. This is the Coles Notes to our love story. I am so happy we met on what turned out to be not only our own personal adventures, but the foundation of what our lives would be – us, together. Natalie Simpson
Last-minute love club
I never expected to meet the love of my life on a trip that I booked last minute. I went to see my best friend in Vancouver and one afternoon at the end of my trip, I was reading The Hunger Games in a bikini on the balcony when Dale walked out. Meeting Dale was about the closest experience to love at first sight that I can imagine. The following day, we hiked in the mountains. Despite knowing I was to fly out the following day back to America, we spent the whole day together. We decided that the best way to stay in touch over the summer would be to write handwritten letters, since Dale would be working on Haida Gwaii with minimal access to Internet or phone service. We never communicated over the phone or e-mail for the whole summer.
The core of our relationship is more than just our independent fondness for travel, but the absolute need for travel to see one another. Finding flight deals, strategizing itineraries, getting days off from work, kissing and crying in airports and spending entire days in transit have all become so familiar to us over the years. We’ve travelled to meet in many different places, including Saratoga Springs, NY; Denver, Colo., Bellingham, Wash., Los Angeles, Austin, Tex., New Orleans – and the list keeps growing! Kathryn Young
A ground delay got us started
Christopher and I met on a Delta flight. By the time I checked into the flight, my seat had been apparently given away to a standby passenger; well, I protested and the gate agent gave me back my priority seat. As I struggled to get on the Boston-bound flight, I discovered my now-husband was in that seat. He was very gentlemanly and said no problem, he liked the aisle and asked if I would care to sit by the window. (This is what I call our first compromise.)
Our plane was ground delayed, and Chris and I eventually started talking. By the end of our six-hour flight we had exchanged e-mail addresses; we then exchanged e-mails for several weeks. I happened to be in London and he encouraged me to take the train to Paris, where he lived, for dinner. Our first real date was in a Paris bistro and our first kiss on the Eiffel Tower on a late August night. We married almost a year to that date and 14 years – and two beautiful kids – later, we still laugh about how we met, as we rarely chatted to the individuals we sat beside while travelling for business. It was destiny. Kim Brechin
Loved the music, then the man
At the South By Southwest music festival, I was standing in line with my best friend when we both noticed two guys in front of us: one was wearing a CBC Radio One bag. Given that these guys also looked Canadian, we sparked a conversation. It turned out they were not only from Canada, but Toronto. In fact, one of the guys (my now-partner) was living about 10 minutes away from me. For the rest of the week the four of us hung out at shows, had dinners together, and got to know each other. When we got back to Toronto we stayed in contact. I finally let my guard down during the NXNE festival here in Toronto; we’ve been together ever since. I proposed to him last year at SXSW and we’re getting married this July. (We’ll be honeymooning at the Iceland Airwaves festival this fall.) Kristine Williamson
A decade apart, a lifetime together
I met my husband in Brazil in 2002, but I didn’t realize it at the time.
In Salvador, my friends found a little pousada near the beach. They had made friends with one of the guys working there. His name was Thomas, and we fell in love almost instantly (although for me it was the moment he magically procured hot chocolate at midnight on the beach because I was missing home). We had a whirlwind mini romance, and then I went back to Canada, unable to abandon my plans for university to the whim of a romance half a world away. We tried to keep in touch, continuing to call and write, but it slowly dwindled.
Ten years passed, and I was looking for a placement to complete my master’s degree. I wanted to be back in the country that enthralled me, and got placed in Salvador, which of course meant I went straight to Facebook to look up the only person I knew there – Thomas.
Any thoughts of romance were distant memories. Then, as I strolled down the old cobblestone street to meet him for cafezinho, I saw him waiting and smiling. My heart skipped, and we both knew in that moment that the love we felt before was not a silly vacation romance. We have been happily living our own adventure together ever since. We celebrated in true Brazilian style at our wedding overlooking the Bay of All Saints in Salvador on Nov. 23, 2013. Happy travels! Kimberly West