An adventurous lifestyle for the travel obsessed

A sort of soppy travel love story

I’m not usually one for soppy romantic stories.

While I do watch the occasional chick flick (a guilty pleasure saved for nights when I’m home alone and stuffing my face full of chocolate) I usually gravitate away from the guy meets girl – fall in love – happily ever after thing.

But 4 years ago today, I met a guy while I was travelling. An amazing guy, that I just couldn’t get out of my head. And tomorrow we’re going to exchange some rings and some words for a lifetime of adventure.


Where I stayed in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia

We hooked up

I was working as a travel agent in Tasmania and my company had sent me to Bali for a few days. The trip was meant to get me familiar with the place so that I could sell it to my customers and included a bunch of hotel inspections as well as some fun activities with the group I was travelling with.

On our last evening, we head out to a few clubs in Bali’s infamous nightspot area of Kuta. While clubbing is really not my thing anymore (am I old?), I was indeed having a good time at ‘ladies night’ and being given free ethanol-like alcoholic drinks from whichever club I was partying at.

When we decided to head across the road to somewhere a little quieter, I glanced across the room we’d just entered and spotted a curly blonde guy who I thought was about my age. He noticed me looking, and wow, did he have a cute smile.

What I now know as an act of shyness and inability to approach women, he walked right by to the dance floor. I followed and sure enough, we were soon swapping saliva to the sounds of ‘Hello’ by DJ Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette, a song that the Balinese club owners apparently thought all the tourists would like (I guess they were right).

On top of our dancefloor extravaganza, we also spent hours sitting on a bench outside the club talking about ourselves and finding out that we actually had a lot in common. At the time that mostly consisted of the artists in our respective music collections, but hey, it was really easy for us to talk about.

I discovered that his name was Robert, he was from Newcastle, Australia, studying computer science at university, and travelling to Bali on a trip with his family members and best friend. I also discovered he was 4 years younger than me, but it didn’t seem to matter. We got along great.

Newcastle, Australia

Newcastle, Australia. Robert wishes to advise that he now has a really cool beard and no longer looks like a tween.

We moved in

The next day I left Bali, heading back to my hometown of Hobart, Tasmania. We added each other on Facebook (as many modern romances start), and we spent the next 3 weeks chatting online like starry-eyed teenagers until he came to visit me 3 weeks later.

Over the next 3 months we both travelled between our home cities, before I finally decided this guy was definitely a keeper. So I packed as many things I could fit into my tiny Ford Laser and took the ferry from Tasmania to Melbourne to start the long drive to Newcastle.

I’d lived in Hobart my whole life, so moving interstate was kind of a big deal for me. But the risk paid off, and while I initially felt some homesickness for my home state, we settled in and happily continued getting to know each other.

A year and a half later we decided to move to Sydney. It seemed a better fit for us and Robert could transfer to a better university to complete his degree. We’ve now lived in Sydney for 2 years and have loved every minute of it, embracing the ‘Inner West hipster’ lifestyle and discovering what it’s like to live and work in a major city.

St Petersburg, Russia

About 5 minutes after we got engaged in St Petersburg, Russia

We got engaged

For a while I’d had a dream of spending a few months backpacking through Europe. We had travelled together on a few small trips to Thailand and USA, but this was going to be something much more significant. Luckily, Robert was keen on it too. Our trip was going to take us from Moscow to Paris over 3 months.

A week in to the trip and we were in St Petersburg, one of Russia’s most picturesque cities. One night we were heading out to have dinner at a nice restaurant, when Robert insisted that we take a pedestrian bridge crossing one of the city’s many canals along the way. We were already running late but I agreed. We got halfway across, then he pulled a ring out of the inner pocket of his coat and nervously asked me to be his wife.

I was stunned for a second, then remembered that I should open my mouth to say yes!

He then told me he was really worried about dropping the ring. Our romantic pedestrian bridge stood over a flowing river and if he’d dropped it we definitely would not have seen it again. Apparently I’d almost found the ring at one point when we were moving furniture out of our apartment before we left, but luckily our housemate had saved the situation by offering to empty the drawer that it was hidden in.

The next day we Skyped our parents to deliver the news and started discussing what sort of wedding we wanted. It’s turned out to be very relaxed, DIY, anti-traditional, and hopefully a whole lot of fun.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Hanging out at Lake Bled, Slovenia

We planned our next adventures

To us, getting married does not mean settling down, pumping out a few kids, and getting a mortgage for a house we can’t afford. We’re going to do the opposite of what society expects us to do by spending our married life exploring the world.

In May we plan to head off to Latin America for our honeymoon, then we’ll be attempting to live in New York City for a few years. I couldn’t have picked a better partner – having someone who shares my love of exploration and who accepts and encourages my ambitious goals means everything to me.

Thanks for reading my sort of soppy travel love story. Have you had a similar experience, or do you hate this romantic crap? Let us know in the comments!

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32 Responses to “A sort of soppy travel love story”

  1. Alissa

    Too cute! I haven’t been following too long but didn’t realize y’all were engaged. Relax while getting ready and have so much fun! It’ll be over in a blink of an eye so savor every moment!!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I was very relaxed until the day before… and then I started freaking out! It all went smoothly though 😛 Thanks Alissa!

  2. Katie

    Love it! I met my fiance travelling too – we were both living in London. Also planning an ‘untraditional’ wedding but not for a couple more years, and we are planning to ‘hopefully’ immigrate to Canada in a few years 🙂

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Katie! Seems like a few of us met our partners on our travels. Would love to hear your story one day – it’s nice to hear how travelling couples got together 😀

  3. Kirstie

    I love reading your story and am so happy for you! +1 for younger Novocastrian men 🙂 Have a fantastic wedding and travels!

  4. Erika

    Congratulations! And definitely doing the non-traditional thing is the way to go! I got married last year and people won’t stop asking me when we’re going to buy a house and have kids, and I’m just like, uh, why? I have too many things to do and places to go first!!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      The amount of times I’ve heard those questions is beyond ridiculous! It gets so monotonous doesn’t it. The next person who asks me when I’m having kids is getting punched in the face.

      • Erika

        Ha ha! Even better is when people just assume you’re going to have kids and start a sentence with “Just wait, when you have kids…” Uh… who says that’s happening anytime soon? 😛

  5. Rachel

    Congratulations!!! I hope you two have a wonderful day and the best time travelling together (again)!

    All the best xxx

  6. Jem

    lovely story! 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful wedding and an amazing honeymoon! 🙂

  7. Silvia

    Bah this is so cute! I also met my boyfriend abroad, and now we’re traveling through Russia together! Huge, huge congrats <3

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Silvia! I know of a few couples who met abroad, it’s nice to know that sometimes two paths cross and something amazing comes from it! <3

  8. Anne-Laure

    Congratulations! I wish you a wonderful wedding day (if it’s not over yet) and most importantly an happy married life! You two look really cute together! Funny how travelling seems to let you find your better half where you wouldn’t have looked! xx

  9. Tine

    Aww, what a wonderful story! I also met a guy while travelling and he was really special, but it didn’t really worked when we got home, but hopefully I will met one eventually 🙂 Good luck, may you have a great life together 🙂

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Tine! Sometimes these things don’t work out, but as long as you’re putting yourself out into the world, plenty of opportunities will come by!

  10. Vanessa

    Awww what a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it 🙂 I think I immediately fell in love with both of you haha 🙂 have a wonderful day tomorrow, enjoy every minute and have a lot of fun! I’m actually dreaming of a non-traditional wedding myself… maybe somewhere abroad, spontaneously, but one never knows… 🙂

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Vanessa! Love your idea of a spontaneous wedding. A non-traditional wedding was definitely the way to go – I absolutely loved putting aside as many traditional wedding ideas as possible to substitute them for my own. I didn’t wear a white dress, I got wedding photos next to some amazing street art, I had a stand-up reception where everyone mingled instead of sitting next to people they barely know.. and it all worked really well!

  11. Leah

    What a sweet story Ashlea! I can only hope to one day marry a man who wants to travel the world with me. It’s everything I want in life, really! Mortgages be damned! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Definitely damn those mortgages! Travel is a much better way to spend money 😉 I’ve been lucky to find a partner who shares my passion, but when I think about it, I really don’t think I could be with someone who didn’t want to travel with me!

  12. Petra @ The Global Couple

    This is so sweet! I love a good love story 🙂 Hope you had the most amazing wedding, best wishes! And totally agree with your stance about not settling down/kids/mortgage – we feel exactly the same way!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It went wonderfully, thanks Petra! Every couple has a story, and I think it’s nice to share it 🙂 So glad there are other couples such as yourselves who aren’t following the standard life path, makes me feel like I’m not such a weirdo after all 😛

  13. Ashley

    It’s fun to hear how other couples meet while travelling or living abroad! I met my partner while living in London for a summer. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I love hearing other people’s stories too, it’s always so fascinating to know the details behind a travelling couple!

  14. Kate

    Oh Ashlea, I’ve been an avid reader & full-time enthusiast of your blog ever since I discovered it & I’m only just posting my first comment now. You really have inspired me to hop back on the blogging bandwagon, so thank you for that. Reading your “soppy love story” genuinely made me smile & I relate with it quite the bit! I met my other half while travelling in the USA last year & it was completely outside of the usual box that I would have expected myself to look in. He’s quite the bit younger than me (he’s 22, I’m 28 in July), & luckily we live in the same country but a good 4 hour drive apart. It has been amazing & eye-opening, yet tougher than tough at times, but it’s the back up of stories like this that remind me that it’s all worth it in the end. I’m not long from moving to be with him & I cannot wait. Congrats to you & Robert on your very happy wedding, long may you continue exploring that world together! x

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks so much for your comment Kate! I’m really glad you could relate, it’s amazing how many people have met their partners while travelling, or even just when they least expected it. Sometimes people find each other in the most unlikely of scenarios. Stories such as yours really show that age and distance really don’t matter, it’s the personal connections we make that really make it work. I hope your move goes well and please keep us updated on how it all goes!


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