Nine years ago today, Craig and I married on a perfect April Autumn day in an historic sandstone church. We had photos on the beach and around the farm of our reception location. Once the reception finished our after going away party was held in the local rugby club, until about 7am when the police came and told our merry party stayers that it was time to call this wedding a night.
Craig and I did what any newly wed would do, we walked into McDonalds in our wedding attire for a hash brown breakfast.
Our wedding was unorthodox, as has been our marriage. Three days after that tasty breakfast we were saying farewell to our family and boarding on a plane for our honeymoon. A honeymoon that lasted 5 years. Here’s our Tips for Couples Travel if you want to do the same.
A marriage made in heaven? Ah…. no… We have our fair share of arguments and threatened trips to the divorce lawyers. But, we have had quite a fun and full marriage filled with many highlights.
The first year saw us honeymoon in what is now our favourite country and our most desired country to live for awhile-Thailand. We settled in Bangkok for six months to teach English.Craig, a carpenter who once played professional rugby league, smashed down some big fear barriers to teach English to classes of 40 Thai students in the best school in Thailand and did well.
We finished the year with travels through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
2003- Ireland and Africa
2003 was the year of all things Irish. We moved to Dublin to work for almost a year. We lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment in a rocking student town only a 20 minute walk to the city centre. Dublin was one big craic! We loved the easy going lifestyle, the music, the Guinness and Kilkenny, and the beautiful country which we toured around in a campervan with Craig’s family for his 30th. We also went to Turkey and experienced ANZAC Day in Gallipoli.
The end of 2003 saw us start our 5 month camping and backpacking adventure through Africa. We chased wildlife and Masai warriors in Kenya, trekked to find gorillas in Uganda, white water rafted the world’s longest river, discovered spices and spectacular sunsets on Zanzibar island, immersed ourselves in relaxing lakeside living in Malawi and celebrated Christmas at Victoria Falls.
2004- Africa, Australia, America
How could a year not be great when you start it on the salt pans of Etosha National Park in Namibia, followed by climbing the world’s highest sand dunes for a magnificent sunrise? The remainder of our time was spent falling seriously in love with South Africa. From its beautiful cities, spectacular beaches and scenery, incredible wildlife and culture similar to our own, how could you not want to stay here forever?
Before we moved to our new home of America, we decided to head to the West Coast of Australia to work on a Pearl Farm with my brother and experience of the amazing outback life of the Kimberleys. We caught a sea plane to work, where we would live for up to 5 weeks at a time at a remote area that tourists would spend $1000 a night to explore via expensive boats. We got paid incredible money to explore it every day from the deck of our barge while we were chipping barnacles off shells. It was a physically challenging experience but a really great one.
We loved 4WD camping on our weeks off through the Kimberleys and hanging out in the unique Aussie outback beach town of Broome.
Our second half of the year was spent exploring our new home of Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a place, neither of us were that keen on moving to, I was placed there through my teaching program. Funny how life turns out. Raleigh is now probably the only place in the world we could see ourselves settling in full time.
We finished this incredible year with Christmas and New Years in New York city where we saw snow for the very first time.
One great thing about teaching in the States was the 10 week summer break we got. We weren’t about to spend that time pottering about in the garden. The day after school broke out we packed up our van and hit the road. Our road trip took us to the mosquito infected, humid flat lands of Florida for a date with Mickey Mouse and Craig’s sister and boyfriend. It wasn’t all Disney World, we partied in Miami and discovered Mojitos in Key West. We also explored Savannah, Charleston, Atlanta, the Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina.
And who could forget my initiation into the honky tonk cowboy lifestyle of Nashville Tennessee.
We went skiing for the first time over Christmas in North Carolina. Hey, it was fake snow, but we still skied, and kept all our bones in tact despite creating a massive ski chair collision with several unsuspecting expert skiers.
2006- South Africa, America, Asia, Australia
We were forced to return to South Africa at the beginning of 2006 for my brother’s wedding. I know. But you gotta do what you gotta do. The wedding party spent time in Kruger National Park with the animals before staying in a mansion in Cape Town together with views of Table Mountain from my bedroom window.
Our summer break this year brought with it the end of our time living and teaching in Raleigh. I was over the stress of teaching in the schools there and decided to return home. It turned out to be really bad decision, but something had to go wrong somewhere I guess.
Before returning home we decided to finish off our honeymoon in a big way. We completed one of our dreams road tripping across the US. It was when I hit the mountains of Colorado and the stunning south western desert landscapes that I fell in love with America and realized that when I left I was going to be leaving a big part of my heart behind.
We sold our van in LA and jumped on a plane bound for Hong Kong. We spent the next month absolutely loving China. We travelled through mostly rural regions and enjoyed interacting with the friendly, funny people, eating the delicious food, hiking, biking, and relaxing in many small towns.
Laos was our next spot and we loved this almost as much as Thailand and found it to be even more laid back,which we never thought could be possible. Of course we had to finish our honeymoon where we started it, in Thailand.
We should have known something was amiss when we sat in a bar on Koh San Rd, cheer-sing to our incredible marriage so far, and our plane bound for Sydney was taking off above our head. For the first time in 5 years we got our flight times wrong and forgot to double check. We made it home three days later, for Christmas celebrations before moving to our new home in Mooloolaba Queensland
Settling in to life in Australia was incredibly difficult for us. Our life, which heretofore would be considered idyllic bliss, suddenly took a nose dive and exploded. We couldn’t put a foot right. It all had to do with our struggles in finding our true purpose and being lost in our pain of now living a life that did not bring us joy.
Amongst all this, the greatest highlight of both our lives happened. Our little girl Kalyra was born. She makes every day a grand new adventure.
2008- Australia, America
We took Kalyra on her first overseas holiday to Fiji for Craig’s best friend’s wedding. We had an enjoyable “luxury” holiday with our friends in Fiji, way different to the backpacking lifestyle we were used to.
No matter how hard we tried we could not settle back into life in Australia. At times we thought we were crazy as we lived only a 5 minute walk from the most beautiful beach in Queensland. I spent my mornings taking my baby girl for a long hour and a half walk along the beach path. It was the best way you could ever hope to start the day. Still things didn’t feel right, so halfway through the year we packed up and moved back to Raleigh and I went back to teaching.
As I’m focusing on our highlights there is not a lot I can write about this year. This was kind of a low year for us, and we had a financial disaster that hit us hard. It had been brewing since we returned back to Oz in 06, but it really climaxed this year. This is when I learned the very high price you can pay for not following your passions, and for not believing in yourself and living out of desperation.
We did, however make it to Puerto Rico for a fabulous 5 day holiday. It was also part of a conference that we attended, where we met some great people, including one of my favourite inspirational teachers Yossi Ghinsberg. Kalrya loved travelling once again.
Craig’s sister and parents came to visit so we spent a few weeks showing them beautiful places of The Carolina’s and Georgia to visit.
2010- America, Australia
This was the year where Craig and I finally got many of our answers and realized what it was we were meant to do with our lives and so y travel blog was born. Our quick success came about because of our passion for what we were doing, our sheer determination and hard work, our expertise, and our ability to interact with others authentically.
We have discovered that all we had learned from years of travel as a couple would serve us well with our blogging business.
We really reached a cross road and had to make a really difficult decision. Stay in the US where the money wasn’t quite finding us and the opportunity wasn’t that great, or go home and try to get out of the mess we got ourselves in. I really had to tune in to what my inner voice was telling me to do. And so it was with great sadness that we chose to move back to Australia.
With this sadness came the extreme regret and disappointment at all our failures and how much we had lost.
But, it was the right decision for now, as more opportunities have opened up to us for our blogging as a result. We are living our passion and true purpose and following that path is always the right decision.
And of course we fit some travel in this year. New Orleans, a trip through the Carolina with my parents and short trips along the East Coast of Australia on our return.
2011- Australia, ?
So far this year is powering a long and we just might be close to putting the pain of our mistakes behind us and gaining the mojo back. The magic we had where we could never put a foot wrong and everything we wanted came to us. It is all in the mind.
You have to live your passions, you have to share with others, believe in yourself, and think positive thoughts. When you can do all of this things at the same time then the magic will flow.
And of course a new little princess will be joining our family in August.
I wonder what the next nine years will hold?